True makeup devotees and goth girls everywhere are well aware of the hassles of black lipstick. Too drying, not opaque enough, flaky, difficult to apply, the list goes on and on. Year after year, we go on the search for the perfect black that looks as good on the lips as it does in the tube, and when we find it, it’s like we’ve found the Holy Grail. (Better, really, because no one actually needs the Holy Grail.) The perfect black lipstick is a lot like the perfect little black dress: universally flattering, always stylish, goes with everything. But, like an LBD, one size does not fit all. Fortunately, we rounded up the 13 best black-based lip colors of all time to help with the decision-making process, so you can find the perfect shade and finish for any occasion, from church to school to séance and everything in-between. Read on to add a little noir to your repertoire.
When it comes to black lipstick, it’s difficult to find a color that looks as complex on the mouth as in the package, which is why the best ones are never flat. Shadow Self is a slightly metallic blue-black with red undertones that exhibits a beetle-like sheen in bright light and deepens into plush warmth in lower lighting. Sure to bring out your inner sorceress, even if the most magical thing you’ve ever done was waved some sage around your living room.
This list would be nothing without the black that made PDX Black Lipstick Co. cult-famous. Feast your eyes upon the creamiest, blackest lipstick on the market, semi-glossy and moisturizing with a light minty scent. Not ready to go full throttle? PDX Black Lipstick Co. offers a range of near-black shades to help you ease over into the dark side. Bonus: Lipstick samples go for $2, so you can try a bunch guilt-free before you commit.
Your lips, but charred to oblivion: This ultra-matte, ultra-black lipstick with a deep, warm undertone is so good, it sells out almost the minute it’s back in stock.
Smooth and creamy with a bit of luster, this formula is long lasting and evenly opaque in two coats. It can be blotted down to a matte look, making it a perfect alternative for those who find pure matte lipsticks too drying.
The super high-quality (and ridiculously affordable) indie brand of our dreams brings us this lovely, wearable black that glides on and layers perfectly to opacity. Bonus: The thin tube design takes the horror out of application, a blessing for those of us born without the Jolie gene.
Super-pigmented liquid lipstick that dries down matte and stays put forever, in the most adorable packaging your eyeballs have ever seen. File Under: necessary.
A pure, solid black with a delicate semi-metallic sheen that swings right over from sinister to sexy. The formula stays a bit tacky on the lips, making it a great choice for those who want the staying power of a matte but have zero tolerance for dryness.
Full coverage and opaque, this liquid lipstick dries down to a plush matte that stays put—we’re talking after kissing and drinking straight from a glass, straws be damned. While the color payoff is great, it can feel a bit drying after wearing it for a while, so opt for a balm if you don’t mind forgoing the super-matte finish.
Like a PVC catsuit for the lips, this highly pigmented, super-reflective glassy black has serious shine power. Plus, it’s incredibly long lasting, so you can wear it for hours into the after-hours. Cat o’ nine tails not included.
#GoalsAchieved: Not only does this formidable black gloss give you a lot of bang for your buck, it’s a fantastic alternative for those like us who still haven’t gotten over the lack of MAC’s Cremesheen Lip Glass in Dark Outsider. A win on all levels.
Balms & Sheers
Americans know that everything’s better on a stick, and lip gloss is no exception! Slick and sexy, this sheer gloss will deepen your natural lip color for a purpled hue (think: bruise), or add dark dimension to lipstick. The best part? You hardly need a mirror to apply.
As useful as it is beneficial, this black-and-white lip-balm duo is made with peppermint and hemp oils as well as vitamin E and shea butter for nourishment, and is like a graphite pencil set for the lips: Use the black balm to deepen, and the white to set a base or tone things down. A staple in any lip collection.
Housed in an adorable little pot, this moisturizing, ultra-sheer gloss “does to the lips what fishnet stockings do for legs.” It’s the gateway drug of black lipstick: A color for those who never thought they’d go all the way, but now can’t help but feel curioser and curioser…