I’m a huge girly girl: I write about beauty every day, have enough baby pink items in my closet to last a lifetime and live for the satisfaction that comes with achieving a flawless manicure. During an editorial meeting recently, I jokingly suggested that I had been wanting to try out black lipstick — this could not be *more opposite* of what one would expect me to wear — and, to my surprise (and honestly, my horror) my editors were like, “Yep. You’re totally doing that.”
I went to Sephora and found the darkest lipstick shades they had (all of which were from Kat Von D’s line). By the time I left, I had so many different shade swatches that I felt like my hand was a paint palette — it was kinda amazing, and a great conversation starter at drinks with my girlfriends later that night.
One thing to note with each of these dark shades is that you’ll need to line your lips really well first. The shades are so pigmented and unforgiving that every little application flaw will be super noticeable. You can read about how I hacked my lip liner here. Spoiler alert: I didn’t even use lip liner, technically!
DAY 1: SATURDAY MORNING BRUNCH IN “ECHO”
My dark lipstick journey began on Saturday morning with brunch at my usual spot — I go to the same place almost every weekend, so the staff and I know each other. I was wondering if they would notice my bold new look. I wore Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($20) in a matte, super deep navy blue shade called Echo. After carefully applying it, I thought, “Wow. Weird. Cool! I actually really like this!” which wasn’t what I was expecting. The dark shade put a little pep in my step and made me feel like I was channeling my alter ego (IDK who my alter ego is, but I was def channeling her).
The barista who makes my coffee at this brunch spot looked at me, smiled, chuckled and said, “Ohhh.” Haha! My brunch babes were equally surprised at my lipstick of choice because they’re used to seeing me makeup-free at brunch (a girl’s gotta let her skin breathe on the weekend, ya know?). I did get positive reactions from them, though. One of them said, “You can weirdly pull it off,” to which I replied, “Thanks, I think!” This shade is so dark that it’s one you’ll have to touch up after you’re done eating, though. In photos (aka selfies), the shade looked really close to black, but you can really see the blue at a perfectly lit photo shoot.
DAY 2: SUNDAY SHOPPING EXCURSION IN “WITCHES”
Sunday = shopping! I set off with two girlfriends to do some damage and intentionally didn’t tell them I was taking part in a dark lipstick experiment because I wanted their candid reactions. I swiped on Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($20) in a straight-up black shade called Witches. No shimmer, no shine — nothing but pitch blackness. Again, to my surprise, my girlfriends were super into the shade and were complimentary of my look. When we got to the shopping center, the weird looks from strangers began.
I kept forgetting I had black lipstick on, and began wondering why people were staring at me. I walked past a group of teenagers who, according to my observant friend, immediately pointed at me and started whispering about me. LOL, those crazy kids! When I was trying on clothes at Anthropologie, the salesperson said, “Get it girl! I love that lipstick on you,” which was sweet. I forgot I had it on, so it took a second for me to understand what she was referring to. I got a similar reaction out of the salesperson in Banana Republic. Unfortunately for my alter ego, after several hours of constant chatting, eating and drinking, my black lipstick started to look not so hot. Gotta be honest here. It is such an intense shade — even more so than the blue — that I was touching it up any chance I could get. Regardless, it was super fun to wear out and about and made me feel slightly edgy — a feeling this girly girl rarely feels.
DAY 3: MONDAY AT THE OFFICE + AROUND TOWN IN “PIAF”
I *had* to see what my coworkers’ reactions would be to the final shade in my dark lipstick trio, which was Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick ($21) in Piaf, described as a cool chocolate with purple shimmer. I swiped this on before work and paired it with a particularly preppy dress (even for me). I was pretty skeptical about this one because I would *never* reach for brown lipstick normally. I am basically the opposite of someone who can pull off that cool-girl, ’90s vibe that’s synonymous with brown lipstick. That said, my deskmates Cortney and Angela both said they liked the shade on me — and I actually really did too! I kept my makeup the same as any other day, so the dark, slightly purple shade was a fun way to mix up my normal look. After I made an appearance at the office, I set out to catch some candid reactions with our photographer Kurt Andre. First stop: Starbucks.
The barista told me that I looked like a “fall beauty queen” which was a life-affirming compliment and something a lady experimenting with brown lipstick like myself *needed* to hear. Honestly, this shade is pretty wearable, so it was nice not having people straight up stare at me like they did with the black + blue. It did, however, make an epic lipstick stain on my coffee cup.
The formula of the Studded Kiss Lipstick is different than those of the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick — those are stains, while the Studded Kiss Lipstick is not — so it smudges easily and doesn’t last through meals. Get ready for touchups all the damn time. But it’s worth it!
I went into ZARA and was immediately drawn to accessories that I would not typically like (example: crazy sunglasses). I blame the lipstick! I was complimented by a salesperson when I was trying on a hat: She told me that the lipstick tied my whole look together, which was surprising to hear because I felt like my preppy dress didn’t pair well with such a vampy shade, but they actually balanced each other out nicely.
Finally, and most importantly, I connected with a stranger’s dog named Penny on the street (for me, this is very typical and not creepy, promise!). I like to think Penny noticed my bold lipstick shade and wanted to know more. Regardless, it was a great way to end my dark lipstick experiment!
After three days of wearing totally crazy lipstick shades, I learned that I should open my mind to swiping on shades I would never expect myself to wear or look good in. Biggest lesson here? Anyone can wear any lipstick shade they want as long as they wear it with confidence! Now excuse me — and my coworkers — as we go find our next dark-as-night lipstick ;)
Are you a fan of dark lipstick? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.