To celebrate fall, I’ve put together a guide of deep, dark purple lip colors. These sort of purples aren’t for everyone. I wear them because I love the drama. This has been my go-to since I had my first Vogue Italia subscription in the late 90’s¹. I love a dark lippie and its contrast against my (pale/ghostly) complexion. These sort of purples look equally amazing on those with complexions deeper than mine. I feel like a dark purple lipstick makes anyone an instant badass. I also love how they ARE THE LOOK. I can be very lazy and not wear eye makeup when I wear a deep lip color and still feel like I’m stylish (this may not be true but I *feel* like I am and that’s what matters). Basically, if you see me sporting one of these shades, I mean business. I’m getting stuff done that day and feeling pretty darn good about myself in the process.
I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite deep purple lipsticks. These aren’t really “purple” as much as they are blackened purples (maybe one day I’ll put together a purple guide). Some of these may be more red, more black or more purple depending on the natural shade of your lips, your complexion, etc.
Rituel de Fille Forbidden Lipstick in Night Wanderer
This is a dark, almost black (depending on your skintone) purple/plum with fine gold glimmer. It’s a slim tube for extra precision. It’s has “satin matte” finish. It smells like lavender. Retails for $24 at Rituel de Fille. | My swatch and review. | Other things to know – the brand says they’re natural.
MAC Lipstick in Cyber
This is my OG goth purple so I had to include it (even if it isn’t the “best”). It has a slightly reddish plum undertone (on me). The finish is satin with some shine. This is a blessing and a curse. This makes your lips look more plump but it also ins’t the easiest to keep even. It’s one that I have to touch-up frequently. I also have to wear a lip liner like NightMoth. Has that classic vanilla scent. Retails for $17.50 at Nordstrom. | Swatch
Dose of Colors Creamy Lipstick in Jelly
This is a gorgeous “muted” plum that isn’t as blackened as the others listed here. It’s like the shade of grape jelly. The formula is creamy (so don’t expect long-wearing). Has a faint vanilla aroma. Retails for $16 at Dose of Colors. | Swatch
Ofra Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Napa Valley
This is a deep, metallic eggplant with a matte finish. I’m not the biggest fan of matte liquid lipsticks (and Ofra’s formulas are hit or miss) but I like the color/finish so much with this one that I ignore my usual disdain. Retails for $18 at Ofra. | Swatch | Other things to know – search for a coupon online before buying anything from Ofra. There are so many coupons floating around for them.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Va-Va-Violet
The formula of this one like the MAC one I mentioned above. It’s a deep plum with red undertones (or at least on me). It’s satin with some shine. This makes it harder to work with but it’s really pretty and it’s cheap. I also don’t notice a flavor/fragrance with this one. Retails for under $9 on Amazon. |Swatch
Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Black Truffle
What I like about this one is that it doesn’t take much work. The packaging design allows for precision. It applies evenly and with coverage without drying the heck out of my lips. It is a “satin matte”. It has a faint citrus aroma. Retails for $24 at Sephora. | Swatch
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Train Bleu
This is another one of my OG goth shades. The pencil sort of doubles as a liner and you can get decent precision. The finish is matte. My only complaint is that you have to sharpen it so it feels wasteful. It doesn’t really have a flavor or anything. Retails for $27 at Nordstrom. | Swatch
Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lip Color in Wicked Berry
This is a deep royal purple with blue undertones. It’s so gorgeous and not as eggplant/red-toned/warm as the others here (this will also make teeth look whiter/brighter). This is the closest to a dark purple-purple. Now let’s get to the formula. Please ignore EVERYTHING in the title. This is a liquid lip color that has a satin finish, never actually sets and has full-coverage. It has a sort of weird floral flavor/smell that I can live without; yet, I forgive it because I love the color. Retails for under $8 on Amazon. | Swatch
Sugarpill Lipstick in Dark Side
This is a deep purple with a subtle metallic-ness. It has a “soft matte” finish even though it’s a tube lipstick. It can be layered to achieve a look that’s almost black. Or you can wear one layer and it has a surprising amount of deep purple coverage. As far as formula, I prefer this one over the Ofra mentioned because it’s matte and metallic but it’s not a liquid lip. Retails for $18 at Sugarpill. | Swatch | Other things to know – It comes in a glittery pill tube.
Wet n Wild MegaLast Lipstick in 919B Vamp It Up
Honestly, I find the formula of this particular shade to be drier than the others in the line. But, I don’t complain because it’s so cheap. It also lasts longer on the lips than the other shades in the line. It’s a blackened purple with faint (barely noticeable) gold shimmer and a matte finish. I don’t notice a flavor/fragrance. It’s price makes it great for anyone wanting to try out a deep lip without spending a lot of money. Retails for under $3 at Wet N Wild. | Swatch
My suggestion for anyone wearing dark lip shades is to use a scrub beforehand. This can be something you buy (like this rose one from Henné) or something you whip up with olive oil/sugar and/or a washcloth. I always use a thick moisturizer at night and moisturize my lips beforehand. These dark shades will cling to any dead skin and that’s not cute.
If your goal is precision, I recommend a dark lip liner in a matching shade or even a black. I also fill in the entire lip with some formulas because this keeps them on longer and prevents my pink lips from showing through. It also helps me with unevenness (both from natural – the shape of my lips – and from lipstick formulas). You can also touch-up around the lips with a concealer. Honestly though, I like for these sort of shades to be a little messy because I think it adds to the editorial-realness of it all. I top many of these off with a clear (or even a black lip gloss like Black Radiance Lip Gloss in Black Diamond). I also like to pair it with minimal makeup and just focus on flawless complexion and drama lips.
For my complexion, the contrast is extreme so I always carry the tube with me for touch-ups because I will have to touch-up throughout the day/night. When I wear a deep shade like this, I’m prepared for the fact that it’ll rub off and it won’t be perfect. But, it doesn’t matter because in my mind, I think I look cool.
There are of course many other great dark purple lipsticks out there. I kept it brief to ones that I have tried/owned. ColourPop has some great ones but they discontinue stuff so quickly that I can’t keep up (and I hate recommending discontinued things). MAC also has additional deep purples (usually limited editions).
Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list? Do you have any favorite deep purple lipstick shades?
¹Peter Lindbergh’s photographs of supermodels in Vogue Italia January 1998 changed my life. I know that sounds so dramatic but it really did have a lasting impression on me. It like imprinted into my being. This edition really shaped what I considered to be “fashion”. I started to wear my hair slicked into a tight bun, wear grey tweed menswear, lots of black and penny loafers and dark lipstick. I still do this. It’s still what I consider the epitome of chic. It’s funny that my go-to is everything you see above.