A Top 10 Deep Purple Lipstick Guide

Peter Lindbergh Vogue Italia


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.

dark purple lipsticks

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


dark purple lipsticks

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.

Peter Lindbergh Vogue Italia

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.

*Pictures are by Peter Lindbergh Vogue Italia January/Gennaio 1998 and they’re from people’s scans on Pinterest. Thank you so much, people. Other pics are from the brand and I made a collage. The products are not to scale. Nordstrom, Amazon, Sephora contain affiliate links. Thanks!

10 thoughts on “A Top 10 Deep Purple Lipstick Guide

  1. A couple of years ago when Cover Girl did its Star Wars-themed makeup collection for The Force Awakens, I bought several of the lipsticks. The darkest (#50) is a VERY dark purple and it is one intense shade as far as purples go–almost a blackened purple. I use it for looks like cosplay/steampunk makeup, but it’s great all alone, too. As you say, dark purple lipstick is the look.

    1. UGH! I am actually so mad that I missed out on those. I tried to order and they were sold out. Then I heard they were back in stock and I don’t even remember why I didn’t follow-up. I wanted that dark purple and the C-3PO gold. Oh, well. I already have those sort of shades so I’ll just so I was responsible and in control of my purchases, lol.

  2. ooh, some nice ones on that list!

    I’m currently loving the Nars pigment “Rock with you” that comes up much darker and more purple on my pallor than most swatches suggest (and stays put pretty resolutely, too). Wild Night is darker and colder/greyer.

    Urban Decay Blackmail is another good one for me on the burgundy end of purple rather than the blue scale (and, it’s remarkably pretty if just dabbed on as a sheer version, then ramping up to full dark later.)

    I’m hankering after the darker Pat McGrath lipsticks, but they aren’t available in the UK. ..

    1. Lip products are my weakness. I haven’t really dabbled into the NARS pigments yet. I do have 2 minis in very flattering neutrals (Save the Queen and Get it On). I like how those wear. It’s not really matte, but it is (if that makes any sense at all). The mauve one (Save the Queen) has some sort of grey undertones that makes it feel hipper than just “mauve” (if that makes sense). Anyway, I really need to swatch/try the reds and Rock With You. I noticed with this formula that the 2 I have don’t look like swatches online.

      I have been meaning to buy Blackmail for a long time! It has those reddish/brown/burgundy undertones that I’ve always been drawn to. I agree. It looks really good blotted or applied with a finger and layered with balm. I think of it as one of those vampy, silent film sort of shades. I love those.

      OK, so I am trying soooo hard to resist the Pat McGrath ones because of price. I already have a lipstick addiction, do I need one in that price range 😉 I can argue “yes” and that’s why I have a problem! I will say that I have played with them in store and that formula is amazing. The reds have a lot of pigment and this perfect satin-matte finish that doesn’t settle into any lip lines. A friend of mine wore the darkest shade out the other night and omg, it was absolutely stunning against her olive skin. You know, it sort of reminds me of MAC Cyber but with more pigment.

  3. According to all the rules (ha!) I shouldn’t (ha!) wear dark lipsticks. Pale. Rubbish teeth. Thin lips. Old trout. etc etc. Aye, whatever. I love them.

    Oh dear. I just found out that one of my colleagues is going to the US in a few weeks… i think he’s just signed up to be a lipstick mule. And a perfume mule.

    (re: grey undertones… Rituel de Fille’s Prey. Now that’s a pretty chic colour.)

    1. Rules are stupid. I’m like if I want to do something I’m not going to focus on my flaws. I’m not perfect and I’m OK with that. I’d rather wear something and look “bad” instead of wishing I could do something but being “too scared” to do it. So, yeah, you rock. That’s what I’m trying to say.

      YES. We all need a mule. What do you have him picking up? I hate to say it because it’s sooo expensive but the Pat McGrath eyeshadow palettes are beyond gorgeous. I swatched them all in store and they exceeded my expectations. If I had the dough to spend on sparkly lid powder, I’d pick them up. But, my budget tend to go to lip products, perfume and gimmicky skincare.

      I LOVE PREY. It is my go-to “my lips but deader” lipstick, lol. I just love weird, ugly colors so much.

      1. I just realised that I’ve been reading your blog for *ages* but these were probably my first comments. Hi! Nice to meet you, and thanks!

        I have a metric fuckton of eyeshadows already, and have finally come to terms with the idea that while palettes can be gorgeous, I almost never use them. Single colours? Gimme. I mix and match and cycle through different shades. But I have never found a palette where I use more than two colours regularly. (This is me convincing myself to STOP LOOKING at the PML shiny boxes of shining eye things already. Instead I’m staring at the tiny pots of Rituel dF stuff instead. Because. Because I am a lost cause.) For the lipsticks, though, I’m madly tempted by both Deep Void and McMenamy

        I’m trying to work out what to get ordered and sent to the office for him to bring back… are there any US-only perfumes that I feel brave enough to buy blind, for example? Or whether to take advantage of the what-is-going-on under-half-priceness of the Paul Schutze perfumes at Luckyscent to get a back up bottle? But that feels very unbrave. It’s all good. I get to ponder and anticipate for a couple of weeks before deciding!

        (p.s. I am totally stealing your “my lips but deader” phrase.)

        1. Nice to meet you and thanks for reading!

          I have realized this year that my lids are small and I don’t have a lot of space between lash line to brows. So, for the most part I wear one eyeshadow a day. If I am ambitious, it’s two. If I’m just standing there with time to waste and nothing better to do, I’ll manage to get three shades on my eyes. Singles are much better for me (and what I use the most). I absolutely adore the the thought of eyeshadow palettes and the sort of stories the colors tell together…but I typically use two in a palette and that’s it. The rest of the shades just look at me and wonder why I have forsaken them. SAYING THAT – Those Pat McGrath ones sure are gorgeous but I can talk myself out of them because of the price. I just want that glimmery royal blue…which I already have from the Pat McGrath singles.

          Deep Void and McMenamy are both great. You can’t go wrong with either of them.

          It’s good you have time to think it through. I’m trying to think if can dare suggest anything worth blind-buying that is US exclusive…hmmmm…I don’t know. That’s a scary thing to do!

          I love the RdF cream shadows/Eye Soot. But, I love creams and having something look wet on my lids, especially if I’m doing a matte lip color. Sigil is my favorite, then Viscera and a tie between Serpent de Mer and Cultist. Something about the sheen in these are so chic and editorial but not too much for boring real-life.

  4. When I saw the title of your post, I got excited. I’m a lipstick lover like you. No makeup item is so simple, yet dramatically transformative than lipstick. Before this post, I didn’t think I would buy anymore vampy purples to add to my collection. Yet, here I’ve added a couple of these to my list to check out soon. *reaches out to strangle you*

    1. *peeping out from behind the door*

      Don’t read the comments! And not for the usual internet reasons of people being jerks. It’s that your list will grow! Mine has. I have an Evernote of shades mentioned in the comments that I need now. You’d think I have enough…but I don’t.

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