What do The Craft’s Nancy Downs, Daria’s BFF Jane, and Courtney Love-circa-the-Hole era have in common? Aside from being total badasses, the trio also fearlessly wore tricky black and deep, almost black lipstick shades as part of their signature beauty looks that became integral to their goth-meets-'90s alt-girl auras.
Along with my late-night Beverly Hills 90210 Netflix binges, the ‘90s were also back in full force on the Fall 2016 runways where models like Gigi Hadid wore a matte black lip at Fenty x Puma, and Kendall Jenner walked Dior’s runway with a glossy burnt plum lip that was grown-up goth girl done right.
While I like to think that I share the same badass mentality as some of my favorite ‘90s icons, externally, my makeup is fairly low-key with an emphasis on fresh skin and a subtle cat-flick. But, the runway lips along with nostalgia, made a serious case for me to venture out of my neutral lip territory. Ready to fully embrace my darker side, I tried three moody shades—black, burnt plum, and oxblood—to find out how one of fall’s biggest makeup trends translates into my normal, everyday existence.
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick In Black Truffle
Not only was I almost late for work because a black-violet bullet requires careful attention and a steady hand to apply, I stressed out about what to wear. My goal was to look slightly edgy and mysterious, but without looking like I was celebrating Halloween over a month early. Once I decided on a simple white tee, black leather skirt, and embroidered loafers, I made it to the train. It was as I made my way to the subway platform that I came to the realization that I would completely be out of my beauty comfort zone amidst complete strangers on my commute. Aside from a curious glance in the office elevator, everyone's faces were so glued to their iPhones that my lipstick went completely unnoticed.
Throughout the day, my anxiety mellowed out as coworkers complimented this Bite Beauty shade. One of my fellow beauty team members even said that "although it's jarring, it completely works for you." As for the acutal formula: Its creamy texture made it easy to evenly apply, and it only required one touchup mid-day after I finished a coffee and lunch. So, would I wear it again? Definitely on a fall night out, when the time and place are right.
Bite | $26
Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick In Slayer
After I put on this opaque, matte black shade by Kat Von D, I was hoping I'd see a Gigi-esque look worthy of the Fenty x Puma runway, but my reflection was more Marilyn Manson—and I wasn’t one of the beautiful people he’s singing about in his aforementioned song. Against my fair complexion, the true black shade was slightly too contrasting to wear on a regular day without feeling like a costume.
Since it was Sunday, my plans were not very goth-like. After walking to Whole Foods where my cashier didn't acknowledge my shade choice but couldn't stop staring at my lips, I dropped off some shoes at the neighborhood shoe repair place where again, my lipstick color was noticed but not commented on. But, that's one of the best parts about New York: anything flies.
What was impressive was how well Kat Von D's formula held up in a very humid late-summer day. When I got back to my apartment I expected to see black sweat lines running down my chin, but surprisingly it barely bled and didn't dry out my lips.
Kat Von D | $21
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick In Shame
Confession: I'm a beauty writer that doesn't have a tried-and-true classic red lipstick shade. In fact, I don't even own a single crimson bullet, which made wearing black ones all the more terrifying. However, although this deep oxblood shade isn't a true red, it could be considered its moody, vampy older sister and I was surprised I didn't hate it.
Swiping on this shade was a whole lot easier than its black counterparts, and the slightly glossy finish made it look extremely high-end. At work, this bullet was another crowd pleaser that made me feel fancy but still edgy and cool like Winona Ryder in Reality Bites, and her '90s signature off-screen look: a leather jacket and jeans. At the end of the day, the lipstick held up and kept my lips hydrated. I guess channeling your inner-darkness isn't so tough after all.
Urban Decay | $17