Today, black lipstick is more associated with the goth subculture and, to a lesser extent, with some heavy metal bands and singers. Bands like KISS and Alice Cooper still sport this dramatic look. However, when applied poorly, this lipstick can appear sticky and difficult. Among the Goths, it is the mark of a person without experience or unaware of himself.
If you’ve ever been to an American mall, you can probably picture that person in your mind: out of shape, wearing a large black T-shirt, with black nail polish, and messy, unkempt hair. This tragic teenager (or an overgrown teenager) has given black lipstick a bad name. Hopefully this person will outgrow their fashion, get fitter, and look better.
So who does black lipstick look good on? And how can you apply it so you don’t look like you’re wearing an out-of-season Halloween costume? First, understand the history of this lipstick color; So, take my advice.
A brief history of black lips
Some tribes, including the Maori of New Zealand, paint and tattoo their lips in black. In Hindu tradition, both men and women stain their lips and teeth with betel, resulting in a dark green color. There are many reasons for this type of adornment, from ceremonial commemoration (for example, black paint represents the blood of enemies) to tribal identification.
In Renaissance England, Queen Elizabeth I popularized a proto-Gothic look of translucent white skin with dark, though not black, lips.
Fast forward (once again) to the 1920s. Color films existed, but their use in motion pictures was prohibitively expensive, especially in feature films. Many movie actresses, like Clara Bow, wore black lipstick on set to accentuate the curve of their lips. This led to the popularity of very dark red lips. However, many women opted for a more natural look, as Tangee and other companies advertise.
In the 1950s, B to Z grade horror movies occasionally used dark lipstick on seductresses. Vampira, a horror television host from the 1950s, usually wore a medium-toned lipstick with dramatic eye makeup and heavily exaggerated brows. At that time, of course, there was black grease paint, but its use on the lips was not mainstream.
It was only in the late 70s and 80s that punk, goth, and new wave teens began inventing daring new cosmetic looks. Singers like Siouxsie Sioux (pictured above), Peter Murphy, and Robert Smith began experimenting with a darker new look, influenced by punk rock, teddy boys, and romantic poetry. This look would become “gothic” as we know it today.
Hot Topic Black Lipstick.
Black lipstick was a component of this style, although it is not as ubiquitous as we think. Robert Smith certainly wore it at some point, but most photos of him show him wearing black eyeshadow with red lips or deep pink (if he’s wearing any makeup at all). For most early Goths, the eyes were the focal point of attention, resulting in over-the-top, dramatic eye makeup paired with relatively low-key lipstick.
As the ’80s turned into the’ 90s, the goth subculture strayed further from its punk origins, resulting in acts like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, and the birth of industrial music. The focus of attention shifted from eyes to lips; While artists like Courtney Love smeared their faces with red lipstick, Goths covered their faces in white and their lips in black. Even the “modern primitives” borrowed from this movement, with young women with dreadlocks and tribal tattoos wearing espresso or chocolate covered lipstick to match their earth-toned wardrobes.
Anecdotal accounts suggest that “Goth” individuals predate the Goth subculture. My mom once told me about a friend of hers who, in the mid-1960s, wore all black, drove a hearse, and had a large poisonous snake in his house. It is not unreasonable, then, to think that some isolated people experimented with this appearance, if only in the privacy of their own homes.
A short user guide
First, some general guidelines:
Try lipstick before you buy, whatever color it is. Especially if it costs more than $ 5. Why waste your money?
Bring a friend every time you shop for beauty products. A second opinion, which is not motivated by commissions (as some sellers are), is invaluable.
Don’t buy something you can’t afford. Yes, even if it is really cute. You will survive.
Now, that out of the way. What kind of people look good with black lipstick? Although there are exceptions, here is a general list:
1. Pale or medium complexion people with dark hair. This could be the reason why black is so popular in the Goth community, as many Goths aspire to this style. However, some people with this complexion don’t like it. Say like you.
2. Very dark skinned people. Someone like Alek Wek can rock black lipstick, especially in a haute couture photoshoot, because it doesn’t make her look tubercular or faded. On the other hand, Alek Wek can sport almost any outfit he wants.
3. Young people. Darker lipsticks age most people except the very young, who seem to have broken into Mom’s makeup cabinet. Generally, black lips look best on 16-25 year olds.
Of course, there are exceptions. Some blondes look pretty with black lips. Some older people do too. But if you are not one of the exceptions, here are some ways to make this look work for you:
* Apply lipstick with a brush. This will prevent you from exaggerating the appearance. It will also make the application smoother and allow you to blend it more easily with your natural lip color and line.
* Wear almost black color lipstick, such as deep red, deep purple, dark brown, etc. This is especially good if you have a low-contrast complexion, where black will make you look positively tubercular.
* Underestimate other parts of your face. Wearing dramatic eye makeup with dramatic lipstick ends up making you look like a clown. Pick a part of your face to emphasize and stick with it.
This article originally appeared on Enjoy your style makeup section.