Electric Purple Lips?

On my way to work, I keep seeing women with hypnotic purple lipstick. Time to figure out exactly what they’re using!

So the thing about having a black DC fashion blog is that if you see several women of color wearing electric purple lipstick all of a sudden, and you’re seeing this going on for weeks, for months on your way to work—you can’t exactly Google “purple lipstick DC” and expect to find an explanation.

But Why Do It Have to be Burnin’ Purple, Young?

This is about right now, what Black women in DC are instinctively craving when they put on their makeup in the morning. Trends rarely happen in a void—purple lipstick has been popular for a few years, and friends tell me that purple hair is popular in California right now. People also see things on television or hear about them and then they want to try it too. And then, in the black community, there’s real joy in individualism, taking something and making it totally your own. But when things stick in the black DMV community, I still have to wonder what’s doing it?

lips search

And, I have to wonder why it’s not just purple, but it’s this fiery shade of electric purple, even fiery royal blue that I keep seeing burning on the lips of dark-skinned women walking to the METRO. I mean, they may have on their dead-eyed METRO faces like we all don when interminable train delays and crowd congestion await us underground—but those lips are bright and smiling even if they don’t feel like it.

Well, setting the derivatives of the trend aside (because I really doubt the depressing subway system is making us resort to happy colors), the fact is, that black women in DC are trying out hot purple lipstick. So, where can you find some for yourself, and how do you wear it?

There are already a few blogs out there that speak to choosing a purple that works with your skin tone. In general, it looks like women with more yellow undertones in their skin (think gold, caramel) may experience purple lipstick looking pink when they wear it. And so, you would try choosing a ‘true violet’ according to refinery29.com. And Colour by Numbr has fantastic tips too. More than one blog advises that darker-skinned women should try plum shades.

Let’s Be Honest: A lot of us Love MAC Lipstick

MAC has a lipstick picker tool that appears next to every lipstick. The “Shop/Filter 200 Shades” lets you scan through everything at once. It also suggests other makeup that complements the color you’ve chosen.

I looked through these and I did find some strong purples and purple-blues:

  • MAC Matte Royal
    This is edging very close to a rich royal-blue which will give you the hypnotic ‘wait, is that purple or not?’ look.
  • MAC Up the Amp
    Everyone seems to be talking about this one, though with my darker skin, honestly, I’m a lil’ scared to try it.
  • MAC Heroine
    A very burning, bold color. It’ll scare off all but the true believers…

(You might also want to try Too Faced – Melted Violet, Kat Von D – Love, and Revlon Colorburst Matte Bomb – 215 shameless)

But still, this is old news. Us DC girls need those burning purples almost floating in front of women’s faces as they strut in and out of Union Station during rush hour. Where. Are. They?

Blending Colors to Finally Crack the Code?

I searched and searched, and was almost convinced that what I was seeing on the actual streets of DC was an optical illusion. To get a purple so deep that it’s actually a burning blue, you’ve got to be mixing these colors somehow, right? I wondered if some black women were making their own colors in order to get the intensity they craved but that I couldn’t seem to find in any major stores.

Finally, an image search with me pinpointing burning-royal blue color led me to a couple of YouTube videos that confirmed what I theorized: some of us are being inventive, we’re breaking the mold, we’re making our own electric purples.

Tip: When in doubt, track down sistas on YouTube who are devoted to showing you exactly how to do black makeup, especially hair, in their own words.

colouredBeautiful on YouTube explained this a bit. If you want a bold purple, you don’t have to stick to one particular shade. You can also use lipliners in various hues to warm up almost nude lavenders. (Later on in the video, she also pins down some great purple lipcolors that stand on their own.)

colouredBeautiful: For purple lipliners, lipsticks and glosses

Next, enjoy Jennie Jenkin’s lovely British accent and let her tell you all about the top purple lipsticks and their different textures. Notice how she’s used a blue necklace to play up her purple lipstick in the video… that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!

Jennie Jenkins: For an eclectic collection of purples

I know a little about color theory, and I wouldn’t be surprised if mixing a bold blue with purple lip liner (or lining your lips with purple lipstick) would give you that bombshell pop. But how do you do all this without spending tons of money?

The Cheaper Version:

A friend of mine who’s worked in the Parisian fashion industry gave me this tip… But you know what? It’s also good common sense: get the cheap stuff first, then upgrade. When I’m timid about trying a new color, I seriously go to the beauty supply store and stock up on the super cheap $1 NYK lipstick then take it home and mess around until I find a look I like. When you’re ready and have the tones you like, save up and get quality name-brand colors.

  • For even more amazing makeup ideas just right for black skin (like copper eyes or sky blue lipstick), check out stylesweekly.com

Do you know even better ways to unlock the burning blue-purple lip color code?




One thought on “Electric Purple Lips?

  1. Oh, awesome–just noticed that I already do own that purple Maybeline lipstick. I absolutely adore it, and recommend it to anyone: 905 Brazenberry. I don’t care what the Maybelline website says… I am SO sure you could go to the Bed Bath and Beyond or Target in Columbia Heights or any Walgreens/CVS/ULTA right now and find that shade. Not ‘spensive either.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s