The fall season is upon us, and with it comes my favorite holiday of the year: Halloween. If you’re anything like me, you love all things spooky and creepy crawly… or maybe you just fell in love with all those goth girls on TikTok over quarantine. Either way, there’s one daring treat in every girl’s makeup bag that anyone can pull off during spooky season- black lipstick. Of course, there are plenty of higher-end tubes of black that come to mind, like Urban Decay’s $20 bullet, but I personally don’t have that kind of money just lying around. So, I dashed to my local drugstore options like a new trick or treater and made for you a list ranked worst to best of drugstore black lipsticks for this Halloween’s festivities. I evaluated these lipsticks based mainly on comfort, opacity, application, and longevity, with a 4-hour wear test for each.
- Wet & Wild Liquid Catsuit Matte in So Noir Cool
My number one pick for the best drugstore black lipstick is Wet and Wild’s Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick in So Noir Cool. Scoring a 9 out of 10, this gorgeous tube of midnight black ticks all my boxes for a near-perfect lipstick experience. It is not quite as black in one coat as the Milani liquid lipstick, which we will see in a moment, but it can precisely and smoothly be layered to reach that full midnight black pigmentation. What it lacks in instant pigmentation, it easily makes up for in comfort and longevity; this formula is designed to be flexible and comfortable on the lips. There was no cracking around the corners of my mouth, and this completely transfer-proof lipstick did not smudge or smear after dry-down (take notes, Rimmel). It lasted the full 4 hours without the need of a touch-up, despite eating and drinking. It is also available all year round to fulfill your goth girl fantasies.
- NYX Suede Matte in Alien
The best black bullet lipstick I could find is NYX’s Suede Matte lipstick in Alien. Unfortunately, a bullet lipstick can only get you so far in terms of opacity and longevity, but this beauty managed to score a solid 7 out of 10 even with these drawbacks. It lasted the longest out of all the bullet lipsticks, making it for about 2 and a half hours of talking and drinking before I had to touch up. It faded the prettiest out of all the lipsticks on this list and touched up like a dream. It is also the only lipstick on this list to have a red undertone- all of the others had a blue or straight black undertone. It applied fully pigmented straight out of the tube, allowing me to get a good clean edge, and it layered well to get an even richer color. It also comes in a liquid lipstick formula called the NYX Liquid Suede Matte with the same shade name. It is equally as comfortable and even longer-lasting as the bullet formula. The only drawback to both lipsticks is that they’re not as black as I would like, even at full opacity; they’re almost like a really dark grey. Still, you can’t go wrong with either formula if you want a slightly softer black.
- Milani’s Matte Satin Amore Matte in Leather
Coming in at a close second, with a score of 8 out of 10, is Milani’s Matte Satin Amore Matte lipstick in Leather. This lipstick is easily the most pigmented black on the drugstore market right now, and the most matte out of anything I’ve tried. It truly looked like I’d taken black acrylic paint to my lips. With a smooth, creamy application, and a sweet vanilla scent that fades as it dries, the application process was a dream. Unfortunately, this is the least comfortable lipstick I tried, excluding the Rimmel formula. As with most extremely matte lipsticks, it felt dry and crackly on my lips, and it tended to crumble off the corners of my mouth. Aside from that, this lipstick is one of the only ones that are completely transfer-proof; it does not smear or smudge in the slightest, despite eating or drinking. Touchups were doable, though not easy since matte liquid lipsticks are notoriously difficult to layer once they’ve dried. It is also a limited edition product, made specifically for Halloween 2020. If you’re doing a photoshoot for your Instagram, this is the lipstick for you, as the total matte finish looks excellent in pictures.
- LA Girl Matte Flat Velvet in Raven
A solid contender is LA Girl’s Matte Flat Velvet lipstick in Raven. There’s very little that stands out about this product; it does what it says it will do, which is color your mouth black. The pigmentation is buildable, reaching full opacity in two coats, and has a semi-matte finish. It wore out normally, fading quickly and in a straight line at the center of my lips, and was easy enough to touch up. There was no glitter, no dry down, but it did have a harsh, sweet chemical scent that faded after application. Overall, this is a decent basic black that won’t break the bank- but you can do better.
- Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Midnight Mystery
Next up on the list with a score of 5 out of 10, is Revlon’s Super Lustrous lipstick in Midnight Mystery. This shiny black has flecks of blue glitter in it, as the formula is advertised as a pearl finish- unlike every other lipstick I’ve tried. There is thankfully no scent to the product, and while the initial application is sheer, it can be built up to a smooth semi-opaque finish. It’s a very low fuss black, despite how easily it transfers. It faded prettily from the center of my lips, and touchups were easy. I’d recommend this product to those who are shy about wearing black for the first time: if there was ever a subtle black, this would be it.
- Maybelline Color Sensational The Mattes in Pitch Black
Maybelline’s Color Sensational The Mattes lipstick in Pitch Black is only slightly better than rock bottom, with a score of 3 out of 10. The fragrance was easily the worst part of this lipstick; the heavy, chemical rose scent did not fade through wear and ended up giving me a headache. That’s not the only reason it scored so low, though. It was patchy upon initial application and could not be smoothed out, lacked a fully black pigment, and faded unevenly throughout the wear time. It was also very shiny and slick on the lips, transferring easily and only lasting for about an hour and a half before I needed to touch it up again. It kind of felt like children’s play makeup with how greasy and patchy the quality was. Save your money!
- Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Lipstick in Pitch Black
Finally, at dead last, with a score of 1 out of 10, is Rimmel’s Stay Matte Liquid Lipstick in Pitch Black. When I tell you that this was the absolute worst lipstick I have ever tried, black or otherwise, you can be assured that it is no hyperbole. Not only is this the most expensive option I tested, but the thickest and patchiest formula that I have ever had the misfortune to put on my lips. Not only did it never reach full opacity even after 3, three! coats, but the strong chemical scent never faded, and the wear time was horrendous, fading to the point of reapplication within an hour. A typical benefit to a liquid lipstick is that it dries down to a matte, transfer-proof finish. Well, apparently, Rimmel missed that memo and created a mousse-like formula that came off on everything my mouth touched. To recap, it is an expensive, drying, patchy formula that can’t make it through my morning commute, much less my day.
And there you have it! My ranking of these drugstore black lipsticks was entirely contingent on what I could find in my local stores. So, please leave a comment below to let me know if there’s one that didn’t make it into the list (but totally should’ve.) Have a happy Halloween, folks, and stay safe!