Red lips have the reputation of being the most iconic of all time, and as an unfortunate result, the best dark lipstick moments in pop culture have gotten the short end of the stick. Dark lipstick is just as timeless and versatile as a classic red, but given the bold, vampy, dramatic effect it gives off, you do need a bit of edge to back up the look. Not just anyone can slap on an inky lip and go.
With that said, the payoff is so worth it, and for those that have mastered it, it’s pretty much an instant game changer for a look that just needs a little something. Dark lipstick is way underrated, but these 10 iconic showstoppers send the message loud and clear.
MORE: 10 Ways to Ride the Brown Lipstick Wave
Angelina Jolie in Hackers (1995)
Angelina has come a very long way since her role as a teenage computer hacker, but we'll never forget the iconic '90s film—or, more importantly, the deep purple color she wore on those equally iconic pillowy lips. So '90s, so good.
Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)
As freaked out as we were by the ending of the movie, it wasn't nearly enough to distract us from this feat of makeup mastery. We've been looking for the perfect dark reddish-brown shade ever since.
Missy Elliott's "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" Video Look
And all of the rest of her black lipstick looks (this one's from 2013). Nobody wears it quite like Missy Elliott.
Cindy Ord/BET/Getty Images Entertainment
Pam Grier in Foxy Brown (1974)
Talk about female empowerment: Foxy Brown was one bad bitch, and she had the perfect rich mahogany lipstick to go along with her attitude. OK, so we might have been the only ones actually focusing on her lip color … but still.
Fairuza Balk in The Craft (1996)
Nancy Downs's lipstick application wasn't all that good, but neither was The Craft, and we love it anyway. Using a darker lip liner to outline is a look that puts you on the fast track to freakshow—which isn't always a bad thing.
Lorde at the 2014 American Music Awards
In a move most mainstream singers wouldn't dare pull, Lorde swiped her dark purple lipstick across her cheek during her performance. We wonder how her makeup artist felt about that one.
Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Dr. Frank N. Furter's dark lipstick game was almost as on point as his pelvic thrusts.
20th Century Fox
Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Because if Mia Wallace's affection for Chanel Vamp nail polish and lips to match isn't iconic, then what is?
Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel (1930)
Dietrich is iconic in so many ways, but the dark lip she wore as Lola Lola was dramatic even in black-and-white.
Archives du 7e Art/UFA
We wouldn't exactly call him beauty inspiration, but you've got to give it to the man for spending the majority of the past two decades decked out in a bold, dark lip. Slow clap.