Dark Vampy Lips – Fall/Winter 2012

October 9, 2012

I’ve always been one to wear neutrals, pinks or peaches on the lips. The darkest I tend to go is Clinique Black Honey, MAC “O, or MAC Desire Lipglass. I’m slowly but surely venturing into darker more dramatic colors for makeup. There have been a number of others who have inspired me to try new things πŸ™‚ With a bit of nudging/encouragement from friends and after seeing some lovely swatches on other blogs – these are my new discoveries: perfect vampy lipsticks that are great for fall. I tried to get good lip swatches – unfortunately I failed miserably to get good lip photos. Most of these turned too red with a flash or purple without a flash. I will do my best to supplement with descriptions.
Burberry Lip Mist in Blueberry ($30, found at select Nordstrom and Saks counters) is a sheer glossy red-plum-brown. Out of all the darker colors in the feature this one is the easiest to wear for those scared of dark lips. As others have noted – it’s not really a true blueberry color on the lips. This one is the most forgiving when it comes to fading though. The glossy texture makes it look more natural on the lips and the fading is more subtle than with something that is sharply contrasted to the natural lip tone. I loved it at Cafe Makeup and The Non-Blonde.

Tom Ford Black Orchid ($48, found at select Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Nordstrom counters) is pure luxury in a tube. This one is quite dramatic, but it has enough warmth and red/plum in it to not be too dark. I really love Tom Ford’s lipsticks (just not the price). This is a gorgeous dark burgandy wine plum. There is shimmer in the tube but it doesn’t really show up on the lips. I recommend a darker lipliner like Trish McEvoy Iced Nude or Chanel nude to help with the application. Since this one is so dramatic, it does require precise application – blending with a brush over a lipliner will help even out any areas that aren’t 100% accurate. I loved this on Lisa Eldridge (she has a brilliant video) and Buy Now, Blog Later. Also see it on KarlaSugar.

Chanel La Provocante ($32.50, I found mine at Nordstrom Seattle) was part of the twin sets for 2012’s Fashion’s Night Out and sold out almost immediately online. It’s a deep dark purple-red color. On my lips the texture was a bit blotchy and uneven, it took a few swipes back and forth to get even coverage. To me this was the least forgiving in terms of application/fading. It required precise application and it looked  Check with your local Chanel boutiques or studios to see if they still have this one. This one I still haven’t quite mastered yet. It’s the perfect dark vamp – a bit too dark for my taste, I would probably have to lighten it with a touch of gloss to warm it up. See it on Front Row Beauty, Christy-Tb and Indigo Kir Royale.

Dolce & Gabbana Dahlia ($30, at select Saks counters) is a classic cream formula and more pinkish/mauve out of all these. It’s borderline non-vamp because it’s not quite dark enough to be a true vamp, but still dark for me. I couldn’t find many reviews/photos of this one. I did like the feature on The Non-Blonde and comparisons on 3 19 29.

Le MΓ©tier de BeautΓ© in Castelo ($32, available at Neiman Marcus) is a beautiful wine shimmer with brownish tones. It’s my perfect vamp without being too dark/goth. I fell in love with this after seeing it on Messy Wands (her post says it all). It’s also swatched on KarlaSugar.

I do apologize again for not having more useful lip swatches. Here are the ones I’ve done on the arm which I hope will compare the intensity of each shade.

To date I’ve worn Burberry Blueberry and Le Metier Castelo to work – the others not yet. I’ve matched these with a neutral eye and soft contoured cheek (Burberry Earthy, Dolce & Gabbana Tan or a soft bronzer like Edward Bess Daydream).

What’s your favorite vampy lipstick? Do you prefer the softer ones like I do or do you like to wear the dark/dramatic shades?

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  • I'm all for bold lip colour. For vampy lips, I LOVE MAC Rebel. I also have MAB Dubbonet which is a dark red with some brown undertones but I have yet to wear it out (it was early before). I love plummy lipcolours because they are so flattering on me.

  • K

    Wow, love this post ! I am also venturing into the world of dark vampy shades aswell !
    Thanks for the post !

  • Oh, Tom Ford, you will be mine. Someday <3 Cheapy Vampy lips: Wet n Wild Cherrybomb! I'm like you, I stick to neutrals & peaches, so I don't splurge on too much on darker lip shades xx

  • I love the look of a vampy, bold, dark lip on others, but I haven't gotten used to wearing one yet. Black Orchid and La Provocante are my favourites of these picks here.

  • I've been in love with the Burberry Lip Mists since trying Field Rose some months ago. I also got a sample pack with samples of Blueberry, Rosy Red, Feather Pink, and Copper. I fell in love with ALL of them (surprising for me because I am usually a lipstick-phobe). But, as you said, the sheer color and glossy finish make it more forgivable. I've been meaning to pick up Blueberry for a while now but i think it's about time now that Fall is officially here!

  • Sara

    Usually I don't wear wampy colours , but this fall I suddenly couldn't resist , and now I'm wearing mac plumful to school , and mac dark side for a night out .
    It's a beautiful trend , but its difficult to get into the bold lips , IMO .

  • Great post, Sabrina. I have my eye on butter LONDON's La Moss Lippy, that looks like a perfect 'vampy' shade to me.

  • Chanel Provocation looks gorgeous! such a shame they're not selling it in Europe πŸ™ Dark vampy lips FTW πŸ™‚ xx

  • Anonymous

    Hi I really love and use your site. I really want to buy some dolce & gabbana makeup but I can only buy it on the Internet. Have you seen the dolce & gabbana illuminator in Eva in reality? Would it be a good highlighter for a nc20 skintone? I saw your review of the shimmer colour and it looked very beautiful.

    Thank you and hope you can help. Best from here.

  • I love love LOVE la somtueuse (RAV by Chanel) for a dark vampy red shade to wear to work. It's muted, yet grown up and sophisticated. You really need to check it out. That burberry shade up there looks divine, I am going to hunt for it shortly!

  • Oh god they all so delicious! now lusting after TF Black Orchid!

  • Franca

    I love vampy shades, whether on lips and/or on nails.
    But I'm not very brave (ahem, let's be honest: I don't have the flawless skin that goes so well with deep-hued lipsticks!!!), so I usually use the softer options…or I cheat a bit and use the "stain" technique Lisa Eldgridge explained in her tutorial!
    In any case, I am enjoying like crazy the shade 124 "Samsara" from the rouge automatique line (Guerlain). And the color enhances the packaging: it's a real treat!
    Another favorite is the discontinued "smoke red" from tom ford: it is quite deep and dark, but not really plummy, so I don't know if it qualifies as "vampy"!
    I am testing right now 9to5chic's signature "bitten fig" lipstick, from estee lauder (I love it on her!). To my surprise (I usually neglect EL's offerings) it is such a gorgeous and wearable plummy color even for my very different coloring, with the perfect balance of deepness and brightness. Have you tried it? I bet it would look striking on you…and it is soft enough for those of us not really versed in the "bold-lip look" (especially when dabbed)!

  • tagatha

    Just a quick question: are any of these lipsticks scented? I'm asking because I'm sensitive to scents and have ended up donating lipsticks away for that reason.

    • Hi Tagatha – sorry for the delay in responding. I feel the Tom Ford has the strongest scent (like sweet vanilla cake but not overly sweet). THhe others I didn't notice so much. Definitely not as strong as Chanel Rouge Cocos. Hope this helps!

    • tagatha

      Thank you so much! Now I know to strike Tom Ford off my list as vanilla is one of the scents that gives me instant headache.

  • love those colours *_* β™₯

  • Paige

    I am also usually comfortable wearing pinks, nudes, and peach lipsticks/glosses. This year however, I have been sporting more bolders lips: orange/coral this past summer and now vamp shades in the fall. I stick with sheerer formulas because I find the opaque or dramatic ones too overwhelming on my face. I only have 3 so far in my collection and I love all of them: MAC Spice It Up! (lustre formula), Chanel Spark glossimer, and NARS NARS Vendanges.

    Are you planning to get Chanel L’Impatiente from the holiday collection? It looks sophisticated and different enough from my current collection that I may add it to my collection. I'm just standing by waiting until the collection hits my local Macy's.

    • Hi Paige – MAC Spice it up is an awesome color πŸ™‚

      I saw L'Impatiente at Neimans and they didn't have testers so I didn't buy. I wanted to try it first since I'm not the biggest fan of the velvet formula to begin with. If I do – I'll update with a review πŸ™‚

  • I love the way vampy lips look on others and am glad they are back in fashion! πŸ™‚ Black Orchid looks especially pretty in your swatches. πŸ™‚

  • I wear Burberry Blueberry today, inspired by your post! Black Orchid looks good on your swatch, but I know I won't be able to wear it. In general, vampy lipsticks look aging on me, but I have been on some of the deeper colors of Burberry lip velvets. Nice job as always!


  • I wear Burberry Blueberry today, inspired by your post. Black Orchid looks good on your swatch, but I know I won't be able to wear it/have anywhere I can wear it to. In general, vampy lipsticks look aging on me. I've been into the deeper colors of Burberry lip velvets (Rose Pink and Pink Azalea).

  • I adore all things Burberry, so I think I need to pick up Blueberry now. I like bolder lips but I'm still a little self-conscious of wearing them at times, so lighter vampy shades work better for me. I may also have to get the LMDB Castelo; it's just gorgeous.

  • Luck

    I'm loving this post! I have also recently been on the hunt for the perfect vampy-but-not-too-too lipstick. Ever since my son has started kindergarten and my time is slashed in the morning, I've been doing liner/mascara on eyes, then adding my deeper lipstick in the car later. I've been hunting for things that lean more deep red, with just a touch of plum, which can look too purple on me.
    In the last couple of weeks, I've ordered le Metier Castelo lipstick and Bali gloss- probably my favorite 2 thus far, great separately and STUNNING layered. I like that these do the deep glimmering red rather than plum thing I wanted. Bali is nice to slick on in the morning when full-on vampy red lips might seem a bit much while waiting at the bus stop at 8 am with the kids and SAHMs!!
    I also ordered Burberry Blueberry- I love the Lip Mists and this is no exception!
    And most recently, I got Tarte Moody- great color to start, but goes pink on me like all these pencils do. I wanted sheer, but this is just too sheer!
    Revlon's Red Velvet lip butter is a nice deep verging on wine, verging on vampy deep red, too. I also ordered D&G in Ruby, which is gorgeous, but I wish it were deeper and vampy-er!!
    I also have le Metier's In The Know Bordeaux on the way to me, too. πŸ™‚
    I have some of the Burberry Lip Velvets on my list! Do you have any of those?

  • they look all amazing but i am in love with the chanel la provocante. πŸ™‚
    i am like you. the darkest i can go would be the clinique black honey or some sheer berry stain.

  • I NEED that Tom Ford lipstick and I might have my eye on that Burberry lipstick too! Great post – thanks! xx


  • Sabrina, do you know if the Black Orchid Lipstick in the new mahogany tube is the same shade/color as the previous white tube? Seems like I read somewhere the shade changed some with the new mahogany tube. Want to purchase the shade, but don't know which tube to get(white or mahogany). Thought I would ask since you're such an expert!! Great post as usual.

    • Hi Tatiana – I've heard similar reports. I never tried the original one so I can't say for sure, but based on reviews I've seen (the ones with the white packaging), it appears the older one was more brownish, and the newer one looks more plum. I can't really tell for sure without seeing them side-by-side.

      My preference is the newer dark mahogany packaging and the fact that it's slightly more blue-based.

      HTH some!

  • Thank you for your response/opinion Sabrina. You are always so helpful. I agree with you, I prefer the BO shade of the mahogany tube. Your site is my favorite. Thank you again.