Pink is plenty nice, but let's turn things up a notch, shall we? Maybe the weather's nice enough to consider the possibility of a tan, but that doesn't mean we eschew all lipstick colors that aren't candy colored. Something deep, moody, and sexy can certainly work—even welcomed! Because if your spirit isn't dark when the humidity is hovering around 90 percent, when is it?
But before we get deep, a note on application: When playing with this level of pigmentation, proper lip care is necessary. ITG's experts recommend a three-step routine. First, exfoliate with whatever scrub you have on hand (Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, we love you!). Next, slather on some lip balm. You can pick your favorite one, but we've rounded up 12 or so over here for you to peruse too. Done? Great. The third step, and arguably the most important, is application. Not everything has to be uber-matte and opaque.Go as bold or as sheer as you want—it's your party.
Now all you have to do is select a shade. We made it easy for you and gathered a few of our favorites in order of transparency—from glazed to impenetrable—and they're easier to pull off than you'd think. Those looking for something a little darker than true-lip might peruse the plums, mulberries, and red violets of the lipstick garden. In the same vein, a more dramatic look will skew black. A good rule of thumb is to mind your skin tone—the paler the face, the closer to goth. Not always a bad thing! But something to think about.
YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in Pourpre Intouchable: An amuse-bouche of dark lipstick. Hydrating, sheer, with just a hint of mystery—or something. Not buildable whatsoever.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Plum: Also more of suggestion rather than a full-on lip color. Nice for mirrorless application.
Topshop Lip Polish in Gallery: Surprisingly fruity! Don't be deceived, this one looks almost black on the stick but like mashed-up blackberries on your lips.
Surratt Beauty Lip Lustre in Trés Chic: Very purple and very sticky. Not for gloss beginners, that's for sure but good for a look that won't touch food, cocktail, or other lips.
3 Concept Eyes Lip Color in #605 Fatal: Poppy, fun, and good to build on for a few coats. This one will leave a stain on your lips after removal though—can be a pro or a con depending on who you are.
Lipstick Queen Cupid's Bow in Apollo: Excellent for an ombré situation with only one stick. Line the lips with the tip, color in lightly, and build where you will. Colors range from a more classic, albeit pinkier, red to a vampier maroon.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Kiss Pop Lip Color Stick in Smack 616: First off, it's a winner in the packaging realm—as is all Marc Jacobs Beauty. It also has purple undertones and applies more like a crayon than a true lipstick for a stained effect.
Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss Lip Lacquer in 406 Burgundy: The fun story here is that ITG received this one in a set of about one thousand, all sent in one box. This is not a gloss that leaves any room for your natural lip color to shine through. Where the YSL and Fresh Sugar tubes are you with a little edge, MUFE is all edge for an all-new you. Highly recommended.
Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Erik: Wonderfully rich color. So wonderful in fact, it would look very nice mixed up with some cold cream and used as a makeshift blush, eye color, and lip stain all at once for a monochrome, but impactful, face-finger-paint.
Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Amethyst 330: Dark color or not, the D&G lipstick is a go-to if you're one of those people who goes in for creamy texture that's so luxe you'll want to apply forever and ever.
Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Truffle: Probably the most precise of the bunch, mostly due to its super-sharp tip. The color is true-to-tube, so it's dark and wine-y and good if you're looking for something with an uncompromisingly sharp edge.
Temptu Color True Lipstick in Jet Rouge: If you clicked on this post hoping for 12 dark-as-the-night shades, please direct your attention here and don't waste your time elsewhere. This is for the girl who likes her cyper-punk lipstick to match her perfectly airbrushed foundation. Just don't mess it up when applying, or you'll have a real situation on your hands.