Often times figuring out what to wear can be a difficult decision we face when we have a special event or an important celebration to attend. While the little black dress has remained an icon throughout the history of fashion, we’ve seen more makeup trends come and go, and return again through the years, giving us pause to stop and ask ourselves, “When it comes to dressing up, what makeup looks should we really be wearing?” Whether you simply want to wear lip gloss and mascara or pull out all your favorite bright lipstick shades, we’ve rounded up several of our favorite makeup looks that you can wear with a black dress anywhere, anytime—keep scrolling for all the inspiration you need for your next event.
Emphasizing eyes and lips while wearing a black dress brings balance and versatility to your makeup look, due to the fact you can choose any color palette you want. The options truly are endless. The soft mauve eyeshadow colors on the eyes and lips here are an excellent example of how wearing color can elevate any look instantly.
A classic makeup look that has stood the test of time, a liquid liner and red lipstick combo brings an element of sophistication to any given day. If you’re someone who wants to keep it simple but also appreciates glam, this look is always a great choice to wear with a black dress. Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Precision Liquid Eyeliner can help create thin and thick lines depending on the angle you hold the brush.
Yes to Pink
Wearing pink and nude tones on eyes, cheeks, and lips can elevate your makeup look ever-so-slightly while still remaining natural. Incorporating consistent, similar tones in your makeup is an easy way to keep things cohesive if you’re someone who tends to shy away from wearing bolder colors. Lumene Invisible Watercolor Blush has buildable color you can add to your cheeks for a flushed look.
Bold and Bright
Bold and bright lips paired with minimal eye makeup show that the smallest bit of color is a powerful tool that takes your look to the next level while wearing a black dress. These red lips seriously set the tone for all the right kinds of drama.
Create an abstract feel with your winged eyeliner by pairing it with nude lipstick when wearing a black dress, especially if you’re someone who likes to keep the drama only on the eyes. Be sure to trace out your wing on each eye before filling it in to ensure the shapes match.
Metallic eyes and matte lips show how textures and finishes in makeup can pop more than ever when worn with a black dress. The glistening silver shadow and peachy lipstick shown here are a modern classic, and we’re truly loving it.
Glossy, Shiny, Happy
Glossy, shiny lips and precise eyeliner are a quick and easy way to put a makeup look together to wear with a black dress—and cost-efficient, too, as they are usually items you already have in your makeup bag. This gloss from Mented Cosmetics is the perfect natural shade to wear. Simple touches like these are easy for anyone to re-create themselves and can also pair really well with any outfit.
The Earth Tones Have It
Earth-toned shadows, like this palette from Beauty Bakerie, and coordinating lipstick are the perfect go-to colors for makeup looks to pair with a black dress. They work with pretty much any outfit as well, making them quite a versatile option. The beautiful tones here show just how minimal makeup can make a major impact.
Smoldering Eyes, Bold Brows
Bold brows, smoldering eyes, and bright lips—this classic makeup look is a total win to pair with a black dress, and the reasons why are endless. Make the eyes as dressy as you like—the more dramatic, the better.
Rose Gold Sheen
Rose gold eyelids give life to this makeup look and accentuate a black dress in all the best ways. The more metallic, the better, so don’t be afraid to pack on the shimmer when testing out your eyeshadow looks.
Hot Orange Lips
Bright orange lipstick brings the heat when paired with a black dress, and is a chic alternative to true red or berry colors. Seeing as it’s suitable for all year round, test a few orange-red shades to see which one is your favorite. Use a similar lip liner to help shape lips and keep lipstick from smudging.
Light Shadow Hues
Applying sheer, light shadow colors to top and bottom eyelids can change things up in an instant and work as a great alternative to smoky eye looks when you’re pressed for time or want to keep your look a bit more natural.
Icy gray and silver shadows can create effects that are just as smoldering as smoky looks. Chantecaille’s Le Chrome Luxe Eye Duo in “Himalaya” is a great place to start when wanting to wear these tones. To create a more dramatic look, apply the shadow to the top and bottom eyes by blending it outward underneath for a smoky effect, and clean up any fallout with a Q-tip.
A structured eyeliner paired with natural, rose-colored lipstick is an easy look to try with a black dress. When creating this look yourself, be sure to use a long-lasting eyeliner that will stay in place without smudging to ensure you keep the shape intact.
Shiny and Smudged
Smudged eyeliner on the top and bottom waterline can elevate neutral eye makeup in an instant and doesn’t involve complicated steps. When recreating this look, line the rims of your eyes with a long-lasting, waterproof eyeliner before adding your eyeshadow of choice. Finish with a few coats of your favorite volumizing mascara.
Green eyeshadow? Yes, please. This color is an excellent choice to wear with black dresses and comes in varying shades, as well. Try this eyeshadow in “Green Depth” from Kjaer Weis, or whatever speaks to you—whether you want a pastel or metallic finish, green really switches things up from everyday neutrals.
Peach is the New Pink
Peach very well could be the new pink, and this versatile hue looks stunning when paired with a black dress. From soft, pastel eyeshadow shades to a glossy lip, peach is a great place to start when bringing earth tones and natural colors into your makeup look, as it complements most complexions.
A Beautiful Contrast
Shimmering white shadow creates a striking contrast when paired with smoky eyeliner and lots of mascara. You can choose to wear this color alone, or add definition in the crease by contouring with a deeper shade (as pictured here) to bring out your features.
Gleaming gold tones aren’t only for golden hour, as the warm hues bring a delicate glow to the skin that works well with a black dress or any going-out outfit. If highlighter is all you have, try applying the product to your eyes and cheeks for a multi-use experience that also saves time. Ilia Beauty’s Daylite Highlighting Powder in “Starstruck” adds a sun-kissed shimmer to both eyes and face.
The drama this makeup look is giving us is everything we want and more. Deep lips with glittering, smoky eyeshadow set the tone for turning heads all day (and night), and this lipstick from Uoma Beauty is a beautiful crimson hue. Not sure where to place the glitter? Start at the center of the eyelid first to get a handle on how the particular product looks and blends, then keep building onto it until you’re satisfied.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with bold and colorful makeup when wearing a black dress, if you’re used to wearing softer tones and not much else. This bright blue eyeshadow, placed strategically in the center of the top and bottom lids, helps to define and bring a lovely contrast.
Soft petal pink applied as a monochromatic tone throughout this makeup idea gives a natural, fresh feel to the skin all while defining features. This is an easy way to put together a makeup look for wearing a black dress, as it enables you to create a beautiful color story.
Create contrast in the eyes by extending the shape of your wing out and shade different areas to enhance. The pop of color on the lips and cheeks creates a radiant glow that works well with the dramatic eye makeup.
Ethereal, soft makeup gives a delicate finish and overall glow to the skin while pairing well with black clothing. This look proves that nude and natural tones can look elevated and beautiful no matter the occasion.
Playful and Defining
Liquid liner, defined brows, and an accentuated crease help to bring definition to the eyes and add some drama to an otherwise natural makeup look. When blending eyeshadow in the crease, using a blending brush with a pointed tip can help blend color seamlessly without a ton of shadow fallout.
The Brows Have It
Bold brows add structure to a soft, natural makeup look. When wearing neutral colors, enhancing eyebrows, eyelashes, and cheekbones are all ways of defining features without wearing a lot of product.
Sharp eyeliner paired with nude lips and brushed-up brows looks divine with a black dress. After drawing your wing with liquid or gel eyeliner, blend it under the bottom lashes to create drama without the need for extra blending.
Winged eyeliner comes in many styles, and this subtle, defined liner makes the classic makeup style look eloquent as ever. Wear it with neutral eyeshadow and glossy lips for an effortless look that’s impossible to ignore.
A festive, detailed flick takes eye makeup a step further than everyday trends and looks amazing when worn with a black dress. Shaped brows and a shiny, glossy lip don’t take away from the work of art on the eyes.
The Under Eyeliner
Add some drama to your makeup look by lining your bottom lash line. This technique allows for more prominent definition, especially in the outer and inner corners. Finish with a few coats of your favorite mascara and a soft contour on the cheeks, topped off with highlighter.
Glossy and Chic
Glossy pink eyelids and cheeks are giving ethereal vibes, and the colors pop even more when worn with a black dress. Multi-use products that work on the eyes, cheeks, and lips are helpful when creating monochromatic makeup looks. Jillian Dempsey’s Lid Tint in Dew can be added to makeup to instantly make it glossy.
Shades of Purple
Varying shades of purple eyeshadow are always a good idea to wear with a black dress, and the violet and lavender shades here work well together to create a look that pops. Experimenting with purple tones until you find the best ones for your skin tone can be eye-opening, as this hue has major potential across the board.
A touch of highlighter with a pop of eye color is a gorgeous way to wear makeup paired with a black dress, and the shimmery inner corners here are exquisite.
To create soft drama, try mixing a subtle smoky eye with lips in a pale rose shade. Go light on the liner with this one, and finish with a touch of mascara for a simple look that will stun alongside your black dress.
Bold and Blue
Bold blue and aqua tones paired with an all-black ensemble show how color can make a huge impact against a neutral background. Blending one pop of color around the entire eye is a fun alternative to smoky shadow.
The sharper the edges on winged eyeliner, the better. This eyeliner exemplifies how a dramatic shape can change an entire makeup look. Paired with your favorite black dress, the whole look is unstoppable.
Have some fun with your makeup by looking to past decades for inspiration. This 60’s-inspired look combines liquid and pencil eyeliner with white shadow and several coats of mascara to create spidery Twiggy lashes.
Soft amethyst eyeshadow paired with a matte peach lip will create a pastel fairytale of a makeup look that works amazingly with a black dress, making all the shades really pop. Wearing eyeshadow with a metallic finish is another option for making the purple tone stand out.
Smoky Chocolate Shadows
Chocolate brown eyeshadow gives way to stunning smoky eye makeup when paired with subtle, smudged eyeliner. The neutral, glossy lips, soft contouring, and highlight all work together to create a makeup look that looks gorgeous with a black dress.
All About Rust
Warm, rich rust hues pair well with black clothing, and can be worn on the lid for a touch of color or blended around the eyes for a smokier effect. Whether you opt for sheer lips and soft blush or want to wear a bright lip color, rust is a delightful color to wear on the lids.