Portland Black Lipstick Company Lipstick Swatches and Review Part One

I think I was talking about unconventional lipstick brands with fellow blogger Arabelle when she mentioned the brand Portland Black Lipstick Company. I had never heard about them before so I did lots of googling and came across this impressive swatch post by Good Morning Angel. I contacted them about trying a few of their lipsticks out and was sent a whole bunch of samples so I'm splitting this up into two posts so as to not overwhelm you with swatches!

I'm trying out a better way of writing my reviews by adding in a pros/cons section so do tell me if you find it useful or not and I changed the way I have my lip swatches by showing my bare lips for each color. Do tell me if you like either change!

Be sure to check out Part Two with the other half of the lipstick swatches when you're done!

(Preview of the cool awesome colors!)

Portland Black Lipstick Company Swatches Collage

These lipsticks are packaged in round lip balm tubes and shrink wrapped. Personally I don't care for shrink wrap but I appreciate the touch. I think the branding for the lipsticks is well done, and it certainly adds a professional touch.


Ingredients: Sunflower Oil, Castor Oil, Beeswax, Candelilla Wax, Coconut Oil, Lanolin, Cocoa Butter, Vitamin E, May Contain Iron Oxides, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, other FDA approved mineral pigments, and/or carmine

The lipsticks aren't vegan since they contain beeswax, lanolin, and carmine for some colors but I did notice that they are working on a vegan lipstick base. I would like more specific ingredient lists for each color, showing which have and don't have carmine.

Swatches ahead! These were taken in natural daylight with no flash. With the exception of Black(which I applied from the tube), I applied the lipsticks using my finger.The colors are opaque enough that a thin layer gives great coverage.

The lipsticks are fairly soft so applying from the tube means you get a heavier and thicker layer of lipstick, running the risk of getting lipstick on your teeth and it can be difficult to get a precise edge. The formula is soft enough that you can apply with your fingers or a flat lip brush but if you apply from the tube, I would recommend blotting or doing the "Finger Pop" to get the excess off. Wear time on these lipsticks were great. I wore them for about 4 hours (not eating and drinking) before I removed it and nearly all the color was still on so you can easily get hours more of wear time.

I want to apologize for some of the dust on the bags, it's not in the bag but just on the exterior.

Portland Black Lipstick Company Artificial Amethyst

Portland Black Lipstick Company Artificial Amethyst Swatch

Artificial Amethyst: "We introduced this dark purple lipstick at this year's wonderfully fun Portland Hallowe'en. In true modernist fashion, we celebrate the fact that it is not made from real gemstones but from FDA approved mineral pigments". This is a black based purple and while not my favorite, I do love the royal purple sheen to it.

Portland Black Lipstick Company Bad Penny

Portland Black Lipstick Company Bad Penny Swatch

Bad Penny: "Strong copper color that combines metallic shine with good coverage". I love this color like no other. It's as if I dipped my lips into molten copper penny. The coverage on this is amazing and though I don't normally favor metallic lips, this is a must have. This was one of the softer lipsticks and a dream to apply.


Portland Black Lipstick Company Black Swatch

Black: "The best ever! A perfect blend of black iron oxide and mica in a moisturizing base, this color is opaque and long-lasting" This is an extremely opaque shiny black lipstick, similar to the finish of patent leather. Though many brands will claim one stroke opacity, this delivered it. If you're not one for a glossy looking finish, you can blot with a tissue and it'll take away the shine.

Portland Black Lipstick Company Blood Red

Portland Black Lipstick Company Blood Red Swatch

Blood Red: "Developed by accident, this color is disturbingly realistic". I wouldn't necessarily call this a pretty color, especially since one could conjure up a number of unpleasant associations but I'd say it's spot on and very opaque.

Portland Black Lipstick Company Bug's Blood

Portland Black Lipstick Company Bug's Blood Swatch

Bug's Blood: "A charmingly simple cold red stain made from carmine. Good for Neo-Victorians". This lipstick looks deceptively dark but when you put it on, it's a bright raspberry pink. I don't consider it a stain in the sense that it doesn't color your lips and is easily removed without leaving color behind. It's a very buildable lipstick and one of my favorites from the batch.

Portland Black Lipstick Company

Sorry, I couldn't take a color accurate lip swatch so this was the next closest thing!


Chlorosis: "Have you tried to get diagnosed with the Green Sickness lately? It's nearly impossible! Thankfully, we offer this green shade for lips (or face, as needed)". This was one of the shades (along with the next one, Difficult Island) did have unblended ingredients in the lipstick and I'm hoping that'll get fixed. This one could get opaque but it was slightly patchy on.

Portland Black Lipstick Company Difficult Island

Portland Black Lipstick Company Difficult Island Swatch

Difficult Island: "What does every oceanic adventure need? A difficult island! Difficult Island lipstick is a beautiful and vivid aquamarine blue. For those of you familiar with our lipstick palette, this color is a little greener than Cyanosis but much bluer than Chlorosis" I had to adjust the coloring in the picture to get it more true to real life. This also had an issue with unblended ingredients but it smoothed out on my lips.

  • They smell slightly minty and that helps to cover up some of the waxy lipstick smell
  • These have damn near opaque coverage.
  • Wear time is great, you can get 4+ hours of wear
  • Color selection is AMAZING. There are so many unconventional colors available
  • You get quite a bit for $9.00, 4.25 grams or .15 oz. To compare, MAC lipsticks have 3 grams or .10 oz
  • The lipsticks aren't drying, my lips always feel softer after I have them on
  • They don't feel heavy on your lips, the softness of the lipstick makes me think it feels more like a lip balm
  • The lip balm tubes can make application messy with some of the softer lipsticks. The soft texture does require the support of the tube so I don't think it can be packaged like a traditional lipstick bullet
  • It can get messy near the cap as you apply
  • Shelf life seems a little shorter compared to mainstream/commercial cosmetics (freshness guaranteed for at least eight months)
  • Website-wise: I would like to see more specific ingredient lists to see which have/don't have carmine, actual color swatches (versus approximations) on the product listings, turn around time listed, and the option of them being listed alphabetically or by color family so it'd be easier to find the lipsticks
  • There were unmixed chunks in Chlorosis and Difficult Island though it blended out fine on my lips
  • The metallic lipsticks can accentuate lip lines
I really do like these lipsticks, even though I'm not too fond of the packaging. It can be difficult to find unconventional colors so I'm glad to have come across a brand that caters to that market while still having conventional colors available.

Stay tuned for my Here's part two where I cover the other seven lipsticks I got! Are you intrigued by any of the lipsticks?

Disclaimer: I received these lipsticks and lipstick samples for free for review. I wasn't paid to review and none of the links are affiliate links!


  1. I love Bad Penny & Blood Red on you!

  2. Difficult Island and Black look awesome - I adore weird lipstick shades!

  3. I was immediately drawn to Bug's Blood. It would be my #1 pick!

  4. Artificial Amethyst and Black are amazing. And Blood Red? I love shades like that. They make me think of the 90s in terms of what colors were worn quite a lot... it's one of my favorite shades!!

  5. Thank you for this, Im going to their site now!

  6. Wow! I have never heard of this brand, but these lipsticks look amazing! What great opaque coverage! I'm going to have to go check them out :)

  7. I really like the purple and blue shades.

  8. Wow, these are gorgeous! I like your new blogging style for these lips swatches as well! The label for Bug's Blood in the first picture did get a little cut off, though. But I really like the Bad Penny. The Black is pretty gnarly, I'd have a hard time matching that with my clothes & still looking professional. XD Love this post! =]

  9. *dies* Holy balls, I want all of these. LOOK AT BLACK. Oh my days. Bad Penny is amazing as well. Le sigh. And I like seeing the bare lips next to each colour, it really helps give an idea of coverage and texture. Also you sure do got a purty mouth.

  10. :) thanks for linking me!
    Your swatches look awesome - really professional.

    Good Morning Angel.

  11. These look great so far I really really can't wait for the rest of the lipstick swatches!

  12. Oh my that black is to die for.

  13. I'd seen them before on Etsy and was curious about their lipsticks. Didn't know they had a shop with more items. Blood Red looks cool. I await part two. :)

  14. Wow, I really really need to get some of these! Bad Penny, Bugs Blood, Black and chlorosis are just amazing!

  15. Artificial Amethyst and Bug's Blood - yes!

  16. I actually like blood red and undead red very much

  17. Their Etsy store has pictures of women wearing them, including the owner herself :). Some shades have comparison swatches.


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