Today’s question is from Carly, who asks “I love the look of ombre lipstick, but I think I’m too old for it (I’m 32). Can I get away with it? And if I can, how do you do ombre lips?”
First of all: there’s no such thing as “too old” for anything in beauty. Rules about age are made up by people who don’t want you to have any fun—if you want to wear something, try it! As long as your execution is good and you pick the right colors, you can get away with literally anything you want.
Now, on to how to do ombre lips: the truth is that there are as many ways to deploy a gradient lip as there are stars in the sky—but we’re showing you three of the most beautifully wearable versions. We hope you have a lot of holiday parties to go to this year, because these lip looks are going to be your new go-tos—trust us.
1. The dark outline.
What makes it special: This is what most people think of when they imagine an ombre lip—darker around the outside and corners, fading inwards to a lighter, complimentary shade. It’s a gorgeous way to give depth and dimension to lips; it can even make them look fuller.
How to do it: Begin with the lighter shade and apply it all over your lips. We love to use a matte lipstick (rather than a stain or a liquid lipstick) for the perfect canvas it gives us. Then take a lipliner in a darker, complimentary shade and trace the perimeter of your lips. Using a flat brush, blend the liner into the lighter color by brushing it towards the center of your lips, but not pushing it all the way in to the center. You want to soften the line, not muddy the two colors completely.
Shades we love: Try a vibrant true red lipstick with a deep burgundy outline for Holiday party realness like Ellarie did in the picture above.
2. The K-gradient.
What makes it special: This trend began—as so many beauty trends seem to—in South Korea, and it’s really making its mark here just in time for the holidays. This ombre is all about looking like you’ve just finished a glass of red wine, staining your lips oh-so-beautifully right in the center.
How to do it: Apply a clear or lightly tinted peach gloss all over your lips, then take a brighter lipstick shade and pat it just at the center of your upper and lower lips where they are the fullest. Press your lips together to blend, and voila! A beautiful, effortless (and shiny) gradient.
For extra credit: In Korea, it’s common for women to minimize their natural lip size by painting concealer around the outside and blending it in towards the brighter lip stain—this creates a more extreme look, so attempt with caution.
Shades we love: Try a raspberry pink gloss with cool-toned red tapped in the center for a festive look, or a warm orange for a more Autumnal vibe.
3. The Twiggy.
What makes it special: This look has a high degree of difficulty, but it’s so worth trying. The upper and lower lips are two different, complimentary colors, blending together oh-so-slightly where they meet in the middle.
How to do it: Apply the color of your choice to your top lip, then your second color to your bottom lip. At the center of your mouth along your lower lip, use a flat brush and apply a thin line of the top lip’s color, blending down slightly to create a subtle gradient where the two shades meet. How far you blend this down will depend on the size of your lips; you want to keep the delineation between the shades dramatic but not harsh.
Shades we love: A deep red on top and a lighter red on the bottom make for the most wearable color combination, but our hearts also belong to very deep purples and scarlets. Hey, we watched The Craft a lot as teenagers, okay? That movie is very inspirational when it comes to our fall lip color choices.
And there you have it—three amazingly beautiful ways to do an ombre lip! Which one will you rock at your holiday parties this year?
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