How to Custom Mix Your Lipsticks

Shannon Farrell
how to mix lipstick

Photo: IMaxTree

If you love lipstick as much as we do, you may have noticed some unusual colors making the rounds of your local beauty counters: shades of blue, green and bright yellow seem to be all the rage.

So what’s the deal? Are we actually supposed to be wearing bumblebee yellow lipgloss now? Well, yes and no: these wacky shades aren’t meant to be worn alone—they’re meant to be mixed with other lipsticks to create customized, totally perfect-for-you colors.

Consider these shades a lipstick paintbox. Think about it: no more throwing away lip colors that don’t quite suit you—just add some yellow, green or blue until it’s perfectly cumstomized. Dreaming about a specific shade? Make it yourself! This is the perfect way to expand your lipstick wardrobe—and we’re going to show you exactly how to mix your lipsticks.

The history.

Though it seems like blue lip gloss is recent arrival to Beauty Planet, mixing your lipstick has a long and storied history. “About fifteen to twenty years ago, Helena Rubinstein came out with these two ‘joker’ lipsticks, one in white and one in black,” says Henry Vasquez, Hot Makeup’s Director of Artistry and Artist Relations. “The white lipstick brightened any shade while the black darkened.”

Though the movie industry had used separate ‘base shades’ to customize lipstick shades since the days of black and white film, these were the first products that encouraged women at home to tint and tone their lip colors.

Blue, green and yellow lipstick, which are currently the most popular, uses the same idea but allows for even more options. You can brighten or darken your favorite hue to fit the current season, or make a former shopping-purchase-gone-wrong flattering by adding cool or warm tones.

How to do it.

Luckily for us, you don’t have to be a silver screen makeup genius to learn how to mix lipstick. “Choosing a shade is very personal, and mixing and matching allows you to create custom shades that are specific to your individuality,” says Nonie Creme, the founding creative director of Butter London and the new line Colour Prevails. The simplest option is to layer one on top of another directly on the lips, pressing your lips together to mix the colors together. But the darkest color will always be more prominent, Creme says—so start with a lighter-colored base and add darkness a little at a time until you’re happy with the result.

If you want to be a little more technical, you can mix the colors together on the back of your hand for a perfectly blended custom shade. Use a stiff-bristled lip brush to apply, or an angled brush if you want a really perfect outline.

But what if you want to take your custom color with you? “If you want something more permanent, melt your existing shade in a small container (like an empty lip gloss container), then add in small shavings of the blue, green or yellow, and mix until you’ve discovered your perfect shade,” Henry Vasquez tells us.

The colors to use.

So now you know how to mix your lipstick—now how can you tell which hue you need to add? Our experts break it down.

The shade: Blue.
What it does:
Cools down too-warm lip colors.
Colors you can create:
Purpley-pinks, plums, deep reds, purples.
It’s anecdotal, but we feel like almost all our buyer’s remorse-related lipstick issues stem from accidentally picking up a shade that’s too orange-y for our skin tone. That’s where blue comes in: it instantly cools any shade that’s too warm, creating a range of gorgeously Fall-appropriate shades. We recommend mixing shades of royal blue in with your summer pinks and reds to create cool fuchsias and wine shades; Inglot Cosmetics Lipstick #292 ($13, beautylish.com), a metallic navy, can even be worn underneath a berry shade to create a shimmery dark plum. If you’re not yet ready to say goodbye to your summer lipsticks, a sheer baby blue might be your best bet. We love layering Dolce & Gabbana The Lipstick in Light Blue ($33.50, saksfifthavenue.com) on top of our brightest orange-reds to create a cool, shimmery coral.

The shade: Green.
What it does:
Neutralizes pinks.
Colors you can create: Your perfect nude.
Straight-up green might be a little Slytherin for every day, but because it neutralizes pink and peach shades, there’s nothing better for creating your perfect nude. A light sheer green, like Manic Panic Lipstick Green Icing ($11.95, houseofbeautyworld.com), eliminates the overly-pinky tones from lip color, leaving you with a beautifully neutral base. To use, pick a lip color that’s about the same shade as your lips, then layer the green until you reach your desired color. Voila!

The shade: Yellow.
What it does:
Warms up overly cool colors.
Colors you can create: Oranges, poppy reds, tomatoes, tangerines.
No surprise here—yellow, like our favorite Touch In Sol One Second Vivid Lip Crayon in Yellow Bird ($16, sephora.com), warms up any shade. If you have a very basic lipstick collection, yellow is the perfect mixing color. “Reds will become oranges and pinks will be more coral,” says Noni. So if you have a favorite winter plum or ruby lipstick, mix with yellow for a summer-appropriate hue.

More from Daily Makeover: 15 Nude Lipsticks Anyone Can Wear

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