Orange Lips: How to Wear Spring’s Boldest Color


You’ve seen it all over the Spring runways, admired it in magazines, but you just don’t think you can pull it off. Orange is Spring’s hottest lip color, and although it might seem a tad off-putting, I guarantee there’s a shade for you. While this season’s runways were full of day-glow pouts that popped, M.A.C’s Senior Makeup Artist, Jane McKay insists there is more than one way to sport the trendy shade.

For the Lip Color Newbie
If you typically swear by nude lips and you’re a bit apprehensive to try a bright orange for Spring, McKay suggests first applying a lip conditioner and then stippling on a small amount of lipstick with a lip brush or your finger to create a sheer wash of the bold orange color. That way, you can be on-trend without having to step too far out of your comfort zone. You can also experiment with orange-hued glosses and stains to achieve a similar effect.

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Product picks: M.A.C Lipstick in Morange, $14.50, CoverGirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm in Coral $11.99, Tarte Natural Lip Stain Pencil with LipSurgence in Joy, $24, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Sari D’Eau, $32, Joe Fresh Style Lip Stain in Tangerine, $6.

For the Lipstick Wearer in Training
If you’ve just recently hopped on the lip color bandwagon and you’re ready for a bright orange shade without the strong, drawn-on look, try applying a lipstick on its own, without using a liner. The softer edge will make the bright color seem less intense. Instead of going with a full-blown orange shade, you might want to ease into the trend with some coral hues that are universally flattering and easier to pull off. In fact, McKay insists that corals aren’t given enough credit in the beauty world: “The way pinks can brighten yellow skin, corals can brighten pretty much everybody’s skin.” If that isn’t convincing, I don’t know what is.

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Product picks: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in #39, $19, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Creme in Coral Berry, $7.99

For the Lip Color Risk-Taker
If it’s the straight-off-the-runway look you covet, McKay suggests making the lip the focal point of the face by first shaping the lip with a pencil, filling it in and then going over the liner with a solid layer of the matching bright orange color. When wearing a vibrant lip, it’s best to keep the rest of your makeup minimal. “Don’t go for strong eyes, strong lips and strong cheeks,” warns McKay, “because it’s not going to look modern.” She recommends sticking with one or two focus features, since more than that might verge on theatrical.

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Product picks: Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Bright Orange 17C, $17, Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in #40, $19, M.A.C Lipstick in Neon Orange, $14.50.

Selecting Shades
According to McKay, orange lips look great on everyone and it really just comes down to personal taste and how intense you want it. As a general guideline, people with porcelain skin tend to look best in cool, blue-based shades, people with olive skin look best in warm, yellow-based colors, and darker skinned people are usually complemented by deeper hues. If your teeth are a bit yellow-stained from your black-coffee habit, McKay advises selecting a red-based orange or a sheer, orange-tinted gloss. To help you find the most flattering shade, it’s best to seek advice from a professional at your favorite beauty counter try on a few shades and choose the one that suits you best.

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Product picks: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in 13 Le Orange, $30, Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Coral, $10.50, M.A.C Lipstick in CB 96, #14.50, CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Flame, $10.99, Nars Lipstick in First Bite, $23.

Complete the Look
To nicely complement an orange lip for the warmer-weather season, McKay recommends going one of two ways with the rest of your makeup: with the coppery-gold tones that are going to be all the rage this summer or with the radiant, bare-faces look that dominated spring runways. One of McKay’s tricks to quickly create a faux sun-kissed glow is to use a bronzing powder to not only contour the cheeks, but to also contour the eyes, since bronzers are usually very light and sheer. To achieve the youthful, barely-there makeup look, McKay suggests dusting a light-reflective, iridecent highlighter onto the upper cheek bones, brow bones and inner corners of the eyes.

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Product picks: Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Shimmer Bronzer, #30, Nars Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross, $27.

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