It’s all just a little bit of history repeating itself. Some looks are just too fabulous to feature just once — just ask designer Jason Wu. The multi-dimensional ombré lip he once showcased with his Spring 2013 ready-to-wear collection came back four years later at his spring-summer 2017 collection debut. The recent two-toned lip look took on a juicy red hue with a splash of tangerine...perfect for a high-octane spring and summer makeup palette.
So was the designer just fresh out of makeup ideas or inspired by a trend? Considering the wave of ultra-bold lip art looks that are sweeping the blogasphere and our Insta feeds, it’s clear that Wu’s decision was based on the latter. In the past few years, lips have become a vehicle of self-expression, with special effects (think glitter, art-deco designs and 3D finishes) and atypical shades (green, dark blue, black and yellow) becoming as common as red lippies and tinted balms. In fact, ombré lips are actually one of the wearable and understated lip trends we’re seeing — which is why you need to jump on the band wagon STAT. Check out some tips on how to get the hottest lip look on the block, as well as technique and color-matching advice from the pros!
Step 1:Gently scrub and moisturize.
The key to pulling off any flawless bold lip look starts with the health and state of your lips, pre-application. Slough any dead skin cells off the surface with a gentle lip scrub like The Body Shop Lipscuff. Then, follow up with a swipe of a nourishing lip balm to moisturize the lips and soften them. Let the solution settle for a few minutes and blot any excess gently with a tissue.
Set your lip design with a light application of loose orange pigment (like NYX Cosmetics Pigment in Shanghai Sun) for a mega-dimensional design. “It’s a gradation, and the loose pigment doesn’t really make it matte; it actually looks very moisturized,” says makeup artist Diane Kendal.
Now that we’ve shown you the wonders of a red-fuchsia ombré lip, it’s time to talk about other color combos that are perfect for your pout. Check out our faves, as well as a couple from the pros.
Plum & Lavender: “I LOVE violet and purple,” says celebrity makeup artist Emily Oliver. “Going from a deeper plum on the outside and fading into a lavender is right on!”
Nude & Wine: If you’re one for drama, try a rich wine-red shade on the outside of the lips with a nude matte hue on the inner center of the lips. Blend and blot the lips until there’s a nice blurred color transition.
Light Pink & Magenta: Switch up your typical pink lip look with a two-toned effect that offers the best of both worlds. Swipe a neon magenta around the outer part of the lips and soft pinkish nude on the inside. Again, blot or blend with a brush or your finger.
An ombré lip is a very specific look. And because of that, there are some key tips you need to know in order to keep the look flawless. Check out what the pros say to go for, and what to avoid.
DO whatever you want with the rest of your makeup. “Makeup can be any way you'd like,” says Oliver. “Whether that means a heavy eye with an ombre lip or a light eye with an ombre lip, it's all fair game! I personally love a super-clean and simple eye with lots of lashes, and a sexy ombré-d lip.”
DON’T skip lip liner. Ombré lips might be blurred on the inside, but it’s important for them to be defined on the outside. Keep the lips lined with (a.) invisible liner or (b.) a liner shade that matches the outermost lip shade you’re using. This will act as an invisible fence for your look and color.
DO overline the lips. Ombré lips are a dramatic look, so upping the ante is totally valid. In fact, it’s expected. To show off the two tones perfectly, try overlining your pout to make it as plush and full as can be. To make the fullness look a bit more natural, try lining your lips with a nude liner, working outside of your natural lip line. Then layer your chosen lip color on top of the nude.
DON’T skip the prep. Like any bold lip look, a smooth, clean surface is essential, especially if you’re dealing with matte finishes. Buff and work a gentle lip scrub onto your lips with your fingers, using soft circular motions. After you’ve exfoliated, apply a moisturizing balm and let it settle for a bit before starting your lip look.
Ombré Texture Tussle
According to the pros, mixing textures is totally A-okay when rocking the ombré lip. Want some tips on how to mix it up? Check out what Oliver had to say about playing with your lipstick.
Matte Me Outside: “I would suggest a nice matte lip color on the outer area of the lips, with the inner ombré having a high-shine finish.” says Oliver. “First, line the whole lip with the main color, buffing the center out. Then, add your ombré color into the center and buff it into the outside, so you have a subtle gradation of color. Next, apply your gloss to just the center of the lip.”
All That Glitters: If you’re feeling particularly bold, add a touch of sparkle to your blurred-out lip look. “Another one of my faves is a center ombré lip full of sparkle or glitter, with the outside remaining matte,” says Oliver. “Simply apply steps one through two mentioned in the previous look. For sparkle or glitter, apply glitter makeup primer to just the center of the lips. Next, dip a flat brush into the loose sparkle or glitter. Using a patting technique, apply the glitter onto the center of the lips only.”