The new crop of light-infused lip formulas are nothing like the 90s frosty lipstick. Think of these new formulas as a highlighter for your pout. "The color pigments and shimmer are much more refined, so the effect looks like soft liquid metal-infused color,” says makeup artist Victoria Alexander. “They’re bold and vibrant, but also dry matte, so it’s such a dimensional, sophisticated look—not at all the icy throwback pink lips of the past."
In fact, this season’s metallic lipsticks are the next chapter in the matte lipstick movement. “It’s a more modern matte—stays put longer than a gloss or cream finish, but still delivers the depth and texture of something shimmery.” But, don’t forget about gloss finishes quite yet. If shine is your thing, the new metallic lip glosses are all about maximum glistening. Formulas are saturated with fine iridescent shimmer designed to have an other worldly 3D effect that doesn’t just look super cool, but also makes lips look way plumper.
5 Tricks to Wearing It
1. Alexander loves the statement-making look for evening, either solo or layering on top of matte lipstick to create extra dimension (which translates into poutier-looking lips). Apply a matte or cream-formula lipstick in the same shade as your metallic all over lips. Then add the metallic version only to the center of your lips (top and bottom) for an instant ombre-bee-stung effect.
2. Start at the center of lips and blend color out toward the corners of your mouth. Skipping the corners of the mouth will ensure that the look stays fresh, not dated (or, heaven forbid, clownish).
3. If you’re wearing a dark metallic shade, keep it from looking too extreme by applying directly to your bottom lip, then pressing lips together to distribute color. Finish by using your finger or a clean lip brush to buff the color out.
4. Use a lipliner, even if you usually don’t. When you’re wearing a bolder look like a metallic (especially in a dark or bright shade), it helps to have a guide so that you can color within the lines. Plus, liner keeps the lipstick from bleeding into areas where it shouldn’t be. If you’re totally anti-liner, go for a clear version, or at the very least, apply concealer around your lips before applying lipstick to ensure clean lines.
5. If you’re going for a bold color—like blue or a completely saturated gold—don’t even think about applying straight from the tube. Precision is key, so use a lip brush to trace the perimeter of your lips, then go back and carefully fill in with lip color. You want it to be perfectly applied all over the lips.
What Not To Do When You’re Wearing Metallic Lipstick
Don’t - Put highlighter on your cheekbones. Since you’re highlighting your lips, let that work as your pop of light and color. The rest of your face should look fresh and clean.
Don’t - Have dry, flaky lips. Metallics (and especially metallic mattes) will accentuate every crease and bit of chapping, so make sure lips are very, very hydrated. And then hydrate some more. Try buffing them with dry toothbrush and bit of coconut oil, and make sure to put on moisturizing lip balm every night so they’re ready for lipstick in the morning (seriously, this could make the difference between your lips resembling crinkly raisins or looking plump and juicy like grapes).
Don’t - Wear metallic eye shadow. We know, we know—heavy metal is in when it comes to eyes too, but pick one or the other. If you’re going gilted on lips, try a bit of nude eye shadow with thin black liner on eyes (think tightlining). Think of metallic lips as your statement necklace—one and done.
Don’t - Skip concealer and foundation. Metallic lips call for a flawless complexion. This is not a look that works on a bare face because it’s just too glam, and will actually draw attention to any blemishes. So make sure to create a clean, smooth canvas to showcase your artsy lips.
How To Pick the Right Shade for You
The easiest way to get started with the metallic lipstick trend is by looking at your favorite lipstick color and finding its metallic match. If red is your go-to, try one with flecks of gold (like Maybelline New York Color Sensational Color Elixir Lip Lacquer in Signature Scarlet). If you’re usually all about pink, pick up a rose gold like NYX Professional Cosmetics Liquid Suede in Mauve Mist. Love a great nude, choose a copper like NYX Professional Cosmetics Liquid Suede in New Era a deep metallic bronze.
Search your skin
Finding the perfect metallic lip color is really as simple as figuring out your complexion undertones and going from there. There are three possible options: cool, warm and neutral. If you have cool undertones, you’ll see pinkish-blue in your skin. If you’re seeing more yellow and gold, you have warm undertones. Neutral undertones have a bit of both.
Still unsure? Try this trick that helps makeup artist find the right foundation for their clients: Look down at the veins on your wrist or inner arm. What color are they? If you see bluish purple, your skin has cool undertones. If you see green, you have warm undertones. If you see a little of both, consider yourself neutral.
Another way to figure it out? Go straight to your precious metals. Do you prefer wearing gold or silver jewelry? Which does the most for your skin? Silver jewelry looks fab on complexions with cool undertones, while gold jewelry looks amazing on warm tones. And lucky neutral can wear either equally well.
Best picks for Cool
This icy berry shade is just the right amount of purple and paints on in a rich cushiony layer of lusciousness.
We admit, it’s definitely not for the timid, but the icy cool blue looks mega hot on pale complexions.
This deep violet with pearly blue shimmer plays perfectly off of the cool tones in your skin, lighting up your lips.
Best picks for Warm
If you’re going to buy one nude metallic this season, this is the one. It’s perfection in a tube, lighting up lips with its bubbly pink champagne tone. Gorgeous on its own or over your favorite lipstick.
Be still, our beating hearts. This warm sexy red is everything you want: rich, deep, and luxurious.
Look at your lips
Have naturally pale lips? Coral or orange-based red metallic like Lancôme Le Metallique Lip Lacquer in Orange Ore will look gorgeous on you because of the contrast in color between your natural lip hue and the one you’re painting on. If you want a shimmery nude, choose one with a hint of pink like Lancôme Le Metallique Lip Lacquer in Magnetic Mauve.
Naturally reddish lips were made for a berry or hot pink because it plays up the tones in your lips and makes them look juicier.
Try NYX Professional Cosmetics Cosmic Metals Lip Cream in Fuchsia Fusion. Burgundy and brick reds look best on dark lips because they bring out the beautiful natural color of your lips while adding sparkle and depth. Try NYX Professional Cosmetics Wicked Lippie in Wrath, a shimmery dark brown with warm orange undertones.