Ombré lips are seriously beautiful to look at, and come in so many forms and colors. While Pinterest and Instagram might serve us addicting ombré lip inspiration all day long, what is the most realistic way to recreate an ombré look on ourselves that we can actually wear in public?
Contrary to what you're probably assuming, crafting an ombré lip isn't has hard as you think—you just need a few basic tools (ones you probably already have in your makeup drawer). Since red is such a versatile shade and comes in many tones, it's a great choice for testing the waters. The key is choosing the right red tone that works best with your skin and comfort level. Keep scrolling for a step by step guide on how to create a red ombré lip that you can actually wear and recreate yourself. Promise!
Step One: Apply Concealer All Over Lips
The first step is to apply concealer all over your lips, to ensure that your natural lip color gets muted. This is really important, because it will help you a few steps later with perfecting your ombré color. It's ideal to use a concealer that is slightly lighter than your skin tone, so the one you use on a daily basis for dark circles is perfect for this. I am applying the concealer with a brush, but you can also use your finger for this step. A light layer is all you need, so be sure not to apply it too thick.
If you feel that your lips tend to become dry or need a good exfoliating treatment, go ahead and exfoliate the night before you want to wear your ombré lip look. Using a lip scrub will gently buff away dead skin, paving the way for a smoother canvas.
Exfoliating your lips leads to smoother application. This Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator ($24) helps to hydrate and buff skin all in one treatment. If you choose to exfoliate your lips before bed, follow up with a hydrating lip treatment like Weleda Skin Food Lip Butter ($7) for a little moisture insurance.
Step Two: Apply Lipstick in Center of Lips
The next step is to apply your red lipstick of choice in the center of your lips, and don't take it out past the center or outer corners. While you might think this looks a little silly at first, you're building your ombré color and this step is very important. Keeping the most intense part of the color in the inner lip area is crucial to create the desired effect. If you're working with a lip stain, go ahead and let it dry before adding more on top. This will allow you to build the color without the product flaking or becoming too thick.
Step Three: Blend Out Lipstick With a Fluffy Brush
After you've applied lipstick to the center of the lips, go ahead and lightly blend it out using a fluffy eyeshadow brush (yes, you can use eyeshadow brushes on your lips, pretty cool, right?) You'll want to blend all the way out to the edges of your lips, lightly filling the entire area with lipstick that you've placed in the center. Remember when I said concealer will play an important role in this tutorial? The light tone of the concealer helps lift the color as you buff it out, ensuring you get the lighter effect on the outer edges.
The ombré look we're creating is a K-Beauty inspired gradient lip. For bolder color contrast, just flip where you're depositing color. Concentrate pigment on the border of your lips (rather than the center) using a lip liner, pulling the color down toward the line where your lips meet.
Lightly tap and blend the color to your comfort, and go slowly to ensure the pigment ends up right. The fluffiness of the brush bristles will aid you in delicately blending the color out to drive that ombré effect home. If you don't have a fluffy eyeshadow brush (or don't want to use yours on your lips) it's okay to use your finger or a standard q-tip.
Voila! Sit back and admire your hard work. But let's be honest, it wasn't that hard, right? The final lip look should be darker in the center, with softer red tones buffed all the way out to your natural lip line. If you need to add a little more color to get it just right, go for it! What other lipstick colors would you try this ombré look with?
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Up next: How to Overdraw Your Lips (Without It Looking Obvious)