WHAT ARE GRADIENT LIPS?
Gradient lips are meant to give that “just bitten” effect, with a darker colour concentrated in the centre of the lips, then fading out at the edges, or blending into a different colour. In Korea, the look is said to give a more youthful and innocent appearance.
Song Hye Gyo for Laneige
Traditionally, lips are covered in concealer and then a pigmented lipstick is layered over.
But now, it’s easy to get the look with just one lipstick, two for a more dramatic effect, a foundation cushion compact and even a powder foundation.
Before we begin, remember to prep your lips first by putting on a lip mask. If you don’t have one, you can always apply a thick layer of lip balm or a treatment, then place a piece of cling wrap over your lips for three minutes.
Now here are five ways to get the gorgeous K-Beauty gradient lip.
METHOD #1: CUSHION COMPACT & LIP TINT OR LIQUID LIPSTICK
Apply your lip tint or liquid lipstick at the centre of your lips, then smack them together, allowing the colour to slowly blend out towards the edges.
Etude House’s latest Colour-in-Liquid Lips works amazing for this if you want pigmented colour. For something more natural to wear over the weekend, go with The Face Shop’s Lip Tint Stick, which boasts sun protection properties, too.
Now purse your lips and tap your cushion puff on top (you can just use what’s left on the sponge). Foundations like Lancome's Blanc Expert Cushion Compact go easy on the lips because of its lightweight texture.
Just add more colour to the centre if you find that the contrast is too stark, then use a lip brush to blend it out towards the edges to soften the look.
METHOD #2: LIPSTICK & CONCEALER
This is the most traditional way of achieving the gradient lip. Apply your lipstick to the centre of your lips, then use a liquid or stick concealer to blur the edges. If you want the colour to pop a little bit more, apply the concealer first, then the lipstick.
Beware of the dry-lip finish when using this method by topping your gradient lip with a nude gloss. To prevent dry lip situation, try the Yves Saint Laurent’s Volupte Tint-in-Oil in #3 Undress Me; I’m obsessed with the plumping effect that it gives upon application.
METHOD #3: LIPSTICK & POWDER FOUNDATION
Yes, you can actually create a gradient lip with a powder foundation. The trick here is to use one that has a more silky texture and applies as smoothly as a cream, like Cle de Peau Beaute’s latest Radiant Powder Foundation.
Just put on your lipstick, then brush or dab your powder on the outer part of your lips. Glossy and moisturising lipstick formulas work better for this method, so you don’t end up with a finish that’s too flat.
METHOD #4: USING TWO LIPSTICKS
Here’s one of my favourite ways to get the gradient lip – using two lipsticks. You can play around with matte and glossy lip products for this one, and even “odd” combinations like orange and purple.
Get two lipsticks (or even a tinted lip balm, really), with one shade being darker than the other – try Chanel’s Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Adrienne and Arthur. Apply the darker lipstick first in the centre, then top it off with the lighter shade at the edge of the lips. Ladies who want to experiment with more colour can swap out Adrienne for Emilienne, a deep plum.
METHOD #5: JUST ONE LIPSTICK
All right, lazy girls, here’s our one-stop solution for the perfect gradient lip – gradient lipsticks.
Laneige’s new Two-Tone Lip Bars come in 10 different variations, all fun combinations that pair two colours together, rather than the usual pink and nude mix.
But, if you still prefer to have the traditional “hidden lip edge” look, VDL offers three fail-safe combinations for its Tint Bar Triple Shot. So you can have pretty puckers in just one swipe, easy peasy!
Credit where it is due: Beauty vlogger Karman did a video tutorial of these five methods a year ago, and introduces some pretty neat products to use for each method as well. You can watch her video below. (Yes, powder foundation does work, she’ll show you how.)
WATCH: Beauty vlogger Karman shows you five different ways to getting the gradient lip