With this season’s Crayola box of eye makeup colors and ultra-intense saturation, it is easy to end up looking like an extra from a Twisted Sister video. The key to making some of the wild runway looks work in everyday life is–listen to me people–JUST PICK ONE!
Ok, are we clear? Only one.
So, if you pick a super intense eye, especially one that is more that just a bold black-cat eye, you need a neutral lip and cheek. You can achieve a neutral lip with traditional shell pink or clear gloss, but if you want to kick your look up and give it a more polished twist, you need a nude lip.
A nude lip? This seems like a no-brainer, right? How hard can it be? Go to the drug store, pick up a cremé lip color in beige, swipe on and go!
Um, no. Trust me. I tried. I tried EVERY nude lip color out there, millions of them. (I am possibly exaggerating but it didn’t feel like it at the time.) I even drove to Macy’s in Huntington to go to the M.A.C. counter, M.A.C. ad in hand, to try the specific color being advertised, no luck. Even the make-up artist at the counter seemed genuinely stumped. With all my testing I got one of two results:
1) It looked good in the tube but went on clumpy, so when I smiled or talked it looked like the crackled white-wash of an old barn door.
2) I looked like a TV corpse. TV corpse=bad
The nude lip had been cropping up in magazines for months. As the eye makeup got bolder, the lips got lighter. But the models didn’t look like corpses, nor did their lips look like they were cracking off. There was something more subtle going on and I needed to know what!
So, here is the scoop: a nude lip is not quite as easy as sweeping on some color, but it isn’t solving for pi either. With a few simple tools and a little know how you can create a nude lip that looks alive and is wearable. It will compliment your eye makeup and not be distractingly harsh.
First you need to gather some tools. You will need:
- UNDER-EYE CONCEALER: The kind with the slightly yellow tinge, meant to cover bluish/black dark circles under the eye. I like a cream but if you have stick concealer on hand you can use that but you’ll just need to be careful not to glom it on too heavily.
- TRANSLUCENT POWDER: Whatever you use to set your foundation is fine. This step isn’t critical but will add staying power. (You’ll also need your regular makeup brush for application.)
- NUDE or LIGHT BEIGE LIPSTICK: (if you have dark skin pick a brown a shade or two lighter than your foundation.) Almost every brand from the lowest-end drug store line to high-end department store brands carry a nude shade. (Don’t worry about your skin tone. You can make this work with shading, which we’ll discuss more later.) Also, matte or sparkle is up to you. I choose matte because the point of this lip is to be dramatic without being distracting, and it will have a little sparkle when we’re finished.
- NUDE LIPLINER: This is going to be ever so slightly darker than the lipstick shade and don’t fret — we aren’t drawing a 1987 line around the lips.
- LIP PLUMPER: One of the clear gloss ones, not one with a color of its own. My absolute favorite is Too Faced Lip Injection. If it burns, it works. Usually, the active ingredient is capsaicin and sometimes they also include mint and cinnamon. Those things slightly irritate the lip, thus increasing blood flow, which cause the temporary swelling and gives the full look we’re aiming for.
- OPAQUE NEUTRAL FROSTED LIPGLOSS: This is for highlighting. My personal favorite is Wet and Wild’s MegaSlicks in Sun Glaze.
Now that you have your tools, you probably also want to have a piece of paper towel for blotting. The other important thing is to make sure you have a clean soft lip. This is hard to fake so remember to put on chapstick before you go to bed, EVERY NIGHT. In a pinch, you can exfoliate and moisturize your lips before you do this look — but that is another post.
Step 1: Start with a clean dry lip. Using your finger, pat under eye concealer on both the top and bottom lips. Do this gently and don’t worry about staying inside the lip line. You’ll define the lip later with subtle shading and textures — this isn’t normal lipstick application and if this step is a little smudgy that’s OK. Once the lip is covered, gently blot on a paper towel.
Step 2: Dust over lips lightly with translucent powder.
Step 3: Apply a light coat of the nude lipstick. Depending on the color saturation, you may need to apply a little more but do so sparingly. If you apply too much lipstick this is what causes a clumpy cracked looked.
Step 4: Using the nude liner, starting in the outside corner of the mouth on both the top and bottom, begin to shade in about 1/4 of the lips from both sides. This should be subtle. It should not look like a geometric pattern. If you get too much on then use the paper towel to lightly blot it off.
Step 5: Use the lip plumper over the entire lip. REMEMBER: do this lightly, you don’t want to disturb all of the shading work.
Step 6: Apply the opaque frosted gloss to the middle of the bottom lip and press the lips together gently.
Now you have the perfect nude lip!Admittedly this isn’t a lip-look that wears great all day. You will need to reapply at least the plumper and gloss layers regularly if you’re eating and drinking. But it is a dramatic high impact way to accentuate a bold eye.
Enjoy! If you have any comments or any great tips on how you do a nude lip please share them below.