Pret-a-Reporter

Makeup Monday: What the Heck Are Ombre Lips, and How to Get Them According to a Celebrity Makeup Artist

Courtesy of TomFord.com
An ombre lip from Tom Ford's spring 2017 cosmetics campaign

Mai Quynh, who works with Chloe Grace Moretz and Bella Heathcote, dishes on how to best achieve the effect so it looks cool and deliberate — not messy and clownish.

It was just a matter of time before the gradient effect known as ombré went from hair to nails and now lips.

The trend, seen on the runways at Jason Wu and H&M, among others, is a bit of a throwback to the 1990s (like most things in fashion and beauty right now), when a frosty nude gloss was often combined with a deep brown lip liner for a two-toned effect. Only today's ombré is little less severe, and more playful, even part pop art in its effect.

The look can be bold and cartoonish if the dimensions are mishandled (think comic book character).  But done right, ombré lips can look subtle and chic, and even make the lips appear fuller from some angles. Consider it a new take on a statement lip (and possible lip plumper) that's an alternative to classic bright red.

Whether you are considering making ombré your new spring beauty move or just trying it out long enough for an Instagram post, Mai Quynh, makeup artist to Chloe Grace Moretz and Bella Heathcote, has some tips for achieving that optimal ombré.

Pret-a-Reporter: What are your overall thoughts on the trend? Too much? Or good if done right?

Mai Quynh: I think it's a niche take on applying lipstick. Some women can't be bothered by one, let alone two colors. It reminds me of the '90s, as far as dark lip liner and a lighter lipstick shade. If it's done right, it looks gorgeous.

What should people avoid when doing an ombré lip?

If your goal is an ombré lip, make sure you have two colors that are very starkly contrasting, dark and light or dark and bright. Don't pick two shades that are too similar because you won't be able to see the gradient. Also, blending and fading is key!

What is the most wearable color combination?

I think it varies on different skin tones and what your preference is as far as colors go. Some of my favorite combos are a deep cinnamon brown paired with a light beige-y nude, as well as a dark plum paired with either a soft rosy pink or a bright fuchsia pink.

Please explain how to do an ombré lip.

Start off with soft, hydrated lips. Remove any access lip balm by blotting with a tissue. Next, apply the darker shade along the outer lip line. Use a lip brush for an accurate application. Keep most of the darker shade along the outer lip line. Don't worry about it being perfectly blended yet. Once you add the lighter (or brighter) shade in the center of the lips, the key is to blend and fade both shades together so it creates the ombré effect. You may need to add a little more of the dark or light shade to perfect your look.

What products and tools do you recommend for getting this look?

I recommend a semi-matte to matte formula for lipsticks. You want to make sure it will blend, but stay on. If the formula is too creamy, the colors may bleed together or fade and the visual effect will be lost. I love Lorac Pro Liquid Lipsticks. They go on creamy and are easy to blend, but they dry super matte.

Check out a few more ombre lip product recommendations below.

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