At a moment when the bittiest things can bring deeply-felt moments of joy, the power of an uplifting lip colour should not be minimized. But, did you know you can make one great colour even better? A go-to move among makeup artists, blending two shades can create a customized look for next-level results.
“By mixing two different colours you are able to change the depth, warmth, coolness, and texture of your favourite lipstick,” says makeup artist Karima Sumar, who applies the method personally and professionally. There’s also a built-in fun factor, and the opportunity to dig out your lesser-used shades. Because who doesn’t have a few tubes of not-so-bang-on hues hanging around?
“This technique sparks creativity, and in the end you’re not being wasteful,” says Jodi Urichuk, L’Oréal Paris Canada makeup artist and expert. “Pros often de-pot [lipsticks] so that we carry less and also use shades that normally get ignored. If I see it I’ll use it.” Plus, this trick is easy to master, no expert cosmetic skills required. With a couple of pro tips, and dynamic duo colour suggestions for a range of skin tones, this guide to creating your own custom lip colour masterpiece is all you need to get started.
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With a lineup of lip colours on standby, and hands freshly cleaned, Urichuk’s first step is to exfoliate and hydrate lips then blot off any excess product. Choosing colours that already rank as faves is a foolproof next step. “It’s good to start with a shade you’re comfortable wearing on a day-to-day basis. Decide if you want to go lighter or darker, or if it’s just the texture you want to alter,” she says. If you’re using two products of the same type of formula (i.e. both lipsticks, vs one lipstick and one gloss) start with the deeper tone or more matte finish. “I would generally let the darker shade take the lead. Keep it simple and just add the lighter shade directly over top. Press your lips together and blend with your finger if it needs a little more attention,” she says.
Sumar follows a similar strategy. “When I mix a shade, I usually start with the colour I am most attracted to, treating it as ‘the base.’ From there, I see how I can alter it to best suit the look I’m creating, using a small scoop of a secondary colour,” she says. If you’re naturally adventurous, or once you’ve acquired some cosmetics confidence, the options are endless. “It’s fun to grab two totally different colours and see what happens. It just might be a really cool mistake, but also it’s makeup,” Urichuk says, “There are no rules.”
The Good to Know
Can you dabble with different lip colour formulas? For. Sure. Just know that results may vary. Urichuk is a fan of multi-texture mixing. “Starting with a matte or liquid matte texture and adding a more emollient formula is easiest. That guarantees that you’ll have a lovely stain underneath if the moisture or gloss wears off,” she says. “Liquid matte lipsticks have great longevity, so I usually opt for one of those. If I do choose a creamy matte formula I will apply, blot and reapply again before I add a lighter shade or gloss.”
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Sumar, on the other hand, prefers to work with the same formula family. “I don’t apply gloss over a liquid matte lipstick—it tends alter the longevity of the liquid lipstick and breaks it down,” she says. But, in the spirit of experimenting, it’s worth a try to discover your personal preference!
The Quick Fix
Should you end up with a custom shade that’s not working for you, it’s easy to pivot. “Ask yourself what it is that you don’t really like. Is it the texture? Do you want more of a glossy or matte finish?” says Sumar, who suggests simply blotting and dusting your mouth with translucent powder to fix the latter issue. If it’s a matter of tone, not texture, no need to fret either. “Rather than starting over, you can also blot off a bit of colour and re-mix it to deepen or lighten the tone. Remember that when you’re mixing shades, the darker colour will take over, so less is definitely more,” she says.
Dynamic Duos For Fair Skin Tones
Sumar likes to create a pretty pink by balancing cool and warm tones with a hint of shine. “If you have thinner lips, line them all around with a nude lip liner. I like to use Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk Original for fair skin, working just outside the lip line and then softening it with a fluffy brush to help create a subtle, defined lip before applying the lipstick combo,” she says.
Burt’s Bees Matte Stick in Rippling Rose, $11, shoppersdrugmart.ca
BareMinerals Mineralist Hydrating Smoothing Lipstick in Grace, $26, sephora.com
Dynamic Duos For Medium Skin Tones
Play with a dimensional effect. Urichuk likes the idea of a deep purpley-pink, like L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Satin Lipstick in Pinot Noir 212, topped off with a shimmering gloss that contains subtle gold flecks. For an energizing accent intense coral wakes up the whole face, says Sumar. Use a classic blue-based red all over lips then blend it with a vibrant orangey tone, concentrating the second shade on the centre of the mouth.
IT Cosmetics Pillow Lips Collagen-Infused Lipstick in Stellar, $32, sephora.com
Bite Beauty Power Move Creamy Matte Lip Crayon in Stinger, $32, bitebeauty.com
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Dynamic Duos For Deep Skin Tones
Anchored with a liquid lipstick base, a hydrating formula in a similar tone over top will elevate a flawless neutral lip. When Urichuk recently worked with actress Aja Naomi King, the pro finished the star’s go-to tawny matte with a hydrating formula to create a fuller, glossier look. Just be sure to let the liquid dry completely first, advises Urichuk. And, if your creative vibes are flowing, why not try an ombré lip look? Purple and—wait for it—red are Sumar’s top-picks for dark skin. She likes to use a shimmery deep plum all over lips, followed by blending a traditional red, like M.A.C. Cosmetics Lipstick in Mac Red, through the middle of the mouth. “This will create an unexpected deepness in the centre of the lip for a more dramatic look,” she says.
L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain in Admired 458, $14, amazon.ca
Dior Addict Stellar Shine Halo Lipstick in 847 Passion Star, $49, sephora.com