Bold lips — the trend we save on Instagram, but rarely muster up the courage to wear IRL. They can look so editorial and chic, but with one misstep they can take cool to clown. I wanted to take a unique purple color, Are N Be by Colourpop Cosmetics, instead of the classic bold red or deep vampy shades. Keep reading for my tips on rocking a loud mouth with confidence!
Okay, first of all, if you haven’t checked out Colourpop for some affordable, quality, and very on-trend makeup, what are you doing? As far as their liquid lipsticks go, I prefer the Ultra Satin Lip formula, but the matte variation is still great. The shade Are N Be is one that I think flatters a lot of different skin tones — it has the right amounts of warmth and depth to be versatile.
The problem with wearing a bold lip starts with application. Bold colors stain and are much harder to clean up than nudes, so you have to be a little more precise. My biggest piece of advice in applying a bold lipcolor is to begin with a lip liner. I recommend a color that is nude, so you can wear it with a lot of your lipsticks, but also darker than your natural lip. This makes it versatile but also dimensional, making your lips appear fuller. My favorite liner is from the Bare Minerals Gen Nude collection — I wear shade “Vibe.” You can play with the shape of your lips with liner to figure out what works best with you, but once you lay down a frame you can sort of color inside the lines with your lipcolor.
If you are using a liquid lipstick, it probably has a doe-foot applicator of some sort. These applicators are usually convenient, but they can also wreak havoc by picking up too much product. Wipe the excess product off on the side of the tube and take your time to apply the lipstick carefully. I like to start in center of my lips and make my way to the edges when I have the least product on the applicator — it’s just easier for me!
For colors that are too dark, add a creamier nude shade to the center. This also adds dimension to your lips, but also tampers down the intensity of the color. Just make sure you really blend the colors into each other so you don’t have a noticeable contrast! Play around with the amount of nude lipstick you apply and the shape of your application.
STYLING THE REST OF YOUR FACE
So you’ve applied your bold lip color beautifully. Now what? The hardest part of making a lip color work is deciding what to do with the rest of your face. A lot of the process is self-discovery– finding color palettes that flatter your complexion, meet your preferences, or make your eyes pop. While these are by no means hard and fast rules, I have some suggestions based on my own experience.
- Keep your base & cheek makeup simple
If you want your lips to shine, keep the rest of your makeup muted. I like using matte or natural finish products to make my face look nice and clean. I like to add a bit of bronzer and a neutral blush. For this particular look, I used Benefit’s Hoola bronzer (it’s nice and light, so it doesn’t look overdone!) and MAC Matte Powder Blush in Harmony (the perfect muted blush for medium complexions — works well to contour on fair skin).
- Keep your eyes simple, but defined
I like to pick one feature on my eyes to highlight. I alternate between a metallic/shimmer/glitter shadow on the inner corner or lid, really intense mascara, and a liquid liner look. You want to be intentional with your choice so that it completes the look you’re going for without distracting from your lips! I tend to stick to neutrals or muted versions of my lip color of choice because they just seem to work really well. It’s trickier to make another bold color work with your lips!
- Contour your cheekbones to keep your face from looking flat
If you have a rounder face or fuller cheeks like I do, you want to avoid that flat look that bold lips can create. At the same time, you probably don’t want to go overboard with bronzer or contour because that could quickly become more intense than your bold lip. I like to make sure I have a little bit of contrast between my highlight and contour, so I use a lighter concealer around the inside of my face (undereye, center of forehead, center of nose, and chin) to add a brightness while applying a light layer of a neutral bronzer on the perimeters of my face. Make sure you diffuse these colors to keep everything looking soft and seamless.
- Stay within the same tonal family for your entire face
Monochromatic makeup WORKS. It’s easy and takes a lot of the thought out of the process. If you’re doing a bold purple, try a wash of plum on your cheeks and some purple-browns on your eyes. I love going matte with monochrome, especially with bolder colors.
- Make sure your base looks clean and crisp
If there ever was a perfect time for full-coverage foundation, this would be it. Having a clean base makes everything just sit right. When you choose a lightweight foundation, a lot of redness or discoloration can peek through and compete with your lip color. It sounds strange, but have you ever put on a red lipstick when your face has been super blotchy and red? If anything, conceal or color correct to neutralize any imperfections.
I paired this beautiful rich purple with a soft matte complexion, clean brows, long lashes, and a wash of my favorite neutral champagne eyeshadow – Sidecar.
Products I Used:
Colourpop “Are N Be” with a little “Echo Park” to brighten up the center
Bare Minerals Gen Nude Over Under Liner in Vibe
Too Faced Peach Perfect Foundation in Natural Beige
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer in Medium
CoverFX Perfect Setting Powder in Light/Translucent
Benefit Ka-Brow! Shade 04 + Hoola bronzer
MAC Matte Powder Blush in Harmony
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Naked, Sidecar, and Sin
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara
I like to include photos in different lighting– the slight differences highlight different perspectives.
Natural Lighting – Sunlight (DSLR)
Flash – DSLR
Natural Sunlight – iPhone camera (no edit)
I really love how this look turned out. I’m literally wearing no color today, so this purple lip was welcomed warmly on my face! There’s something about a strong lip color that is so empowering. One of my coworkers once told me that wearing a red lip made her feel so confident and powerful, giving her the boldness to speak up in meetings. What do you think of the look? Do you have any tips for making bold lipstick more wearable? Let me know below. I’d love to hear them!
xoxo The Offbeat Venusian
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Thank you for taking the time to hear what I have to say. I hope you’ve found something helpful, or at the very least interesting. You can keep up with my beauty adventures by following me on Instagram @offbeatvenusian. Instagram isn’t your vibe? I’m on Facebook, too. If you have any questions or comments, I always love hearing what you have to say. You can comment below or you can contact me here.