i love staring at photos of very intricate makeup on instagram and pinterest. it really is an art, whether you're creating remarkable trompe d'œils, or simply showing an ingenious use of colour, there is a remarkable amount of inventiveness that is used in decorating the human canvas. unfortunately, it's not something i can really put to a lot of use. i may love a peacock inspired eye with iridescent shades of blue, green and purple, but i'm not exactly going throw it on to run to the drug store. and in professional situations, i'd prefer that when people look at me, they see me and not mimi from the drew carey show.
although the most intricate artwork is focused on the eyes, there are some lip trends that show up, most notable the lip ombré. this involves multiple colours, well blended to make a transition from one colour on the outer edge of the lip to another colour at the centre. in "editorial" looks [beauty code for "stuff you're just not going to bother with every day"] this is a delicate and time consuming process that often ends up yielding something beautiful and useless for day to day life. i'm consistently struck by the dual reaction "that is just exquisite" and "image having to reapply it after dinner or drinks". of course, those looks aren't meant to be worn by mortals. they are paintings done with cosmetics, a show of the artist's skill.
that said, the ombré lip can be adapted to use on earth. since using every lipstick in my collection on a regular basis would require me to grow two or three extra heads, i figured that anything that allowed me to use multiple products on the same day was one step towards justifying the [too] many lipsticks i've accumulated over the years. [i know i'm not supposed to do this, let alone admit to it, but unless it smells like crayons, i never throw lipstick out. that's just the sort of heinous person i am.]
my basis for this experiment was to create ombré lips that could be worn in regular situations and that didn't require a lot of skill to apply. first of all, i don't have any skill for applying makeup. i'm clumsy beyond redemption. i once sprained my ankle walking barefoot on a hardwood floor. i've just barely learned to paint my nails without getting colour all over my fingers and splashed onto my clothes or into my hair. but i also wanted to create looks that could be done in the normal space of time a woman would have to do makeup. it's not as simple as swiping on a single lipstick, but it doesn't require detail work with three different-sized brushes either.
so here are a few things that i came up with...
this one is super-soft, so that you can barely see the shift in colour. as with all these looks, it's easier to see the effect on the full face photo. i have mac "goddess of the sea" around the edges of my lips, with "sweetie" at the centre. the softness comes from the fact that both of these are somewhat sheer, so there's not as much pigment involved to begin with. in order to keep them a little more separated, i patted them in place rather than swiping, which tends to just mix everything up.
i had wanted to do a transition from cool to warm, but the colours ended up getting a little too mixed. the cooler shade, around the outside, is armani lip maestro "ruby nude", a name that i'm still trying to figure out. in the centre, you have guerlain "gipsy". these colours should have been enough to present more of a contrast, being a cooler red and a warm orange, but the golden shimmer in both seemed to want to hold hands and even things out more. also, the addition of the guerlain shade softened up the lip maestro enough that it started to feather. i thought about using a lip liner with this one, because i could see that problem coming from the moment i started, but that would have been antithetical to my "this is supposed to be easy" rule. ah well.
now here we can see a bit more of the ombré effect. actually, when i first applied it, the contrast was a little too much, so i had that nineties dark outline + light inside = complete "what were people thinking??" horror. that's when i figured out my "patting not swiping" trick, because it made all the difference. the darker purple is rouge d'armani 610 and the lighter shade is mac "saint germain". the latter is one of those colours that looks terrible on me, but for some reason, i can't bring myself to part with it. it is an extremely original colour, but it's too cool and too opaque for all but the most wintery of complexions and has a white base, which can be dicey on anyone. used as a highlight as it is here, though, i find it very wearable. it makes my lips look fuller and plumper and not weird in a bad way.
i'm a little peeved that the photos don't capture the effect of this one in all its glory, because this worked really well. i wanted to create a kind of glowing combination that wasn't all red, but was kind of red. if you look at the close up shot, you can see the "slide" of cool red [bite beauty "cranberry"] to electric pink coral [mac "fusion pink"] a little better. this looked outstanding in person, because the slightly shimmer quality of "fusion pink" added a glow that made my lips look healthy and plump, while "cranberry" kept it a little more conservative than the coral on its own. this is the sort of colour combination that's only going to work on complexions that can support a lot of colour, but if that's something you can do, i highly recommend it. i also found that using a pencil lipstick for the outside- bite and nars have excellent ones- makes doing this sort of lip a breeze. in this case, you don't have to pat the outer colour, just trace the outside of the lip. then pat the inner colour on.
although i'm not one to layer gloss over lipstick- i find it feels heavy and the gloss colour never seems to come through- i can see myself making use of this technique again. it's a great opportunity to find new ways to use old products and to incorporate things that never look quite right on their own. and it's much easier than growing two or three extra heads.