Ombre lips have been a big thing for a few years now, especially in Asia where the preferred style of "ombre" is more of the "stained" look, where there is a deeper or more intense color on the insides of the lips and a lighter, more muted shade around the outsides.
This is not the same as the more dramatic style of ombre lips featured more commonly on social media among Western communities, where the top and bottom lips are different colors, and fade into each other in the center.
Most of us bring two lip products out to achieve that effect, so a few brands have more recently come up with two-toned lipsticks to help reduce clutter in makeup bags. Laneige is the latest to create a series of Two Toned Lip Bars (SGD$34), that aim to to make ombre lips a one-step one-produce process.
The bars come with 2 shades stacked diagonally, and what you're supposed to do is to apply them vertically, with the deeper shade towards the center of your lips. (Or outside if you want your lips darker outside.)
Just remember to flip the bar upside-down when moving from top lip to bottom lip, cos otherwise you end up with a very strange striped effect instead of an ombre look.
I'm not entirely sure you can get a seamless ombre effect in a single stroke without doing some other things to tidy up. Even when applied neatly and perfectly, the difference between the two shades can still look a bit harsh. The fact that they stacked the two shades together diagonally helps a bit, but doesn't blend the shades together enough without a little extra effort in my opinion.
And several of the shades in the range have a pale shade which is so muted and nude that when applied, it can make your lips very thin and mean, like in a press visual of Song Hye Kyo which actually looked a bit scary. But almost anyone can wear ombre lips, unless your lips are really extremely thin, or very mature and lined.
I'm using duo No 4 below to illustrate.
This is a scarlet and white/clear duo, so the shades should blend together to give you a vibrant rose. But for most people, it can look harsh and geisha-like because of the huge contrast between the red and the white. In some cases, it looks like you simply applied lipstick in the center of your lips and forgot to blend.
So this is what I do to get the effect I want with ombre lips.
- Apply the lip bar vertically on both lips (like shown above).
- Flip the lip bar horizonally sideways and run it across the center of each lip just where the 2 colors meet. (When you hold it sideways, you get an automatic mix of both shades, and this allows you to blend out the pale and deep shade on your lips so they fade into each other more beautifully.)
- Run a nude lipliner lightly along the borders of your lips to add some definition to the shape if your lips look very thin wearing ombre. The liner won't look obvious but it will help to make the edges of your lips more visible.
Voila, no more harsh line between the white and the red. And I don't look like a geisha.
If you prefer the more dramatic contrast between the two shades, just follow Step 1.
For me, to get the softest, most kissable, fullest-lip effect, the "mixed shade", the medium color you get when you mix two colors, should take up the most space on your lips. Only the outer edges and the very center where your lips meet should be very deep and very light. And you can only achieve this effect if you apply the lip bars vertically first, then horizontally to blend the colors.
That said, I do actually like these lip bars a lot. They take the hassle out of bringing two colors out with me, and the textures and pigmentation are amazing. Every one of these is extremely intense and creamy, and I have 10 swatches below. Some of the shades are quite hard to remove from the lips actually. The colors do cling and stain a bit, but that also means they last.
(Apologies - just checked a press document and realized that I labeled No 3 and 8 wrong. The print on the bottom of the tubes is so tiny and the manufacturers like to stamp serial codes ON TOP of them. Couldn't see through that!)
|As per above, shade marked No 8 is actually No 3!|
Yeah I'm no help narrowing things down. It's fun experimenting with these!