Trend on Trial – Ombre Lips

August 27th, 2015

August 27th, 2015

High-fashion and editorial are some of our favourite things.  If you’re anything like us, you’ll see a trend and go diving into your kit with one thought on your mind:  ‘I want to do that!’  In this edition, Warpaint deconstructs the ombre lip look, to see how you can create catwalk-worthy lips using the normal contents of your kit.

Ombre is still a pretty big buzzword in the beauty industry – starting with the dip-dye hair, it’s a trend which has also proved a big hit as a lip look.  Designers including Dior, Miu Miu, Kenneth Cole and Prabal Gurung have used ombre lips to spice up their runway shows, and the recent lip looks for Make Up For Ever’s UK re-launch had us itching to try the look ourselves.

Dior - Image Source

Dior Image Source


Kenneth Cole – Image Source

The concept is simple enough – a gradient of colour across the lips, which has almost unlimited possibility.  Most looks use darker shades on the edge with a brighter, or lighter, shade in the centre – adhering to the concept of contouring – but we’ve also seen beautiful examples of bright colour in the centre fading to natural edges, or even colour graduating from top to bottom lip or vice versa.

There are two key products for this lip look – a good lip balm, and a good lip liner.  Without the base these two give, it’s difficult to get the colours to apply smoothly, blend and last well, with the characteristic clean lines on the lip an essential part of the look.  This isn’t a style that looks like it has been casually or effortlessly put together.  Use a moisture-packed balm such as Nuxe Reve de Miel (£9.50) or Eos’s Smooth Spheres (£6.50), which are really cute and come in a huge variety of flavours.  Petroleum-free lip balms which thoroughly hydrate the lip are your best option, rather than a slick of Vaseline.


For the traditional ombre lip look your first step is to line lips with the darker of your two shades.  You want a creamy and pigmented pencil which will be able to hold its own and create the right backdrop for the look.  We like bareMinerals’ Marvellous Moxie Lipliner (£13), especially in the shade Electrified, as well as Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils (£13.50).  At the other end of the budget spectrum, we also love KIKO’s Automatic Precision Lip Liner (£5.90) which comes in a variety of darker shades.

UD Linerkiko

Alternatively you can use a dark liquid lip product which will make a good base – something like the OCC Lip Tars (£14) works perfectly;  Black Dahlia is a particularly popular colour for this trend.  Line the lips and shade in the edges, leaving about half of the lip colour-free.  Next we’re reaching for a lip colour with a blendable texture but with enough pigment to pop and create the ombre effect; you’re aiming for the effect of two distinct colours which have blended where they meet, rather than one blended colour.  Something like the delilah Colour Intense Cream Lipstick (£24) works well – Stiletto is a fantastic hot pink which would pop brilliantly against a darker liner – as does the Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Lipstick from Estee Lauder (£25).  Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets (£8.99) would be another good choice, its liquid texture is easy to manipulate before it sets, as would the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams (£5.50).  We’d recommend sticking with a matte finish, but a subtle sheen in the very centre of the lips can help the colour pop and exaggerate the contrast.  Carefully fill in the centre of your lips with your lighter colour, and blend the edges where it meets the darker shade.  Go back in with your pencil to keep the edges sharp and intensify colour if you need to – play about with it until you get the balance you like.

OCC TarDelilahNYX

We found a useful product which simplifies the look immensely – and even better, it can work with literally any lip colour.  Kiss Cosmetics Colour Switch (£9) is a creamy white lipstick which lifts the colour of any lip product underneath it by a couple of shades.  You can use it all over the lip, but we found it works really well to create a quick ombre effect.  Use a darker shade all over the lips this time, and carefully pat on some of the Colour Switch in the centre of the mouth and blend outwards.  Topshop have also created an easy-to-use product for the trend – the Topshop Lip Ombre (£9) is a nifty little compact with two compatible lip shades and textures, so all of the hard work is done for you.


For a more subtle take on the trend – more wearable and less editorial – try a pigmented balm rather than a lipstick.  Choose one with oils in the formula to melt and soften the edges of the liner, and impart a subtle burst of colour with a natural sheen.  When showing us the bareMinerals liner, the resident MUA paired Electrified with the bareMinerals Pop of Passion Lip Oil Balm (£16) in Berry Pop for a very wearable yet interesting look.

BM Pop of Passion

It’s as simple as that!  Using the same concepts of contouring you can create a trendy and bold style to spice up your arsenal of lip looks.  Tweet us with images of you Ombre Lips, we’d love to see and share them!  Find us @Warpaint_Mag.



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By Deborah Murtha

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