Perfect lip contouring in 7 easy steps

Contouring has taken the beauty world by storm, and the trend is not about to let go, with lip contouring taking over social media and stores alike. It may initially seem that sporting two (sometimes very) different shades on such a small part of your face might be overdoing it, but – as always – it’s all a matter of balance: done properly, lip contouring can add subtle depth and shape to your lips. So here is how to achieve Kylie-esque chiseled, plump and delicately ombréed lips in 7 simple steps and 2 options.

Option 1: using lip liners

Opting for a combination of lip liners is the technique that has prevailed in beauty circles so far, even though it requires work, skill and material.

You’ll need:

• Light concealer • Lip liner #1 (1 shade darker than your natural lip tone)

• Lip liner #2 (1-2 shades darker than #1)

• Light lipstick, paired with the lip liners’ palette • Lip gloss or iridescent eyeshadow

How to proceed:

1. Prep: ensuring your lips are in perfect shape is a must. First exfoliate them, scrubbing off the dry, flaky patches. Then, moisturize them using a non-greasy balm.

2. Use the concealer to make sure that the color of your lips is even all over and that your natural lip line is not showing. In short, create a blank canvas.

3. Draw the outer ridge of your lips with lip liner #1, starting at your Cupid’s bow and making sure that the line traces just outside of your natural lip line, not any further – drawing too high would be the perfect recipe for disaster. Make also sure the outline is symmetrical, and always use the side of the liner – the line will be softer.

4. Fill in the rest of your lips’ surface with lip liner #1.

5. Start the actual contouring using lip liner #2: re-line your lips following the same outline you drew with lip liner #1, but also shade in the corners of your mouth in triangular shapes.

6. Apply the lipstick, softly dabbing in the center of your mouth, so that it contrasts with the corners that you have just colored. Be careful: going too close to the outline of your lips will erase the depth you just created. The combination of the two is what will give the desired pouty effect.

7. Blend, blend, blend. Blending the colors from dark to light, either using your fingers, a brush, lip gloss or eyeshadow (which will add an extra highlight), is the step you definitely shouldn’t skip.


Option 2: using two-tone lipstick

The new generation of two-tone, or multi-colored ombré lipsticks (that come with two different shades, one darker, one lighter) is poised to revolutionize the lip contouring realm – and make contouring your lips much faster and easier. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by their sometimes-dramatic look; these lipsticks will allow you to color and contour in one stroke.

You’ll need:

• Concealer • Two-tone lipstick • Lip gloss or iridescent eyeshadow

How to proceed

1. Go through steps 1 and 2 as explained above.

2. Apply the lipstick on your upper lip, making sure that the darker shade closely follows the ridge of your natural lip line, but turn the bullet upside to do your bottom lip to avoid having the darker color in the middle of your lip instead of outlining it.

3. Then again – you’ve guessed it – blend, blend, blend.

One last tip: for extra plumpness, apply a cream highlighter right on the middle of your bottom lip and on your Cupid’s bow. The additional light and depth will only enhance your new pout’s lusciousness.