On June 10, 2018, Tracee Ellis Ross was honored with the Style Ambassador Award from the Accessories Council (which is extremely befitting considering she’s a style chameleon). While her outfit looked like perfection from head-to-toe (duh, it’s Tracee), I absolutely raved on her lipstick shade, one that was bold, vibrant, and perfect for these upcoming warm days. It got me thinking: How many of us, especially deeper skin tones, want to wear bold lip colors like this but are honestly afraid?
It’s totally understandable given the fact that a shade too light or too bright can immediately look chalky or crazy (been there, done that). But if you want to jump into bright colors, fret not! Here are my thoughts on how you can easily achieve your best lip pout no matter how chocolate your skin is:
PICK A COLOR THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, BUT SEARCH YOUR UNDERTONES
Be sure to go for lipsticks (foundations, and everything else) that compliment your undertones. If you’re warm-toned, your lipsticks will appear differently than cool-toned or even neutral. The easiest way to find out your undertones is seeing if you look better in gold or silver, which will also help determine if you have red or yellow undertones. Once you find that out, you can go on and plunge into your actual lipstick. For this vibe, I’ve been loving Too Faced’s Melted lipstick in “Rated R”, but I also love similar shades from Kat von D, or my other favorite from Auntie Pat McGrath, her “Candy Lip” lip shade.
MAKE SURE YOUR LIPS ARE EXFOLIATED…PLEASE
Before hopping into bright tones, you’ll want to make sure that your lips have a smooth, even base. That’ll help prevent any dead skin that can make the lipstick or gloss look patchy. For me, I love using the sugar scrub from KAIKE, which is Black-owned and tasty (although you should NOT eat it but it just smells like delicious sugar). I’ll take just a bit between my fingers and scrub across my lips for a few seconds, and then wash off with some water. Next, I follow up with a lip moisturizer (I guess a lip balm?) and honestly, anything that’s even remotely moisturizing does the trick for me, even Vaseline.
A LIP LINER IS YOUR FRIEND
When I was younger, I used to see my mom line her lips, and I thought it was the weirdest thing. Now as an adult, I see the value of lining your lips for really any color, but especially when you’re dipping into brighter colors like reds, pinks, oranges, and purples. For lip liner, I like to take a chestnut-brown shade, like the NYX Lip Pencil, or even my Morphe lip liner and start at the outer corner of my bottom lip and work my way in. I’ll then go in and do the same for the top, although I honestly don’t need as much since I have a pretty cool cupid’s bow. Once the liner is on, I’ll stay applying the color of choice, starting on my bottom lip and going in short strokes (versus just swiping it back and forth which can cause streaks).
PAT LIPS TOGETHER BEFORE APPLYING
Aside from the sheer stickiness of applying a ton of layers of lipstick, you really will do more harm than good if you pile it on. Since the lipstick has something to adhere to, you only need to apply one solid base and then pat your lips together. If you STILL need more, you can pat the product in places you need more help in, instead of going over the entire lip multiple times. After you’ve gotten the color you’re striving for, you can always go back in with your liner and redefine your shape if it’s been lost from the gloss. It’s all a process and it definitely takes practice, but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it!
What’s your favorite shades for summer? What colors are you absolutely shunning from?! Let us know!