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The Korean-Style Gradient Lip (Plus More Western Take)

The gradient lip has been around for a while, and for good reason. It’s quick, easy, and the contrast of a cute, small “anime” lip can make eyes look huge. The look—which can appear youthful or sophisticated, depending on color and your personal vibe—is extremely versatile.

For three versions of the gradient lip, I used the Son & Park Air Tint Lip Cubes. Not only are these great for adding a pop of color to your mouth, they are also buildable, super pigmented, smooth and last for hours. I won’t lie: the packaging is really cute too.

Ice Pink 10
A buildable icy hot pink with a touch of fuchsia.

Make sure lips are moisturized. Apply a bit of product to the center of the lip.

Blend with your fingertip, concentrating the color in the middle.

Clean around the edges of your mouth if necessary.


I like this color when I’m too lazy to wear anything else but don’t want to appear overdone.

Mexican Rose 06
A warm red with a fiery pink undertone.

Apply to the center of the lips.

Blend with your fingertip.

Apply more product if necessary, concentrating on the inner lips.



Behold: the more casual, easy-to-wear red lip.

Rosy Coral 03
Admittedly, “rosy coral” pretty much is my natural lip tone, so this look doesn’t scream “gradient” at all. It’s subtle and sweet, but still applied the gradient way, using a minimal amount of product.

Apply color to center of lips.



Perfect for tricking people into thinking you’re one of those no-makeup makeup types.

Gradient Lips North American Style

“Korean girls don’t use concealer,” Charlotte Cho tells me. But a little well-blended cover-up can create more of a statement without being overwhelming. I decide to test it out, paired up with Essence Lipliner in 05 Soft Berry, a beautiful berry wine that lends a sophisticated flavor to the gradient lip. At $2 a pop, you can’t really go wrong.

Dab your lips with your favorite concealer. I’m using RMS “Un” Cover-Up because I love the creamy texture.

Apply lip liner to the centre of the lips. Blend out with lip balm.

If wines are too overwhelming, start with a gradient lip.

Are you a fan of this look or is overlining your jam? Either way, it’s fun to switch it up once in a while.

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