I hate summer. There, I said it. So, lynch me. The heat. The humidity. The gravity-defying hair. The only thing that makes this season passable is its love of bold and bright tropical colours. So I really intend to make the most of the orange lipstick – not just because it’s trendy but also because this punchy citrus shade is fresh and modern, like red’s cooler, not-so-serious sister. Plus, unlike red lipsticks, orange shades don’t have saturated blue or red undertones, so they warm and brighten every skin tone. In short, this is the perfect summer shade.
Yes, it’s not an easy colour to wear. And yes, there are ways in which you (yes, you!) can master it. Here are some pro pointers culled from the top makeup artists in the industry.
Orange lipstick #1: Start with sheer
You don’t have to go with super saturated, super bright orange right out of the gate. To ease into the look, start small with a tinted balm for minimal colour (I am totally in love with Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Coral), then move up the intensity scale with a sheer coral gloss. Ready to take off the training wheels? Graduate to a bright orange stain, or dab an orange lipstick only on your bottom lip and blend.
Orange lipstick #2: Pick the shade
Like any other lipstick, your own colouring is important while picking the perfect orange. Darker, tanned skin works best with true orange shades, while a red-orange (like coral) looks good on most skin tones. And always test before you pick or pass on a shade: some lipsticks look outrageously neon in the tube but turn out to be really sheer and wearable on the skin.
Orange lipstick #3: Keep it matte
Feathering and fading are more noticeable with bold shades like orange, so skip glossy formulas that can slip off your lips. And stay away from those shimmer, frost and pearl finishes, unless you are channelling a retro vibe. Instead, go for a cream or matte finish, which looks modern and tends to stay put for longer.
Orange lipstick #4: The preparation
Just like wearing any other bold lipstick, it’s important that the lips are well-prepped and free from dry flakes. Try this super-easy DIY lip scrub recipe for the best results.
Orange lipstick #5: Color inside the lines
Orange lips should look clean and crisp – and the way to that is with a precise lip liner. This will cut down on the messiness and also stop the saturated shades from migrating to your cheeks. Either opt for a neutral lip liner around your line (I get wonderful results with Dior Universal Contour Transparent Lip Liner, no matter which lip colour I use) or fill in the entire lip with a colour similar to your lipstick.
Orange lipstick #6: Wear your skin clean and dewy
Orange is fun and fresh, so it needs to be paired with a fresh, unfussy face. With one caveat: orange lipstick can highlight redness and blemishes, so you will need to conceal any spots with a light-to-medium-coverage foundation. For the most glow-y effect, mix your foundation or tinted moisturizer with a liquid highlighter such as Clinique Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator. If you’re feeling pale, dust some bronzer in a number 3 figure on the sides of your face to hit your forehead, cheeks and chin. Follow it up with a light wash of highlighter on your cheekbones and brow bones. The result is beach-y and super-sexy.
Orange lipstick #7: Say no to heavy eye makeup
Orange lips are a style statement, like a punchy necklace or bright shoes. You wouldn’t clutter up these with dangly earrings or super-patterned trousers, right? Similarly, orange lipstick works best when left to its own. Ditch the dark eyeshadows and heavy liner – instead, keep the focus on your lips by curling your lashes and applying a coat of clear mascara.
If ditching eye makeup is a no-go for you, try the next best thing: smudge some dark brown kohl liner around your upper and lower lashes lines, then wiggle 2-3 coats of mascara through your (curled) upper lashes. For nightwear, opt for a wash of bronze or rose gold eyeshadow. Or draw on a jet black liquid liner coupled with clean mascara for easy sophistication. The effect: a bright burst of color on an otherwise bare face.
Orange lipstick #8: Focus on those brows
This is a non-negotiable: bold lips need bold brows. Otherwise your face will look unbalanced. So work on them and fill in any gaps with a brow pencil till you get the perfect frame.