Master the "no-lipstick lipstick" look with these top tips & product recommendations
Certain make-up trends come and go (skinny brows, anyone?), while others stick around. An example of the latter is the "no-make-up make-up" look. Gaining popularity in the 90s, barely-there, minimalist make-up is back in business and this time, it spans everything from our base to our eyeshadow and even our lipstick.
"Known as 'your lips but better', the idea is to create as natural a finish as possible so that to onlookers, it doesn’t look like you’re wearing any lipstick at all," says Joy Adenuga, pro make-up artist and No7 ambassador. "Think a lived-in lipstick finish that looks like a subtle stain and celebrates your natural lip colour," adds Valeria Ferreira, celebrity make-up artist.
To Aimee Connolly, renowned make-up artist and founder of Sculpted by Aimee, "a 'no-lipstick lipstick' look suggests that the lips aren’t dressed in lipstick – instead, they’ve been shaped or sculpted using other products like a lip liner and lip balm."
Here, the experts break down how to master that "no-lipstick lipstick" look with top tips and product recommendations for all skin tones.
How to prep the lips for a "no-lipstick lipstick" look
Step one, exfoliate. "I love exfoliating the lips first," says Valeria. "It boosts blood flow to the lips, so they instantly get a rosy flush of colour." In terms of product, the experts recommend using a gentle lip scrub to remove dead skin build-up.
"Following this, I’d recommend applying a nourishing and hydrating product – like a lip balm," says Aimee. Let the balm sink in and, before you apply your next product, "blot away any excess shine," adds Valeria.
What textures work best for a "no-lipstick lipstick" look?
"Go for either liquid or matte lipsticks, tints or balms with colour," says Valeria. Joy agrees and recommends "matte textures and tinted lipsticks – they’re the best formulations for giving that 'your lips but better' finish."
To apply, Valeria recommends using fingertips. "The warmth from your fingertips melts the product into the lips, diffusing the colour to give you that super natural and effortless finish – no matter what shade you use," she says.
How to find the right "no-lipstick lipstick" shade for you
"You won’t know if it’s the right shade until you try it on," says Aimee. "So, if that’s an option, I’d always suggest swatching the product first." When searching for shades, Aimee recommends considering your skin tone, your eye colour and your own natural lip pigment – as these three factors will determine the end result.
Below, the experts share their go-to "your lips but better" products for all skin tones.
"Your lips but better" products for dark skin
"Berry tinted lip products look great with darker skin tones," says Valeria. Her go-to? YSL Nu Lip & Cheek Balmy Tint in Chills (02), £20, which provides a subtle contrast.
"Sometimes, lips can be very dark on the edge and pale on the inside – like a natural ombré effect. Celebrate this and find a pale tone for the centre of the mouth that looks natural and will blend into the outline of the mouth," says Valeria, who recommends a richly pigmented matte finish lipstick for this. M·A·C, L'Oréal Paris and NYX Professional Makeup serve up a great range of shades to choose from.
Try: Fenty Beauty Sheer Shiny Lipstick in Cookies & Cocoa or Vamps Who Brunch, £20
• Size: 2.8g
• Available in 10 shades
Joy recommends this sheer lipstick that locks in moisture while delivering a tint of juicy colour. Cookies & Cocoa or Vamps Who Brunch both work well on dark skin tones.
‘Your lips but better’ products for olive skin
"Peachy pinks and blush shades work really well on olive skin tones," says Aimee. Speaking from experience, Valeria agrees. She uses shades that have a hint of pink in them, which work well with her lips’ warm undertones.
According to Joy, creating a bit of variation is key for all skin tones and says, "A slight contrast in shade is advisable, as sometimes when you choose a shade that’s identical to your skin tone it can make the finish look a bit flat."
"Your lips but better" products for fair skin
"For pale skin, I love to see shades that have more of a rosy or red undertone, like the Sculpted By Aimee Lip Duo in Pink Pair," says Aimee. Top tip? Seek out lip products with cool undertones that will complement fair skin (that tend to be neutral or cooler) – like taupe, beige and soft pinks.
All prices correct on date of publication