I Finally Fell In Love With Bold Lipstick Once I Realised I Was Applying It All Wrong

Photo: Courtesy of Angela Law.
I have always been a lover of makeup. Favouring a semi-no-makeup-makeup look, I'm all about layering products that look subtle, yet secretly pack a punch. I love a medium coverage tinted moisturiser that lets my skin shine through and a lip product that's quick to apply and fades naturally when I inevitably forget to reapply.
My usual lip product of choice is a "my lips but better" neutral (Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk, to be precise), with a tinted gloss (usually the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm) over the top, to make my lips look juicy during the day.
But each year, as the weather starts to hint towards cooler days, I find myself reaching for bolder products that feel like more of a statement. Especially when trying to freshen up my makeup at the end of the day before heading out for dinner with friends, I'm not looking for a subtle lip. What I want is a lip colour that looks bright and fresh, and in turn, makes the rest of my face look bright and fresh as well.
I've tried plenty of red lipsticks and there are a few I truly love. But for a mid-week dinner date, I don't always want to turn the volume all the way up on my makeup. But when Violette_fr launched at Mecca last year, I finally found the answer to my lipstick woes — specifically, with the Bisou Balm in the shade Amour Fou. Violette_fr is a French beauty brand founded by makeup artist Violette Serrat and this product specifically was designed to give a "bouche mordue" effect, which has long been a popular way to wear red lipstick in France, and translates to "bitten lips".
A sheer matte lipstick, the Bisou Balm formula is firm and not as creamy as other lipsticks you might usually reach for. It also applies completely differently compared to any lipstick I've used, and after carrying it around in my bag at all times for the past six months, it's cemented its place as one of my absolute favourite lip products.
The firmer, sheerer formulation means that the Bisou Balm gives a blurred look to the lip, so the edges are purposely undefined, as though you've spent the night sipping cocktails in a chic bar before smooching your date on the way home, leaving your lipstick looking more casual. It doesn't look messy or smudged exactly, but the sheer coverage and blurred edges have an appealing "undone" result that I can't get enough of.
A blurred lip (also known as a blotted lip) is a favourite on BeautyTok too, with "blurred lips" amassing 50.7 million views and "blotted lip look" racking up 45.3 million views. French beauty is coveted around the world, from the potent pharmacy skincare products to the effortless makeup, and the blurred lip is no different. Blurred lips are also a popular style in Korea, though the result is slightly different from the French style, since it's often achieved with water tint lip balms and glosses.
Like all trends, TikTok provides plenty of techniques on how to achieve a blurred or blotted lip. Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes recommends applying lipstick with a small eyeshadow brush, starting from the centre of your lips and working your way out, to ensure you don't over-apply the product to the lip line. If you want to deepen the colour, pat on a bit more lip gloss, and then use a liner to fine tune the edges, being careful to use the side of your pencil to avoid any sharp lines.
Now, I'm certainly not about to disagree with Katie Jane Hughes of all people. But the thing about me is, I'm kind of lazy. So, instead, I opt for a sheer product like the Violette_Fr one mentioned above and start by patting it into the lip so it applies lightly, adding more in any areas where I need it and using my finger to smudge it out. The effect is effortless and undone, and requires minimal tools, meaning that it's easy to apply on the go — which is just how I like it.
The blotted or blurred lip is sure to continue in 2024, particularly as many of us are searching for low-fuss makeup options that still give us a hit of dopamine. Surely I'm not the only one...
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