Remix Your Lipstick Game Like A Pro

kec_bs_fw13_019Photo: MCV/Firstview.
How many lipsticks do you own? No, really, go count them. We can wait.
We’re going to guess that this number varies greatly from person to person, but we’re willing to wager our handbag fund that it’s no less than five and no more than 30. Pinks, plums, berries, browns, burgundies, nudes — everything from white to black and in between makes its way into our makeup bags on the never-ending quest for the perfect color/price/formula trifecta.
We recently remembered our makeup-artist friends telling us that any two lipsticks you own can be used together in a magical chocolate-and-peanut-butter kind of pairing. This made us think, well, okay, exactly how do you make that work? We put out the call and three of the top makeup artists in the industry answered with a master class of tips on how to remix your lipsticks with artist-level mastery. Lipstick lovers, here’s how to up your lipstick game to the next level, straight from the pros themselves.

Prime The Canvas
First, make sure your lips look their best before you go all crazy with a new signature color. “Prep lips with a matte balm, nothing too glossy,” says Sarah Lucero, celebrity makeup artist and global executive director of creative artistry at Stila Cosmetics. “You want to create a primed, hydrated lip rather than a slick, too-shiny surface.” She also advises blotting lips with a clean tissue before you apply lip color. “This way, you start with a great clean base.”

Start With Similar Pairings
You can always start by mixing two lipsticks in the same color family, but with different textures and effects. “The simplest way is to use one color to alter another,” advises Jessie Powers, managing educator for Make Up For Ever. “I recommend starting with a bright or deep base shade applied all over the lips, then use a light or shimmering shade to highlight just the center of the lips.”

iman palette

Go For The Unexpected
Have you ever wondered if two brights go together? Now’s your chance to find out. “You could mix an orange with a pink to create a beautiful coral lip or take a nude lip and add a pop of pink to make it a pinky nude,” says Romy Soleimani, beauty director-at-large for “I like to apply both lip colors directly to my lips and dab them with the pad of my ring finger to blend. When it comes to your makeup, don't be afraid to be an artist.” In other words, be brave, be bold, and go to work. “The most fun you can have with mixing lipsticks is to combine two colors that are very different from each other,” says Powers. “You’ll get some beautiful and surprising new colors.”


Do A Test Run
Not sure about your master mixing skills? All the instructors advise mixing the colors on another surface before going for the lips. “I suggest investing in a lip palette with several shades to choose from,” says Powers. “When I work from a lip palette, I use the inside of the palette top as my mixing palette so I keep my hands clean and can see the custom color developing.” Not ready to invest in an artist’s palette? “If you’re unsure about how the color might come out, try it on your hand first,” advises Powers.

Iman Lip Affair Kit, $4, available at
smudge pots

Add Eyeliner To Your Lip Game
We’ve seen mind-blowing results when pros like Lucero add eye pencils and gel eyeliners into lip products to get signature hues, so we asked her how she created her signature “vintage merlot” look from the runway at Lela Rose a couple of seasons ago. “So easy! Depending on your lip color, you mix a merlot or true red (she used Stila Color Balm Lipsticks in Brigitte and Natasha, respectively) with a small amount of Stila Smudge Pot in Brown (the brand’s signature gel liner). Mix them together on the back of your hand using a lip brush to create a creamy velvet texture and deep wine shade.” How do you know when you’ve got it? Start small and build. “Think of it as you would add salt or pepper to taste,” says Lucero. “Depending on your natural lip tone, you may want more lipstick or you may want more gel liner.”


Love Liquid Lipstick? Go For Long-Lasting Formulas
If liquid lip colors are really your thing, Lucero advises using ones with staying power. “Look for long-wearing liquid lip-color formulas that will set and stay on,” she advises. "If your gloss is too wet or creamy, it may smear too easily.”

Anything Is Fair Game
See that cheek stain over there? Soleimani says it’s fair game. “If you have a beautiful cheek stain, try blending it on your lips with another lip color,” she says. “You can also try dabbing a powder over your lipstick to create a matte look. The best way to try something new is just to try it."

Stila Smudge Pot in Brown, $20, available at Stila.

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