The Lipstick Trend Korean Girls Are Crazy For

Photo: Via Style Nanda.
Masters in the art of cute, a lot of Korean girls have been sporting the gradient or just-sucked-on-a-cherry-lollipop lip for some time now. It’s like a soft bloom of color from the center of the mouth, which helps emphasize the eyes as a bonus. The end result is a coquettishly innocent and surprisingly flattering look. Korean Instagram is rife with lips-slightly-parted testaments to the killer combination of a gradient pout coupled with doe-y eyes.
Even if you're not such a fan of looking super sweet and doll-like, I find that this modest bit of pigmented lip can be pretty versatile, as well as a fresh alternative to a full lip of color. I absolutely adore the way Mary Katrantzou worked it into her last runway show like an updated version of the geisha pout.
The fun part is, in response to this trend and the way color is applied to achieve the look, lipsticks have taken on all kinds of interesting manifestations — markers, peel-off stain masks(!), cushion pens, and good ol’ lippie in stick form. I guess another upside is that the trend stretches your lipstick dollar. Click through to the tutorial, and you’ll see what I mean.
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Photo: Via StyleNanda.
There are several techniques to gradienting your lips, but essentially you’ll need two shades — concealer/nude lipstick and color (pink, orange, cherry...whatever your go-to shade is). Using the concealer or nude lipstick, nude out the outer rim of your lips. Think '90s lipliner trend but with concealer or nude lipstick.

Then using a lip tint or lipstick, dab a few spots of color on center of the lips. Then blend out using fingers or a brush. Click through for recommendations on the best Korean lip products to get this look.
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Photo: Via Brilliant.
The key to this trend is being minimal, which can really emphasize the state of your lips. It’s best to be sporting a healthy pair of chap-free smackers. To that end, there’s the Love Heart 3-Step Lip Care System.

The first step removes dead skin with a gentle mask that you wash/wipe off. Step two is a gel-like mask filled with moisturizing properties that you place over your lips. It’s shaped like a pair of lips, and it’s hilarious. Finally, the last step is a moisturizing lip gloss.

P.S. I love the slogan, “Are you ready to kiss?” Yes, I’m ready.
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Photo: Via SkinFood.
I like this lip tint from SkinFood because it’s moisturizing so you don’t end up looking like a dehydrated vampire, which is what happens when gradient lips go wrong. It's a water-based gel-type of tint that contains tomato extract and rosewater and comes in cherry, berry, and orange.
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Photo: Via Clio.
Cushion products are all the rage in Korea, so why not a cushion lip product? The padding cuts down on the blending bit of the gradient-lip process, and the overall sensation of cushion on cushion-y lips is quite nice.

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Photo: Via Berrisom.
When I first tried this out, I could not get over the smell. It stinks. But the process and effect is pretty impressive. “Pack” essentially means peeling mask in Korean. And, like a mask that peels off, the process of sitting there not moving and possibly drooling on yourself while waiting for the “pack” to dry kind of sucks, but the feeling of peeling off the film of color to reveal perfectly tinted lips that lasts for hours is maybe worth it for some.

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Photo: Via 3CE.
It kind of feels like taking a crayola marker to the lips, but thankfully that kind of maneuverability works perfectly for creating the gradient lip. It’s a lip tint in marker form, and comes in red, pink, and orange.
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Photo: Via StyleNanda.
Here's the finished look. See how blurring out the lines of the lip with the concealer really makes the color pop?
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