How To Mix Lipstick Like A Pro

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Even if a beauty junkie is in possession of a billion lipsticks, she will always have room for another. It's a universal truth: Too many lipsticks are never enough. Our makeup kits and handbags could be overflowing with five of every color — plus plenty of tubes we’ve barely even cracked — and we’d still line up at Sephora to buy a sixth of each.

Here, we offer a solution to this insatiable desire: lipstick mixing. Not only can you create just about any shade you’re coveting with colors you already have, you can also put under-used — or long-forgotten — products back into your rotation.

Keep clicking for quick, easy tips (from two superstar makeup artists) on how to get the most out of your lipstick collection.

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Mixing Basics
“When I started as a makeup artist 35 years ago, we always mixed our own shades,” says Sonia Kashuk, makeup artist and founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty. “It’s the best way to personalize and create your own colors.” Kashuk suggests cutting up several lipstick bullets and storing them in an empty palette, so you can customize a whole range of shades.

Nick Barose, a makeup artist who works with celebs such as Lupita Nyong’o and Amy Adams, opts for a more simple route. “Mix it on the back of your hands [or] layer it directly on lips,” he says. “Be sure not to make it too many layers, as it can get gummy, [and] moisturize your lips with non-greasy lip balm.”

Kashuk and Barose agree that it’s fine to layer lipsticks with different finishes — just make sure to apply the most matte product first and the slickest, shiniest one last. In fact, Kashuk says, matte lipstick and shiny gloss are a match made in makeup heaven. “A matte formula underneath a shiny formula will give your shine longer wear,” she explains.
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Seeing Red
Really bright or deep colors work best for mixing, Barose says. He suggests layering deep-plum lipstick on top of red to get a "pretty berry." Kashuk also loves creating new shades with crimson hues, but she often mixes hers with fuchsia. She loves the combo of her Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Colour and SPF 16 in Red Orange and Parisian Pink.

But, red works with more than just bold colors. Got a nude lipstick that makes you look corpse-y? According to Barose, a swipe of crimson underneath will make it pop.
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Tone It Down
As you’d probably expect, nude lip color is a great neutralizer for bright or dark lipstick. “If you want to tone down a shade you feel may be too bright, mix with a neutral nude,” suggests Kashuk.

Barose prefers to subdue a punchy lipstick with sheer or pale lip gloss. He swears by a “bright orange underneath peachy gloss."
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Contour Your Kiss
Got a really bright, statement lipstick, like violet or neon pink, that has been relegated to the depths of your makeup stash because you're too shy to wear it? Well, Barose suggests trying the same trick you use to give yourself Kim Kardashian cheekbones: grab a deeper version of the same color to subtly contour your lips.

Applying a combo of light and dark shades is a softer way of wearing super-bright lip color. Plus, it will enhance your natural contours and
create the illusion of fuller lips — a win-win.

Just paint the deeper, more subdued lipstick color all over your lips. Then, apply a second coat of the brighter color at just the center of your lips and blend well. Barose recommends pairing MAC Lipstick in Violetta (bright purple) and Hangup (deep plum).
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Open Your Eyes
When mixing a new lip color, don’t limit yourself to just lip products. You can mix lipstick with plenty of other items in your makeup drawer and get amazing results. Barose loves playing with eyeliner to create new lip colors. He suggests layering chocolate-brown liner under red lipstick for a burgundy, or use navy pencil instead to get a “pretty plum” lip color.

Barose also likes to pat warm, shimmery eye shadows on top of lipstick for a metallic look. “Cream eye shadow in a coppery shade can add drama,” he says.
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Transform An Unflattering Shade
Maybe you took a chance and bought a funky, new shade of lipstick, but after you stepped away from the makeup counter, you realized it just didn't look right. This doesn't mean you should toss it. Instead, Barose suggests taking a cream blush that complements your skin’s undertones — cool or warm — and patting it on your lips before you apply the lipstick. “You can correct [the color] slightly by layering the correct tone,” he says.

Kashuk says a similar effect can be achieved with lip pencil. “If you want to warm [the lipstick] up, use a more brown-based lip pencil; to cool it down, try a pink-based pencil,” she says.
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Go Ombré
If you want to blend lipstick shades together, the possibilities are endless. But what about combining lipsticks for a deliberately two-toned effect? Ombré lip color is totally on-trend and a fun way to break from routine.

“Pick colors that are similar, so they don't clash,” Barose says. “For example, you can use plum and red, or deep purple with fuchsia, or sepia brown with orange.” Two color combos he loves: Tom Ford Lip Color, $52, in Cherry Lush and Bruised Plum; and Nars Audacious Lipstick, $32, in Michiyo and Silvia.

To apply, just paint the deepest color on your top lip and the lightest shade on your bottom lip.
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