Bigger isn't always better, especially when it comes to beauty standards. East is a delicate matter and sometimes, the more fine are the facial features, the more they considered to be appealing and charming. And, I guess, that is why we love viral K-beauty trends so much! Unusual makeup techniques always inspire me to try something different, forcing me to take a fresh view on the regular beauty routine. Today, we are going to dissect one of my favorite makeup trends - a romantic, dulcet gradient lip look inspired by ball-jointed doll makeup.
The gradient lip makeup technique is widely popular among k-beauty fans and well-known as the Korean makeup lip trend. I think you might have seen these melancholic porcelain doll lips in anime series and of course, on beautiful ball-jointed dolls. Doll artists mastered the glossy baby-like lip look and have inspired makeup artists around the world to inherit this unique technique.
So what is a gradient lip makeup look? Also known as 'ombré lips' or 'eastern gradient' this makeup technique is meant to make your lips appear smaller and cuter, giving them a youthful makeover. The lip color is mainly concentrated in the inner part of the lips, making them look like you've just eaten a lollipop and stained them. This innocent, slightly blurred effect on the lips is very easy to achieve and you can wear it on a daily basis. Of course, you can make the stained gradient effect more dramatic by using bolder or darker colors.
It is hard to say when and where the gradient lip look made its first appearance in the world of makeup and beauty. One of the earliest mentioning was a makeup tutorial and few pictures back in 2011. That's almost seven years ago! Since that time the effortless gradient lip look has gained massive popularity and you can still see bjd gradients on runway models, Instagram beauty gurus and makeup junkies.
The first time I tried a bjd doll gradient lip look was back in 2014, after watching a face-up video where a girl was drawing a face on a real ball-jointed doll. I even created a little BJD lips step by step tutorial, explaining how to do this subtle lip look from the video. I got a bit more creative, adding a nude outline to my natural lips and playing with lip contouring. My natural lips are small, so I wanted to give them a fuller shape with the help of a lip pencil.
There are several different ways to create this kawaii lip look and you can easily recreate one of them right away, using your favorite makeup products. Let's begin with the easiest technique, which basically requires your favorite sweet-colored lipstick and a shiny lip gloss. Apply the lip color on your lips, avoiding your natural lip contour. After, blend the color with your finger, softly distributing the color upwards. And that's how you can achieve a simple gradient lip effect on your lips.
For those, who prefer an elaborate doll-like lip shape I have prepared a detailed tutorial with pictures and description. Here are a few extra makeup products you'll need for a refined bjd lip look: moisturizing lip balm, a sharpened nude lip liner, that look natural on your skin, a small synthetic brush for blending, foundation or powder, lipstick and clear lip gloss for a shiny finish.
Start with a light exfoliation and your favorite lip balm. Lip balm will moisturize your lips and prepare the surface of your lips for the makeup manipulations;
Now it is time to shape your lips with a sharpened lip liner. Usually, I overdraw my upper lip and add a bit of 'volume' under my lower lip. Ball-joined dolls have 'sad' lip corners, so you can lightly create an effect of drooping mouth corners;
Apply a lip color on the inner parts of your lips, avoiding the outline. Blend the color upwards with a soft synthetic brush, creating a subtle color gradient. Re-apply the lip liner if necessary and accentuate your lip 'wrinkles' for a more natural appeal. I also accentuated my cupid's bow with a matte brown eyeshadow;
Let's erase unnecessary color off the lips. Use a small synthetic brush to apply a small amount of makeup foundation or concealer close to your lip line. Gently blend it with a brush or finger for seamless color gradient;
Finish the bjd doll lip look with a coat of your favorite shiny lip gloss. Not a fan of glossy lip finishes? A matte gradient lip look looks just as wonderful and exceptional!
As you can see, you don't really need any practice or major makeup skills to create a gradient effect on your lips. It is very easy to pull it off and works great on every lip shape. If you have thin lips, you can add some volume with the right contouring. And if you want to conceal the plump shape of your lips, conceal the volume with foundation. You can use more than just one lip color for a softer gradient. Baby pink and ripe cherry colors create a beautiful combo on your lips!
I strongly believe that the popular soul eater lip trend grew together with the oldie gradient lip look. Basically, makeup artists use the same arsenal of makeup products and the very similar technique for soul eater lips. You can learn more about the soul eater lip trend in my earlier blog post, where I dissect this makeup trend and share a simple makeup tutorial.
To sum up, I want to mention that the gradient lip look is one of my favorite makeup trends. On one hand, this look is soft, innocent and subtle. But on the other hand, it is unusual and keen! You can use neutral colors for an everyday look or choose a bold color palette and create an edgy gradient effect on your lips. Love it or hate it, bjd doll inspired lip trend exists and it is super popular!
Please let me know your opinion on this look, have you ever tried a k-beauty gradient lips?
Lots of love,