Friday, March 19, 2010

Fragrance Bouquet Loves: Natural Berry Lips

It’s been a while since we’ve had a “Fragrance Bouquet Loves…” feature, but now that the spring seems to have finally come, I can’t resist writing about one of my favorite makeup looks. The bright glare of the sun and its warmth is not only reflected in our collective moods, but also in our looks: Gone are the heavy clothes and fabrics, gone are the sensible shoes, gone the strict up-dos. Importantly, gone also are the make-up styles we’ve favored all winter: It’s bye-bye to Chanel’s Noirs Obscurs (did you buy into these LE’s? I went for Maniac), bye-bye to serious browns and bye-bye to anything that looks heavy and overly done. It’s spring and fresh is the word.

Fragrance Bouquet Looooves natural lips for spring and summer. What do you think of when you hear the words ‘natural lips’? The past decade beauty magazines have conditioned us to mentally associate natural lips with nude lips, but even publications fiercely devoted to the nude lip look are starting to revoke: The word is finally out that what looks good on camera and on the catwalk simply doesn’t translate as successfully in real life, with most faces ending up looking washed-out and pale. Let’s face it: Natural has more to do with shades of pink than with shades of beige!

My own personal favorites when it comes to natural looking lips are the shades mimicking soft, yet vibrant berry colors. The idea should be your lips but better, as trite and overused as that phrase might sound. Still, that’s easier said than done. A shade that looks perfectly natural in the tube might end up looking gaudy on the lips (and as one who refuses to test used lipsticks on the make-up counter, I can tell you that my lipstick drawer is filled with such failed purchases). Okay, so we are looking for that elusive “your lips but better” look, but where can we find it and what exactly does it look like? Let’s take a look at the perfect embodiment of the look, modeled by the woman who champions and wears the look best, Giselle Bündchen. In fact, this whole post is inspired by her: I was mesmerized by her effortless look a couple of years ago and have been copying it ever since.

As you see, Giselle ROCKS this look, seemingly having found the perfect shade that accentuates her lips by flatteringly enhancing the color, yet appearing completely effortless, as though she is not wearing any lipstick at all. Aside from finding the all-important shade, the other key in achieving this look is texture: Lipgloss can look goopy and even the finest layer will attract too much attention due to its glassy shine. Anything matte or overly opaque on the other hand will ruin the natural effect of your own lips showing through, precisely what we want to avoid. The texture needs to be lightly sheer yet offer enough pigment to give that erotic flush of color that will enhance your own. Well, look no further than MAC’s Lustre finish line of lipsticks for both the perfect shade and texture. The absolute best one is Rue d’Bois - a supremely natural looking sheer midtone pink. It contains pearlized pigment, but it is so finely milled that the result on the lips is just beautiful natural-looking shine without a single hint of flashy glitter. Seriously this is the best natural looking, your-lips-but-better berry-pink that I’ve ever laid my hands on! It is HIGHLY recommended. Moreover the pearlized pigment is multidimensional and should suit all skin tones. Unfortunately this perfect shade was (at least until two years ago) only available in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. I am not sure if it is now available in the USA as well. In the event that it is not, please give the second best choice a try: Naked Paris - another sheer lustre with finely milled pearlized pigment. This one is also a beautiful pink tone but contains slightly darker brown-pink undertones so it is not my first choice. Fair-skinned beauties who can’t find Rue d’Bois in the USA might also want to give Radiccio a try (my third choice). This is a sheer mauve-y berry color which will work best for those who have really fair skin with blue undertones as its tone is blue-based. Beauties with fair skin which has yellow undertones (or olive-skinned beauties) might also want to check out Avon’s Frozen Rose. This is an amazingly beautiful conditioning sheer with enough pigment to give that desired ‘oomph’! It is rather more flashy and thus a little less barely-there than the MACs, but it still very natural looking. It has a beautiful, subtle gold sheen.

Finish the Look: Flushed cheeks are the perfect compliment for this look. Use a cream blush, as this will suit the look best, by allowing your skin to show through and keeping the natural appearance intact (powder blush can diminish the dewy appearance we’re looking for). Do as Giselle and subtly flush the arc that passes over the nose as well, mimicking the look you’d get if you’d spent the day in the sun. Load the lashes with mascara and you’re done! If you must use coverage for your skin, go for a tinted cream and only apply on areas that truly need it, allowing your natural skin beauty to show through.

Full Lips: If you’re missing your lipliner then I’ve one last tip for you. Enhance the cupid’s mound (the slightly plumper fine area lining your cupid’s bow and whole upper lip) with some shimmer. This enhances the plumpness of that area which is a sign of youth and as such sends an erotic signal. You need to be very discreet and careful when doing this however. For daytime I suggest carefully lining just outside your lips with a very fine layer of pearly-white lip-balm and then proceeding with the application of your lipstick (Labello’s Pearl & Shine works well, as do many of the white pearl conditioning lipsticks sold by many of the major cosmetics brands). If you are going to be indoors or in the afternoon and evening you can use something slightly more daring. Take a fine lip-brush (I like Shu Uemura’s 6M Sable), and dip it in a pearly-white shadow. Then carefully draw a very fine line outside your upper lip. The most pigment should be applied on the center and above the cupid’s bow, simply drawing out into a fading thinner line outwards. Finish may be cream or powder. Do not draw into your actual lips at all, as this will make them smaller instead of bigger!

Images:, (Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images),


Ines said...

These are great advices Divina! I for one only started with using lipsticks and can say that that is an ardous business. :) Getting the colors right and only testing them on my hand.
The bad part is there is no MAC counter here. :(

Anonymous said...

I could kiss you for this! This is one of the posts I enjoyed the most. Because it gives perfect advice, how, with what tools, what products, which skin, and shares great tips!


Diana said...

This was a great post! Thanks for the tips -- they were especially helpful.

PinstripedZebra said...

I was wondering, I know you also wear lipgloss sometimes. Would you consider this to be a natural look too? Since it enhances the shine but leaves the colour of your lips natural.


Nina said...

I like this