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From Korean TV to Your Pout: The Gradient Lip Trend is Surprisingly Flattering

By Kaitlyn Dreyling / May 5, 2014
As a Korean drama junkie, I’ve become slightly obsessed with the many beauty trends and products I’ve spotted on these addictive television series—and I’m not the only one. Recently the lead actress on the wildly popular alien love story, My Love from the Star, caused a shortage of YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick in #52 Rosy Coral ($35) in all major cities worldwide. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have her seemingly perfect lip color.
After leaving my name on the wait list (yes, you read that right) at Macy's Herald Square, I finally got my hands on the coveted bright pink lipstick. And while I could have easily swiped the richly pigmented shade on my lips straight from the bullet for a Malibu Barbie look, I opted to flaunt my it-color in the most Korean pop star way possible: a gradient lip.
Unlike the idea of ombré lips Stateside where the darkest color outlines the lips and fades to a softer shade in the middle, the Korean version focuses the color in the center of the lips for a cute, just-sucked-on-a-lollipop vibe. Here's how to achieve the look in four easy steps.

Step 1: Before applying anything to my lips, I like to start off with a freshly cleansed pout and a light layer of lip balm for hydration.
Step 2: To ensure that your color gradient really pops, give your lips a light wash of foundation or concealer.
Step 3: Apply your lip color in the center of your mouth.
Step 4: Use your finger to gently blend the color outward from the center. If you want, you can apply more pigment in the center or touch up the outer parts with concealer until you achieve your desired gradient look.
I like it to be more subtle than extreme, so one coat of color is enough for me. And if you want to give it a true Korean drama star feel, apply a layer of gloss. It's a simple and flattering way to wear practically any lip color.