The Shy Person's Guide to Rocking a Bold Lip

As someone who doesn't like being the center of attention at all, the prospect of wearing a bold lip out in public used to scare me. I would always put one on, decide it was "too much," and replace it with a more understated nude. Over the last few months I've been working my way up and building up my comfort levels around wearing bolder lip shades, and I've finally started feeling like it's no big deal. I figured I'd share the tips that really helped me for my fellow lipstick hoarders out there.

Start with deep nudes & neutrals

The first step I took in branching out to bolder looks was to wear deeper nudes/neutrals. Since they were still a natural brown/pink shade, they remained in what I felt was "wearable" territory, while still looking a bit more "done" than my previous nude staples. Try to pick something a few shades darker than your natural lip color. My lip color is more of a cool-toned rosy shade, so something like the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Do Me Baby is my perfect deeper nude shade.

Blot, Blot, Blot

Once I started heading towards brighter shades and away from neutrals, I found them much easier to wear and get used to when I blotted them down. Starting with a layer of lip balm really helps to sheer out the color, as well. Deeper berry shades like the NARS Lipstick in Scarlet Empress or Audacious Lipstick in Audrey work really well as they add a really natural-looking flush to the lips. Or if you know what color family you're going for, a sheer matte lipstick like the Glossier Generation G's would be perfect - Jam is a good way to ease into berry shades, Crush into bright pinks, and Zip into reds.

Wear it around the house

This was the biggest one for me - I just had to get used to seeing myself in the mirror in these bolder shades, so popping one on when I had nowhere to be really helped. I did this with deeper liquid lipstick shades. It also helped me get used to how these particular shades wore throughout the day, so once I started wearing them out, I knew when it would be time to touch up. We're our own toughest critic, so we often think we can't pull something off, when in reality, you're just not used to seeing a different look on yourself. I thought I couldn't pull off bright reds for the longest time until I started wearing the MAC Lipstick in Russian Red and the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red around the house - once I got used to it, I realized I loved the look and bought myself the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, which had been on my wishlist for years.

Keep the rest of your makeup minimal

My biggest problem with a bold lip was that I felt a little too "done." I prefer to keep my makeup on the natural side of things, so I found that adding in a bold lip made everything look too much on my face. So I brought down the amount of makeup I wore on the rest of my face to keep everything looking fresh. A dewy base with bright, minimal eye makeup and fluttery lashes looks perfect with any bold lip - I had a whole post dedicated to that specific look here.

Do you wear bold lip shades? What are your tips for easing into them?


A Look | Glossy Skin & Bold Lips

I've been super into playing around with my makeup lately - when I'm not quickly slapping it on at my desk at work, that is. I recently got NARS Dragon Girl, and it inspired me to pair it with a minimal, glossy look.

I started off by using the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich* as my base - this really hydrates my skin and makes it plump and smooth and ready for makeup. I also patted on a bit of the Milk Makeup Blur Stick around my nose where my pores are the largest to blur them out and help my makeup go on a little more smoothly. The Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint has been my favorite base product as of late, and when I need a little more coverage I've been mixing it with the Stretch Concealer before applying. It leaves me with super dewy skin, and you can't even tell there's product there. I have a few spots of hyperpigmentation from old breakouts, so I spot concealed them with the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer - I put a tiny bit on the spot with an eyeliner brush and blended out the edges so the heaviest coverage is concentrated only where it's absolutely necessary. Dark circles were taken care of with the Onomie Bright Concealing Elixir,* which is still a favorite.

I wanted to stick to all cream products to keep my skin looking dewy and glossy. I used the darker shade of the Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate as a bronzer, and it really adds a healthy, subtle glow to the skin. For my blush I used the Glossier Cloud Paint* in Beam - I feel like my favorite shade of these changes every week, but currently it's the peachy pink Beam. It makes me look so awake, like I got over 8 hours of sleep, so it's hard to want to wear anything else. Besides the lip, the most important part of this look is the highlight. I started off with my usual layer of Glossier Haloscope in Quartz, my go-to. I really cannot go a day without wearing this - it makes my skin look super dewy. To amp up the dewiness and glossiness, I patted a bit of the Ciate Dewy Stix on top. This is basically a clear face gloss in stick form. It's not sticky in the slightest, just pure glossy dew.

Going along with this glossy theme, I used the Tom Ford Cream & Powder Eye Color in Young Adonis. It's a taupe shade that has that specific kind of shimmer that makes the eyelids look wet. I applied the cream shade and patted a bit of the matching powder on top in the center of my eyelids. I beefed up my eyelashes with the Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara and a bit of the tightlining with the Colourpop Creme Gel Liner in Brew-Haha. And brows were taken care of with Glossier Boy Brow in Brown, of course. 

As the finishing touch, I went in with the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl - this is my new obsession as of late. It had been on my wishlist for literal years, and I finally got around to buying it. It's such a blue-toned red that it borders on being bright pink, which is absolutely perfect for me. To set everything and keep it all looking glowy, I used the Pixi Glow Mist.* I've been loving using this lately - it really hydrates the skin and brightens everything up.

What's your favorite bold lip color?

I mentioned a lot of Glossier products in this post, and you can get 20% off your first order by shopping through my rep page! I do make a small commission on orders through my page, but that money gets invested back into this space!

*Products mentioned have been sent to me for consideration, but all opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.