How To Do The Korean Gradient Lip Trend For A Juicy, Glassy Look

In recent years, K-beauty skincare and makeup trends have been all the rage among beauty enthusiasts in the Western world. Stemming from South Korea — Asia's cosmetic powerhouse — K-beauty puts a premium on a natural-looking, lit-from-within appearance, be it skincare or makeup. Think cloud skin, glass skin, and cute eye bag makeup trends. The average Korean woman can have twenty-something steps in her skincare and makeup routine, but she would step out of the house looking effortlessly flawless. Every item is carefully adjusted and used in moderation to create a lived-in radiance and smoothness that makes people wonder if it's her real skin she's showing off.  

Korean women's obsession with subtle beauty also extends to the lips. A gradient lip look is the hallmark of K-beauty. Instead of rocking an attention-grabbing full lip of color, most Korean women prefer a barely-there pigmented look that creates the impression of a slightly bitten, delicate pout that goes perfectly with youthful-looking glass skin and a pair of doe-eyes. You can think about it this way: if a fully saturated lip is like a red rose, a gradient lip is like a cherry blossom. 

For those who wear makeup every day, gradient lips with just a hint of color are a sweet alternative to a 100% pigmented pout. Below, check out tips on how to achieve the gradient trend to give your lips a juicy, glassy look.

Achieve a moisturized gradient look

Before putting on any lip product, exfoliate your lips to eliminate dead skin cells. This will make your lips look softer and help the color pop more. Then, apply some lip balm to lend your lips a subtle sheen.

There are different ways to get the gradient effect. For a moisturized look that doesn't require too many touch-ups throughout the day, you'll need a richly pigmented lipstick and a nude or pale pink lipstick and lip liner. To start, apply the liner around your lips to define them. Then, apply the lighter color all over your lips and dab a small quantity of the darker shade on the center of your lips. After that, blend out the color with your finger or a brush, or by simply pressing and relaxing your lips together a couple of times. Now, your lips should gradually increase in color intensity toward the center. 

Usually, two distinct shades should be enough to give you a standard gradient look. But you can amp up the color progression by adding an even darker color to your lips. Just remember that the darkest shade should be the one that's closest to the center of your pout. 

Achieve a high-shine gradient look

For a glassy look where there's a more conspicuous distinction between the shades, you'll need a concealer and a richly pigmented and high-shine lip gloss. First, apply a concealer that's close to your natural skin tone over your lips to serve as a lighter base. 

Next, dot a small amount of gloss on the center of your upper and lower lips, and blend it out using your fingers or a fan brush. Keep in mind that the gradient look is all about the lips looking faintly faded into two different shades. Swiping your lip color all over your lips like you usually do for a fully pigmented look will defeat the purpose. 

After blending out the color, gently press your lips together to further soften the harsh edges of the pigment and give your lips a slightly smudged look. For the end result, your lip's center should look more pigmented than the outer parts. Depending on your preferences, you can apply more product and repeat the blending motion until you reach your desired intensity.