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How to: Wear Orange Lipstick (Without Looking Ridiculous)

Of all the spring trends—colored liner, low-slung ponytails—orange lipstick may be the trickiest. It feels like one of those things that’s best left to beauty daredevils, right? Wrong. According to makeup artist Stefanie Syat, it’s universally flattering. “Unlike red lip colors, orange shades don’t have saturated blue or red undertones, so it warms and brightens every skin tone.” she explains. You just have to know how to make it work, as Tim Gunn would say. Here, Syat’s tips for wearing orange well:

Try it on

Some shades look outrageously neon in the tube but glide on delightfully sheer—like MAC Cosmetics Huggable Lip Color In Fashion Force. Sample a variety of vibrant peach, coral, and pumpkin hues to see what looks best.

Keep it simple

“To keep the look modern and fresh, ditch dark eyeshadows, and heavy liner,” Syat advises. Instead, keep the focus on your lips by curling your lashes, applying a coat of clear mascara and some tinted brow gel. The effect: a bright burst of color on an otherwise bare face.

Color inside the lines

The key to making orange lips look sophisticated, and not messy, is careful application. Start with a base of moisturizing lip salve. We love NUXE Reve de Miel® Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm, which contains mega-hydrators like Acacia honey and shea butter. Next, trace the outline of your lips with a lip liner. Try Lipstick Queen's Invisible Liner—the formula goes on completely clear so it works with every tangerine hue. Finally, dab on your peachy shade of choice.

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Avoid a color clash

While no complexion is off limits, Syat does advise steering clear of pink- and red-toned blushes and eyeshadow. These shades clash with orange and can result in a dreaded clown-face appearance.

Go for the gold (and blue)

While red and pink are a no-go, Syat recommends wearing your orange lip with a slightly shimmery bronzer and a clean swipe of blue liquid liner. Use your fingertips to paint a small amount of Benefit’s Sunbeam on your cheekbones, brow bones, and anywhere you want to add definition. For a little help pulling off colorful cat eyes, refer to this helpful guide.

Stay sheer

If you’re still on the fence, try a sheer coral gloss or stain. We’re big fans of Paul & Joe Beauté’s cantaloupe colored lip gloss in Maui 004. Ready to take off the training wheels? Graduate to a saturated, opaque shade like MAKE Matte Lipstick in Magma.

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