Cheat Sheet Beauty : 3-Step Lips

It's no secret that us 21st century girls are rushed for time. Between dashing from work to lectures and from meetings to parties before tumbling into bed with nothing but sleep on our brains, we don't always have the time to indulge in a lengthy beauty ritual on a daily basis. With the clocks ticking and our purses empty (thanks to the latest Whistles sale), we can't afford to spend excessive time and money on the latest creams and oils, nor do we have the patience to test every mascara which claims to magically lengthen our lashes. There are a million ways to address our daily beauty dilemmas, but this series will solve them with true cheat sheet magic.

Consider these posts a busy girl's shortcut to beauty shopping - your quest to address the most common skin/hair/makeup ailments ends here on TGG.

First up, your favourite lip looks solved in just three steps.

3-STEP MY LIPS BUT BETTER : No7 Precision Lips Pencil in NudeMAC Lipstick in Cosmo + Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy Apply a nude lipliner upon (as well as around) the lips - this will improve your lipstick's longevity as well as define the shape of your lips. The perfect 'my lips but better' shade will be a little darker/browner than your natural lip colour (hence the 'better') - apply generously, straight from the bullet. If your lipstick veers on the matte side, then finish off the look with a layer of a sheerer lip colour to add a naturally glossy finish. See here for further details.

3-STEP FULL POUTNo7 Precision Lips Pencil in Nude + Tom Ford Lip Colour in Vanilla Suede + Nars Lip Gloss in Corsica Using a lip-liner to cheat full lips is one of the oldest tips in the book, but by far the best and easiest. A nude shade perfectly matched to (or slightly darker than) your lips, and drawn ever so slightly outside of your natural lipline will work wonders on even the thinnest of lips. Choose a lipstick shade a little lighter than your natural colour - something with a bit of 'glow' will add volume in the same way a highlighter defines the cheekbones. Finally, apply a (slightly tinted) gloss to the centre of the lips for a similarly multi-dimensional effect.

3-STEP CLASSIC RED LIPNo7 Precision Lips Pencil in Nude + Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour in Gabrielle + Lipcote Lipstick Sealer Chances are that a standard red lip liner isn't going to match your lipstick (unless you were smart enough to buy a corresponding pair) so start off with a nude liner which runs a close match to your natural lip colour. This will help to define the shape of the lips and reduce the chance of feathering. Apply your red lip colour of choice straight from the bullet in two coats (blotting with a tissue in between). With any bold lip colour, you want it to last (there's nothing worse than getting home to discover you've spent the day with the dreaded lip liner effect), so seal in the colour with a coat of lipstick sealer (think of it as a topcoat for the lips). This stuff won't last all day, or withstand the consumption of burritos (trust me on that one), but will significantly improve your red lip's lifespan. See here for details on my shade of choice.

3-STEP JUST BITTEN : MAC Lipstick in Plumful + Burt's Bees' Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia + Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme-Plump Apply a sheer, tinted lip balm all over for a juicy 'just-been-kissed' look, before concentrating a more pigmented lip colour (in a suitably berry-toned shade) in the centre of the mouth. Blend outward with delicate brush strokes or gentle dabbing of the fingertips before encasing in a plumping lipgloss for a perfectly full just-bitten pout.

3-STEP BOLD & DARK : MAC Lipstick in Dark Side + Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush + MAC Lip Liner in Burgundy When inexperienced, play it safe with a universally flattering deep-burgundy shade with a creamy formula. Because you're aiming for a bold look, apply your lip colour with a brush for ultimate definition and a clean polished finish. This will also decrease the likelihood of uneven lips or smudging. Finish the look with a liner matched as closely to your lip colour as possible. This will provide further definition and prevent colour bleeding.

What are your favourite three-step lip looks?

G x

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