Lip powder is one of the trends that seem to come out of nowhere and demand our attention, getting featured in beauty magazines and gaining mentions all over Instagram. Like cushion compacts, and BB, CC creams, powder lipsticks are the latest K-beauty obsession that’s fun, creative and absolutely worth trying!
The beauty world is constantly evolving and adapting to the sensibilities and desires of an even more risk-taking audience. Many women in today’s world see beauty products and styles as an extension of their personality and the image they want to convey to the world. Products are not just about covering up or modifying features, they are about creating an exterior reflection of a woman’s interior world.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the origin of lip powders, and explain the best practices and techniques associated with achieving a beautiful powdered lip look! We’ll take a look at some of the benefits of powder lipsticks and some of the concerns associated with them so you can make the most educated decision about whether or not lip powder is right for you.
Spoiler alert: lip powders are so versatile (just like nail powders), I wholeheartedly recommend putting your hesitations aside and diving right in! To make your foray into this exciting new beauty product seamless, we’ve concluded our article with a list of some of our top choices of powder lipsticks!
Lip Powder Makeup Guide: Contents
Lip powder is a newcomer to the Western beauty world. The trend originated in Korea where innovation and risk taking define the beauty landscape.
After Sephora’s release of a lip powder line under their namesake brand, lip powder is set to hit the mainstream. As Bustle pointed out, the release of these lip powders was met with high demand and public interest: every shade was sold out shortly after their release. We think this demonstrates that the modern woman is using makeup as an extension of her personal style and as a trendsetting statement.
Lip powder is not powder, per se, in the way that a face powder or bronzing powder is. Its consistency does not remain ‘powdery’ upon contact with the lips. Upon application lip powder becomes creamy and smooth, due to its hydrogel ingredients, and so at its core is more like a lip stain than a conventional powder.
Powder lipsticks contain pearly, luminescent minerals that reflect light and draw attention to your lips, even when wearing a neutral shade. One of the unique benefits of lip powder is the ethereal, shimmery ‘Mermaid’ look it creates. It is a beautiful combination of matte and shimmer, which can be hard to achieve with conventional lip products.
This desirable shimmer metallic look is intriguing and dramatic at night and playful and seductive by day. How does powder lipstick achieve this mysterious duality? It owes its powers to silica silylate – one of its key ingredients.
Silica silylate lends lip powder its delectably creamy yet powdery consistency. The silica absorbs oil, transforming its powdery form into a luxurious cream when applied to the natural oil of the lips.
Most lip powders on the market contain additional beneficial ingredients like Vitamin E to ensure a smooth look and a nourishing effect. Like we mentioned above, lip powders are most closely related to lip stains, as they absorb into the lips, rather than merely sitting on top of the lip surface. This enables long-lasting color and vibrancy.
Powder lipsticks are a wonderful addition to your makeup wardrobe because you can ease into them in stages. If a full-powdered look is too intimidating for you to jump right into, you can absolutely pat a bit of it on top of your favorite lipstick or slick a light coat on top of lip gloss for a full, naturally shimmery look.
Lip powders are compatible with other forms of lip color, which is why they are becoming so popular: they are ridiculously versatile!
Lip powder can be used to create a popsicle gradient-style look, as well, for those who are after a more dazzling look. Simply apply lip balm to the lips and concentrate the lip powder into the center of the lips.
Because of its powdered consistency, the pigment naturally tapers out across the lip, creating this dramatic look. This technique doesn’t work with conventional lipsticks because it is hard to taper out the cream pigment without creating a stark, unusual looking division between the lipstick and the natural tone of the lips.
Because it can create a gradient look through the targeted application of less or more product in varying parts of the lip, it is a key product in creating the trendy ombre lip look.
Generally speaking, you should apply your lip powder like a regular liquid lipstick, however, to make sure you get the most flawless results, there are a few steps you should stick to.
Step 1: Prepping Your Lips
Lip powder is no more complicated than more conventional methods but it does require that you adhere to the suggested prepping methods to ensure that your lip color remains smooth and consistent. Exfoliated lips are powder lipstick ready lips.
Exfoliating doesn’t require excessive products and it doesn’t have to be rough and invasive. A gentle way of exfoliating lips entails using a toothbrush and a bit of salt or sugar to lightly remove the flakey cells that stand in the way between you and smooth lips.
Investing in a lip primer is a good option for women who plan to use powder lipstick on a regular basis, as they provide a beautiful and smooth base for lip products.
Step 2: Creating the Base
After the initial exfoliation stage apply a conservative amount of lip balm. If your lips are in need of some extra TLC, apply a more copious amount but let it sink in before applying your lip powder, otherwise the potential for clumping and pigment inconsistency becomes higher.
I recommend a non-shiny lip balm that won’t interfere with the texture of the powder lipstick. Lip balms that are too slick may decrease the desired matte look and impede the application process.
Step 3: Outlining the Lips
A lip liner is a vital element to ensure your powder lipstick look is consistent and powerful. Line the outer portion of your lips with either a neutral, skin colored liner or one similar in tone to your desired powder lipstick shade. Lip liner keeps the powder lipstick from bleeding and fills your lips out for maximum body.
Step 4: Applying the Lip Powder
To apply the lip powder, use a small lip brush (the same kind used for conventional liquid lipsticks, otherwise referred to as a doe angled brush) or the lip powder applicator. We recommend dabbing a bit of the powder against your palm or back into the tube to start your look off with a lighter shade.
Because powder lipstick is a new spin on a beloved product, we think it is best to start off with less product, and build up to your desired shade and saturation.
Begin the lip powder application in the center of the lips to get a sense of the saturation as you have applied and to gently brush it outwards. Do not begin applying it to the corners of the lips because this will lead to a less consistent color and may encourage clumping around the corners of your lips.
If the color or evenness is not to your liking, don’t be afraid to add an extra coat or two. There is no correct shade or boldness: it is all down to personal preference.
Like every other kind of skincare and makeup product, lip powder also has certain benefits and drawbacks, and at the end of the day, it’s all up to you to decide whether to give this emerging trend a try or not.
Pro: Lip Powder Is Velvety & Long Lasting
Powder lipsticks are velvety to wear, without the drying tendencies of conventional tube lipsticks. Not only do the products liquefy when they hit the lips, but also they melt into your (newly exfoliated) lips and have admirable staying power.
The pigments in powder lipsticks remain vivid for hours after application, making them the perfect product for a night of dancing or a long brunch date.
Pro: Powder Lipsticks Have Great Texture
A fear some women might have when they think of the phrase ‘lip powder’ is the negative connotation of powder as being flakey and drying. Lip powders, however, are infused with Vitamin E, and hydrating oils that provide the powder with a smooth, long-lasting look without the risk of clumping.
Because of its unique consistency, the texture doesn’t feel heavy or gooey. This makes powder superior to a traditional lip gloss, which can feel sticky and weigh your lips down.
Possible Con: Powder Lipsticks Magnify the Condition of Your Lips
An important word of caution concerning powder lipsticks is that they have the capacity to expose any flaws in lip texture. This is why exfoliating and properly moisturizing your lips consistently is so vital.
Any cracks or dry patches will be magnified by the matte nature of the lip powder. I strongly recommend buying either a lip primer, the specific purpose of which is to produce a soft base for lip products, or to make a sugar and coconut oil do-it-yourself scrub at home.
Be gentle when exfoliating, however. Too much roughness will cause abrasions and small cuts on your lips, which will scab; creating an undesirable effect.
Con: Lip Powder Is Outside of Many Women’s Comfort Zones
Because lip powder is a departure from conventional methods of lip product application, it can turn off consumers who are afraid of spending money on a product that turns out to be outside of their comfort zone.
Lip powder takes some practice to use well, and for this reason some women prefer to admire it from afar rather than taking the plunge into incorporating it into their everyday beauty look.
Con: Some Women Find Powder Lipstick Too Dramatic for Everyday Wear
Because of its metallic tint and rich pigmentation, some women find that lip powder is more appropriate for nights out rather than as an everyday staple for work or school.
Lip powders, especially brighter pink and red shades, are true to form and provide a bold, colorful finish. For women who are looking for an eye-catching look, this is one of the fantastic benefits of the lip powder trend.
However, for women who prefer a more neutral look, lip powders might be a more difficult trend to fall in love with. That is not to say that women who adhere to a more natural looking beauty regimen should be scared off of lip powders; but rather that they should seek out the lightest shades available, as the lip powders are inherently of a more saturated nature than other lip products.
A Key Side Note
A note on the cons listed above – I feel like they are generally perception based rather than being genuine reflections of powder lipstick shortcomings. When purchased in conservative colors and used sparingly in combination with other lip products, powder lipstick is absolutely wearable and acceptable for everyday use.
This beauty trend can be made more approachable by keeping an open mind and using the product in small quantities until a level of familiarity has been reached.
Although not too many brands offer lip powder yet, we are sure this list of the best powder lipsticks is going to be updated quite often to offer you the brand-new cool lip powder options you should try.
1. Sephora Collection Lip Powder
Sephora is a trailblazer in the beauty world, and once they roll out a product it is certain to gain traction in the mainstream. Sephora’s lip powders are lightweight and metallic and can be used individually for a shimmery look or paired with a lipstick or gloss to add some depth.
The lip powder contains pearlized pigment powder to mimic the look of fuller lips. This product is a great introduction to the trend because the design is user friendly and allows for a controlled distribution of the pigment.
The squishy applicator removes the risk of getting powder everywhere. The product currently has over 10K likes on the Sephora website, and can be purchased in-store or online at Sephora.
2. Clinique Pop Lip Shadow Cushion Matte Lip Powder
The name of this lip powder is certainly a mouthful, but when a more traditional, conservative company like Clinique releases an out-there product, that’s a good indication that this product is not merely the flavor of the week, but is a trend with staying power. The Clinique lip powder comes in a sleek silver tube with a cushion applicator for even application.
The product comes in eight shades with fun names like Fiesta Pop and Brown Sugar Pop. Clinique describes its lip powder as “a vibrant burst of matte pigment” that won’t bleed or fade. Their lip powder is fragrance free and has been allergy tested making this a perfect option for women with sensitive skin and specific requirements from their beauty products.
The lip powder can be purchased online at Nordstrom or at select Clinique beauty counters in various department stores.
3. Cle Cosmetics Melting Lip Powder
One of the first offerings in the Western market, Cle’s melting lip powder boasts a waterproof and smudge-proof velvety finish. The melting lip powders come in eight shades that range from pink to plum to coral.
It comes with a doe angled applicator, which pulls powder straight from the tube. With this option I recommend patting some of the product back into the tube to ensure that you are layering your pigment slowly to get the desired shade.
Their lip powder can also be tapped out onto a counter or your hand once you’ve gained a mastery over the application process. Cle melting lip powder can be purchased at Neiman Marcus.
4. Stellar Stardust Lip Powder Palette
When you thought an already innovative product couldn’t push the boundaries any further, along comes the Stellar lip powder palette! Although it looks like a set of eyeshadows at first glance, it is a beautiful and bewitching collection of seductive lip shades!
The products are opaque and light, and the gold and pink toned shades can be combined to create a vivid, multi-faceted lip look. I recommend using a pink or fuchsia base and then layering the metallic gold shade in the center of the lips to create a magical, disco-ball effect.
This product is a great investment because it offers a few shades to mix and match and allows for extreme versatility. The Stellar stardust lip powder palette is available at Sephora.
5. LIQUE Lip & Eye Effect Powder
LIQUE lip and eye effect powder is a beginner’s paradise. Offering one of the most affordable and best powder lipsticks, this series of lip powder comes in more daring shades, like hot pink, deep purple, and iridescent blue. This product is perfect for risk-taking trendsetters, who want to try out a unique lip shade for a night out.
These powder lipsticks are thinly milled and create a glamorous and lustrous shimmery coat. As the name suggests, the lip powder can be used on both eyes and lips and comes in six shades.
Because they are compact and reasonably priced I would recommend picking up a shade or two to dip your toes into the lip powder makeup trend. They are available online at Kohls.com.
Powder lipsticks are set to continue their rise in popularity and availability as more and more versions hit the market and the trend gets more exposure. Be a step ahead of the crowd and get comfortable with this exciting new beauty innovation now. Put your bullet lipsticks and lip glosses away for the season, and embrace the versatile lip powder: I know I will.
Photos via @paisleymattes, @artdeco_cosmetics