Trend to try: horizontal ombré lips

So far this season’s beauty focus has shifted towards pretty, natural and low-key make-up that’s more about enhancement than statement. Think a light veil of foundation where needed, a slick of mascara mainly at the root, pinched cheeks to mimic a natural glow… and then Helmut Lang happened and changed the game completely with the lip look the New York fashion week circuit can’t stop talking about.

This is ombré, but not as you know it.

The Instagram fuelled ombré lip trend mostly features a soft blend from the middle of the lips outwards to a darker, defining shade that hugs the contours of the mouth and makes lips appear fuller. Helmut Lang’s lip however, works its magic horizontally. H-ombré, if you will.

MAC Ombre


‘It’s not meant to look rounded and sexy,’ make artist Inge Grognard, told us backstage, ‘it’s meant to look edgy and a little dark.’ How can you make a red lip, which is sexy by definition, feel a little more rebellious? ‘The key is the sharp outer lines that make it feel a little tougher rather than romantic,’ Inge added.

Want in? We thought you might. Here’s an easy to follow step-by-step that will take your lips from meh to marvellous in around 4 minutes (a worthwhile investment we say).

Joely 1


1. Imagine your lips in four vertical sections and apply a matte true red (your lighter shade) in the middle two using a lip brush for more precision. Inge used MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lip-colour in Feels So Grand.

2. Once you’ve got a solid base of colour, go back in and define the cupid’s bow with your brush, but be wary of not overdrawing the lips too much.

3. Apply your darker shade (Inge used Retro Matte in Carnivorous) to the two outer sections, again really focusing on the edges. You want them to be sharp.

Joely 2

Joely Walke

4. Before it’s dried, use your fingers or a little buffing brush to softly blend the lines where the two colours meet.

5. Pair the lip with light, dewy foundation to keep things on the fresh side.

6. Go to dinner and smudge it all in two minutes flat. JOKE. This is post-dinner Out Out make-up and choosing liquid matte formulas means it’ll stay put.


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