You’ve probably heard of ombré haircolor (darker roots with lighter ends), but now the gradation color trend is moving to the mouth. Here, why you should try it (hint: it has a plumping effect), plus how to get it right.

This makeup technique plumps your pout naturally (no needles needed) in just a few simple steps. It’s also an easy holiday look—pair this two-toned lip with clean skin and mascara and you’re set.

To prep: Since bold lip colors tend to highlight and even exaggerate flaws (like those pesky little lip flakes, for example), gently exfoliating your lips is essential for a smooth application and finish. To slough off dead skin cells, massage a scrub into lips using small circular motions, then tissue off. DIY it by using a dab of Aquaphor and pinch of sugar.


  1. Dab a thin veil of foundation over your lips using a makeup sponge. This helps cancel out your natural lip color so the shade you apply is truer to how it looks in the tube. It also gives the lip color something to adhere to, extending its longevity so it’s still going long after your morning latte.
  2. Grab two products—a darker lip liner or chubby crayon and a lighter/brighter lipstick. There are no rules when it comes to the color combinations. In the video, we used a mauve liner and a pinky-orange lipstick. Have fun with the pairings and experiment until you land on one you like. Once you have your two shades, line your lips with the lip liner. If you don’t want to deal with pairing two products, try NYX Ombre Lip Duo, which contains a liner on one end and a brighter shade of lipstick on the other.
  3. Using your finger or a brush, apply your lipstick inside the lip liner. Making the center of your lips lighter and the outside edges darker creates the illusion of a fuller pout.
  4. Go back with your liner and, focusing on the outer corners, blend the liner toward the center so there’s no obvious line between the two shades. The difference should be slightly noticeable yet subtle.