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Dispatch from Seoul: Gradient Lipstick is Huge Right Now

South Korea has become ground zero for beauty innovation in the last few years (BB creams, anyone?). Lucky for us, former Birchbox copywriter Mai is teaching English in Seoul this summer—and sending us weekly updates about her finds in beauty, food, and beyond. This week, she gives us the scoop on the hot lipstick trend sweeping the nation. 

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Korea is always one step ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to beauty trends—so allow me to predict that by this time next summer, American women will be wearing gradient lipstick, a look that’s being sported by approximately 98 percent of the female population right now in Seoul. (Okay, that’s me guesstimating a little, but it seems like everyone is wearing it!)

While this trend may sound as bold as, say, bright blue eyeliner, it’s actually demure and natural-looking when done right. I learned from my photogenic subject Irene that the best way to get the look is to start by dusting your lips with a beige face powder, apply a nude lipstick, then finish with a bolder hue. Read on to get the full scoop! 

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As Irene attests, the trick to achieving this look is to apply a bright lipstick only in the center of your lips and blending it outwards for a gradient effect. Korean women love their pinks, but I think this technique would work just as well well if you chose red as the middle shade. Your lips will have a “just-bitten” appeal (and seem fuller too). 

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Do you think the gradient lipstick trend will catch on in other countries?

—Mai 

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