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The Return of the Statement Lip

Four trends to wear all summer long.

summer lipstick trends
Ama Kwarteng

As the number of vaccinated Americans continues to tick upwards, there's another number that's rising. April lipstick sales rose more than 80 percent year over year. It makes sense that following a year where half of our faces were hidden—muted, one might say—that people are, once again, reaching for lipstick. As Diane von Furstenberg once said, "lipstick is to the face as punctuation is to a sentence." However, lipstick isn't just about making a statement—the story of lipstick is also the story of transformation. When writer Jamaica Kincaid moved to New York City, she reinvented herself. She cut her hair short and dyed it blonde, she shaved off her eyebrows and wore saddle shoes, and she swiped on vivid red lipstick, which soon become part of her signature look.

Whatever your reasons for trying out a new lipstick—whether you want a colorful pick-me-up or a look that turns heads—below are four striking lip trends to consider as we emerge from our cocoons. From a splashy orange lip color to the more muted hue of a stain, all these looks will make those close to you do a double-take, wondering if something about you has changed.

Bold Orange Lipstick

summer lipstick trends

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram (from left to right)/@joyjah, @alissajanay, @yumi_mori, @jackieaina

It's no wonder orange was all over the runway for Versace's spring 2021 show—the orange color is cooler than a classic crimson shade, yet it still feels more grown-up and wearable than a bubblegum-pink hue. It's electrifying, energizing, and unexpected—swipe it on, and you're all but guaranteed to experience a mood lift.

To re-create this look, rub a lip scrub to de-flake your base. Then fill in your entire lip with a colored lip pencil to extend your lipstick's wear time. Swipe an orange lipstick on top, then press some translucent powder on top to keep your look in place.

Two-Tone Lips

summer lipstick trends

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram (from left to right)/@molliegloss, @porschefabulous,, @mariahlleonard

During tumultuous times, it's not unusual for people to look at the past with rose-colored glasses and reminisce on "the good old days." Maybe that's why '90s and Y2K beauty trends have been everywhere recently. And yes, that includes lip liner. The lip product is usually the supporting character to a matte lipstick, but with this modern take on the familiar trend, the pencil takes center stage.

To try out this trend, line the perimeter of your lips with a nude or colored pencil, and then layer on a nude gloss for a more obvious two-toned look. If you'd prefer a subtle ombré effect, after you apply the gloss, use your finger to blend it with the liner.

RIP Lip Liner

Haus Laboratories by Lady Gaga

Berry-Hued Lip Stain

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram (from left to right)/@rinasonline, @zendaya, @gracemargaretha, @westmanatelier

Wearing a lip stain implies that you're doing things. You're busy running to meetings and dinner dates—you can't be bothered to worry about smears. You need a lip that moves with you. A lip stain imparts a soft, faded wash of color that's so lightweight, you won't even remember it's there. And there's no need to worry about touching up every half hour. When the barely-there tint begins to fade, it goes evenly, rather than leaving your lips one patch at a time.

A few swipes of the stain are all you need to pull off this trend. For a full-on monochromatic look, tap your fingers over your lips and blot the excess on your cheeks for a warm flush.

Water Stain Lip Stain

Yves Saint Laurent

High-Wattage Lip Gloss

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram (from left to right)/@kilprity, @maryphillips, @fridacashflow, @brandyallen

This is the second '90s-inspired trend on the list, but in my opinion, the lacquered, shiny lip never goes out of style. It's simple to re-create, while still being customizable to whatever vibe you're going for. You can dab a gloss over your lips for a "your lips but better" look, you can line your lips with a pencil and then swipe the gloss on top, or you can layer a gloss over a matte lipstick to turn up the shine.

Lip Gloss

Kjaer Weis

Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna
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