June 26, 2011

How to do a bold Lip - tips from Hollywood makeup artist Leslie Graham

Regular readers of my blog will know how much I love bold lipsticks. Instead of the usual Lipstick Love of the Week series, today I give you some tips straight from a Hollywood makeup artist on how to do a bold lip!

A collage of some of my bold lip choices

I've had the absolute pleasure of getting some tips straight from Hollywood makeup artist Leslie Graham, whose film credits include Twilight: Eclipse and Twilight: New Moon, The Tron Legacy, X-men 3 and Sucker Punch. Pretty impressive!

Left: Leslie at work on the Tron set
Right: some of her work from Twilight

Leslie Graham's tips on wearing a bold lip

  • Today’s current trend is a bright bold lip and a natural eye. 
  • To keep the eyes defined and add extra pout power to your lips with today’s array of fun, feisty tones simply use minimal eyeliner, a good coat of mascara on upper lashes only and a well defined brow. 
  • You can do this by keeping your eyeliner very close to the lash line or just inside the upper, inner lash line. This will enhance and add impact to your eyes without adding a lot of makeup or colour. It’s a way to bring your natural beauty out and bring focus to your lips. You will want a waterproof pencil to achieve this.
  • If you are going for that glam smokey eye keep lips more neutral keeping the impact on the eyes.
  • Unless it’s already a vibrant colour blot your lips with a tissue in between applications you’ll get extra punch with a 2nd swipe of the tube. 
  • With a bright lip a flawless complexion is essential!

One of the scary things about wearing a bold lip colour is the worry that it might bleed outside your lip line giving you that unwanted Luna Park smile. But no need to worry about that either.
  • There are two ways to keep your lips from bleeding your lip colour outside the lip line. 
  • The first is to use a primer to go right over your lips with a sponge. Alternatively, for lasting power you can press loose powder over your lips with a powder puff.
  • Another way to perfect this pout is to first apply a stain to give the lips a colour base. You can also use the stain to line any lip line gaps. Apply a bright colour over top with a lip brush. Use a proper lip brush for precise application, and be sure to fill in the corners of your lips. 
  • For extra impact dot the colour on straight from the tube in the centre of the bottom lip. Keep your gloss in your drawer - this look is not glossy; the moisture from the lipstick provides just enough moisture and shine.

And what's the perfect colour to wear on your lips right now? It doesn't matter, as long as it can be seen from the distance!

Leslie Graham

So how did I end up getting these tips from Leslie? Leslie has recently relocated to Australia, bringing her over 20 years' of industry experience to our shores, more specifically to her role as Program Director for The Makeup Technicians (TMT) School of Makeup in Sydney. 

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to pick her brains on makeup, and of course I chose my favourite subject matter, lipstick! I hope you found her tips useful, I know I did! My favourite is the blotting between applications tip, it's so simple, but so effective. Thank you Leslie!

And if you've ever wanted to take a makeup course, I noticed on the TMT's website I that they hold 1 day makeup courses for personal use, so if you're interested check it out.

Do you rock bold colours on your lips or are you a nude girl forever?

Disclosure: I'm not affiliated with TMT or Leslie Graham, and I did not get paid or reimbursed in any way to write this article. All photos except the first collage are from PR and I have permission to use them. 


  1. How cool!! That's awesome that you got to get some tips from her :) And I love when you wear bright lips! I just think bright lips are so much fun!

  2. I've become more and more adventurous with bright lips, it always lifts my mood!

  3. Nudes don't suit me as well.. So bold lips are the way to go for me =)

  4. Great tips!! And I LOVEEEE fuchsia on you!!! (And probably told you like a zillion times! lol)

  5. great tips! im a lover of bright lips, so perfect for summer, bright reds all the way for me and my pale skin :) xxx

  6. Can't remember the last time I wore nude on my lips. I've been wearing bold lippies for around 6 months now, hehe! Love MAC's Impassioned, Lady Danger, NARS Red Square lip pencil and Sleek's O.M.G. xo

  7. Fabulous post Lilit! I've been rocking the bright lip lately, with berry and coral-red at the top of my list.

  8. @Bethany - thanks hun, it's funny now that I'm wearing bright lips all the time nudes just don't cut it anymore.

    @The Make-up Fairy - it's hard to be in a bad mood when you look bright and cheerful! Don't they say during a recession or tough times lipstick sales actually soar? Mood lifter!

    @Delyteful Speaks - yep, bold lips also instantly make you look more dressed up even if the rest of your face is simple.

    @Adeline - thanks babe, I'll have to wear fuchsia at high tea on the weekend!

    @DibDabs - I love how good brights look on pale skin, the contrast is just stunning!

    @Halima - you suit bright lips so well, especially bold orangey reds so I can't blame you for not going nude!

    @Vita - thanks heaps, I'm glad I got the chance to get some tips from Leslie. I've seen some of your lipsticks you've shown on your blog, I love the berry shades, so classy looking.


  9. These are great tips! I never even though about getting a lip primer, but it looks like it would do me some good! I'm totally going to wear a brighter lip today.

  10. Oh my! I LOVE bright lips!! :D These are great tips btw!

  11. This is so helpful! I can't really wear nudes, they look terrible on me.

    I def love bold lips!

  12. LOVE these tips!
    I personally am just starting to feel comfortable wearing bright lipsticks... The looks people give me is very off putting but I think in summer, I will give them a go again.
    You were made to wear bright lip colours... So beautiful on you!


  13. I'm in between nude and. I do like a bit of colour on my lips but not a lot cos I don't think it suits me that much! Wish they did though!

  14. May I just say that I am officially tres tres jealous of your lips?!
    I don't wear bold lips often, and I agree that perfect skin is a must!

  15. Thanks for sharing Lilit! This is great, seeing as I am a bold lip-lover myself :)

  16. You look so pretty in your picture in the collage! Brights are definitely you, they suit your complexion really well! :) I wear a little bit of both, just got into wearing bolder lips recently :) Nudes and light pinks have a special place in my heart though :)

  17. Great tips, I've been meaning to try the powder thing but it always freaks me out! Also, my eyes were like this *______* when I read that she worked on Sucker Punch - the makeup in that movie is half the reason I liked it. :)

  18. Thanks everyone, I'm so glad you enjoyed these tips from Leslie! They are definitely useful if you're looking at venturing into the bright lip territory and it's great to hear so many of you are doing just that!


  19. Im sorry for asking, but what's the shade and brand of the lipstick your wearing on the first picture? The one in the middle? Oh, and Im a new follower :)


  20. @Reika Amakura - thanks for the follow, I hope you like my blog. That lipstick in the middle is MAC Everhip, one of my faves. :-)

  21. Wish I had found this blog before. The advices in this post are very helpful & I surely will read the other posts of this series too. Thank you for posting this
    makeup artist in Sydney



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