We in the States tend to regard as known fact that bigger is better—at least in terms of your lips. (Remember all the hype surrounding Kylie Jenner's now infamous plumped-up pout?) On the other side of the world, however, the exact opposite is trending. "In Asia, you must remember that the dolly look is popular, so little lips and big eyes are the goal," explains makeup artist Nigel Stanislaus of the aesthetic beloved by many a K-pop star. The gradient lip—a finish that creates the illusion of a "smaller and cuter" mouth and gives the impression that you've been sucking on a cherry lollipop—is the latest beauty import making waves in America. "It makes you look young, pretty, and innocent," says Stanislaus. If BB creams, sheet masks, and essences are any indication, this Eastern take on ombré is bound to pick up steam. Here, how to achieve it step by step:

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Conceal

Prep your pout with a small amount of hydrating balm and dab off any excess with a blotting sheet or one ply of tissue, says makeup pro Andrew Sotomayor. Next, lightly tap concealer all over lips—essentially erasing them. "Try a creamy formula that's not too rich to prevent color from sliding around," he adds. Blot again to remove any excess oil.

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Color

Using a crayon-like lipstick that offers precise application (such as Maybelline New York Lip Studio Color Blur Matte Pencil in Berry Misbehaved), run the color along inner rim of your lips on top and bottom. Focus on the center of your mouth, but don't surpass the length of four teeth.

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Blend

With the soft, silicone smudger end of the pencil or your fingertip, blur the pigment out toward the corners of your mouth, keeping in mind that the color should be brightest in the center but "still diffused to keep lips looking soft," says Sotomayor. The key is to blend the lipstick horizontally rather than vertically so that it doesn't reach the edges of your lips—leaving a visible rim of concealer around the perimeter.

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Blot

Blot your lips once again to remove any oil. This keeps the color in place and helps it last longer.

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Beautiful!

Sweet lip look achieved. No candy—just a crayon (and strategic application)—required. Beauty lesson learned: A little color can go a *long* way.


Makeup: Andrew Sotomayor; Hair: Clay Nielsen

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