How to Turn Lipstick Into Art

Lauren Hubbard, the beauty writer behind the incredible Instagram account @lh_lipstagrams, turned experimenting with makeup into a gorgeous hobby.

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Everything's Bigger in Texas...

I'm from Texas originally, and when it comes to makeup, we just do a little more. My grandmother is one of those people who doesn't believe in leaving the house without lipstick. I was raised that way; I think I was proficient in applying lipstick by the time I was 8. As I grew up and became a writer, it just sort of made sense that I would write about makeup. It's pretty much an excuse for me to talk to people about beauty all the time and learn as much as I can.

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All Makeup Roads Leads to Pat McGrath

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I started the Instagram account sort of accidentally. I was working at Allure, and we were doing a story with Pat McGrath about her Star Wars makeup collection. She had given a tip about trying a gold lip. And I thought, well, how do I go about even doing that? I picked up a gold eyeliner and decided to try it on my lips, even if it made me look like a crazy person. So I tried it, posted a picture of it to my Instagram, and then Allure reposted it. People responded so positively! It evolved from there, and I ended up trying all different patterns and textures.

Mostly I'm just playing around. I'm certainly not the only person in the world doing lip art. There are some people who are just amazing, so I'll get inspiration from them or from different art movements. I've done several pop art looks—they're fun in a strange way, because so many pop artists, like Lichtenstein, use lips and the female form with such particular style.

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Or a lot of times I'll go to the craft store and see what's around, and get inspired by different materials and ribbons, little sticky pearls and beads.

*Anything* Can Be Used for Lip Art

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A lot of what I use are scrapbooking materials. The pearls and the rhinestones are super-tiny sticky things mostly bought by scrapbookers.

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Ribbon is great to work with. There's a cork design that I did using what is actually a really surprising cork patterned ribbon.

And then, that lush grass look was actually just very finely chopped dill.

To make things stick, I usually use either Spirit Gum, a kind of beauty glue, or eyelash glue. The latter seems to be a little less intense on the skin; Spirit Gum can tingle a little.

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A lot of the materials that I use are ones I already have lying around, and from working with Allure, I have so many lipsticks and random pigments on hand. Actually…including liquid lipsticks, I have close to 200 lipsticks. I was going through my purse the other day, and I had 12 lipsticks rolling around at the bottom, just from when I've thrown one in and said, "Maybe I'll wear this one later today!" There's also a fair number of lip pigments that I try out, and if I can't figure out how to make it work, they never see the light of day.

Some Designs Don't Translate to Everyday Wear

I have taken a few of these looks out in public…and gotten some crazy looks. The ombre ones are definitely doable for public. Others—you know, the ones where you're sticking stuff on your mouth—are just not feasible. The pearls and that kind of stuff I have to be very careful with. I can only apply them to the corners at the very end of the process, because I can't close my mouth completely once I do it. And, you know, drooling is not a good look.

The Prize for the Hardest Design Goes To…

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I just recently did one for the election that had the U.S. map on it, and that was a two-hour process. I made a stencil, so the time wasn't all spent on just the application. But it was very involved.

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Really, any of the looks where I have to adhere something to my lips are difficult. I did one with leftover false lashes and two with pearls and rhinestones. They're all time-consuming just because I have to sit there and place each bead or lash or pearl one by one.

Simple Lip Care Is All You Need to Get Started

I'm definitely one of those people who's obsessive about lip care. You read about those lip balm addicts, and I think I'm probably somewhere on that spectrum. It drives me crazy to not feel intensely moisturized all of the time. So I pretty much always have lip balm on me during the day, and then every night I use Bite Beauty's agave lip mask before bed. Every couple of days I'll exfoliate with a toothbrush or a sugar scrub. Before I do lip art, I sit around for a while with a thick layer of Vaseline on so that everything's very nicely moisturized before I start.

And as for Everyday Lipstick Application…

I just don't have the patience for lip liner. I tend to be a pretty basic, direct-from-the-tube kind of girl. But I'd advise always moisturizing first and making sure that your lips are well exfoliated. "Practice, practice, practice" is pretty much my brilliant lip tip.

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