What’s your favourite low-effort, no-makeup makeup look? Lately, BeautyTok (TikTok’s beauty community) has been smitten with ‘gym lips’. Wait – lips that look naturally plump and flushed post-workout? We thought so, too, but not exactly. Gym lips are the result of a two-product lip combo for everyday wear, leaving you with a fresh, moisturised pout. If your face feels a little too bare in the HITT class, here’s an understated, minimal lip hack you could get away with.
What is the 'gym lips' trend?
For those who are curious, it all began in April 2022, when American makeup artist Kelli Anne Sewell dubbed her natural lip combo ‘gym lips’ on Instagram. Pictured in workout attire, wearing a glossy nude lip, Sewell made her way to the gym. The internet quickly followed suit, taking the hashtag #gymlips to 2.8 million views on TikTok.
Sewell breaks down the hack in a TikTok tutorial: “[Gym lips] are super simple – it’s just two products. The key is to have a lip liner that is in your lip colour. You over-line your lips and fill them in. Then, we’re going in with a lip treatment… something that’s going to hydrate your lips”.
Gaelle Hanna, a Dubai-based Lebanese makeup artist, tells us that the key to the perfect gym lips is to be light-handed: “The less product, the better. After you draw your lip, make sure to blend in the contour lines, so that they don’t look harsh – the lines should be seamless,” before topping it off with your lip balm or butter.
And, viola! You’ve mastered gym lips. The trend is extremely versatile for any casual occasion. The best part about this hack is that it’s accessible – chances are, you already have the products in your makeup kit. If not, then check out what the pros recommend. Mix and match to create your own lip combo below, and snag discounted essentials during Amazon's Beauty Week with the coupon code ‘BEAUTY’ on checkout.
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Step 1: Nude lip liner
1. Huda Beauty Lip Contour 2.0 Automatic Matte Lip Pencil (Terracotta)
Vegan and cruelty-free, this matte lip pencil by Huda Beauty, recommended by Hanna, has a velvet finish. Its moisturising formula, composed of soybean and liquorice, gives you a buttery glide over the lip or - as Sarah Sequeira, a Dubai-based freelance makeup artist with 10 years of experience, tells us - "does not skip on the lips". The Lip Contour 2.0 doesn’t transfer onto straws and cups, and lasts for nine hours, enough to see you through your day’s errands. A mini sharpener at the base makes this liner a lot more convenient to toss into the bag than others.
2. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Shape & Re-Size Lip Liner, Iconic Nude
Another crème de la crème of nude lip liners, the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat line is made to re-size the pout. Coming in the shade Iconic Nude, this matte beige liner lasts up to six hours with no smudging, and works well as a base for lipstick, too. If you’re looking for a tinge of pink, other shades include the ever-popular Pillow Talk, says Hanna. Five-star reviews mention the creamy texture of the formula, and how it makes the perfect subtle combination with a coat of a glossy lip balm.
3. Rare Beauty Kind Words Lip Liner (Talented)
Highlighted by Sequeira, the Rare Beauty lip liner collection has a wide range of nude shades. "They're really creamy and 'twist up' for easy application. Rare Beauty lip pencils last long on the lips," said Sequeira. It makes for a good gloss and lipstick base. Like our Huda Beauty pick, this pencil comes with its own sharpener for convenient on-the-go application.
Step 2: Lip treatment
4. Summer Fridays - Lip Butter Balm
For the second step of gym lips, it’s important that you’re picking up a hydrating lip treatment or mask. “Apply a lip treatment and not a lip gloss, to make your gym lips look more natural,” said Hanna. On the other hand, lip oil might wear off quickly. Both Sewell in her TikTok clip and Sequeira swear by Summer Fridays’ butter balm for that glossy sheen. Do note that since the formula is packed with Shea and Murumuru butter, it sits heavily on the lips. But, if your lips are particularly on the drier end, leave it on overnight, like a mask, to condition them. It’s a win-win situation!
5. Sigma Beauty Conditioning Lip Mask
Krizia, a US-based makeup artist, hopped on the gym lips trend and shared her favourite products in the most-liked #gymlips TikTok video to date. She points to Sigma Beauty’s conditioning lip mask that comes with a cooling metal applicator. It’s enriched with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and jojoba oil, all of which moisturise and repair damaged skin cells, without clogging the pores. This is your lightweight option, when it comes to lip masks.
6. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, Vanilla
The Laneige lip sleeping mask is a beauty community staple, per Hanna and Sequeira's recommendation. Since it’s not packed in a squeeze tube, the product can make on-the-go applications tricky. It has the same kinds of butter found in the Summer Fridays lip balm, with a dose of antioxidants, coconut oil and vitamin C. Even though it’s a sleeping mask, users in the reviews still glide it on daily in the daytime, as a gloss. Hanna says another pocket-friendly option is to just go for your tub of petroleum jelly, like Vaseline.
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