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Gucci lips
Courtesy of Gucci Beauty

Thomas de Kluyver’s 6 top tips for achieving the perfect Gucci lips

Gucci’s global make-up artist shares all the expert knowledge about lipstick application that he has picked up over the years and predicts the biggest summer trends

It was punk rocker Dani Miller’s lipstick-smudged teeth that introduced Gucci Beauty to the world back in 2019, signalling the brand’s intention not only to push the boundaries of traditional beauty imagery but also to focus on bold, bright, beautiful lips. The make-up range launched with a 58-strong collection of satin and sheer lipsticks that quickly became handbag staples – Louisa Red, for example, has barely left my sight since I got my hands on it.

Three years later and Gucci Beauty is as committed to big, bold and beautiful make-up as ever (see last month’s Cosmogonie show for proof). Continuing its mission to bring us the best in lip products, earlier this year the brand launched its new range of liquid lipsticks, Rouge à Lèvres Liquide Mat. With a cream-to-powder texture, the lipsticks are highly pigmented, available in a range of nine vibrant shades inspired by sunset skies, and have a soft, matte finish. 

Liquid lipsticks can often be drying, prone to settling into lip lines and feathering out. With this in mind, Gucci Beauty formulated the product with a whole host of hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, so that it feels comfortable and weightless on the lips – with no cracks in sight. 

To help you achieve the perfect Gucci lip this summer, Gucci Beauty’s global make-up artist Thomas de Kluyver – the man responsible for bringing Alessandro Michele’s otherworldly visions to life on and off the catwalk – shares his best tips and tricks.

Start with the lips

Lipstick is often one of the last steps in the make-up routine, but de Kluyver suggests making it your first. “A good tip is when doing a lip-focused look apply your lipstick before you do any other make-up,” he says. “Start by applying a little bit of colour and then you build the intensity from there.” Once you are done with the lips, you can move onto the rest of the face with cheeks, eyes and brows. 

One of the most focal parts of the face, de Kluyver says lips are his favourite area to enhance. “What I find so great about starting with lip first is it allows you to create a balanced look.”  

Lip liners are helpful but not compulsory

De Kluyver says that while he loves using lip liners, it does depend on the look he is doing. “I also find the look of a stain with a blurry edge stunning too, so it really depends on your mood,” he says, adding that if you do use a lip liner, try experimenting with a different shade to your lipstick for a two tone lip look. 

Summer is for experimenting with colours

“I think it’s fun to try something that isn’t your usual shade,” de Kluyver says about hot lip looks for this summer. Recommending more “tints and tones” rather than primary colours, he suggests a browny red or orangey pink. “I’m mad for a fresh, but just slightly ‘off’ colour.”  

His personal favourite summer shades in the new liquid lipstick range are 203 Mildred Rosewood, 114 Grace Cinnamon, and 505 Janet Rust. “Also 25* Goldie Red as the universal iconic Gucci red that fits all,” he says. “What I love about the Gucci shades is that they work on all skin tones. I like to think more about what I’m wearing and use lip colours as more of a fashion accessory to my outfit.”  

Don’t be afraid to mix and layer 

If you can’t quite find the perfect shade to complete your look, make it yourself. “Experiment layering different Liquide Mat colours,” de Kluyver says. “You can create your own custom colours by blending them straight onto the lips or create interesting effects such as applying a darker shade in the centre of the lips to create a bitten effect.” 

Another thing he loves to do is ditch the brush or applicator and use the finger to blend the edges of the lip to create a soft blurry edge instead of a harsh line.   

Take inspiration from your beauty icons

“I remember one of the first fashion images I really loved was one by Juergen Teller of Kristen McMenamy and she wears this blue-green lipstick. It really challenged my idea of what a classic lipstick was and made me realise you could really use unique colours and still look so chic,” he says. 

He also finds the classic 90s brown and nude pink shades irresistible – the ultimate lipstick inspiration. “I love the lip looks that actresses Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore used to wear on the red carpet,” he says. “Musicians like Mary J Blige, Missy Elliot and Aaliyah always had great looks as well.”  

Ultimately, just have fun with it

The biggest tip that de Kluyver gives is that, ultimately, just be yourself, don’t be afraid and have fun with it. “Make-up is such a fun tool to express yourself with and it washes off. I don’t feel you need to be afraid of anything,” he says. “I really feel like there are no mistakes when it comes to lips. Wear it how you want! It’s only make-up and you should just be yourself.”