The chokehold food-related aesthetics have on TikTok’s expansive beauty empire is nowhere near loosening, with ‘cherry cola lips’ the current fixation of over 12.2 million social media makeup aficionados.
Indeed, the hypersonic speed at which the platform accelerates has already seen users eschew the burgeoning coffee-inspired ‘Latte Makeup’ trend for something similarly caffeinated, a specific technique of mixing burgundy and cherry tones (hence the name) for a perfectly effervescent pout.
For those amongst us who’ve committed Lana Del Rey’s seminal discography to memory, you’ll recognise the importance of ‘cherry cola’ in her LDR lore. Representative of the sultry, southern gothic-esque side of idealistic Americana, the ‘cherry cola’ aesthetic blends elements of nostalgia underpinned by a saccharine disposition.
The motif of American glamour through the lens of this summertime treat is explored in her songs “Cola”, “Bartender” and “Florida Kilos”, so it’s no surprise that the increased popularity of dark cherry lip makeup has coincided with her string of live performances to promote her “Do You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard” album.
But rather than leaning into the vintage, coquettish and melancholic ambience of Lana Del Rey, TikTok’s version of the cherry cola lips trend is a style slightly more upbeat, like a Fourth of July take on the classic 90s dark lip liner.
“‘Cherry cola lips’ uses rich browns and intense berry shades to saturate the lip and finishes with a juicy glossy shine,” explains MECCA’s Makeup Artist, Lenita Seker, explains.
Utilising deep mahogany browns reminiscent of sickly cola syrup and molasses-like berry shades are at the core of the lip trend, creating a feathered (or harsh, depending on how Priscilla Presley-modish you’d like to look) ombré finish.
“It’s all about using the shades and colours that suit you to create your custom ‘cherry cola lips’ shade,” Seker continues, adding that you can wear this look “really subtle or go all out with an intensely pigmented look”.
Rather than focusing on heavy matte lipstick, the ‘cherry cola’ trend relies on a creamy lip liner in a couple of shades darker than your natural tone and a high-shine finish gloss. Think: the glistening skin of a ripe bunch of cherries in the summertime—plump, fresh, glossy and paired with a vibrantly concentrated hit of burgundy.
The result is a radiant layer of juiciness rimmed by an artificially sweet outline approved by the likes of Kylie Jenner, Amelia Grey and makeup artist Mary Phillips, along with Lana Del Rey, of course.
The key to achieving this look is threefold: a perfectly polished base, a buttery, easy-to-apply lip liner and a lacquered lip gloss. “Start by preparing the lips with a nourishing lip scrub,” Seker explains. “Lining the lips is the next step to achieving this look,” she adds. “
Use a lip liner deeper than your natural lip tone to define the shape and create a perfect base. Try Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat in ‘Pillow Talk Intense’ or MECCA Max Pout pencil in ‘Stellar’.”
Then, opt for your bratty gloss. The more plumping, the better (because no one likes a deflated-looking cherry, right?)
“The next step is to add the juicy shine, this could be a soft berry brown lip balm or a high-shine red/brown based lip lacquer. Summer Fridays’ Lip Butter Balm in shade “Cherry” gives a soft balmy finish, or you can amp it up with Kylie Beauty Lip Shine Lacquer in “A Whole Lewk”.
And while most TikTok tutorials end there, it would be remiss to send you out there rivalling a can of sickly soda pop without knowing how to complete the rest of your complexion. “A fresh face works really well with this look,” notes Seker.
“Use a hydrating skin tint with a soft focus powder to set. To define the eyes and keep the focus on the lip, try smudging a soft kohl pencil in a warm brown into the lash line followed by a full-volume mascara.” Et voilà! Lips like cola, plumped with the taste of cherry pies.