Ever found yourself at an interview, on a date, or chatting someone up, trying your best to maintain conversation whilst all you can really think about is the voice in your head telling you to check your lipstick? Us too; and chances are we have a bold line around the outside of our lips and zero pigment in the centre. Applying lipstick efficiently and effectively requires more than just a one-step process within your makeup routine. In fact, if you truly want to max out your lipstick’s potential, your lips need an entire routine of their own.
Below, we’ve sussed out the tricks for making your lip colour look perfect. This 10-step program may look like a lengthy process, but if you want to maintain that perfection from day to night (and vice versa) it’s well worth the effort.
To prevent pigment from clinging to dry skin or gathering in lines and creases, exfoliate with a product like the Sara Happ Sparkling Peach Lip Scrub. Doing so will remove the skin’s dead outer surface, improve circulation, and create a smooth base for lipstick. Ensure that you clean your lips well in order to effectively remove exfoliating particles before applying colour, and be wary of over-exfoliation – scrub your lips twice a week as part of your morning routine, or before applying lipstick for an occasion.
Aside from being painful, peeling and chapped lips will effect the finish and longevity of any consequently applied lipstick – and let’s face it, no one wants to shed flakes of lipstick all over their desk. Keep a dry pout at bay by applying a superpower lip treatment like the EOS Lip Balm day and night. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, the formula will plump, nourish, and hydrate lips, keeping them healthy around the clock.
As any makeup lover will know, priming is essential. Just as you apply a makeup primer to smooth the surface of your skin for even foundation application and improved weartime, a lip primer will do the same for your lip colour. In fact, using a lip primer will give almost any lipstick the ability to lockdown from 9-5. We particularly love Cargo’s HD Picture Perfect Lip Primer, which creates an adhesive base that helps lipstick to glide on easily and prevents colour from feathering, smudging, and creasing.
Perhaps the most effective product for enhancing your lipstick application, lip liner is a veritable multitasking force of the beauty world. Used effectively, it can enhance your natural lip shape, add symmetry, build a barrier that prevents colour from bleeding or feathering, and even create the appearance of a fuller pout. If you want a lip liner that works for every lipstick shade imaginable, we suggest using a nude shade that will work with any lipstick colour, like Kevyn Aucoin’s The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil – it’s completely foolproof and will prevent that tell-tale line. Apply liner all over your lips so that when colour starts to fade, the liner and lipstick will fade away together, sparing you the unfortunate ‘ring’ effect.
5. Choose The Right Tone
Not all shades will flatter all skintones – discover what works best for you by identifying your skin’s undertone. Everyone’s skin has undertones of either yellow or pink, and when it comes to choosing lip colour, it’s best to focus on shades similar to your undertone. If your skin leans pink then cool and blue-toned lipsticks like Illamasqua’s Lipstick in Bare will work best, whereas warmer orange and red-based hues like Gerard Cosmetics’ Lipstick in French Toast will flatter those with yellow undertones. If you’re opting for a nude shade then experts also recommend choosing something a little brighter and darker than your natural lip colour.
6. Choose The Right Formula
Equally important is the need to consider the texture of your chosen lip product – which will dramatically change the finish and impression of a lipstick. Choose your formula dependent on your circumstances – matte lipsticks and stains like Stila’s Crush Lip & Cheek Stain will mean you can keep upkeep to a minimum and that colour will fade gradually and evenly. At the other end of the lipstick spectrum are sheer, hydrating formulas like RMK’s Irresistible Glow Lips. Imparting a soft, glossy sheen, these light textures are easy to wear and apply on the go for a subtle look. What’s more, they add dimension which serves to make lips look fuller and plumper.
7. Use A Brush
Designed to allow for precision application and prevent smudging, using a brush makes it easier to apply product and build it up in thinner layers – which in turn works the colour into the skin for a longer last. What’s more, it also means you can get creative and mix multiple colours to achieve your desired look. Louise Young’s Flat Lip Brush allows you to draw a perfect line without slipping – the long handle gives optimum control and the small, perfectly formed bristles are designed to hug the undulations of your mouth shape, smoothing colour flawlessly across your lips. For best results, begin by loading a clean brush with colour and tracing over your lipliner before gently blending the product into the centre until the entire lips are covered.
Instead of tissue (which soaks up pigment), use a blotting paper to set and seal colour onto your lips, making it less likely to slip or fade. Ideal for on-the-go application, Trestique’s Blotting Paper will remove excess oils and emollients without fading colour. If you want your lipstick to truly last, blot in between layers, holding the paper over your lips and dusting a little matte translucent powder over the top to better lock in colour. It’s important to choose a silky, finely-milled powder; we love Laura Geller’s Matte Maker Invisible Oil Blotting Powder which has a completely weightless consistency so lays smoothly on the lips.
9. Use Concealer To Tidy Edges
Cleaning up the outline using concealer and a thin lip brush has long been a practice employed by makeup artists seeking to perfect a strong, bold look, correct lipstick errors, and prevent colour from bleeding. These days you can go a step further with a specially designed lip concealer like the Paul & Joe Lip Concealer Duo; an innovative double-ended pencil which glides on effortlessly to leave your lip shape looking smooth and defined.
10. Apply A Gloss/Topcoat
Finally, in the style of the best hairsprays and fixing sprays, a clear gloss or topcoat will fix colour in place, preventing the need for reapplication by helping the formula to resist the effects of humidity. Providing extra-long wear, Face Atelier’s Lip Lock uses silicone-based fixatives to set the hue in place and prevent the dreaded lipstick marks on your coffee mug.
And for those of you rolling your eyes in impatience at the idea of lipstick routine that requires more steps than your favourite green juice recipe, may we suggest Edward Bess’ amazing freak of a product – the Lasting Kiss Enhancing Lip Stain – it looks like a lipgloss and acts like a stain, lasting hours without any fade or transfer.