There’s nothing quite like a good liquid lipstick. These fluid formulas rose to beauty fame several years ago and quickly solidified their place as a makeup essential. And for good reason, too. Liquid lipsticks deliver more pigment than traditional lipsticks and provide a stain that won’t budge throughout the day. But when it comes to swiping one on, there are a few things to know to help you achieve that perfect pout. Ahead, watch as celebrity and editorial makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes walks you through how to precisely apply liquid lipstick.
Learn to Apply Liquid Lipstick with MUA Katie Jane Hughes
Meet the Expert
Katie Jane Hughes is a celebrity and editorial makeup artist with clients among the likes of Ashley Graham, Kerry Washington, Anna Kendrick, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and more.
Before You Get Started
The key to a perfect liquid lipstick application begins with moisturized lips. “My lip balm is on and has been on since before I started my foundation,” says Hughes. “It’s absolutely key to have a lip balm on when you sleep if you can remember. I actually have one on my nightstand. But, in the skincare process, start lip balm at the very beginning and by the time you get around to lips, your lips will be perfectly prepped.”
Step One: Take Off Excess Shine with a Tissue
Before you begin to apply your lipstick, Hughes recommends blotting away any extra shine and sheen from your lip balm with a tissue. The only exception? “If you are wearing a very, very dry liquid matte lipstick, you can leave a little bit of the balm texture there. It will make it feel more comfortable throughout the day,” explains Hughes.
Step Two: Line Your Lips
The next step in Hughes’ application process is to carefully outline her lip shape using the Makeup For Ever Eye, Lip, and Brow Pencil in Universal Earth ($18). “I’ve got my pencil and it is freshly sharpened and I’m going to create an ‘X’ at my cupid’s bow,” says Hughes. “So, this is step one of a lip and this is framing the cupid’s bow. It is probably the most prominent part of someone’s mouth and probably the most beautiful, in my opinion.”
Hughes then focuses on her bottom lip, making an etch with the lip liner underneath her lower lip. “Now, I’m going to make two marks from the cupid’s bow halfway down my top lip and from the corner to meet the line I just created,” says Hughes. “Notice my pinky, it’s my anchor. And then I’m going to do the bottom to connect to this dash. Then, I’m going to fill it in with a pencil.”
Hughes says that doing pencil first helps with the longevity of any lipstick, whether it’s matte or shiny. She says with matte lipsticks, you often don’t need to do a pencil all the way underneath but can use one at the lip edge either to shade, contour, or provide a border.
Step Three: Buff The Edges of Your Lips
”I’m going to actually buff the edges of the lip liner that I just drew so that it doesn’t feel too drawn on and feels almost like I’ve worn it for years and it’s just my signature color and I never take it off,” says Hughes. “I’m carefully skimming the brush along the edge right where I get a little bit of inconsistency from the pencil to smooth it.”
Step Four: Begin Applying Lipstick Where Your Lips Purse
“The way to start a lip is to not start at the edges of the lip like I did with the pencil,” says Hughes. “Start close to where the lips purse or where your mouth opens because it’s way easier to keep tweaking toward the lip edge than it is to try and pull back from the lip edge with something like this, something as opaque and as glossy.” As Hughes applies the Revlon Ultra HD Vinyl Lip Polish in Date Night ($7), she gushes over how comfortable and velvety the product feels on her lips.
To precisely trace the edges of your lips with the liquid lipstick, Hughes recommends using the back of the doe-foot applicator.
Step Five: Erase Any Mess Ups
Accidentally swipe lipstick across your chin? Want to clean up around your lip line? Hughes fixes lipstick blunders using the Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2. “Take a brush and take a little bit of face cream on that brush and you erase it with a brush prepped with face cream. This is a makeup erasing trick from makeup artists around the world,” says Hughes. The makeup pro finishes her lips by swiping on another coat of the lip polish.