Lipstick is classic. In fact, we believe it’s the most classic. In our humble opinion, it beats out all other makeup products for the top spot, including mascara and blush. There’s just something so timeless about that little bullet of lip color that other products lack. No matter how much we appreciate a dewy highlight or subtle contour, it’s just not the same as swiping on a crimson color while gazing into a compact mirror like the cool girl in a ’50s movie.
But life’s not a movie. No matter how chic it can look, wearing a bold lip is hard work. Seriously. If your experiences are anything like ours, your once edgy or elegant lipstick has worn out, bled, or just looked ehh within a half-hour’s time. What’s the secret to the long-lasting, enviable pout we all desire? Thankfully, five professional makeup artists shared their expert tips to achieving the long-lasting, bold lip worthy of the silver screen. Keep scrolling to read which mistakes are most common—and how to fix them!
What you do before you put on the lipstick is as important as the formula you apply. Exfoliating is key. Take it from makeup artist Suzy Gerstein. "Lipstick goes on more evenly and looks so much better when it's applied to a smooth, even canvas." Getting rid of any hard, dry skin will make your lipstick formula wear more comfortably and last longer between touch-ups. Makeup artist Azra Red is a fan of the Tarte pick above. "I love Tarte lip exfoliator; it's soothing and has peppermint oil that's super refreshing."
After you've exfoliated, it's important to replenish your lips. If you exfoliate and leave it at that, your lips will be back to being dry and uncomfortable in no time. Reach for Decléor Aroma Solutions Nourishing Lip Balm ($16), which is another favorite of Red's. It will hydrate and moisturize to make your lips velvety-smooth.
Listen up because we'll only say this once. Lip liner is crucial to perfecting your pout. "I think people tend to have an aversion to lip pencil because it is so often overdrawn or applied in an overly harsh, severe color that can look very dated. But lip liner, when done right, can actually add more substance and long wear to your lipstick and define the shape of your mouth in a really pretty, believable way," Gerstein says.
And trust us—if you're looking for lipstick that lasts all day, using a liner before application can make a world of difference. According to makeup artist Aidan Keogh, lip liner is what "seals the deal with lipstick." Smudging and bleeding will be a thing of the past.
Now that we've all agreed to use lip liner, we need to know just how exactly to apply it. Keogh cautions against doing the classic outline method. "Fill the entire lip with pencil so that when your lipstick wears off you still have an opaque color on your lip and not a line marked around your mouth." We can't say we knew better. There has been many a time that our lipstick disappears leaving a telltale sign on the perimeter of our pout. Azra Red agrees: "You won't be left out with a line around your lips after dinner or drinks." For us, this one is duly noted. Now we won't panic when we have to forgo touch-ups because we forget our lippies at home.
Another related tip: If you're looking to overdraw your lips for a fuller appearance, make sure your liner matches your natural tone. Keogh likes Kevyn Aucoin's The Flesh Tone Pencil in Medium ($25).
This mistake is major. If you have dry skin and lips, try to avoid matte liquid formulas, which will only exaggerate your lips' lines and cracks. Kristine Cruz, Senior Makeup Artist of Antonio Prieto Salon, confirms these sentiments. Luckily, she has the recipe for a plump, moisturized pout. "I love the matte finish look on the lips, but not on dry lips. Please if you have dry lips, keep away from the matte lipsticks as they can really make your lips look crusty. Instead, wait for your lips to heal, exfoliate with brown sugar and coconut oil and hydrate and protect using a lip moisturizer with SPF." However, if you have dry lips (hello, us!) but still swoon over a matte look, reach for a more moisturizing formula like Charlotte Tilbury's Matte Revolution line.
If dryness isn't your issue, then by all means turn to liquid lipstick. Some makeup artists, expert Min Min Ma included, swear by a liquid formula. "My absolute favorite lipsticks available on the market right now come in liquid format, matte in texture, and are highly pigmented," she says. "They are gorgeous, very low maintenance and extremely lightweight." She recommends formulas like Laura Mercier's Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour ($28) and Maybelline's Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lipcolor ($6). These are sure to cling to your lips all day long.
Although this one seems obvious, many of us are prone to making the mistake. Swiping on too much of a matte formula causes it to dry unevenly and even flake off. It's just as bad with glossy formulas. Gerstein has seen it firsthand. "Nothing detracts from a beautiful statement color more than when it's glopped on like a glazed doughnut and looks, for lack of a better word, lipsticky." She advocates for formulas like Glossier's Generation G ($18), which has "subtle light reflective particles and just the right amount of pigment to allow you to control the application without overdoing it."
Adversely, it's possible to wear too much product in other areas of your face as well. In other words, if you're going for a bold lip, let your lips stay the focal point of your makeup. As Keogh put it, "Focus on enhancing one feature. If you choose a smoky/dramatic eye, play down the lip colour and texture to a more natural lip. If you choose a bold lip, play down the eye makeup to some mascara and soft shine on the lid." Essentially, keep your lipstick simple, impactful, and majorly chic.
Now that we've mastered lipstick, read about the most common blush mistakes women make (and how to fix them)!