Lipstick may very well be the most anxiety-inducing makeup a girl can use. With one slip of hand, or too much wear, a perfectly composed look can instantly turn into a horrifying disaster. But once you figure out the tricks to applying a perfect lip, you’ll be hooked on the amazing way that a little color can transform an entire look.
- Always, always, always moisturize!
Lipstick is meant to highlight your lips; so chapped lips can easily be amplified with just the smallest amount of color. Use a chapstick daily to reduce the fine lines in your lips. EOS lip balm is a cult favorite with its adorably bright colors and spherical packaging. I recommend “Sweet Mint” to not only moisturize your lips, but leave them tingling with a minty taste that is perfect for feeling fresh and clean!
My personal favorite is a chapstick from Nivea called “A Kiss of Smoothness.”This twistable tube is intensely moisturizing and works to seal in moisture, leaving your lips soft and supple. It even has SPF 10 so you’re protecting your lips while moisturizing them; the perfect 2-in-1 deal!
For all of you with extremely chapped lips (myself included), a lip scrub is an absolute must! Lip scrubs can be difficult to find, but Lush uses all-natural ingredients to make beautiful scrubs that, strangely enough, taste amazing. For a cheaper alternative, e.l.f cosmetics makes a portable lip exfoliator that comes in a convenient lipstick tube. Just rub this over damp lips, wipe it off, and you’re good to go!
Lip scrubs are also one of the easiest DIYs you can do at home. My favorite lip scrub can be made with only two ingredients: sugar and coconut oil. As a natural moisturizer, the coconut oil soothes lips while the sugar scrubs off all of the dead skin. Simply dip your index finger in the coconut oil and then roll it in sugar. Scrub the mixture over your lips and wipe off with a damp towel. For those of you who don’t have access to coconut oil, Vaseline is a great alternative. Lip scrubs take minutes to do and they will make a huge impact on your beauty regimen.
- Avoid feathering with lip liner.
Using lip liner is often tossed around by many makeup gurus. With a bad match, liner can instantly make your lipstick take a turn for the drag queen. However, I have found that when using bright colors, lip liner is a must to keep the color in tact. Often times, dark colors will bleed into the fine lines around your mouth, making your face look runny and disastrous. But by lining the lips with a color similar to your lipstick, you'll prevent unattractive feathering. Start by lining the middle of your bottom lip and working outwards, and then do the same on your top lip starting at your cupid's bow. Then fill in your lips slightly with the color, which will allow the lipstick and lip liner to blend more seamlessly. NYX cosmetics has a wide variety of gorgeous lip pencils that are smooth and long-lasting; and at only $4.50 each, they’re a staple in every makeup collection.
- Pick colors that flatter your skin tone.
Choosing a lipstick color can be a daunting task. A color can look cute in the tube, but ghastly once it's on your lips. How do you avoid this? Knowing your skin tone is key to choosing lipstick that will suit you the best.
Cool-toned skin, or those with blue veins or pink undertones, will look the best in lipsticks with blue or purple undertones. Warm-toned people, those with green veins or yellow undertones, should opt for warmer, or yellow-based colors.
As far as skin color goes, fair girls can pull off a wide array of bright and dark lipsticks. But be aware: nude lips can easily make us pale girls look like Casper, and not in a friendly way. Opt for nude lipsticks that have a pink tone to them so you aren’t washing out all color to your face.
Revlon carries a wide array of neon chubby lip crayons in their Colorburst Matte Balm line. These lip colors are especially nice because not only do they have amazing staying-power, but also have a balmy feel that moisturizes lips and prevents the lipstick from sticking to dry patches. They’re also mint flavored, bonus! My personal favorites are Showy, Unapologetic, and, if you’re up for the challenge, Shameless.
Some great nude colors for fair-skinned girls are Mac’s Crème Cup or L’oreal’s Fairest Nude. Crème cup has a pink tone that neutralizes the lips, yet adds the slightest bit of color. Fairest Nude is a darker nude, so you aren’t left with pasty pale lips.
Olive toned girls have a much easier decision. Your neutral skin allows them to wear pretty much any color you desire. Focus on nudes, pinks, and oranges when purchasing lipsticks. Work on pairing your lip color with whatever outfit you’re wearing for the day; warm color scheme will mean a warm-toned lipstick, and vice versa.
A lovely nude that suits olive-toned girls is Mac’s Myth. A comparable drugstore option is Maybelline’s Blushing Beige, but be aware that this formula is drying and will definitely need a moisturized base. Also, don’t be afraid of oranges! Coral was made for warm-toned girls, so go for it! Revlon’s Coralberry is a perfect natural coral, or be bold with Mac’s Morange.
Dark skin tones look phenomenal with berry or ruby-toned lipstick. You girls are very lucky; you can easily pull off the dramatic lip look that everyone envies. Nude colors can sometimes look a little too contrasting, so select nudes that have a tan undertone.
Mac’s Rebel is the perfect berry-toned color that will make you feel confident and daring. For a cheaper alternative, try Revlon’s Iced Amethyst. Ruby Woo is also a beautiful red tone made by Mac that is definitely worth checking out.
- Pay attention to the formula.
Matte, Crème, Frost—all are common varieties of lipstick finishes. This means that the formula of a specific lipstick will affect how it looks on the lips.
Matte colors emphasize the color more than anything. They have no shine, gloss, or shimmer to them, and are often thick. Therefore, moisturizing the lips beforehand is absolutely crucial to pulling off a matte lipstick. If this step is skipped, the color will highlight every single crack and crevice in the lips. But when it is pulled off, lips look velvety, smooth, and radiant.
Crème formulas are exactly as stated: creamy. They are easier to apply than a matte, and much more forgiving on the lips, but the staying power is not as strong. They don’t have much of a shimmery finish, but some crème formulas can be glossy. They are perfect for every-day easy wear, but will require some touchups throughout the day.
There seems to be a general love/hate relationship with Frost formulas. They add sheen to the color and can sometimes be shimmery or sparkly. The color payoff is definitely not as strong as matte or crème formulas. Because of these factors, Frost lipsticks tend to be avoided by many. However, they seem to add dimension to the lips that the other two formulas lack. The sheen added from the lipstick makes the lips pop and lets you skip the sticky mess of lip gloss.
There are tons of factors that go into lipstick use, but ultimately it is up to the user to make these decisions. Lip liner, color, and finish are all components of lipstick, but by no means create mandatory rules for wearing lipstick. The true beauty of lipstick is the confidence that it instills in any girl that uses it. There is something about a bold lip that makes you stand a little straighter, smile a little brighter, and walk a little fiercer. So don’t be afraid of it! I have given you guides to help alleviate the general fear of applying lipstick, but it all comes down to you. Explore the magical world of lip color and discover the power that comes in a tiny twist-tube. Trust me, once you gey comfortable with lipstick, it will change your life.