I have a routine I use to apply lipstick and, whether it was a $5 Maybelline or a $32 NARS lipstick, I seem to get pretty good results and great wear time.
On the suggestion of a friend (hi Emily!), I decided to gather up my lipsticks and take some swatches for you guys, as well as go over my routine. It sounds like a lot but it’s not…ok, so it is. But it WORKS, I swear. Not just on me and my perpetually dry lips, but on other people too. Give it a try and see if it helps you too.
First of all, drink 60+ oz of water a day, exercise often, and moisturize obsessively. For the rest of us like me who suck down Dt Dew like it’s champagne and are too tired chasing kids all day to throw on an Insanity tape and work out in the basement (what?…), this is what you do.
I moisturize, I really do. I do it obsessively, like I’m 80, because my skin is dry (most likely caused by my refusal to drink anything resembling water) and I need to. I also do it because I wear a lot of eye makeup and the skin on my eyelids will pucker up (I refuse to say wrinkle) if I don’t. So I usually moisturize daily in the morning and at night, use an eye cream on in the morning, and exfoliate 2x/week. I prefer Origins’ Night-A-Min cream and Gin-Zing moisturizer/eye brightener, but Olay makes some decent ones too. I want a Mia electronic skin cleaning brush but I’m cheap, so I wash my face with makeup remover and then Phisoderm for dry skin before I moisturize. About once a day, I use a serum from Oil of Olay or Clinique just around my eyes and eyelids. I exfoliate my lips a couple times a week with a sugar scrub and also use Chapstick or Bite Beauty’s lip balm (but holy expensive!) in the morning before makeup and at night before going to bed.
(and yes, after writing all that I feel like I should go snack on some prunes while screaming at kids to get off my lawn, but hey, I love makeup and doing awesome makeup work on dry flaky skin is like painting a chalkboard- it doesn’t stick and just looks gloppy).
So once you’ve moisturized and that includes the lines/skin around your mouth, throw on a tiny bit of Chapstick. Don’t cake it on, but one pass should be enough. Let it sink in and then here is one big trick:
Either use a lip primer (Too Faced Lip Insurance http://www.toofaced.com is a good one) or take a lip liner that matches your lipstick and lightly scribble with it on your lips. You can be sloppy, but just do it lightly and you don’t need to cover all over the lips. The point is to give the lipstick something to “grab” on to, to help boost staying power. Back in the day women would take foundation and dab it on their lips. It works the same (and has the added benefit of neutralizing lip color) but on oilier lips(yes there is such a thing) it will slide right off and make your lipstick “ball up” on your lips. No Bueno.
Then you want to line just outside your actual lip line with either a clear or flesh colored lip liner. I use Cargo’s Reverse Lip liner, but Urban Decay makes a clear one called Ozone that I’ve heard works well, too. The idea is it acts as a waxy barrier to keep lipstick inside the lines and prevent feathering. If you do use a flesh colored one, you’ll want to blend it slightly (more on that later) but clear liner you can leave as is.
Next, use a lip brush to put on your lipstick. I know, I know, it sounds like an extra step, but using a lip brush keeps you from applying too much product (which can look gloppy and/or make the lipstick feather) and helps you get precise lines. You generally want to work around the cupid’s bow (heart shaped top of your lips right under your nose) first then go to the edges. You can put a layer on and if it is a buildable lipstick, do the top first, then bottom, then go back to the top and add another layer. That way the first layer soaks in a bit first and keeps it from looking sloppy when you do a second layer.
Another way to do it is use your brush to apply the first layer, then blot it once with a tissue. Then go back and do the second layer. Same concept but it gives more of a lip stain effect.
Once the lipstick is how you like it, go back in and blend the lip liner outside your lip if you used a flesh colored pencil. Just slightly rub it in a bit so that the strong, obvious line disappears and just blends into your skin tone.
If you want to add a lipgloss on top, go ahead and do it now, but usually I would advise just to dab a bit on the center of your upper and lower lips. The glossiness makes your lips look bigger without an in your face shine (unless you’re wearing a lipstick that you WANT to be loud and glossy, then go ahead and coat it with gloss).
Last but not least, get the excess lipstick off your lips by sticking your finger between your lips, pucker up like you’re blowing a kiss, and pull your finger out of your mouth. It helps get any excess off that could’ve ended up on your teeth.
To help with transfer resistance, don’t eat any oily foods for a few hours. Drink through a straw if you can. You can obviously buy lipsticks made to be long-lasting but they peel my lips pretty badly when I use them, and then it defeats the purpose, so I do all of this first and have much better luck without shredding my lips.
Those are my tips for now… Stay tuned for All About Lipstick, pt. 2, my favorite shades and brands.