Nothing completes a look quite like perfectly plumped lips with lipstick. Unfortunately, whether you’re going for full gloss or a matt finish, flawless lips aren’t all that easy to achieve. If you’re one of the 36% of women who use lipstick as part of their daily beauty routine, we’ve got the best tricks and tips to get that pretty pout. We’ll let you in on a secret early: long-wearing application is all about the prep work.
5 steps for guaranteed perfect lips with lipstick
Step 1: Exfoliate
In addition to smudging onto teeth and clothes, lipstick is very good at highlighting any cracks or dryness on your lips. Our skin renews itself about once a month and our lips are no exception. Which is why exfoliation is essential. Using a gentle scrub is the best way to slough off dead skin cells and prevent any clumps or flaky skin from dulling your smile. It will also keep your lips looking and feeling supple.
Go for a salt-based scrub that contains alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). While sugar might taste better, salt is often finer and gentler on the lips. The AHAs provide a chemical exfoliation that not only smooths skin, but also supplies moisture. Not to mention the increased collagen production that will result in a plumper pout.
Step 2: Moisturise
The skin on our lips is incredibly thin and sensitive. As a result, it’s more prone to dehydration and dryness than other parts of our dermis. More often than not, hydration comes from within, so it’s essential that you drink plenty of water to maintain a perfect pucker.
Balms and moisturisers provide hydration from the outside. Keep a lookout for shea butter, coconut oils and antioxidants like Vitamin E on the labels of products. Lips simply love these nourishing ingredients. We recommend a applying a conditioning moisturiser to your skin and lips daily, or giving it a treat with an intense nourishing oil.
If you find your lips are dry and you haven’t got any balm about, try to avoid licking your lips. Saliva contains enzymes that damage the top layer of skin, making them sensitive and even drier.
Step 3: Prime and line
Once your lips are smooth and supple, it’s best to apply a lip primer. This will help to create a sleek surface for your lipstick application. No need to worry if you don’t have a primer – just layer on a bit of extra balm followed by a dab of concealer or foundation.
Once your primer is set, it’s time to line your lips. Although bad lip-lining habits from the ’90s and early ’00s left many of us traumatised, liner is an essential if you want long-lasting lip colour. It helps to prevent lipstick from bleeding outside the lines of your mouth and provide a great base for the pigment to cling to.
Step 4: Apply lipstick
Once all the prep work is done, your lipstick should glide on easily to create a perfect pout. Although it’s not essential, a lipstick brush is best for precision application. Start from the centre of your lips and work outwards to the corners, making sure to cover your liner. Add more coats to intensify the colour if you like.
Step 5: Smile
Finally, the most important step for a perfect lipstick look: a megawatt smile.
Getting perfect lips with lipstick is all about the prep work. Start with a gentle exfoliator, be sure to get plenty of moisture, prime, line and add your pigment.