The Correct Way To Apply Lipstick And Where You've Been Going Wrong

Listen up and pucker up.


We often see that girl with flawless lipstick, walking down the sidewalk, on the red carpet or on Instagram, and wonder how she does it. Trying to recreate the same effect back in our own bathroom never looks quite right, from the lip liner appearing too harsh, the color ending up on our teeth, our lips drying out or the effect simply not lasting more than an hour. 

What's the secret application technique our moms never taught us for perfect lipstick? The answer: a simple, foolproof step-by-step routine that works every time. That's all there is to it and we're here to share, so listen up and pucker up. Mwah!

Step One: Prep prep prep

Don't you hate it when your lipstick flakes off, leaving you with uneven color and dry, uncomfortable-feeling lips? Prevent this with some simple prep. Start by gently buffing them once a week using a soft, old toothbrush, washcloth or gentle exfoliator to remove any dead skin cells. Apply a lip balm before getting dressed or applying the rest of your makeup, then remove it just before you apply your lipstick to ensure the color adheres. 

Step Two: All about that base

One of the top tips from the beauty world when it comes to perfect color and long-lasting lipstick is to apply a very small amount of foundation over your lips using a small brush before going in with any other makeup. It acts like a primer (or "base") and makes the color pop. Trust us, it works.

Step Three: Line To Define

Some of us who remember the '90s are still a bit reticent when it comes to lip liner (too many Gwen Stefani flashbacks), but it's time to put our linerphobia behind us, because – when done right – it can really boost your look. Choose a liner in exactly the same shade as your lipstick, or your natural lip color, and trace the curve of your mouth. Test the results by smiling in the mirror, which helps to see if you've applied the liner unevenly.

Step Four: the first coat

Stretch the skin so that it is taught around the bottom of your mouth, then take your lipstick and apply directly to the lower lip, not worrying about the inner corners. Press the top and bottom lips together and release. Don't worry, it won't look flawless just yet, that comes after the next step.

Step Five: Your Inner Makeup Artist

Apply the lipstick to a clean lip brush, then "color-in" your lips. The brush will help you get into the infamously difficult corners of the mouth and give you more precise application. Again, press your lips together, release, pout, then open your mouth and smile to check the color has been evenly distributed. Repeat application with the brush if necessary.

Step six: Preventative measures

 Avoid the lipstick from getting on your teeth by lightly kissing a clean tissue. If any smudging has occurred, use a slightly damp Q-tip to remove the stain, and touch up the area with foundation.

That's all there is to it. Now you can shop the best lipsticks and liners below and know exactly how to use them: 
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish - $24
Root Clear Pretty Balm - $8
Miss A Beauty Treats Essential Oil Hydrating Lip Care - $1
Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick Plum Perfect -  $7
Burt's Bees Glossy Lipstick - $9
NARS Audacious Lipstick Annabella - $34
The Body Shop Lip Liner - $6
NYX Cosmetics Slide On Lip Liner - $8
Tom Ford Lip Brush - $47
Make Up For Ever 304 Lip Brush - $25