Want to up your makeup game or get tried and test skincare tips? Beauty blogger Candice Chen shares her expertise in this column about makeup and skincare hacks!
The most important holiday beauty essential? A perfect pout, of course. Here’s a quick guide to getting your lipstick #onpoint, with handy tips from beauty guru @makeup_box!
NARS Audacious Lipstick, Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Lip Creme, YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick, Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick, Moonshot Stick Extreme
1. First things first – what’s the best way to prime your lips before applying lipstick?
You can use a lip scrub to remove flakes and residue beforehand, but my lips are ultra-sensitive so I usually skip that and go straight to lip balm. Any type of lip balm is fine, as long as you dab it lightly before applying lipstick. The only time you have to be extra careful with lip balm is when you apply liquid lipsticks with a budge-proof finish – waxy balms can sometimes break down the colour, but as long as you use a little bit, it should be fine.
2. My lips tend to get dry and flaky throughout the day. What is a quick way to get rid of the rolls of dead skin (yuck, I know) before reapplying lipstick?
Use a thick balm as a cleansing cream, then massage the lips gently before using a tissue to wipe everything off. If you still have annoying hanging bits that your fingers or tissue can’t get off, try using a pair of tweezers to carefully lift them off. This will be gentler than trying to rub the bits off. Just be careful when wielding your tweezers – you don’t want to go overboard and get raw lips instead.
After getting rid of the flakes, apply more balm to moisturise the lips, then dab with a tissue and reapply your lipstick. If you have a chronic tendency to flake every time you use a particular lipstick, check if you have a mild allergic reaction to the product.
3. Okay, now that the prep steps are settled – how do I prevent my lipstick from bleeding outside of my lip line?
Lipstick tends to bleed when it has a creamy or glossy finish, so use a lip pencil to line the edge of your lips before applying lipstick. Lip pencils are generally dense, waxy and matte, so it gives the edges of your lips a neater look and prevents bleeding. Also, try to stay just beneath the borders of the lip pencil outline when applying creamy lipstick.
4. Eeep! I tend to get embarrassing lipstick stains on my teeth whenever I wear dark lipstick. What can I do to avoid this?
This may sound weird, but you can stick a finger in your mouth, close your lips around your finger then pull it out slowly. Doing so helps to remove any lip product on the inside of your lips, so it won’t stain your teeth when you talk or smile. I also smile, grin or grimace a few times after applying lipstick, so I can wipe whatever colour comes off then stop worrying about it.
Another trick is to apply a bit of petroleum jelly onto the surface of your teeth, but I prefer the first method better. Vaseline doesn’t exactly taste very good.
5. My lips are quite obviously uneven. Should I reshape them by drawing outside of the lip line, or is that clown territory?
I’m all for slight corrections, if you ask me. I think that’s partly why matte liquid lipsticks are so popular now – the matte texture hides over-drawing because it makes your natural lip line less obvious. In comparison, creamier or metallic textures tend to reflect light and highlight the edge of your natural lip instead. As long as you stick to just along the outside borders of your natural lip line, it should look quite natural.
6. Lipstick that stays on all day – is that a myth, or can it really be done?
Matte lipsticks tend to be very long-lasting, especially if you use a liquid formula. However, it can be a bit trickier with traditional creamy lipsticks, which may not always be as budge-proof. With these types of products, layering is the key. Start by applying a layer of lip pencil (in a matching shade), so that your lipstick will have a long-lasting waxy base to stick on to.
You can also finish off by laying a single-ply of tissue over your lips, then dusting over with translucent powder. Reapply another coat of lipstick for the final touch. Note that this method will give your lipstick a more matte finish though.
If sheen is your thing, try applying a glossy gel stain on top of your usual lipstick. You’ll still get the lacquered shine, but with better lasting power.
7. Help! Matte lipsticks are great, but they make my lips super dry. Any tips on keeping my lips moisturised?
Matte lip products usually provide long-lasting colour but yes, they do tend to dry out your lips sometimes. I usually pat a bit of clear balm on my lips after the liquid lipstick has set completely, then roll my lips together to even out everything. If you don’t overdo it with the lip balm, the lipstick will set again and stay intact – but this time with a bit more moisture from the balm.
8. How do I pick the perfect nude lipstick for my skin tone? I don’t want to look washed out!
The most flattering nude shades tend to have a peachy or rosy warmth to them, instead of being pure beige. Don’t pick a shade that matches your skin tone exactly, because that’s as good as applying concealer to your lips (and we all know that’s not a good look right?). Even if you want a “mod” sort of effect with no rosiness whatsoever, a caramel-beige shade that is slightly deeper than your skin tone would be more flattering.
Also, always wear some makeup (especially blush) when trying on lipstick shades. Certain nude shades can seem washed out on a bare face, but actually look quite nice when complemented with a smoky or cat eye.
9. While we’re on the topic of picking the perfect lipstick shade – how do I pick a classic red shade that doesn’t look garish?
I find that true bright reds tend to look garish on most people, or even clownish with the wrong outfit. The perfect “starter” red is something that is about two tones deeper – think ruby or garnet red, rather than fire-engine red. These deeper shades of red tend to be more elegant, and are also more forgiving on most skin types. Try MAC’s Russian Red, Chanel’s 99 Pirate (for pale to medium skin tones), MAC’s Viva Glam I or Clinique’s Icon Pop (for tan to deep skin tones).
Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick in 99 Pirate
10. And finally – how can I make my pout really pop?
Here are a few ways to may your lipstick stand out:
- Dust highlighter along the peaks of your cupid’s bow, then contour under the bottom lip before applying lipstick. This will make your lips look poutier.
- After applying lipstick, use a fine brush to go around the edges of your lip with concealer to create a super-crisp lip line.
- Go easy on the blush and keep eye makeup minimal, or matte and smoky. This will draw more attention to the lips.
- If you are using a nude or neutral shade, use a taupe-toned neutral pencil (medium brown brow pencils also work great) to lightly outline your lips before applying lipstick.