Beauty How-To: Keep Your Lipstick Looking Fresh

For me, warm weather months are high time to turn to lipstick as an all-encompassing beauty look. Or maybe I should just go ahead and say that my desire to apply primer and foundation and concealer and blush and bronzer and eyeliner and eyeshadow and mascara blahblahblahblahfhdfghjkfdk wanes into nothingness and I’m like, “What is the absolute minimum I can do to distract people from all of the other things that may or may not be going on on my face?” The answer is almost always a bold, yes, you’ve got this, distracting lip (and when it isn’t, it’s just staying within the confines of my home, protected from the eyes of Others).

But it’s not the decision to wear the lipstick that’s the problem (nope, that’s a no-brainer) — it is the continual wearing of the lipstick, and the attempt to keep the lipstick not just on the face but looking, if not quite freshly-applied (probably not gonna happen, sorry for the misleading title, perjury, whatever), acceptable. There are so many things that can go wrong over the course of a day: feathering, smearing, smudging, dryness, whatever you call it when there’s, like, pieces showing. These things don’t just look bad (and gross, ugh, those pieces are so gross), they’re also straight up annoying. In my bold lipstick-wearing (and chapped lips-having) tenure, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks, if not outright solutions, along the way.

Moisturiiiizzeeeee. If your lips aren’t prone to dryness (not even a little?), then please don’t tell me about it. It takes all of 15 minutes of lipstick-wearing for mine to feel like they are going to fall off, so I’ve pretty much accepted that unless I have moisturized adequately beforehand, lip color is not entering within a 10-foot radius of my face. If lips are too slick with balm, however, then color doesn’t go on right and wear time can be compromised, so one must find a happy medium. I generally try to load on lip balm right before I go to bed (I creepily refer to Dr. Hauschka Lip Balm, which I keep at my bedside, as my “bedtime balm,” what, I don’t know), but sometimes I fall asleep without doing this and wake up hella parched. That’s when I slick on John Masters Organics Lip Calm and go about the rest of my Appearance Preparations before blotting, not rubbing, the balm off with a tissue, so my lips feel soft and hydrated but not like they have anything on them.

Line. Otherwise known as, “something I have never done, not once, in my entire life.” WHAT! This is probably so incorrect of me, I don’t know, but unless you invest in a clear formula or you’re attending, like, a very important occasion that is going to go on for a very long time (in which case you should use a matching shade and line the outline of lips before filling in the surface), maybe just leave the lip liner at homeeeeee … ? I just feel like it creates a look that’s too precise and too calculated, especially if you just want to look like, “here I am, somehow looking totally natural and at ease while wearing hot pink lipstick at the beach!,” which is how I always want to look. But please note: just because I skip liner doesn’t mean I just apply lipstick straight out of the tube all crazy. Invest in a good lip brush, pleeeeeease.

Choose the right formula! Yeah, I guess this is probably the most important part, which is easily underestimated. If you want your lipstick to last all day, and look great while doing so, the lipstick you choose is really, really important. It doesn’t necessarily need to be high-end — Revlon ColorStay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain is one of my favorite lip products because it’s cheap, crazy pigmented, and doesn’t require a brush because it’s a “crayon,” yeah! — but, you know, a lot of the time you just get what you pay for, bro. All I’m trying to say is that if you invest in a NARS lip pencil (in matte or satin finishes!), you will never have to worry about smudging or flaking or getting color on your chin. Those pencils are legit, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You know I’m telling the truth because NARS doesn’t even send us any free shit. NONE. NONE FREE SHIT.

Set it. Unless you’re using a really great long-wearing formula, like the aforementioned NARS matte that I will be wearing in my coffin, you’ll definitely want to set your color with powder. It will make the finish a little more matte, and I’m sorry about that, but this is the price you pay for having lipstick on all day, alright? A loose translucent powder works great, I like the O.G. MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder tapped on with a mini kabuki brush. Go ahead and reapply after you powder. In fact, swipe it on straight from the tube, steering clear of your lip line and focusing on the center, then blend with your lip brush.

Perfect the edges. This is kind of a Pro Tip, and maybe unnecessary in some situations, so if you feel like your lip color is looking perfect just the way it is, feel free to skip. But I always like to dampen a q-tip in makeup remover and run it along the outside edges, just to pick up any stray color and make it all look cleaner. Then I like to go ahead and dip a concealer brush in, yes, concealer, and trace along the outside of the lip line with that. I guess this is what I do in lieu of using a lipliner in the first place (probably?), because it just cleans everything up and makes it look sharper and more defined and like I tried a little harder.

Now don’t eat anything greasy, or drink anything without a straw. I’m completely serious; don’t even try to live your life as you would normally and expect your lipstick not to get fucked up somehow, because it will, and then you are going to be disappointed. Personally, I’ve managed to perfect some alternate approaches to doing things, often involving food and drink, using strategic methods so as to not disturb my lip color. Want to know about them? Ask! I’m always happy to share. But, fair warning, some are pretty gross. I’m a monster.

Is there a celebrity beauty look you want to steal? A new product you want to learn how to use? Don’t know which foundation, moisturizer, volumizing spray, or novelty eye glitter to invest in? Want to see how many Momofuku birthday cake truffles I can fit in my mouth at once? (So many.) If you’ve got a beauty question, concern, or demand, any at all, hit me up on my videophone. I mean, uh, my email. Or Twitter! [email protected] or @frigidbardot — make it ring, or rain, or something like that, babes!


[Photo of woman with lipstick via Shutterstock]