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Best Lipstick Tips and Tricks

This year, we decided to devote four issues to celebrating, investigating, and having a lot of fun with a single feature — and for September 2018, we went with lips. It is our humble hope that these four guides (this one, plus hair, and eyes) are ones you won’t part with. They’re packed with the absolute best products, salon and spa recommendations, serious inspiration, and as you will find below, the best expert tips.

When Allure started in 1991, we pretty much invented the notion of makeup tips and even we’ve never heard some of this brilliant pro advice. Presenting the 25 best lip tips, according to makeup artists, that we could find:

  1. Complement brown eyes with cool blue-toned lip colors, like deep reds or purples. Against blue or green eyes, warm orange-reds and corals pop.
  2. When hydrating your lips, more is more: apply balm past the lip line, onto the skin. Leave it on for as long as possible before putting on lipstick.
  3. Choose one place (Cupid’s bow, bottom lip) to overdraw your lips with a pencil that matches your lipstick — emphasizing a single area looks natural.
  4. Less is more when you’re wearing blush with bright lipstick— pick a blush in the same color family as your lipstick, and use a light hand.
  5. Put on a matte liquid lipstick, then apply a regular lipstick over it. Using similar shades — or different ones — creates its own beautiful color and texture.
  6. Use a wedge sponge or index card as a guide to line your lips with precision — excess product will come off on it and not on the skin around the lip.
  1. If you want to make your lips look pouty, use a slightly lighter lipstick on the center of your upper and lower lips than you do at the edges.
  2. Most people don’t know where their lip line ends. Tilt your head back so you can line the very bottom of your lower lip and your lips will look fuller.
  3. Creamy lipsticks can be applied with a brush, but most mattes pay off better when you put them on straight from the bullet.\
  4. For an easy-to-wear take on bold lip colors, put on your lipstick, then press a clean finger along your lip line to soften things up.
  5. Before lipstick, trace your Cupid’s bow with a light shade of foundation to create a brightness that makes lips look naturally fuller and crisper.
  6. Dot gloss onto the center of your upper and lower lips — alone or over lipstick — and press your lips together. You’ll avoid glop on the sides.
  7. It’s a myth that you should layer setting powder over lipstick. It can oxidize, change the lip color, and accentuate creasing.
  8. Lip gloss is fluid — it’s not designed to wear all day. Put your gloss over a coordinating long-wearing lipstick for a glossy lip that actually lasts.
  9. The point of nudes is to make your lips look fuller, not to make them disappear. Choose a shade that’s slightly deeper or brighter than your skin tone.
  10. Fill in the entire lip with liner. When the lipstick on top wears off, the color underneath — instead of your actual lip — will come through.
  11. Start putting on lipstick at the center of your lips, and saturate the area — rub your lips together and the color will fade into your natural lip line.
  12. A little bit of concealer around the lips — or two layers of lip liner — keeps your lipstick from migrating or bleeding into fine lines.
  13. Your lips are not the same color as your skin — try lipstick on your lips, not on the back of your hand. [Editor’s note: Clean it with alcohol spray first.]
  14. For the most precise red lip, work backward. Apply lipstick, then liner (in the exact same red or a little deeper) to create the shape.
  15. Before you put on bold lipstick, gently blot your lips with a piece of Scotch tape to pull off dry bits without irritating your lips like scrubs can.
  16. If you don’t want a high-maintenance look, tap the shade on with your finger. You get a pretty stain effect as opposed to full-on saturated color.