The newbie's guide to applying lipstick—the *right* way

Gorgeous, bright lippies dominated this season's runways, but perfecting your pout can be tricky business. So we went right to the pros for their best pointers. Are you ready to throw (on) srsly bold shades? Thought so. 

Start smooth

For a flawless finish, "gently buff off dead skin with a lip scrub a few times a month," says Ashley Piszek, makeup artist and founder of Miss Swiss. "Then apply a nourishing lip balm while you get ready." When the rest of your look is complete, wipe away balm to leave a clean canvas for your lipstick. 

Prime your smile 

"Create a solid base for your color by filling in your lips with a nude lip pencil that is exactly the same color as your mouth," says makeup artist Pablo Rodriguez, Illamasqua's director of artistry. This will help keep the shade going strong and prevent the edges from feathering.

Choose your formula

"Glosses and dewy products like balms do no set," says Rodriguez. Matte formulas will transfer and smudge less than wet-looking ones, so go for liquid lipsticks or lip stain formulas when you want the longest wear time.

Bullet or brush

The eternal debate: Is it better to apply straight from the tube or with a lip brush? Turns out it depends on the look you're going for. For a sheer wash of color, use a lip brush (the fibers won't apply as much pressure, so you get a lighter finish). Seeking a richer shade? Use the tip of your lipstick bullet or wand to trace around the edges of your lips (that helps make the lines really crisp), then fill in the rest of your mouth, starting from the center and working out. Color outside the lines? "I always keep concealer and a Q-tip handy in case I smudge or make a mistake," shares Piszek. 

Grab a kleenex

The less product on your lips, the less likely you are to lose the tint. "Always blot off any excess color after application," says Rodriguez. Just pat a tissue over your lips. "It's like creating your own stain."

Go bold or go home

Rodriguez loves the vibrant colors for spring. "They instantly brighten up the whole face, even the eyes!" Here are a few of our faves...

💕 Poppin' Pink—Illamasqua Ultramatter Lipstick in Eurydice ($22)

❤️ Retro Red—Miss Swiss Matte Lipstick in Drew ($18)

🧡 Over-the-top Orange—Benefit Chachatint Cheek and Lip Stain ($18)


Need more beauty newbie advice? We got you, girl. 
💋 How to color your hair without completely messing it up
💋 The newbie's guide to popping a pimple—the *right* way
💋 How to *really* find your perfect foundation match

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our April/May 2022 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Edited for digital by Allie Lijewski.


by Erin Reimel | 4/14/2022