How To Apply Lipstick Perfectly

Pay attention, as this skill has the power to make or break your whole makeup look.

Reviewed by Shelly Shimoni, Hair & Makeup Artist
Written by Shreya Mukherjee, MA (English)
Edited by Madhumati Chowdhury, MA (English Literature)
Fact-checked by Bhumika Daga, MA (English)  • 

Lipstick has been the most popular makeup product for decades, and for a good reason, too. If you know how to apply lipstick properly, you can amp up your look instantly, give your makeup a polished look, and get that dolled-up vibe. No surprise then that women can’t just do without it! A popular saying goes: ‘Give a woman the right lipstick, and she can conquer the world.’

However, not everybody knows how to play around with this magical stick. It is an art that needs precision, technique, and practice. And if you are new to the world of lipsticks and lip color, here is all the help you need to be initiated. This article lists some hacks and tips for those struggling to master the art of applying lip color.

So, if your lipstick fades quickly or bleeds on the outside of your mouth and onto your teeth, let us help you out with these simple ways to apply lipstick perfectly. Scroll down!

protip_icon Keep In Mind
  • Past The Lip Line: Apply the lip liner not just on your lips but also on the skin around it to add a glossy appearance around the mouth and conceal dry corners.
  • Overdrawn Lips: Always choose one area to emphasize, such as your bottom lip or cupid bow, for more natural-looking plump lips.
  • Blush: If you are sporting bold bright lips, choose a lighter shade of blush belonging to the same color family.

How To Apply Lipstick Perfectly Like A Pro

To achieve the perfect pout and to make sure it stays, remember to follow these easy tutorials and tips for that glam look that lasts all day.

Let’s begin with what we need:

  1. A nourishing lip balm/ lip conditioner
  2. A lip liner
  3. Concealer
  4. Compact powder
  5. Your favorite lipstick

And now we dive straight into the tutorial.

Method 1: Regular Step By Step Tutorial To Apply Lipstick

Step 1: Prep Your Lips

Prep your lips to apply lipstick
Image: Shutterstock

This is the first and foremost step and I can’t stress upon this enough – prepping is key! You don’t want to be walking around with dry, chapped lips. Exfoliate with a soft, damp toothbrush and hydrated by applying a nourishing lip balm to make those lips soft, supple and healthy-looking. You may apply a lip primer after to make the color stay on longer and to prevent it from bleeding. An alternate way to exfoliate is by using a sugar scrub.

A blogger shared her tips for applying lipstick effectively. She mentioned, “When I have to attend a party at night so I start to apply lip balm from the morning, reapply it many times I feel like to get soft and plump lips at the time of applying makeup (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
Only use an old and used toothbrush to ensure that the bristles are soft and not damaging for the thin skin of the lips. Alternatively, rub your lips with a damp washcloth to remove dead cells, debris, and dirt.

Step 2: Apply A Base

Create a strong base with a concealer to apply lipstick
Image: Shutterstock

If you are worried about any kind of discoloration or an uneven lip tone, it’s crucial for your lipstick to have a base to hang onto. This is to make sure your lipstick does not sink into your lips. Choose a concealer shade that matches your lip color and dab a little on it with a flat brush or a small fluffy brush. Apply some compact over this to seal the base. It also helps your lip color to stay on longer.

Note: The M.A.C Prep + Prime Base is a great option and is also recommended by professional makeup artists.

Step 3: Use A Lip Liner

Use a good lip liner to give your lip the perfect shape to apply your lipstick
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Image: Shutterstock

To define your natural lip line and to prevent your lipstick from getting messy, use a good lip liner to define, reshape and perfect the contours of the lips. This way you will achieve a more defined, precise and polished look.

Trace over your natural lip line from one corner to another with a liner that compliments your skin tone to prevent feathering (this sometimes depends on matching it with the lipstick you decide to wear). To make the cupid’s bow more prominent, create an ‘X’ shape on your upper lip, just below the cupid’s bow.

Don’t worry if the lines on the inside are slightly imperfect because the lipstick will cover them anyway – but it’s the outer lines that matter.

Note: Use a liner that has a moderately smooth texture for easier application. I really like the Lakme 9 to 5 Lip Liners that come in various beautiful shades.

Step 4: Apply the Lipstick

Apply the lipstick of your choice
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Image: Shutterstock

Once you finish all the above steps and choose your lipstick, take some product onto a lip brush and apply it evenly all over your lips. Don’t miss out the inner corners. Ensure you apply it within the corners of your lined lips. Go coat by coat and intensify the color as you please. Usually, one good coat of a quality lipstick will suffice.

Note: If you have dry lips, you may not want to use matte lipsticks since they tend to dry your lips even more. Look for moisturizing lipsticks that also condition your lips.

If your lips are on the thinner side, avoid using very dark colors as they tend to make your lips look smaller.

The blogger also added, “I always run my index finger after applying liquid lipstick to get the extra product off my lips. For some liquid lipstick which are thick like Sugar Smudge me not liquid lipsticks I prefer to use a small brush ,it helps to spread the product evenly.”

Step 5: Add Definition

Add a little definition to your lips after you apply lipstick
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Image: Shutterstock

Use a small concealer blush and work on your edges to correct the shape of your lips. This is optional but if you want to give your lips that pouty look, you can add a subtle hint of lip gloss.

Now that you’ve got a basic idea of prepping your lips and applying lipstick perfectly, let’s cover a few other essential ideas that you can make use of.

Method 2: How To Apply Lipstick Without Lip Liner

In case you don’t have a lip liner in your makeup box, don’t fret because there exists a secret to applying lipstick perfectly, without using a liner.

Step 1: Use Your Finger

Rub your ring finger into the lip color of your choice and press this finger directly onto your lips moving along the natural lip line. This way you achieve precision without a liner.

Step 2: Finish The Look

For the interiors of your lips, finish off by applying the color either directly from your lipstick tube or using a lip brush.

Wasn’t that simple? This trick also comes handy when you are in a rush!

Let’s look at some other simple tricks to help you achieve lipstick that is so on point.

Method 3: How To Apply Lipstick on Dark Lips

If you have dark, pigmented or discolored lips, with a few simple hacks, you can still conquer your lip color. Do not shy away from light colors or sheer pinks because these tricks do work if you just put in some effort.

Step 1: Conceal

The key here is to neutralize pigmented lips using a concealer that exactly matches your skin tone. Where there’s darkness, there’s always concealer, so it’s not odd to use one for your lips. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Step 2: Add Some Extra Coverage 

If a little concealer wasn’t of much help, you can dot a little more of the product onto your lips till you achieve your desired effect.

Step 3: Line Your Lip 

Use a lip liner that goes with the lipstick color and carefully line your natural lip line making a cross or an ‘X’ right under the cupid’s bow to enhance the shape of your lips.

Step 4: Layer The Lipstick On 

Apply your lipstick in layers if required. Use a non-glossy formula for better results. Also, those have a much greater staying power than creamy or glossy lipsticks.

Now you can wear any color that you wish to!

protip_icon Quick Tip
Simply dab on the lipstick and spread it evenly with your fingertip, especially if you are wearing a nude shade. This ensures that there is no excess product on your lips and what is on there is spread evenly. Dark browns, floral shades like peach and pink, and neons look great on dark skin.

That’s not all, we have a few other hacks for the beauties whose lips are on the smaller side.

Method 4: How To Apply Lipstick on Small Lips

If you are someone who wants to achieve a fuller look with the help of a little lipstick, read on.

There are so many cool makeup shortcuts that can grant your wishes.

Note: There are also products in the market for lip enhancing and pouting such as lip plumpers that temporarily give your lips a fuller appearance.

Step 1: Exfoliate 

You could use a nourishing lip scrub or a natural sugar scrub for exfoliation. Gently massage the scrub onto your lips in slow circular motions.

Step 2: Prime 

Use a primer for an even base and to increase the longevity of your lipstick.

Step 3: Line

Use a lip liner that matches your lipstick color. Refrain from using very dark colors as this will only make your lips appear even smaller and that’s how to apply lip liner perfectly. You can use any gel or kajal eyeliner.

Step 4: Highlight

Once you’ve applied your lipstick, make sure you highlight it. Just like what highlighting does to your face by creating dimensions, highlighting makes your lips appear fuller.

For an added touch, use some lip gloss over your lip color. A lip gloss is a godsend for small or thin lips.

Important Tips And Precautions To Be Taken While Applying Lipstick 

These are a few extra tips and tricks that you can keep in mind if you are a lipstick enthusiast.

  • Never use a dark liner with a light shade of lipstick – it will ruin your entire look.
  • Always soften the lines formed by the lip liner by blending them out properly either by using your fingertips or a Q-tip.
  • Get to understand your lips and also what formulations work best for you as this differs from person to person.
  • Always blot using a tissue to remove excess product and even out the texture.
  • To turn a glossy lip color into a matte finish, dust some translucent loose powder on the lips and let it rest for a few seconds. Dab them with a flat or a fluffy brush to even the powder out.
  • When applying lipstick with a brush, use an angular brush. This helps in providing a more defined look.
  • If you wish to follow the pastel lip trend and do not want to shell out any more money on buying them, you can make your own pastel color (DIY). Use a white pencil all over the lips and pat any of your favorite lip colors onto the lips. There you go!
  • To achieve plump-looking lips, apply some cream-based highlighter onto the Cupid’s bow.
  • Always ensure that you have no lipstick marks on your teeth as this tends to happen when you wear a creamy, transferable lipstick.
  • Never use expired lip products as these can cause allergic reactions and other health issues.
  • Avoid trying out tester lipsticks at stores as it’s been on many lips and it can be a cause for the spread of infections.
  • Never apply lipstick on chapped lips, it will only accentuate all your cracks and lines.

But, how long can you use lip products without damaging your lips? Is it safe to use them after the expiry date? Continue to the next section where we explore answers to these questions.

How Long Should You Keep A Lipstick?

Different lipstick brands and formulas may have different expiry dates. Do check those details on the package and use them accordingly. In general, cream-based lipstick formulas are good for one to two years, while lip glosses may expire within six months to a year. Avoid using lipsticks that are expired or are beyond their “best before” date. Not only will they lose their color and texture, but they will also increase the risk of bacterial infections, breakouts around the lips, or worsen chapped lips.

Additionally, note that while long-lasting lipsticks are every beauty enthusiast’s dream, they must be removed using a good-quality makeup remover or cleanser before bed to ensure good lip health.

Now that we’ve covered the application, let’s talk about how to remove your lipstick at the end of the day. It’s so important to take off every speck of makeup before you go to sleep to maintain the wellness of your skin. Besides, it feels good to have soft and healthy lips, doesn’t it?

How To Remove Lipstick?

There are several ways to remove lipstick. Ideally, you can use a makeup remover that you will find in abundance in the market. I personally prefer Neutrogena’s Eye and Lip makeup remover as it does the job effectively, yet gently and Neutrogena’s products are very reliable.

We must be gentle with our lips, and while removing lipstick, we must always ensure that we don’t damage or dry out our pout in the process.

Method 1: Apply Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

Just dab some petroleum jelly onto your lips just like any lip balm, and let it sit for two minutes. Use a wet wipe or a cotton ball to wipe away the lipstick. This also works for your liquid mattes!

Method 2: Use Coconut Oil/ Olive Oil

Slather some coconut oil onto your lips which is nourishing and also one of the most natural makeup-removing agents out there. With the help of a cotton ball, wipe away any product on your lips.

Method 3: Lotion

If you have nothing else available, you can try using some of your face lotion or body lotion and gently massage it onto your lips. After letting it sit for a couple of minutes, wipe it off with a cotton ball.

That’s all there is to master the art of wearing and removing lipstick. We hope you’ve made mental notes of some of these old tricks and hacks for the next time you want to dress your pout. Give these tips a shot and write to us about your experiences or queries in the comments below.

Key Takeaways

  • Lipstick has been the most popular makeup product for decades.
  • Applying lipstick is an art that needs precision, technique, and practice.
  • All you need are a nourishing lip balm/lip conditioner, lip liner, concealer, compact powder, and your favorite lipstick.
  • Also, you must be gentle with your lips. You also must ensure that you don’t damage or dry out your pout in the process of removing lipstick.

Infographic: How To Correctly Apply Lipstick

Applying lipstick correctly can seem utterly impossible, even if you have found the ideal shade for your lips. It can take time and lots of practice to flawlessly apply that perfect shade. But if you have the right technique, then you can become proficient a lot faster. So check out the infographic below to know the different ways you can apply your lipstick perfectly.

how to correctly apply lipstick (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

Lipstick is an essential cosmetic product. Applying lipstick the right way requires practice. First, you have to find a technique that works for you and apply it with precision. You shouldn’t rush it and take your time to learn and practice how to apply lipstick. As you master your technique, you will be able to put on lipstick as flawlessly and quickly as an expert makeup artist. So, lipstick at the ready, head over to your mirror. Read through this article again, and follow along. If you get it wrong, be patient and try again. You can also read through some additional hacks and tips to keep your lip game on point! Opt for the best lipstick shade and apply as per the instruction shared to amplify your beauty. But do not forget to practice lip care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a Korean person apply lipstick?

Apply concealer on the outer edges of the lip and lip tint on the inner areas of the lip. Diffuse the color by pressing your lips together. Apply a lighter layer of tint to the lips, excluding the edges. Blend it out with your fingers. This is how a Korean gradient lip is done.

Do I need a lip liner for red lipstick?

Yes, it will look better if you use a lip liner for red lipstick. It will also help make the lipstick stay in place and prevent smudging.

What type of lipstick is best for beginners?

The best lipstick formula for beginners is one that is moisturizing, such as a tinted lip balm or a lip gloss.

What are the different types of lipstick finishes, and how do they look?

There are different types of lipstick finishes, such as matte, metallic, sheer, cream, satin, and gloss. Each offers a distinct look. For example, matte finish offers an intense color payoff, satin gives a gentle, natural sheen, and metallic provides a shiny finish.

How do you choose the right lipstick shade for your skin tone?

Choosing the right lipstick shade for your skin tone is essential. Cool undertones typically look best with a purple base, whereas warm skin undertones may look best in shades with a yellow or red base.

Lipstick hacks every girl should know! Learn how to make your lipstick last longer, create the perfect pout, and more from the video below!

Personal Experience: Source

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