How to Apply Lipstick

Three Parts:Getting Your Lips ReadyApplying the LipstickTrying Classic Variations

There are many different ways to apply lipstick, but a few extra steps can not only make your lipstick last longer, but also appear smoother and crisper. This article will show you how to apply lipstick properly. It will also give you a few tips on how to make your lips appear larger or smaller, as well as how to achieve certain effects such as ombre.

Part 1
Getting Your Lips Ready

  1. Image titled Apply Lipstick Step 1
    Exfoliate your lips. This will help remove any dead skin cells and give you a smooth canvas to work on. It will also help your lips feel softer. You can exfoliate your lips by gently brushing them with a toothbrush for a few seconds, or rubbing them with a damp towel. You can also make a lip scrub using one part oil and one part sugar.
    • Good oils to use in lip scrubs include jojoba oil, oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Even honey works for those who don't want to use an oil.
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    Moisturize your lips with some lip balm. Open the lip balm and run the stick across your bottom and upper lip; if it comes in a little jar, use your finger to apply it instead. This will not only help soften your lips and make them smooth, but it will also help the lip liner and lipstick go on more evenly.[1] Leave the lip balm on for a few minutes; you can do the rest of your makeup while you wait.[2]
    • Try to choose a waxy, non-oily lip balm. This will be less likely to leave behind oily residue.[3]
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    Wipe the lip balm off, if necessary. Before you apply any lipstick or lip liner, check and see if there is any lip balm on your lips. If there is still some residue, wipe it off using a tissue or cotton bud. Any lip balm that's leftover will make your lips too slippery and prevent the lip liner and lipstick from sticking.[4]
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    Consider priming your lips with foundation. This will help bring out the natural color of the lipstick, but it is not necessary.[5] Use the same color that you use on the rest of your face, and apply it with a makeup sponge. Be sure to smile while doing this; it will help you fill in all the little cracks.[6]
  5. Image titled Apply Lipstick Step 5
    Choose your lip liner. Lip liner is very important. It gives the lipstick something to grip on to and makes it last longer. It also helps the lipstick go on more evenly and prevents it from bleeding.[7]
    • If you are going to wear a bold color lipstick, choose a lip liner that is a bit darker than the lipstick color. This will help deepen the color of the lipstick and make it more opaque.[8]
    • If you primed your lips with foundation, or if you want a more neutral look, match the color of the lip liner to your lips.
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    Apply your lip liner. How you apply the lip liner can change the way your lips look. You can make your lips appear bigger, smaller, rounder, or wider. Start by outlining your lips, then fill them. Here are some tips and guidelines:[9]
    • To make your lips appear smaller, apply the lip liner to just inside the lip line. Apply some concealer around your lips to hide your natural lip line.
    • To make your lips appear bigger, apply the lip liner to just outside your lip line; it should still be touching your natural lip line.
    • To make your lips appear wider, apply the lip liner along your natural lip line, but then extend it just past the corners of your lips. To make them appear narrower, do the same thing, but apply the lip liner to just inside the corners. Conceal your natural lip line with some concealer.
    • To make either the upper or bottom lip appear fuller, apply the lip liner to just outside the lip line. Stay within the lip line for the rest of your lips.
    • For a softer, more natural look, tap the lip liner on the corners of your lips with your finger. This will help soften any sharp edges.[10]

Part 2
Applying the Lipstick

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    Consider choosing a lipstick color that compliments your complexion. You'll be a lot happier with the results of your lipstick application if you understand which lipstick shades and compositions complement your skin tone and texture. Keep these factors in mind when you're picking out lipstick:
    • If you're dark-skinned, choose a bold color that provides a pretty contrast. If you're pale-skinned a lighter pink or neutral color may stand out enough for you. For a medium complexion, go for mauve, cinnamon or plum.
    • If your lips are on the dry side, you may not want to use matte lipsticks since matte lipsticks can dry lips out. Look for lipsticks that contain emollients and conditioners or use a lip primer to create a barrier between the lipstick and the skin of your lips.
    • If you have thin lips and want to make them appear larger, avoid using very dark colors; they tend to make lips appear smaller.
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    Apply the lipstick. Start from the center of your lips and brush the lipstick outward, filling in all the gaps.[11] You can apply the lipstick directly from the tube, or you can use a lipstick brush for more precision.[12]
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    Put on a second coat. The first one acted as a sort of base; this second coat will give you a lasting, more intense color.[13]
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    Blot the inside of your lips. Stick your finger into your mouth, close your lips around it, and then pull your finger out. This will help prevent any lipstick from getting onto your teeth.[14]
  5. 5
    Make your lipstick last longer by dusting it with powder. Gently pull a tissue apart so that you end up with two, thin sheets. Press one of the sheets against your lips and lightly dust it with some translucent setting powder. Pull the tissue away and apply a second coat of lipstick.[15]
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    Clean the outer edges of your lips with some concealer.[16] Dip a thin brush into a concealer that matches your skin tone, then outline your lips with it. Blend it outward into your foundation. It will not only give your lips a nice, crisp outline, but it will also prevent the lipstick from smearing.[17]
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    Consider using a highlighting pencil on your cupid's bow. This will help accentuate the natural shape of your lip. Simply outline your cupid's bow using a white or ivory pencil. Do not draw over the lipstick; draw above it.
  8. 8
    Try adding some shimmer with lip gloss.[18] It is not necessary, but it will add some sparkle and shine. It will also help your lips appear plumper. You do not need to apply the lip gloss all over your lips; you can just dab a small amount to the center of your bottom lip.

Part 3
Trying Classic Variations

  1. Image titled Apply Lipstick Step 16
    Use two different shades of lipstick to make your lips appear plumper. Apply your usual lipstick to your lips, but use a slightly lighter shade down the center of your upper and bottom lip. Be sure to blend well. You can also use a creamy highlighter pencil instead.[19]
  2. Image titled Apply Lipstick Step 18
    Use blush in a similar color to make your lipstick look matte. Choose a matte, powder blush that is the same color as your lipstick. After you have applied your lipstick and lip liner, sweep your finger across the blush and press it against your lips. Keep applying the blush this way until it is completely covering your lips, and your lipstick is matte.[20]
    • Do not use shimmery blush.
    • This will not work for all lipstick colors; it is only dependant on what colors of blush are available.
    • If you cannot find blush in the right color, you can try using matte eye shadow in a matching color instead.
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    Create ombre lips. Choose a lip liner color that is darker than your lipstick color. Outline your lips using this lip liner, then fill your lips in with your lipstick. For an even more exaggerated ombre effect, apply an even lighter shade of lipstick to the innermost part of your lips. Blend everything together by applying a clear gloss.
    • For a reverse ombre, use a lip liner that is lighter than your lipstick, and outline your lips with it. Fill your lips in with your lipstick; for a more exaggerated look, apply an even darker shade of lipstick to the innermost part of your lips.
  4. Image titled Apply Lipstick Step 20
    Create rosebud lips. This chic, feminine look was popular in the flapper era. It's perfect for a theme party or nights when you want to try something new. Outline the middle of your lips, but stop short of the corners. Fill in the outline with a bright red lipstick. Finish the look with a 1930s finger wave hairstyle.
  5. Image titled Apply Lipstick Step 21
    Go for goth. Choose a dark lip shade like black, dark red, or maroon. Find a lip liner that matches the lipstick color and outline your lips with it. Fill your lips in using the lip liner, then apply the lipstick. Wear this style with a goth outfit and hairdo.


  • Carry your lipstick, lipliner, and lip gloss with you in case of accidental removal or just quick touch-ups.
  • You can wear whatever shade of lipstick you want. Whatever works best for you is fine.
  • The key to wearing bright and nontraditional colors is confidence!
  • After you apply your lipstick, blot them with a tissue and apply powder on top of the tissue. Take off the tissue and re apply your lipstick. This will help your lipstick last longer.
  • If you have really dry lips you could opt for a tinted lip balm such as "Vaseline- Rosy Lips", as it will moisturise your lips and provide a light colour.
  • Highlight your cupids bow with a white liner or a shimmery eye shadow and blend. This will make your lips appear fuller.
  • Use a clear lip liner if you get a lot of bleeding. Clear lip liners contain a lot of waxy ingredients that help keep the lip color from bleeding outside the lip line. Apply clear liners around the perimeter of your lip line where you get bleeding or have fine lines.
  • Primers will add some moisture and create a barrier between your lips and the lipstick. With this barrier you can prolong the wear of your lipstick and it helps keep the lips from drying out.
  • Color isn't needed all the time. Nude works great for just a day out with the girls/guys, and can be the prettiest for you.


  • If you plan on doing any lip-locking, always check that you haven't smeared it or left any traces on your partner afterward!

Things You'll Need

  • Lipstick
  • A mirror
  • Lipliner
  • Chapstick

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