1. START FRESH
Start fresh. Exfoliate lips once or twice a week. You can use a mix of salt and almond oil, then follow with balm.
ESL Notes: I use Elisabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream.
2. AVOID TOO MUCH SPARKLE
"Shimmer can look cheap," says makeup artist Troy Surratt. Look for lipsticks with a creamy finish. "Light reflection should come from moisture in the formula, not metallic pigments," he says. Two hydrating options: Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipstick and Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick.
ESL Notes: Mac lipsticks and Inglot are great.
3. FIND THE RIGHT BRIGHT
Choose a bright shade based on your lips' natural color—not your skin tone. Women with pale lips look best in cherry red or coral; for naturally reddish lips, try hot pink, orange, or cranberry; for dark lips, brick red and burgundy are ideal. Try Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in 01 (for pale lips), M.A.C. Lustre Lipstick in Lustering (for reddish lips), or L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge in Bold Bordeaux (for dark lips).
ESL Notes: I use Mac Plumful and Russian Red. Korres natural pink and brown.
4. LOOK GOOD NUDE
The prettiest nude lip colour is slightly brighter or deeper than your skin tone. If you're pale, look for something with a hint of pink, like Burberry Beauty Lip Cover in Nude Rose. Those with yellow or olive undertones or dark skin look best with sandy beiges, like CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor in Delish.
ESL Notes: Korres natural lip colours are perfect.
5. AVOID THE VAMPIRE EFFECT
Blue or black-based shades that are too dark can be severe, aging, and even a little scary. Look for lipsticks with berry undertones instead. (Try Elizabeth Arden Exceptional Lipstick in Wild Winterberry or Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lip Colour in Burgundy Lustre SPF 18).
6. DON'T WORRY ABOUT LINER
Liner is no longer a must-today's lipsticks don't bleed," says Surratt. To enhance your Cupid's bow or add symmetry, use a pencil that matches your lips, not your lipstick.
7. SOFTEN THE EDGES
Careful application is good; clinical precision isn't. Just smudge the border of your lips slightly.
8. START IN THE MIDDLE
When applying any shade of lipstick, start at the center of lips and blend colour out toward the corners of your mouth. (Never apply it directly to the corners of your mouth—it will look clownish).
9. DON'T OVERDO IT
Prevent a strong lipstick shade from looking heavy by swiping it on just your bottom lip, pressing lips together, and using your finger to distribute the colour over your mouth.
10. BLOT, BLOT, BLOT
To make your lipstick last longer, apply it straight from the tube, blot with a tissue, then swipe it on again. "Blotting will create a base, and the second coat adds shine and coverage," says Surratt.
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