Lipstick application

Lipstick application

To apply lipstick seems a simple enough task, yet I often encounter women sporting a poorly-shaped or smudged lip contour. Half-eaten on the inside and smeared on the outside, slapdash lip makeup looks worse than no makeup at all.

To create and maintain a flawless mouth, you will need to know:

  • when to use a lip pencil, and how to choose one.
  • how to apply colour with a brush or a tube.
  • how to maintain the contour and reapply the colour.


Lip pencil

Lip pencil facilitates lip colour application and prevents it from feathering, however you don’t always need to use lip pencil. Skip it if you are young and there are no fine lines on the skin around your mouth. Also, lip glosses, sheer transparent lipsticks, and some matte long-lasting lipsticks do not require prior outlining.

For natural lip makeup, choose a soft pencil in the colour of your lip flesh. Soft pencil can be used as a coloured base if followed by gloss or lip balm. Don’t attempt to modify your lip contour with soft pencil; this creamy product will not stay where you put it, even if the advertisement says “does not smudge”.

For bright lip makeup, you will need harder pencil; it will give you a more precise contour, and will more effectively prevent your lip colour from feathering. Choose a slightly darker shade than your lipstick.

To add volume to small or flat lips, outline the entire contour of the lips on the outside rims with a hard pencil. Use natural colours that do not contrast with your skin. Be very careful when modifying your contour; what works on some lips may not work on lips of another shape or maturity, and a highly unattractive feathered contour occurs when you apply lipstick to your skin rather than your lips.

Start your lip makeup application with a lip cream (eye cream serves the same purpose) or primer that is quickly absorbed by the lips. When outlining, stretch your lips slightly by opening your mouth, keeping it relaxed, and don’t smile. Define your cupid bow first, then draw upper and lower lip lines from corners to centre, and do not outline the corners.


You may find a lip brush handy for applying bright colours, especially if you are skipping lip pencil; however, I find this application approach too tedious for everyday makeup. A new lipstick usually has a point or wedge shape that is convenient to use for accurate colouring. If you are not completely satisfied with the accuracy of your application, you can pass a lip pencil over your lipstick to fix small flaws in the contour.

Lipstick application 1

With your mouth relaxed, start your colour application by defining the cupid bow, moving the lipstick from the centre upward and outward.

Lipstick application 2

Open your mouth wider, and draw the upper and lower lips from the corners to the centre. In the corners, blend your colour into the mouth, keeping it open.

Lipstick application 3

Add more lipstick to the centre of your lips with long strokes in different directions. For a more festive look, apply lip gloss in the middle of the lips.

Ensure your lip colour does not extend beyond the contour, especially in the corners, and that there are no traces of lip colour on your teeth.


Layering your lip colour in the hope that it will stay longer does not make sense. Blotting your lips with a tissue between layer applications will destroy the suppleness of the waxes in your lipstick. Layered lipstick is very difficult to maintain and impossible to retouch; the same is true of long-lasting lipsticks, which can also be dehydrating and uncomfortable to wear. You will need to clean your lips completely and reapply your lip makeup from scratch.

Glosses and creamy lipsticks need to be retouched more often than long-lasting lipstick, but they are easier to retouch and keep fresh and free of small particles that can get stuck to the lips.

My advice would be to apply less lipstick, and retouch when needed. Instead of trying to figure out how to make your lipstick or gloss stay longer, just put it in your purse and go.