The number of things you can do with lipstick—much like our love for the stuff—is endless. Throughout our long relationship with the makeup-bag staple, we've picked up a few tricks. And, in honour of National Lipstick Day, we're sharing our top 15 most game-changing lipstick hacks. Scroll through to learn a thing or two!
Hold onto your old contact lenses case. It’ll come in handy if your favorite lipstick gets crushed or melted. Just scoop out what’s left and store it in a very portable contact lenses case. Not a contacts wearer? Pick up a small pillbox at the drugstore.
Found a color you love but wish it were matte? You can fix that with powder blush. Find a (shimmer-free) product that’s close to your lipstick color, press it into your lips with your finger, and voilà—matte lip color. We like Clinique’s Blushing Blush Powder Blush ($21).
For the “your lips, only better” look—also known as the “I just ate a popsicle” effect—make a kissy face and dab your lipstick onto the center of your lips (your finger works well here). You’ll get just a kiss of color right where you want it. Bright, poppy shades like Boots No7’s Stay Perfect Lipstick ($10) in Smooth Shiraz are best for this.
Exfoliation is mandatory. Pricey lip scrubs are not. You can make your own with a little bit of sugar and anything gooey—honey, lip balm, face serum, any kind of oil. Or use a soft toothbrush or clean spoolie to gently buff away flakes. Once they’re smooth, don’t forget to keep them hydrated.
First, a quick biology lesson. “Lip tissue differs from skin tissue on other parts of the body in that it not only has fewer cell layers of thickness but also has reduced total fats and oils (lipids) and especially a deficiency of cholesterol,” Dr. Thornfeldt says. “Thus its protective barrier properties are easily compromised.” Which explains why lips get dry and chapped, causing you to seek relief in the form of lip balm.
Dr. Thornfeldt says most products help initially, but over time they allow waxes, skin cells, bacteria, and yeast to build up—all of which the lip tissue tries to get rid of during the normal cell turnover process. And when it’s not able to slough off this buildup, the skin reacts negatively. So you end up feeling the need to apply more lip balm. “It’s not that the lip balm itself is ‘addictive,’” Dr. Thornfeldt says, “Rather, the lips are trying to get rid of the waxes, bacteria, yeast, and other buildup left on the skin; the person in turn is trying to stop the uncomfortable feeling, and thus applies more lip balm to get back to the state of smooth, soft lips. This is only temporary, of course, and the cycle continues.”
Yes, you can achieve the perfect Cupid’s bow. Just make an X. Using any lip pencil (we’ve been liking Flower Beauty’s Line & Shine Lip Liner, $4, lately), draw a diagonal line that extends down from the highest point of your top lip. Do the same thing to the other side of your lip, and continue your lip-lining as usual. Your pout will be impeccably defined.
When your nudes aren’t showing up nude, it’s time to neutralize. Tone down naturally pigmented lips by applying a light layer of foundation before your lipstick. You don’t need a lot, but this step ensures your lip color will look exactly how it should on your lips. Just skip mattifying foundation formulas. Stick foundations make this a breeze. We like W3ll People’s Narcissist Foundation Stick ($40).
Apply, blot, dust, apply—four steps to turn your average lip color application into a long-wearing wonder. Apply your lipstick, blot with a tissue, lightly dust translucent powder (Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Powder, $34, is perfect for this because the powder is so finely milled), and then apply again. Those extra seconds will you give you hours of extra wear.
Any lip product can take on the appearance of a stain—if you use a fluffy brush like Sigma's E40 Tapered Blending Brush ($16) to apply it. This type of brush will diffuse the lipstick for a stained feel. Seal the deal with a dab of lip balm to blend and soften the color even more.
Say hello to reverse lip liner and goodbye to feathering and bleeding forever. Unlike the lip liners you’re used to, clear lip pencils like No Cosmetics’ No Bleeding Lips Secret Lip Liner ($15) create an invisible barrier around the perimeter of your lips that prevents your lipstick from traveling and feathering.
To reattach a broken lipstick, grab your lighter. Melt the broken portion for just a few seconds, connect it to the base, and fuse them back together. Pop it the freezer to solidify your work.
Contouring (tutorial here) is the secret to fuller lips, and it only takes four steps. The CliffsNotes version is also an option: Simply press a little bit of shimmery powder (like Laura Geller’s Baked Highlighter with Double-Ended Face & Eye Applicator, $29) onto the center of your bottom lip, blot, and go. It acts as a highlighter, catching the light and making your lips look larger. To take it one step further, top it off with clear gloss.
Mistakes happen. That’s why there’s concealer. Use a full-coverage concealer, like Hourglass Cosmetics’ Hidden Corrective Concealer ($32), and a precision concealer brush to clean up mistakes and outline your lips. This will make the color really pop. Even just doing the outside corners gives your smile a little lift.
When your darkest lip isn’t dark enough, break out the black eyeliner (Chantecaille's Waterproof Eye Liner, $26, is one of our favorites). Use it as lip liner, then top it off with the lipstick of your choice for a vampy look. Or, if you want a lip color to show up paler, try this trick with a white eye pencil.
Great news—hair spray cures lipstick stains. Spray the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, dab it with a clean washcloth to lift the color, then toss your formerly soiled sweater in the wash. Warning: Hair spray and dry clean–only fabrics don’t mix.
Did you know all of these lipstick tricks?