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How to Make Your Lipstick Last Longer

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We’ve all heard the million different versions of long-wear lipsticks – some longer, and some shorter, but here we’ve broken down the five easy steps to making your best long-wearing lipstick last as long as it possibly can and look its best while you’re at it.

Exfoliation Is Key

Even if you’re very focused on exfoliating and moisturizing, your lips may not be an area you think needs these two things until they’re dry as sandpaper. But as we already mentioned, your lips are incredibly sensitive. With that being said, getting rid of dead skin is the first step in a perfect lip look.

You can use a sugar scrub or a physical instrument to help you along. Personally, if I want to exfoliate my lips, I use the edge of a washcloth and gently rub circles over the surface of my lips until they’re a bit tingly. You can get the same effect by using a soft-bristled toothbrush.  

Be Prepared

“Your skin on the lips is much thinner and more sensitive than the skin on your arms and legs because it’s meant to help your mouth absorb food,” says Mary L. Stevenson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon at NYU Langone. With that in mind, properly preparing your lips by moisturizing is the next important step before we get to the fun stuff.

  • For moisturizing, look for a good wax-based lip balm to prevent your product from sliding around your lips. You can’t go wrong with Burt’s Bees’ old reliable, which is one of the best-rated lip balms on Amazon!
  • As far as priming goes, New York-based makeup artist Abby Lauren says lip primer isn’t exactly a top concern unless someone has parched lips. It’s “just another layer of product making the color less likely to stay,” she says. But if you love a lip primer and don’t mind the extra step, feel free to go for it! I can personally vouch for the NYX primer. Its waxy texture is perfect for lining lips and leaving a smooth surface grip your favorite long-wearing lipstick.
How to Make Lipstick Last Longer

Line and Fill

Purchasing an entirely different product to line your lips may seem excessive, but it’s a sure-fire way to prolong the life of your lipstick.

  • Choose a lip liner that is a complimentary color to your lip product. You could also opt for an invisible or transparent liner, such as the Sephora Collection Beauty Amplifier Universal Lip Liner.
  • Don’t rely on only lining the edges of your lips. Yes, this may help with feathering, but applying liner to your entire lip (almost as if it was a lipstick) will assist even further in preventing fading.

Apply, Blot, Repeat

Once you’re filled and lined, it’s time to apply your favorite long-lasting lipstick. A matte lipstick would be my first choice to ensure a long-wear time, but you can use the same principles with a cream formula (you just may not see the same results).

  • Start by applying a thin layer of your product, either straight from the tube or with a lip brush for more precision and control.
  • Next, use a tissue to gently blot away excess oils. This will also help work the lipstick/ color into your lips.
  • Repeat this process once, or even twice more if your product is thin enough (we don’t want a cakey, heavy finish).

Ready, Set, Go

To take your long-wearing lipstick to the limit, consider setting your look with a translucent powder. This is similar to blotting, but instead, you are adding the powder on top to set the product.

  • Gently press a thin (no 3-ply here) tissue paper against your lips. You can even separate the layers from a thicker piece of tissue if you need to.
  • Using a fluffy makeup brush (think a big powder brush – other brushes may be too dense), apply a thin (I can’t stress this enough) layer of your favorite translucent powder OVER the tissue. You could opt for fan favorite, Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder, or for a budget pick, you can try my personal favorite, Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder
  • You can also opt to repeat this step between product layers instead of normal blotting. If you choose to do this, be sure to be extra light-handed with the powder, or you may cake between layers.
  • Keep in mind that if you have extremely dry lips or are trying to mask dry lips, setting with powder may increase dryness.

If this seems like one too many steps, you can always opt for a long-wearing lip stain, like the YSL Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Lip Stain. No matter your preference, we hope this list of products and our tips help you in finding the best long-wearing lipstick for every occasion!

Photos via @daryna_barykina, Instagram