Step aside, gloss. Lipstick is back in a big way, making mouths look strong, rich, and thoroughly refined. Here, the rules for doing lipstick right, right now.
1. START FRESH
Start fresh. Exfoliate lips once or twice a week (use a mix of salt and almond oil), then follow with balm. (We love Jane Iredale Sugar and Butter)
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.
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.
4. LOOK GOOD NUDE
The prettiest nude lip color is slightly brighter or deeper than your skin tone. If you're pale, look for something with a hint of pink. Those with yellow or olive undertones or dark skin look best with sandy beiges.
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.
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 color 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 color 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.