For many of us, lipstick is the ultimate bad romance — great for the few seconds it takes to shoot a glamorous selfie, but then prone to disappear, flake off or otherwise leave you disappointed. Nothing can smear you, dry you out or let you down quite the way lipstick can.
Trinny Woodall can relate. The fashion advisor, columnist, former host of “What Not to Wear” and founder of beauty brand Trinny London still recalls her worst lipstick encounter of the smearing kind. “I was wearing a beautiful white dress and needed to do a quick change,” she told HuffPost. “I had on bright red lipstick, but I forgot all about it and pulled that gorgeous dress over my head. The lipstick left a huge stain all the way down, and I could never get it out.”
Sigh. Many of us can share similar tales of lipstick woe ― especially since we started wearing face masks ― but there is reason for hope, thanks to a bounty of next-gen products that can set you up with all-day lips that still look great. If you feel like life would be easier if you just applied lipstick directly to the rim of your coffee cup and declared defeat, don’t give up hope — these experts are here to help.
What’s in long-lasting lipstick, anyway?
For a better understanding of what’s really happening when you open up a tube and pucker up, Michelle Wong, the chemistry Ph.D. behind Lab Muffin Beauty Science, explained the science behind the beauty.
“No-smear lipstick was invented by female chemist Hazel Bishop, founder of cosmetics company Hazel Bishop, Inc., in 1948,” Wong said. ”It became a massive hit immediately after launching in 1950.”
The formulation used bromo acid dyes to get the lipstick to last, but those dyes caused dryness. The Bishop formulation used lanolin in an attempt to counteract that effect, but lips that looked dried out were still common with those earlier products.
Modern long-lasting formulations include polymers and solvents to create a more durable film. But that’s not always a perfect solution, Wong said.
“Long-lasting lipstick films need to stay in place, so they’re more rigid than a comfortable creamy formula, and they contain fewer soft, moisturizing ingredients,” she said. “The film can also bunch up over time and leave bare patches, as your lips move and as the film interacts with saliva, food and drinks.”
“Lipstick started to veer into the long-lasting territory when silicones started to be popularized in makeup formulas starting in the mid- to late ’90s, allowing brands to claim a product could last all day,” makeup artist Jamie Dorman told HuffPost. “Adding silicones to a formula with waxes and pigments creates a longer-lasting and smoother look and feel, while preventing bleeding into lip lines.”
Things are different when it comes to liquids. “With many liquid long-lasting lipstick formulations, waxes are left out of the formulation, and the product is mostly a mix of silicones and pigments,” Dorman said. “This makes the product last longer, but it also eliminates those skin-protecting waxes. That can result in chapped, dry lips if you’re not intentional about hydrating and moisturizing during lip prep.”
Pregame like a pro with the right lip prep
Makeup artist Kathy Jeung outlined the prep steps that will help you get the best possible appearance and staying power from your long-wear lipstick:
Exfoliate. Start with an exfoliating lip scrub that will remove any dry bits of skin. (Wong suggests just buffing your lips with a damp cloth.) Why is this especially important for long-lasting lipstick? “Long-wear lip color tends to collect in drier areas,” makeup artist Diane da Silva told HuffPost. “Exfoliating lips just before application ensures a smoother application that looks fresher, longer.”
Hydrate. “Do this right when you start doing your makeup, so the moisture has time to truly sink in,” Jeung said. “My favorite lip preparation trick is to apply Blistex lip ointment first, then Lucas Paw Paw ointment over that.”
Blot. Right before lipstick application, use a tissue to lightly blot excess moisture from lip edges.
Pencil. “Using a lip pencil will always help lipstick stay on better and will also help guide the ultimate shape for your lips,” Jeung said.
Another prep tip is to apply a primer before your lip products. “Primers are fantastic for moisturizing and smoothing out lips, as well as helping with longer wear,” Wong said.
“Starting with something like a primer can help, and blotting between each application really helps,” Woodall advised.
For those of you who like to apply setting spray over traditional lipstick, Wong says you’re better off looking for a long-lasting lipstick: “Setting sprays can help, but they’re not as effective as just using a long-wear lip product in the first place.”
Woodall also suggested a technique we’d never heard before: using one kind of lipstick for the top lip, and a different kind for the bottom lip. “Put the lipstick that’s slightly drier in texture on the bottom lip, and it will provide a real pop of color,” she said. “Then put a matching-color lip gloss on the top lip for hydration.”
Here are some of the products that makeup experts recommended.
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Skingasm photo credit TK?
Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paints
LYS Beauty’s Speak Love Glossy Lip Treatment Oil
Maybelline Super Stay Ink Crayon
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils
NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment
Rimmel Provocalips 16-hour Kissproof Lip Colour
Skingasm Liquid Blading Lips Peel and Reveal
Plus, a fan favorite: Wonderskin’s Blading Peel & Reveal Lip Tint