10 Things No One Ever Told You About: Lipstick

Victoria Moorhouse


Lipstick holds a very powerful place in a woman’s beauty routine—and has long held its top spot in the hierarchy of makeup. That little tube of pigment has the ability to completely transform your appearance without the help of any other beauty product. It’s often the base of any 5-minute look, is easily accessible at a variety of price ranges, and comes in any color you can imagine.

But as common as this product is (you have 3 tubes floating around in your handbag as we speak, right?) and seemingly self-explanatory as it is to put on, there are countless application tips and formula facts you’ve probably never heard of. Below are 10 things no one ever tells you about this staple product. So if you’re at a loss for the power of lipstick or just want to perfect your own pout, we’ve got you covered.

1. Foundation is the first step in making it last. Just like eye shadow, lipstick has better staying power when its applied on top of a base. Prep your lips for color by very lightly coating them with concealer or foundation—or a primer made specifically for lipstick.

2. Exfoliate your lips before you apply that lip color. Just like the rest of your body, you need to exfoliate your lips of dead skin cells. Smoother and softer lips will create the perfect canvas for bright color—and there are a variety of multitasking products and scrubs to chose from on the market.

3. Lipliner should be used to keep lipstick from bleeding. The only thing worse than getting red lipstick on your teeth (and not knowing about it), is having it swiped across your face. Lining your lips with a similar color will not only help keep the pigment in the correct spot, but also can make your lips appear fuller and increase the staying-power of a tube of lipstick. Apply it in thin steady strokes around the perimeter and then continue to use the pencil to fill in your lips before applying your actual lip color.

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4. Lipstick is sometimes best applied using a brush. Using a tool is sometimes the best option when it comes to actually applying the color. The trick, often used by professional makeup artists, allows you to have better control of where the lipstick lands. While the top of lipsticks are generally slanted for better application, the thick, clunky shape isn’t ideal for precision.

5. Yes, lipstick can expire. You wouldn’t eat an expired yogurt—and similarly, you really shouldn’t be coating your lips with products that are no longer up to par. So how do you tell if it’s time to pick up a replacement tube? The general rule of thumb for this beauty product is between 1-2 years and if its original texture changes. For example, watch if your smooth lipstick becomes grainy or flaky.

6. It can be doubled as cheek tint and eye shadow. Lipstick is a busy girl’s dream product. The creamy consistency sticks to and blends beautifully on the skin on your face. Swipe your pink lipstick on the apples of your cheeks and blend in for a rosy look. You can also use nude lipstick to create dewy eye makeup.

7. Lipstick tends to dry out your lips. It’s ironic that something we coat our lips in to enhance our look can have less-than-ideal effects. Matte-finished lipstick, specifically, is particularly drying. If this is a concern, reach for a lipstick that is made with moisturizing in mind—or a tinted lip balm. Those formulas with sheen tend to be less drying than trendy matte makeup.

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8. Lipstick is made with AND without SPF, so it’s important to make that distinction before heading out into the sun. We all know what it feels like to burn our lips—and it’s not good! The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that opaque lipsticks provide better protection than lip glosses, but you should try to wear a product that has an SPF of 15 or higher.

9. There is a trick to taking it off. And it doesn’t involve countless tissues and further drying out your pout. Vaseline not only moisturizes the skin on your lips, but also removes the lipstick pigment. Brands, like Sephora, also sell lipstick remover.

10. Blotting is an underrated step you shouldn’t skip. It’s one of those beauty steps you see in the movies, but it actually does some good. It removes excess lipstick from the lips, lessens the chance you’ll get it on your teeth, and leaves you with an extremely natural look.