It’s instantly transformative, it’s fun to wear, it brightens up the face and adds a little something extra to any and every look: Lipstick is one of our very favorite beauty products, but for all of its winning traits (and there are many!), we must accept that very rarely is flawless lip color a slap-on-and-go type of deal. It takes some time, some effort, some real concentration… and, more often than not, a few well-appointed tricks up one’s sleeve. These tips—some innovative, some tried-and-true—will get you that much closer to a perfect lipstick look of your own.
Use a makeup removing pen.
Using a q-tip dipped in makeup remover to clean up stray lines is a well-known move, so why not employ the same technique with a designated makeup remover pen? e.l.f. Makeup Remover Pen quickly and easily removes smudges and smears without leaving a greasy finish behind, and the targeted tip makes it super accurate for erasing only the things you want to erase. Simply trace around the outer edges of your lips for the sharpest definition.
Layer with blush.
Whether it’s more pigment you’re after or a mattified finish on a satiny or glossy formula, dusting a fine layer of powder blush over your finished lip look can really change the game. It can change up the color, too: If you wish your hot pink lipstick were a little hotter, or that your favorite red had a little more of an orange tint, powdery formulas applied carefully with a soft, fluffy brush will almost always do the trick.
Don’t count out the old tricks.
Blotting with a tissue and dusting translucent powder for staying powder, popping your pointer finger in your mouth and pulling to make sure you won’t get lipstick on your teeth—we’ve been hearing these tips from our moms and grandmas since we were little, but that doesn’t mean they should be disregarded. That finger trick is still the best way to keep pink smudges off your teeth all day long.
Create symmetry with liner.
We don’t recommend getting hog-wild with using lip liner to totally recreate your lip shape, but using liner to even things out a bit for symmetry never hurt. If you’re wearing lipstick, choose a liner in a shade close to the one you’ll be applying all over; if you’re going for a more natural look, choose a shade that’s just a tiny bit darker than your natural lip color to add dimension. Just be sure not to go more than just slightly outside the natural lip line.
Read more from Daily Makeover: 5 Totally Doable Ways to Make DIY Lipstick