Seductive eyes may lure men in, and sky-high cheekbones may intrigue them, but no facial feature seals the deal like smooth, supple, luscious-looking lips. Whether you're going for full-on movie-star glam or a natural, laid-back look, you need a few tips - and a few tools - to get your pucker ready to rock...and here they are!
Step 1: Prime
Lock-ready lips start with daily exfoliation and moisturizing. Drink plenty of water daily, and remove old or chapped skin with your toothbrush after brushing your teeth. Follow this up with a moisturizing lip balm that will seal in the softness and build elasticity and strength. Do this right after washing your face - but before applying your makeup - when you're heading out, and your lips will be soft and color-ready...and your breath will be fresh, an extra bonus!
Plain old Vaseline will work well, as will lip balms that contain beeswax and other natural ingredients. The main thing to look for is a lip moisturizer that absorbs into the skin without leaving a slick, glossy residue. Avoid mineral-oil based lip glosses and treatments, as these look shiny but actually block moisture and dry the lips.
Step 2: Sketch
After applying your eye and other makeup, use a lip pencil to define and even lay a base for your lipstick.
For an avant-garde look, use a highly sharpened pencil several shades darker than the lipstick you plan to apply; the skinny line will make the edges of your lips pop. For a more natural, subtle effect, try a dull tip to your pencil and try to match the two colors as best you can. Then sketch along the ridge of your lips in smooth, steady motions. Add thickness to thin lips by drawing your line just outside your actual lip - just behind or on top of the rise of the skin - and thin or balance out larger lips by doing the opposite.
Step 3: Color
To make your lip color really stick, try coloring in the inside of your lips with your lip pencil. This adds a bit of dryness for the lipstick or stain to "grip," and keeps your color from kissing or rubbing off so easily.
Next, slide on your favorite lipstick, lip stain, or tinted lip gloss, making sure not to color outside the lines of your lip pencil. A classic lip look uses one solid, high-impact shade, but you can get a dewy, multi-faceted pout by mixing two different hues. Try your basic red, purple, pink, or neutral tone for most of the mouth, but then dab a bit of a shimmery, lighter shade - preferably in a liquid formula like a gloss - in the center of your lips. Press lips together lightly a few times, to blend.
Step 4: Blot and Seal
Now that you're color's on and your lips are healthy beneath it, there are only two things left to do: blot the excess makeup away with a piece of tissue or rice paper, and dust a bit of translucent powder across your lips. This last step might not sound so tasty, but it really helps keep your lipstick shade bright, sexy, and - most importantly - on you face the whole night through. So don't skip it!
Take care of yourselves,