Lipstick Mistakes You're Undoubtedly Making

A real sign of glamour and audacity, lipstick is anchored in history and is not yet ready to be forgotten. Today, the red lips à la Marilyn Monroe are still the most iconic lips of all time. With many shades and textures, this cosmetic product is the touch of delicacy and finesse that can perfectly finish a beauty look. Easy to slip into your purse, it can make your lips look irresistible, bring out the color of your eyes, enhance your smile and give that little extra something that will help you spend the day with a lot of confidence. "Lipstick can not only make you look better by neutralizing and complimenting your skin [...] tone, but also make you feel better," notes Mac Cosmetics. Yet, you need to know how to apply your lipstick correctly and avoid some simple mistakes that can completely transform this beauty experience into an absolute nightmare.

It isn't uncommon to make mistakes when it comes to applying lipstick. For better wear, a better result, and especially a rendering worthy of a makeup artist, there are certain rules to follow and others to ditch. As for fashion, there are some beauty faux pas that can make your lips appear smaller and even make you look older. From forgetting to prep your lips to not using a lip liner, here are the key mistakes to avoid when putting lipstick on.

Always try before buying a lipstick

You wouldn't think of buying a pair of shoes without trying them on to see if you're comfortable in them, if you like how they look on you, and above all, if they match your expectations. The same thing goes for makeup, and especially lipstick. It's essential to sample the color and texture of the product at the store before considering buying. Between a coral matte lipstick and a creamy aubergine shade, chances are high that the effect is not going to be the same on your lips as on someone else's.

Whenever you fall in love with a shade, the best reflex to have is to try it as soon as possible. Go to your nearest makeup store, grab the tester, and try the new burgundy color you've been eyeing for a while. If you have no way to test the color, new technologies can come to your rescue. As we are in the digital era, it's undeniable that even makeup is becoming virtual. This makeup technology can be set up by makeup brands and stores to make all shades available for consumers to try, using either a digital photo or camera. "We let them know exactly what product fits them best," says software entrepreneur Alice Chang in Forbes, when she created a cutting-edge beauty technology. Now, trying on lipstick shades has never been so easy!

You're not prepping your lips

Before applying your lipstick, preparing your lips to receive a cosmetic product is essential. They must be clean as well as nourished using a balm or an oil. Washing your lips before applying product will also prevent bacteria from proliferating in your lipstick and creating infections in, on, and around the mouth. The lip balm, or oil depending on your preference, will bring moisture to your lips, making them smooth and nourished. The lipstick will slide on easily, so it will be easier for you to apply it without going overboard.

If you have decided to opt for matte lipstick today, prepping your lips is an especially crucial step. "Matte lipstick has more wax and pigment and less oil. [...] The loss of the added oils makes the texture of the lipstick drier and more likely to settle in the cracks and crevices of your lips," explains Beromt. Once you have moisturized your lips, add a layer of primer that will help the lipstick cling more fluidly to the lips and stay in place for several hours without touch-ups. A primer also helps to avoid creases and chapped lips, smoothing the lips as much as possible, per L'Oréal Paris.

You're not exfoliating your lips

Taking care of your lips is just as important as taking care of your skin. With the cold weather, lip friction, and the regular wear of lipstick, it's likely for them to dry out quickly, resulting in chapped lips. Don't panic, there is a way to restore their suppleness and softness with a skincare technique called exfoliation. Done on the scalp, the face, and also the body, exfoliation is perfect for the elimination of dead skin cells.

You can find exfoliant or lip scrub in any cosmetic store, or you can as well create it at home easily with only a few ingredients. Form a mixture with sugar and water — or honey for extra softness (via Nivea) — and rub your lips with it for a few seconds. Do this once a week to keep your lips looking fresh and smooth — and maybe even plumper. "More blood flow means better color while giving lips a fuller appearance," explains 100% Pure. So, not only will your lipstick glide on perfectly (and won't leave you with colored chapped skin that is not visually pleasing), but your lips will also have more of that fashionable plush look. It's a winning combo that makes lips completely irresistible.

You're not using a lip liner

Do you remember drawing in coloring books as a child? You probably wanted to draw inside the lines so the picture was well-defined by the border. Well, it's the same for lips. The lip liner helps define the outline of your mouth so that no matter what kind of lipstick you desire to apply afterward, it will be as easy as applying chap stick. This practical tool that many people neglect is a must when you want to highlight your lips. To do so, outline your lips with a pencil, starting from the middle of the lip to the corners. You can draw the outline on the inside edge of the lips for a natural look. However, if you want fuller lips, draw a line on the outside of the lips. Now you only have to fill in your lips with your favorite lipstick. 

Lip pencils will help your lipstick stay on longer and smooth the contour of your lips to prevent uneven areas: "Especially for those who may not be comfortable in applying lipstick [...], using a lip pencil will help to fill in areas where the lipstick has not reached and alternatively will make the lipstick application look cleaner and neater," says Mac Cosmetics. Or, you can get even more creative with this basic tool and try one of these TikTok lip liner hacks to achieve an even more artful result.

You're using the wrong type of lipstick

A single lipstick collection can hold a dozens of different references, colors, and finishes. You have plenty of choices — matte, shiny, glossy, creamy — and there's likely more than one perfect lipstick for you.

That said, when you're at the makeup store, looking for your next beauty gem, remember to take into account your lip type. Yes, it's a thing! The outcome will be different depending on your lips' needs. If you have dry lips, choose a lipstick with moisturizing ingredients. Jojoba oil, shea butter, and avocado oil are all excellent ingredients that will help keep your lips from drying out (via Idiva). If you're going to be out and about for a while, go for the matte lipstick that has a formula that will last longer — it will become your true best friend when chatting with friends during lunch. Finally, if you have mature lips, Fashionair explains the importance of ditching the matte lipsticks and switching to the glossy ones to give your lips a smooth look and make them appear more vibrant.

You are picking the wrong shade

What to do when dozens and dozens of lipstick shades are available from just one brand? It can be challenging to find the perfect one for your skin tone. Going for a too-light shade or conversely a too-dark one can dull your complexion. But how do you know which shades to go for and which ones to ditch completely?

Warm, cool, and neutral: Those are the three undertones that are used in the makeup world, and it's essential to know which one you have to pick the perfect lipstick shade. This can be determined by the color of your veins. "If your veins look greenish, then you may have warm undertones. People with blue or purplish-looking veins usually have cooler undertones. If you have neutral undertones, then your veins may appear colorless or match the color of your skin," explains Healthline. Once you know your undertone, you can choose an appropriate lipstick for it. If you have warm tones, you can opt for warm colors that are also reminiscent of the sun, such as "orangey-red, brick-red, and terra-cotta," advises MasterClass. If you have a neutral undertone, then most colors will work, but you can always try more unique shades. "Try mauve shades for medium skin, pinky tones for fair skin, and berry shades for darker skin" (via MasterClass). And finally, for light, cool undertones, you might opt for a lipstick that has blue or purple undertones.

You're applying too much product

When it comes to applying lipstick, don't believe that the more you put on, the more you intensify the look and make your lips even more irresistible. It's simply not true! Applying too much product will give the opposite effect: Your lips won't be highlighted, and over time the lipstick will shift and create an undesirable effect all around the mouth. It will scatter on clothes, glass, and teeth, leaving your lip print everywhere. Not very glamorous (via All Tigers). If you try to apply too much lipstick at once you will dry them out more quickly and the product will come off even more easily.

If smudge-proof lipsticks exist to make us feel safer, there is nonetheless a simple way to avoid lipstick that bleeds or smudges. Start by applying a thin layer of lipstick, then a couple of hours later, do a few touch-ups to keep your lips perfectly uniform without a clumping effect. That way, your lips will always look fresh and have the ideal amount of product.

You're not overlining correctly

For a few years now, the old beauty technique of overlining has made its comeback on TikTok. This beauty secret used by many celebrities consists in drawing the liner outside the lip, allowing your lips to look bigger and fuller. The overlining technique is an art and can be quite hard to master, but here's some simple steps to follow to be able to overline like a pro. 

If deciding to use a lip liner is one thing, it's another to know how to use it. Firstly, select the right color. If you pick a too dark shade compared to the lipstick you're going to use, when overlining, you will be left with an unattractive demarcation. Secondly, define your lips by going to the outside of them, rather than the inside, which produces the opposite effect: underlining (per L'Oréal Paris). This is a mistake that many people make when they want to make their lips fuller. Thirdly, don't be heavy-handed with overlining; it should remain subtle. 

You're not finishing the look

After applying your lipstick, you may want to get on with your day. But you could be missing out on some useful and practical techniques to make sure your lipstick is perfect from start to finish.

To avoid getting lipstick inside your mouth and on your teeth, you can use "the finger trick" (via Homemade Beauty Tips). This method involves putting your index finger in your mouth and sucking on it to transfer any extra lipstick onto your finger. Plus, it doesn't hurt to take a look at your teeth before you start your day and every time you do some touch-ups; this will prevent you from heading into a meeting or going on a date with red-stained teeth. You can also dab your lips with blotting paper to absorb excess lipstick and avoid smudging. 

As you may know, there is nothing more unpleasant than lipstick that disappears after an hour. It's therefore essential to make it last as long as possible. And for that, there is a simple makeup product you can apply that many people forget about: loose powder. Apply some with parsimony using a brush. "Think of this step as implementing a magnet for your lipstick," Reader's Digest describes. And that's it, your lipstick will be perfectly applied, just like a professional did it!

You're forgetting to remove it at the end of the day

You probably know that makeup removal and deep cleansing of the skin is a crucial step in your beauty routine. However, you may tend to forget the lips. Even if the lipstick didn't last the whole day and you might think there is nothing left, your lips are not 100% clean. The little vertical lines that make up the lips tend to collect detritus, and it's important to clean this out. Also, according to Bermont, leaving on your lip color can also cause your lips to darken or look discolored. Therefore, having lip care routine can save you from having some lips problems. 

At the end of the day, when removing your makeup, don't neglect your lips — and pay special attention to cleaning between the lines by stretching them with a smile. You can use coconut oil or Vaseline that are ideal for removing matte lipstick (per LiveGlam). Leave it on for a few seconds, then wipe it off before cleaning your lips with an appropriate cleanser for sensitive skin. Your lips will not only be cleaned, but also well-nourished. Forget about cleaning wipes; they are not adapted to lips and will dry them out and disrupt their pH level. "They're designed with 16 topical layers of a face in mind, whereas lip skin has only five topical layers," explains Alanna about wipes. 

You're using the wrong shade for your lip size

The art of makeup will always have the power to surprise you, with a simple lipstick it's possible to change your face but also the size of your lips. A mistake to avoid is not to adapt the colors of your lipstick to the shape of your lips.

If your lips are on the thinner side and you want to make them look plush, you should avoid red and dark colors — they'll draw the eye to your lips and accentuate their thinness. In this case, it's best not to create too much differentiation between your complexion and your lips. According to L'Oréal Paris, "A nude lipstick that's just a few shades deeper than your skin tone is your best bet." 

Conversely, if your lips are quite full and you don't want to make them look even bigger, do the opposite by applying darker colors. And what about asymmetrical lips? Try contouring with a lip liner and play with light and shadow using two different shades to balance the two parts.