Pro and Tips for Making Lipstick

You know when you’re out in public, feeling put-together because you’re fully done up and rocking a seriously bold lip? That bright color is really helping you feel good—you know it looks good. Then, after awhile, you forget you’re wearing lipstick, and you go to the bathroom. After glancing in the mirror, and…your lipstick looks fuzzy. And you realize that it’s happened: your color bled! Tiny little lines of color, subtly spreading from the top of your lip line to the skin under your nose. Suddenly, you look all smeary, like you don’t know how to apply makeup.

Both Lucero and Stambro agree: generally, it’s not you, darlin’, it’s your lipstick. Lipstick is, as Stambro puts it, “a creamy product on top of a moving surface.” Meaning, as we laugh, kiss, and eat, the emollient substance slips around a bit. Lucero echoes that, saying that color won’t necessarily stay firmly on the lips, especially if you’re using something with “a really creamy formulation, or if you’re wearing a balm underneath that’s too greasy.”

According to Stambro, the more shine or gloss a lip product has, the more likely it’ll bleed. And Lucero concurred, adding to the list any lippie that looks “frosted” or “containing a shimmery pigment.” She also notes that the feel of the product itself might tell you even more about it’s lasting power.  “If it feels like a butter or balm and slippery to the touch, it does tend to run more,” she says.

Lip liner can help, especially if it’s a good one. Lucero actually uses liner afterapplying lipstick, to shape the lips. “This helps to lock in the color, and seal it inside the lip line,” she explains. And if you don’t want to buy a matching liner every time you get a new lipstick, go with a pencil that matches your natural lip color.

Handy helper #2: the right brush

When I asked what about application might help lipstick last longer, our experts were of one mind, citing brushes as the way to go. Lucero was really emphatic, and says that she tends to use concealer brushes for the job. “A brush is sooo helpful—it helps you spread the pigment evenly, especially if it’s a brighter color. Start by applying your lipstick lightly, as if it were a stain with your brush. Blot, and then build up to the color you want,” she explains. With liquid lipsticks, the process is a little different, and less is definitely more. “I never use the wand that comes with them, because they put on too much product. I’ll just take a lip brush, start on the center of the lower lip, and sort of paint it on,” she says.

Stambo’s secret formula? A bit of foundation as a base, liner plus lipstick, and a dusting of powder.  “I prep lips with a moisturizer (possibly a scrub, too, if they’re extra dry). Then I apply a touch of foundation over the lip line—not the whole mouth,” he explains. He follows with liner in the exact same color as the lipstick, and then applies the color using a brush. To perfect the line, he goes over it again with the liner, “to make sure the lipstick and pencil blend really well.” Finally, he blots gently with a tissue, and goes over it all with a light touch of powder using a big powder brush. “Or,” he explains, “you could use an eye shadow in the same color as a lipstick.”