I used to think bright, statement lip colors came with a price. I’d paint my lips with expensive lipstick before a night of talking, drinking, smooching; things I’d never trust a drugstore brand lip product to stick around for. This was the case until I was in a jam and needed a costume-y red lip for a sketch show I was putting together. I ran out to the nearest Rite Aid and bought a random scarlet for under $6 and ran out the door. Not only did it glide on like a dream, but the color stayed hydrating and vibrant for hours, with a little prep work.
It turns out, the key to great lip color isn’t how much you spend on a product, but how you apply it. The next day I ran to my nearest generic beauty supply store with a ten dollar bill in my hand. I bought 5 tubes, all different brands, all $1.99 or cheaper. My thesis withstood some rigorous testing that day but I am delighted to announce that ANY TUBE can wear like a $30 tube if you prep it right. Here’s how!
You will need:
Your tool-kit: NK lipstick, Mission SPF 15+ Lip Balmer, generic sugar packet, EcoTools Kabuki brush (for powder), e.l.f. Studio HD Powder in Sheer, e.l.f. Studio Small Precision Brush (as lip brush), some generic tissue. Now let’s get lipstickin’!
1. Brush your teeth and gently brush your lips! This is the secret behind avoiding flaky, uneven lipstick. Apply the rest of your make-up like normal and skip to step #3 if your lips are already brushed and tingly.
2. If you’re not at home. Try this trick: After applying a good amount of lip balm, dip your finger in a sugar packet and use it like a sweet lip scrub to smooth out any roughness. Wipe off any granules that may linger.
3. Balm up! Wearing your favorite balm underneath your lipstick is the key to combating dryness and risking having to put a balm layer over your color, which would lessen the pigment.
4. Layer on your lipstick in the center of both your top and bottom lip. Don’t worry about edges and lines, just pile on the color for now.
5. Press your lips together to transfer color to top and bottom. Then, use your lip brush to paint outward to the edges. Mind that beautiful cupid’s bow! If you need more product, load your lip brush up with pigment from the lipstick tube itself.
6. If needed, clean up the edges with a Q-tip dipped in witch hazel, aka the greatest make up remover of all time.
7. Separate a 2-ply tissue. Lay one ply against your lips but refuse the urge to apply crazy pressure, it should stick on its own with a little help.
8. With the tissue against your pout, set the color with a few pats of your powder brush dipped in setting powder over the tissue. Any loose white powder will work fine (avoid mineral foundations); the amount that transfers is so teeny-tiny that baby powder or even corn starch will do the trick.
All done! Pull the tissue away and rock your matte lip! Conditioning first, painting product on thinly and setting it with powder means hours and hours of color and no parched pouts!
(Feature image via)