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Lip Makeup Application Tips And Tricks For Beginners

by Beverly Hills MD

December 16 2020

Love the idea of lip makeup, but don’t think of yourself as a “lipstick person”? You’re not alone. It’s easy to be intimidated by lip makeup. Streaks, smudges, bleeding – it all sounds too high maintenance, right? Never fear. With a little bit of know-how and these expert tips, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Different Types Of Lip Makeup And Their Uses

Lip Makeup: Lipstick, Lip Stain & More

Lip liner, lip stain, and lip gloss: what’s the difference, and which one should you use? Here’s a rundown of popular types of lip makeup.


  • Lip Plumper: Lip plumpers usually come in the form of a gloss or balm. They contain mild irritants that cause blood to flow to your lips and temporarily plump them up. Some ingredients can cause a reaction, so check with your doctor before using them.
  • Lip Balm: A lip balm contains key ingredients to help moisturize, smooth, and nourish dry lips. You may want to use this as a base for other lip makeup, especially if you have dry lips.
  • lip makeup | Beverly Hills MDTinted Lip Balm: These have the same moisturizing benefits as above, with a bit of lip colour added. Tinted lip balms typically offer sheer pigments that may not last as long as other products.
  • Lip Gloss: Lip gloss can range from shiny and clear to highly pigmented. The purpose is to give your lips a glossy sheen and call attention to your lips. Glosses may have less staying power than stains or sticks, so you may have to reapply throughout the day.
  • Lip Stain: Lip stains typically come as a liquid or gel and are intended to stain your lips for a prolonged time. These can be drying, so you may want to pair a stain with a balm.
  • Sheer Lipstick: Sheer lipstick gives you a natural, moist look. In general, these are not as long lasting as matte lipsticks. Pack this product in your purse so you can reapply.
  • Matte Lipstick: Matte lipstick gives a matte finish. Depending on the color you choose, this can give a natural or a dramatic look. Matte lipstick tends to be longer wearing than other types.
  • Lip Liner: This product is used to define the outer line of your lips and prevent your lipstick from bleeding or fading. You can also use lip liner to play up your cupid’s bow and make your lips look plumper.1,2,3,4

How To Select A Flattering Lip Shade

Forget the notion of a single “perfect lip shade” for every person. There’s no need to limit yourself. Instead, you can find many shades that suit you if you pay attention to your skin’s undertone.


Not sure of your undertone? Here’s a quick guide to help you identify it:


  • Cool undertone people tend to burn easily, have blue-ish veins, and a hint of pink in their skin.
  • Warm undertone people tend to tan easily, have green-ish veins, and a hue of yellow or olive in their skin.
  • Neutral undertone people fall somewhere between warm and cool.5

lipstick shades | Beverly Hills MD

With your undertone in mind, you’re better equipped to pick a lip shade that naturally complements your complexion.


  • Cool undertones – Reach for a lip shade with a blue or purple undertone. Think berry, wine, or cherry red rather than an orange-toned red. For a neutral lip, go for taupe or cool pink over peach.
  • Warm undertones – Go for a lip colour in a warm shade. Brick red, brown, peach, and orange-red are all warm shades you could try. For a neutral lip, see if you can match your lip shade to your skin tone.
  • Neutral undertones – You can go either way.6

Applying Perfect Lip Makeup

Step One: Prep Your Lips

1. Exfoliate Your Lips

Cold weather, frequent lip licking, and certain products can dry out your lips. If your lips are dry and flaky, you may want to gently exfoliate them before you apply lip makeup. (If they’re really dry, you may want to skip makeup and focus on moisture for now).


To exfoliate, gently rub a lip scrub onto your lips in a circular motion. Pick an exfoliating product that is high quality and dermatologist tested.7

lip balm | Beverly Hills MD2. Lip Balm & Application

Before you apply lip colour, add moisture with a lip balm. Dab on the balm and smooth it over your lips. This will help smooth over crevices on your lips so lipstick can go on evenly.8

3. Apply A Lip Primer (Optional)

If you’re worried about an uneven lip tone, you may want to apply a primer under your lipstick. You can use your everyday concealer for this. Just dab it on with a clean finger. Taking this step may help your lipstick last longer and give you a more saturated color.9

Step Two: Line Your Lips

The key benefits of lip liner are that it helps define lips, prevents color bleeding, and makes color last longer. Pick a lip liner that either matches the shade of your lipstick or your natural lips. If you’re lucky, a coordinating liner will come as a gift with purchase of lipstick.

Method 1: Trace Around Your Lips

Use this method if your goal is to define your lip shape or prevent color bleeding.


  1. Draw an “x” on your cupid’s bow, the dip in the center of your upper lip.
  2. From the top of the “x”, draw a line down to the corners of your lips.
  3. Line the center of your lower lip line.
  4. Extend the lower line to the corners of your lips.10

Method 2: Line Your Lips And Color Them In

lip liner | Beverly Hills MD

Use this method if your goal is to prolong your lip colour.


  1. Following the instructions above, line your lips.
  2. Fill in your lips using the same color liner.
  3. Lightly blend the outside line with a lip brush or your finger so it blends with your lipstick.11


Step Three: Apply Lipstick

  • Apply straight from the tube or use a lip brush for more control.
  • For bold color, apply two coats and blot in between.
  • For a more natural look, blend the shade with a clean finger.12,13

Step Four: Highlight & Define

  • For more definition, use an angled brush to touch up the area above your cupid’s bow with a concealer.
  • To give your lips a pouty look, apply a slightly lighter shade of lipstick to the center of your upper and lower lip.
  • Finish your look with a dab of lip gloss in the center of your upper and lower lips. Press your lips together to blend.14,15

lipstick remover | Beverly Hills MDAt The End Of The Day: Remove And Cleanse

After a full day of conquering the world with your perfectly colored lips, you’ll want to thoroughly remove your lipstick. If you’re using a long-wear lipstick, sometimes this is easier said than done.

How To Use Lip Makeup Remover

Removing lipstick can take a bit more nuance than just swiping it off your face. Here are some tips.


  • If the lipstick is really set in, first apply an oil-based product like vaseline or a clear lip balm and let it sit on your lips for a few minutes.
  • Apply a traditional lip makeup remover and wipe your lips with a tissue paper or cotton round.16

Easy Lip Makeup Application Tricks & Lip Care Tips

Want more tips? Here are some bonus tricks for changing the look of your pout.

Make Your Lips Look Bigger

  • Apply lip liner a bit outside the border of your lips.
  • Use a lighter color lipstick to make lips look more plump.
  • Apply a high shine lip gloss that is a few shades lighter than your lip color.17

Make Your Lips Look Smaller

  • Try a darker lip color.
  • Opt for a matte rather than a glossy finish.
  • Use concealer on the edges of your lips to minimize the size.18,19

woman applying red lipstick | Beverly Hills MDHave Fun With It

If you never thought of yourself as a lipstick person before, today’s a new day. Now that you know how to apply lip makeup, you don’t have to fear messy streaks or out-of-place gloss. You may be surprised at how dramatically lip makeup can change your overall look.


Learn More:
How To Take Care Of Your Lips And Why A Lip Care Routine Is Important
Face Makeup: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide
How To Exfoliate Your Lips The Right Way: DIY Lip Scrub


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