November 10, 2016 Emily Oliver Lips

Avoid Lipstick Bleeding With These Makeup Artist Hacks

Here at, we are lucky enough to have a panel of experts sound off on all your pressing beauty questions. In this article, makeup artist Emily Oliver shares her tips on how to get your lipstick application juuust right and prevent it from bleeding.

One of this biggest (and more common) beauty faux-pas I come across is feathered lipstick. You know, when lipstick sets into tiny lines around your lips and migrates to places it isn’t welcome. To avoid this less-than-pleasant situation, follow these key tips on how to prevent lipstick from bleeding, so your lip color stays where it belongs: on your lips.

Lipstick Tips

1. Exfoliation Is Key

Before applying any lip color, stain or tint make sure your lips are moisturized and exfoliated. An easy trick I recommend is to gently run a toothbrush across your lips every night before bed to remove rough, dry skin. Lipstick can cling to these areas and create a flaky, feathered appearance. So, whether you use your toothbrush or a sugar lip scrub, exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.

2. Lip Balm is Bomb

For lipstick that stays in place and doesn’t stray, a smooth canvas is essential. Apply a moisturizing lip balm (I LOVE using Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, which is infused with vitamin E) and using your ring finger, work the balm into lips to make sure the product is fully absorbed.

3. Prime with Wax

Start your application with an invisible lip liner, like the Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone and draw just outside the lip line. Wax liner works like a glue and gives your lipstick something to hold onto.

For those with “smoker lines” or visible “life experience lines,” make sure to run the wax liner over those areas and blend out with your ring finger. This will ensure the product does not feather into these delicate areas.

4. Use Lip Liner

Using a shade that complements your lipstick color, apply lip liner around lips and fill in—do not just apply outside of the lip line. This trick will also give your lipstick something extra to grab onto, and prevent it from feathering outside the lines.

Right now I’m obsessed with the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils, as they stay put and have such a variety in color!

5. Get Glossy

Keeping your gloss in place can also be a difficult task, too. But you got this. Add a dab of gloss to the center of your lips, then gently push your lips together—this will disperse just the right amount of product, and prevent it from creeping beyond your lip line.

6. Blot, Don’t Swipe

For pigment that stay put, blot and dab lipstick onto your lips instead of using swiping motions. Multiple coats might be needed, but the time and effort is worth the payout. Creating multiple lip layers helps to lock in the product. Once you’ve applied, blot your lips with a tissue to make sure just the right amount of color is applied for long-wear ability.


Do you have any lipstick tips you can share with us? Let us know your application secrets in the comments below!



    About the Author: Emily Oliver is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist and L'Oréal educator whose work spans the stage, red carpet and film.