How to Mistletoe-Proof Your Lipstick for the HolidaysDecember 21, 2023
Wearing a bright red lipstick (or any vibrant hue!) is an underrated mood booster. Regardless of whether you’re wearing a full face of makeup or not, one swipe of red lippie has the power to make you feel more put together and confident. At the same time, there’s nothing more annoying than when that lipstick smudges and leaves you with a red or hot pink stain around your mouth. Here, to help us figure out how to prevent our lipstick from smudging, smearing or transferring (it’s mistletoe season, after all!), we tapped celebrity makeup artists Mary Irwin and Robert Sesnek. Keep reading to find out all of their best tips and tricks to make your lipstick last, so you can rock that red lip with confidence this holiday season.
How to Make Your Lipstick Last All Day
Step 1: Make Sure Your Lips Are Hydrated
“First, make sure your lips are hydrated and don’t have any dry spots or flakes,” says Irwin. Apply a lip balm to ensure your lips are moisturized. Let your lip balm fully sink into the lips before applying any product on top, otherwise it’ll sheer out your lipstick, adds Sesnek.
Step 2: Line Your Lips
After letting the balm sink in, blot off any excess with a tissue. Next, Irwin recommends using a waterproof lip liner to fill in your lips. “I love waterproof lip liner as a base for color to stick onto and to perfect the edges,” she says. If you need a recommendation, we love the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil for its creamy formula and long-lasting wear.
Editor Tip: Another good pre-lipstick and pre-lip liner step is to apply a lip primer.
Step 3: Pick a Lipstick and Dab It On
Both makeup artists recommend going with a matte lipstick because they are long-lasting and smudge less often. “Matte lipsticks have the least amount of bleeding or smudging because of their opaque flat texture with few oils or humectants,” says Sesnek. If you naturally have dry lips, he recommends exfoliating your lips before application to avoid any dry patches coming through. Follow up with your favorite matte — we’re fans of the Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick.
While both makeup artists recommend wearing a matte lipstick, Irwin says you can still wear a satin or cream finish and prevent smudging by dabbing the product onto your lips — not swiping — for a pigmented and precise application. The Giorgio Armani Beauty Lip Power Longwear Satin Lipsticks boast a comfortable sheen and up to eight hours of wear. If you want to wear a gloss, Sesnek says to apply it in the center of the lips, as this gives the right amount of shine and fullness and is less likely to smear.
Another smudge-proof option with a shiny finish? The Urban Decay Vice Bond Glossy Longwear Liquid Lipstick. This liquid lippie has serious staying power and the Unbreakable shade is a stunning cherry red.
Step 4: Blot
After you’ve applied your lipstick, Irwin says to take a tissue and blot the lips without rubbing the color off. “This is a great way to really stain the lip and make the color last,” adds Sesnek.
Step 5: Layer More Lipstick
Next, Irwin recommends applying a little more lipstick after blotting. Sesnek agrees, noting a common mistake people make when applying lipstick is not wearing enough coats. “I usually tend to apply several layers for the perfect, long-lasting finish,” he says.
Step 6: Set Your Lips
The final step in making your lipstick stay put is setting it. Both artists have different yet equally effective methods of doing this. Irwin likes to “take a single layer of tissue, lightly press it against your lips and pat loose setting powder with a fluffy brush over your lips.”
Sesnek prefers to add a little loose translucent powder around the border of the lips with a sponge and sweep it away after application. “This is a great tip to lock in the lipstick and not overstep the borders,” he says.
Whichever method you prefer, a translucent powder that won’t budge and resists food, drink and sweat is a necessity — which is why our editors opt for IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which has a long-lasting, matte finish and no white residue.