Exactly How To Apply Every Type Of Lip Product

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Sometimes the basics can be the hardest to get right. Factor in myriad product options — in an almost-infinite number of shades and finishes — and you have a serious challenge for even the most seasoned beauty pro. But fret not: We’re here to help! We’re breaking down the beauty basics to make it easy to create a flawless, customized look of your own. Welcome to Beauty 101.

For many of us, lipstick is one of the first beauty products we discovered growing up — whether we watched our moms apply it before heading out the door or just swiped it out of her makeup kit thinking it was a crayon (don’t deny it!). But lip color has evolved far beyond the basic bullet.

There are new formulas (like liquid lipsticks and color-changing balms), wild shades and finishes, and lippies with major staying power. With so many pout prettifiers on the market, it’s difficult to know where to start.

We’re here to help you figure out your needs, but as always these are just basic tips — not hard rules. Click through to unlock your next lip look.
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Outline your lips (whether you're using liquid lipstick or otherwise) first with a matching or nude lipliner pencil. This will ensure that the color doesn’t bleed or feather onto your cheeks or chin throughout the day.

If you have trouble lining your Cupid’s bow, you can draw an X at the corners of the Cupid’s bow and draw down over the top lip to keep the line crisp.

Try: Rimmel Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Traditional lipsticks usually come in bullet-style packaging or in crayon form. Start applying color in the center of the lip and slowly work your way out. For a precise application, use a lip brush to clean up the corners.

Next, lightly blot your lips with a tissue to remove any excess color. One trick makeup artists often use when they want color that doesn't move? Keep the tissue on your lips, dip a fluffy brush in setting powder, and brush it across the tissue. Remove the tissue, apply another layer of lipstick, and repeat.

Try: E.L.F. Cosmetics Studio Matte Lip Pencil in Wine, $3, available at E.L.F.
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Tinted Lip Stain

Lip stains are sheer washes of color with serious staying power that can be layered for bolder color. But depending on the ingredients, they can be a bit drying.

Try: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, $9.49, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Lip Gloss

Lip glosses, on the other hand, focus on shine and make pouts look plumper because of their light-reflecting nature.

Try: Wet n Wild MegaSlicks Lip Gloss, $1.99, available at Walgreens.

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Liquid Lipstick

Liquid lipsticks, made especially popular by Kylie Jenner, offer the same opaque colors of a regular lipstick but usually last much longer.

Try: ColourPop Liquid Lipstick in Teeny Tiny, $6, available at Colourpop.
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