The Best Tips, Tricks, and Picks for Bright Lipstick
1 of 5Greg Delves
Just as bright paint looks best on primed walls, shock-value lipstick is enhanced by a soft, smooth pout. The pros share their lip service.
Treat your mouth as you would the rest of your face: Moisturize and protect it. Choose a balm with an SPF of at least 15, and reapply often. “We lick our lips constantly, and that can strip moisture just like frequent hand washing can,” says Elizabeth K. Hale, a dermatologist in New York City. If your lips are chronically red and dry, try applying a moisturizing lip treatment, such as Neosporin Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy ($5, drugstore.com), after your nightly cleansing. And exfoliate with a gentle scrub, such as Fresh Sugar Lip Polish ($22.50, fresh.com)—but only three times a week. Any more and you could irritate this fragile skin.
Shown on model: Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Gemma.
Are you more about classic red lipstick? Try these how-to tips for wearing it.
2 of 5Greg Delves
Holding the Line
Fine lines show up quickly in the cutaneous lip (what dermatologists call the mustache area) due to repetitive motions, like sipping through a straw, eating, and talking. “Many people also carry tension around their mouths, which can cause vertical lines to form,” says Hale. To lessen the look of those tiny creases, use an over-the-counter retinol cream, such as StriVectin Advanced Retinol Night Treatment ($112, strivectin.com), at night. (If wrinkling is severe, try prescription Retin-A.) Apply sparingly, because both can cause irritation. During the day, make sure you’re covering the area with SPF, as the sun breaks down your firming collagen fibers. And consider lip lines another good reason to quit smoking.
For everyday, all you need with bright lips is foundation or tinted moisturizer, a complementary shade of blush, and a little mascara. For evening, amp it up, as seen here, with dark eyeliner and a wash of shimmery shadow.
Shown on model: Clarins Rouge Eclat in Juicy Clementine.
Strong lipstick color can feather into the tiny lines around your mouth. To keep it in place:
1. Before applying color, prep your mouth with a lip primer (like NYX Lip Primer, $7, ulta.com) or foundation to give it something to adhere to.
2. You don’t need to hunt down a matching lip liner. (“Skipping it makes the look a bit more modern,” says Paul Innis, who did the makeup you see here.) Instead, use a matching skin-tone liner to prevent bleeding, tracing just outside the perimeter of your mouth (no need to fill in).
3. Apply the lipstick, blot with a tissue, reapply, then blot again. For extra staying power, tap on a translucent loose powder in between coats of lipstick.
Shown on model: Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Pink Lily.
As we age, we lose volume in our lips. But with the proper TLC, lips will look softer and fuller and therefore younger longer. Still, if that’s not plump enough for you, injectables are an option. Restylane, made from hyaluronic acid (a substance normally found in the body that attracts and binds moisture to skin), is the only injectable filler approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use directly on the lips, says Anne Chapas, a dermatologist in New York City. One treatment can cost up to $900 and can last for 12 months. More recently, the injectable Belotero was specifically approved for smoothing the lines in the cutaneous lip. The price and the staying power are similar to those of Restylane, but it can be injected closer to the surface, where wispy lines reside.
For a guide to the lipsticks shown here, see page 6.
5 of 5Greg Delves
To Boldly Go
“Brights are not meant to be a natural look,” says Innis. Which means anyone can wear any one.