Audrey Hepburn once said, "On a bad day, there's always lipstick."
And the legendary star's wise words weren't mere lip service. The pocket-sized product has the power to boost someone's confidence and change their attitude with just one swipe. Much like slipping into a pair of sky-high heels, wearing lipstick acts as an exclamation mark to any outfit.
And lipstick doesn't need to be bold, like armoring yourself with a vivid shade of red, to make you feel empowered. Sometimes, a pinch of pink or a clear gloss can do the trick. There's a reason all of the TikTokers are obsessed with creating glazed donut makeup looks.
However, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to finding the right lipstick formula, prepping your pout and figuring out how to best fix smearing. Which is why we asked five celebrity makeup artists—Alexx Mayo, Donni Davy, Jocelyn Biga, Sébastien Tardif and Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury—for their fool-proof tips and tricks.
Keep reading to get all of the best lipstick hacks from the most in-demand beauty experts.
How to apply lipstick like a pro
No matter if you decide to wear a lip stain, lip balm or liquid lipstick, the key is to first create the right foundation before layering it on.
Donni, the head makeup artist for Euphoria, uses a lip liner "to fill in the lips and lay down a nice base of color," she said, "and then, I top it off with a lip cream or gloss like Half Magic's Magic Drip Lip Gloss. This is also a really fun way to customize your lip color, shift undertones, and experiment with color!"
As for which tools to turn to? Sometimes the lipstick applicator isn't the most effective. Sofia, who does Salma Hayek, Bella Hadid and Lily James' glam, will grab an eyeshadow brush or use her fingertips "to create a soft, blurred finish along the lip line," she shared. "It always looks so effortless and sexy, especially with a matte formula."
Another helpful application tip, Sebastien offered, is to dilute your lipstick with a mixing base to get rid of any stickiness. And with the new consistency, it also makes for a great cream blush.
"I have a wider range of blush possibilities," the makeup artist—who frequently works with Naomi Campbell, Paris Hilton and Jane Fonda—explained of his technique, "and my lip and cheek combo always remains in the same color family to avoid any clash of color."
What is a hack to make your lipstick last longer?
It turns out that lip prep is not only an essential skincare step, but the secret to smooch-proof lipstick.
Sofia stressed the importance of removing dry, dead skin from one's pout before going in with a lippie. "Use a gentle sugar scrub to buff the lips," she noted, "then roll on Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir. By the time you get to lipstick, your lips will have absorbed all of that gorgeous hydration."
Jocelyn echoed similar sentiments, adding, "Smooth and moisturized lips are the first step to long-wear and perfect lipstick application." The makeup artist for Nicole Scherzinger and Tia Mowry swears by MAC Cosmetics' Lip Scrubtious, but explains that a disposable mascara wand or lip brush will also do the trick "to remove any dead skin."
Sebastien's suggestion further proves that old-school methods are tried and true for a reason. The Veil Cosmetics founder's trick for long-wearing lipstick is to powder it.
"After applying a generous coating of lipstick," he detailed, "I always follow with a tissue that I place over the lips. Then, with a fluffy powder brush dipped in powder, I gently tap the brush all over the lips to remove any excess, which prevents bleeding while keeping a nice color intensity."
And if there's one piece of advice that all of the beauty pros can agree on, it's that lip liner is a must-have. Yes, it allows you to create a kiss-worthy shape but it also acts as the perfect seal. As Lizzo's makeup artist, Alexx, explained, "Clinique's Quickliner For Lips keeps lipstick in place, without any feathering or bleeding to extend lipstick wear time."
What is the best technique to clean up smudged lipstick?
We've all been there, having to deal with lipstick that's smeared or feathered. But luckily, the cleanup is quite simple. "Dip a Q-Tip in an oil-free makeup remover," Alexx suggested, "and blot the area where the lipstick smudged."
If the smudge is much worse and significantly more noticeable, there are two potential fixes. "I always keep a small flat concealer brush on hand and I'll apply a little concealer to soften out the smudge or crisp up a lip line," Donni said. As for Sebastien's method, well, there's no harm in starting over and re-applying.
How can you find the right lipstick formula?
With a variety of formulas to choose from—matte, creams, satins, stains, glosses, you name it—it can be daunting to select the type of finish you want. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind, which will make the process less of a headache.
The biggest element to consider, according to Sofia, is to figure out what kind of look you're going for. "For my everyday look," the Global Brand Muse and Artistry Director of Charlotte Tilbury described, "I like to apply a small dot of Airbrush Flawless Lip Blur in Pillow Talk to the center of my lips, then press in using my fingertip for a blurred effect."
For a femme fatale vibe, she added, "I love Charlotte's Matte Revolution texture because it creates a beautiful luminosity while still looking matte."
And if you aren't sure what style you want to rock, Jocelyn reminded us that you can never go wrong with a liquid matte lipstick. Not only is it a long-lasting option, but it's transfer-proof.
"You'll need fewer touch-ups during the day," she explained. "The color payoff is rich and intense. The feathering is minimal compared to other formulas. I also love that the liquid matte formula allows a precise and defined application."
Common lipstick mistakes to avoid
While it's trendy to overline the lips, there's a difference between creating the illusion of a plump pout through strategic makeup placements and overdoing it.
"Overlining the lips is great for a full-lip look," Alexx shared, "but there is such thing as going overboard. You want to ensure you're using liner just outside of the lips and hitting the corners of the mouth for a more natural full-lip look."
Finding the right shade for this style is also key, with the makeup artist noting, "I recommend going one shade darker than your current lip tone and, for a more dramatic look, match your lip liner to your lipstick color."
And when in doubt, the less-is-more approach never fails.
"An excessive amount of lipstick can lead to a heavy look," Jocelyn added, "and may cause it to smudge or transfer easily. When layering different formulas, you will lose the longevity benefit."
And now that the experts have kissed and told, it's time to put their professional wisdom into practice. So, go out and give 'em lip.
(This article was originally published on June 19, 2023 at 7:30 a.m. PT.)