Make-up: the lipstick-wearer’s must-haves

I wear lipstick a lot, especially at the weekends – and preferring bold reds and pinks in matte finishes, I find there’s a few extra tools that really help perfect a strong lip. Matte lipsticks in particular can be quite drying and cause your lips to flake after a few hours, along with wearing off patchily, so these tips should help combat these problems (which aren’t, y’know, life-threatening, but are annoying!). I imagine most would be useful for other colours/finishes too – especially those that require an even finish that’s distinctly different to your natural lip colour.
These are the products I wouldn’t be without…
L-R: Lip scrub, matte powder, lip pencil, lip primer, lip brush (product details below)

And here’s what I do with them!

The primers

These two tools are my essentials for creating an even, long-lasting finish that protects against the dreading flaking. Before I put my lipstick on, I’m at my lips with the scrub to remove any bits of dry skin (gross, I know, sorry). If you’ve got any flakes already, most lipsticks will only make them stand out like a sore thumb/make them worse. This product smells absolutely divine – good enough to eat, which is funnily enough what Lush recommends you do with the excess as it’s made from sugar (again, gross – I can’t bring myself to actually do this!).

Then, on goes the primer – and I’ve never found anything that betters this one by Mac. It’s the perfect texture (not too greasy/balmy) and stops matte lipsticks from drying your lips out, without affecting the finish and making it shiny. Out of all of the products in this post, this is the #1 I can’t live without. I’m never sure if it helps lipstick to last longer, but it certainly doesn’t make it wear off faster either!

The definers

Nutrimetics Lip Defining Pencil (so old this version isn’t sold now)

Before I apply lipstick, defining my lip shape with a pencil tells me where the lipstick needs to go – my cupid’s bow isn’t quite even, so I use the pencil to correct and perfect. Or if I feel like having an extra big pout, to draw the shape I want 😉 The one I’ve pictured was a gift years ago and probably isn’t even sold anymore, but it’s still going strong! It’s a bit darker than my natural lip colour as I use it as a guide, but if I wanted a perfectly crisp lip line I’d probably need a liner in a matching shade to my lipstick. Bonus is that wearing liner on the edges helps to stop feathering. Lots of people would recommend filling in your lips with the liner to give a better base for the lipstick, but I’ve never noticed a difference in staying power, but I do notice it can affect your final colour and make your lips dry, so I skip that.

When that’s done and I’m ready to put the lipstick itself on, I use a lip brush to colour in the shape I’ve just marked out, making sure I go right up to the edges of the liner. Basically, I find the only way to neatly go to the edges of your lip shape is with a brush – it just gives you more control. This Boots brush is my favourite because it’s cheap and has a cap (which isn’t the one featured top left – whoops- it’s actually that bit on the base of the brush). Once that layer is on, I’ll top up from the tube to get the full whack of colour.

And then blot and reapply, of course. Coincidentally, I haven’t featured a picture here as not the prettiest thing in the world, but I find the best way to blot lipstick is to use a face wipe that’s dried out over several hours – there’s none of that fibres sticking to you like with tissues this way. You have to be a good planner to have this to hand though!

The finisher (optional)

Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder (Sephora)
This is a neat trick I’ve picked up from other blogs – but warning, it’s a messy one! If you’ve got a creme or semi-matte lipstick you want to take the shiny edge off, dabbing some matte powder over the top, once you’ve blotted, helps with this. But obviously, using any kind of puff, pad etc will stain it, so it’s messy because the easiest way is to use your fingers by picking up as much product as you can on one and dabbing on.


Perfect finish for red lips
And you get the idea… although I wouldn’t say this was perfect, I’m no make-up artist… but it’s good enough for me. And more importantly, doesn’t dry my lips out, feather or fade too quickly…


  1. July 16, 2014 / 6:21 pm

    The old trick that I learned to set your lipstick with powder is to separate off a layer of toilet paper or tissue, lay it over your lips, and then gently stipple your lips with a brush loaded with powder. It actually works pretty well – you don't get too much powder on your lips, and you don't get any lipstick on your brush.

    • July 17, 2014 / 12:06 pm

      That's a really good one! Bit of a faff, but sounds like a far less messy way than mine…

  2. July 17, 2014 / 3:28 pm

    The last photo is lovely! The LUSH lip scrub is so good! I've not tried the mint julep one, it's the only one i've not tried yet! I sometimes get a bit creeped out by scrubbing the dead skin off your lips and then licking the sugar off – I try not to think about it!! xxx

    • July 17, 2014 / 7:08 pm

      Definitely don't think about it :S xx

  3. July 22, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    Gorgeous colour lippy on you, perfectly done! I love hearing how others do their make-up, I'm such a child with mine, I just use lippy from the tube, I find my hand's not steady enough to use brushes and it goes a bit wonky. I also don't use lipliner, and the last two make-up artists I've had stuff done with have told me it's 'old-fashioned' and to use concealer instead around the mouth to stop feathering and to give a nice sharp edge. I am tempted to try both the primer and scrub you mention here, I will report back if I do! P x

    • July 23, 2014 / 12:06 pm

      To be honest, at least 60% of the time I don't follow my own advice as I'm in a rush/being lazy. It never looks as nice than if I do it all as above! I definitely don't use lipliner in the traditional sense, it always makes me think of the 90s (a bad time for lipstick)… But the scrub and the primer are two of the best tips I have for wearing strong lipsticks, glad to hear about if you try them 🙂 x

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