10 Lipstick Rules To Live By

The perfect pout doesn't have to be a one time thing. Follow these easy steps to keep your lipstick game top notch.

Lipstick
(Image credit: Marie Claire)

1. Treat your lips like you would your face. Remove makeup, exfoliate, moisturize. Repeat.

2. Timing is everything. If you're having casual drinks or dinner with your friends before a big night out, wait to put on your lipstick. You won't constantly be worrying about messing it up while you eat (which is the worst).

3. When playing up your lips, keep your eye makeup minimal. Makeup is like a balancing act, pick one feature and go big.

4. Find the right color. Not all hues are created equal, at least for you. Different skin tones work better with different shades, so try a bunch on and choose wisely—a good lipstick is a forever kind of thing.

5. Use a primer. Think super staying power through your meetings, lunch, and happy hour drinks. We recommend NARS Instant Line & Pore Perfector (opens in new tab).

6. Liner can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Find the right lip liner and it'll stop your lipstick from feathering throughout the day. Choose the wrong color, and you're channeling Gwen Stefani circa 1997. Our advice? Go for a clear lip pencil—it's silky smooth and compliments every lip shade (opens in new tab). We recommend Merle Norman Clear Lip Pencil (opens in new tab).

7. Start in the middle. Begin applying lipstick at the center of your lips and move outward. That way, you'll be less shaky when it comes to the outer lines of your lips. Less shaky = less mistakes.

8. Highlight along your cupids bow. As well as along the middle of your lower lip. The small touch will reflect light and make your lips look nice and plump. We recommend YSL Touche Eclat (opens in new tab).

9. Take it off before you go to sleep. The only bad thing about having a clean, white pillowcase? That baby is a lipstick magnet.

10. Always give yourself a day off. Let your lips stay au natural for at least one day a week (opens in new tab) and so you can slough off dead skin cells, moisturize, and have one glorious morning to sip coffee sans lipstick stains.

If you love beauty, you'll love these too:


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25 Most Iconic Red Lips in Film (opens in new tab)


The History of Women and Their Eyebrows (opens in new tab)

Follow Hallie Gould on Twitter (opens in new tab).

Hallie has worked in beauty editorial for ten years and has been editorial director at Byrdie since 2021. Previously, she was a senior editor at Byrdie since 2016. During her time at Byrdie, she's written hundreds of high-performing stories on skincare, wellness (including fitness, diet, mental health, body image, et al) makeup, and hair. She's a regular on set, helping to source inspiration for makeup and hair looks, as well as interviewing celebrities, models, and other notable women and men in the beauty space.

Before that, Hallie ran Marie Claire's social media and wrote beauty and culture stories for the site, and helped launch Time Inc.'s digital-only beauty brand, MIMI. After college, she contributed to Time Out New York’s Shopping & Style section before landing her first beauty editor gig at Hearst's Real Beauty. Hallie's writing has also appeared in ELLE, Cosmopolitan, and InStyle. Hallie graduated with a BA in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.