Choosing and Using Your Lipstick

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Lipstick, in various forms, has been around for about 5000 years as it is the easiest way to add an instant splash of colour and give focus to your face. The main problem though, is that there is no perfect colour that suits everyone. There are no perfect shades, brands or formulas but these guidelines can help any woman to express her mood or personality as she chooses the lipstick that is right for her.

Sheer lipsticks: are more universal than opaque lipsticks and are more flattering as they allow your own lip colour to be seen underneath. They do not last as long as some other formulas although they are very moisturising and easy to wear. A happy medium can be found in the cream lipsticks but as these are more opaque you will find yourself having to be more discerning when choosing your colours.

Shimmer lipsticks: last for longer than sheer formulations and can flatter the wearer of any age, unlike the shimmery eye shadows or blushers. Due to the light reflecting qualities, lips will look fuller but be warned that shimmer formulations look ghastly on dry or chapped lips.

Matte lipsticks: are the formulas that last for longer than any other and are a good selection to make bold statements with. The main problem with this type of lipstick is that they dry the lips out quite quickly and as such should not really be worn if you have dry or chapped lips already.

Lip colours can be found in many styles of applicator but by far the most popular are the ones that come in a stick in bullet shaped holders. As lips are quite sensitive to the sun, the lipstick formulations that have built-in sunscreens are very useful. Lip-gloss can be used to add an attractive gleam to your lips when used on its own, or to catch the light if applied over your normal lipstick.

If you want to mark an outline to your lips before applying lipstick then a lip liner is the best method (this also helps to stop ‘bleeding’) and is designed for just this purpose. For a darker matte effect just apply a lip liner over the whole of your lip area. A word of caution if you do decide to use this method though is that you may need to apply a lip salve over the top to avoid drying out your lips.

Choosing a Colour:

There are many traditions that help in the selection of lipstick colours. Some of these say that you should choose rich, deep colours such as burgundy or plum reds in winter and lighter, more pastel tones such as pinks or lavenders in spring. Summer months herald the need for sheer or glossy formulations and autumn is the time for brown-based earthy colours. All this said, lipsticks are used as an expression of yourself so you don’t have to follow tradition if you don’t want to – go ahead and experiment.

Colour Guidelines:

People with a fair complexion will find that a small amount of colour will go a long way. Over the top, bright colours will look a mess so stick to nudes, beige tones, light corals or light pinks. Sheer formulas prove to be the most flattering here.

Complexions with medium colours are best suited to brown based mauves or sheer berry types of coloured lipsticks in a cream formula.

Reds, especially those with golden undertones rather than blue, are the best and most suited colours of lipstick for people with whitish complexions. Also, pink shimmers can look good too with both colour schemes working well in almost any formula.

The best colours to use for your lipstick if your complexion is darker are rich and deep shades such as burgundy, chocolate or plum which will look great in any formula.

Lipstick Application:

Using a moisturiser over your lips before applying the lipstick will usually ensure that the best end result is achieved. The lip surface should then be primed with a foundation making sure that every tiny crack and crevice is covered. A make-up sponge is the best way to accomplish this.

Then using your normal face powder, apply a light dusting on top of the foundation, which will help your lipstick stay in place for longer.

Next, draw an outline around your lips using a lip pencil, which has been warmed slightly in the palm of your hand. You may find that steadying your hand by resting your elbow on a firm, flat surface helps when doing this.

The Cupid’s bow on the upper lip should be your starting point when drawing your lip outline, followed by neatly outlining your lower lip.

Finish off the edges of the outline on your upper lip and then fill in the outlined areas with lipstick, preferably using a lip brush for accuracy, as you will need to make sure that every tiny crevice is covered. Brush the colour into the corners of your lips by opening your mouth, which will expose the corners for easy reach.

To help your lipstick last longer and give your lips an attractive, semi-matte finish, you should blot over the surface gently with a tissue.

Tips and Tricks:

If there is a difference in proportion or volume to your mouth, then the upper lip will normally appear to be thinner than the bottom one. The bottom lip is generally considered to be the point of reference when trying to make sure the contours of both lips are balanced therefore outlining of the upper lip must be done. With this in mind it should be said that when you pencil out the upper lip, make sure that it equals in proportion, from the pointed side of the Cupid’s bow to the centre slit of the mouth, the width of the bottom lip. The shape you give to your Cupid’s bow is what expresses your mood or personality at the time. If you make it more rounded then you will give a fuller, more sensual smile while on the other hand a pointed, more angular one shows a confident, outgoing personality.

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