This Valentine’s Day, try to make your kiss, and lips, the main event by following these simple tips from professional makeup artists.
“The biggest mistake I see is people not exfoliating, especially this time of year. Women remember to scrub their skin but skip out on lips,” said Bonnie Cato, a professional makeup artist.
She recommends using a lip treatment with sugar crystals or rice grains.
Joy, who’s been a makeup artist for five years, said excessive exfoliation can rub your skin raw, but too little can leave you looking flaky. The right amount of exfoliation is no more than twice a week for 30 to 60 seconds because your skin needs time to regenerate. Joy prefers exfoliates with rounded particles, such as micro beads, over scrubs with crushed ingredients like apricots and nuts, which can actually break down the barrier needed to lock in moisture.
“After exfoliating, you absolutely must moisturize,” said Joy, who recommends reading the ingredients list on your balm before purchasing.
“It’s nice if they have something else besides wax or petroleum jelly, like shea butter,” Joy said. “Anti-oxidants like vitamin A, C and E are the best.”
“Lip primer is a step many women forget about, but it’s so important because it fills in any fine lines and smoothes out the texture of the lips,” Joy said.
She said you should apply silicone-based primers to the lips and then allow it to sit for a few minutes. Blotting with a tissue should only remove the excess but not the primer.
“Your lips should have a slight slide to them. They shouldn’t be bone dry,” Joy said.
“When choosing a lip liner, it’s best to get the liner as nude and close to your natural color as possible,” Cato said. She also likes to use a reverse lip liner, which is applied to the skin around the lips and acts as a barrier from color bleeding or feathering.
For better definition, Joy recommends using short, light strokes instead of dragging the liner. For pouty lips, try drawing a little caret or triangle in the corner creases of your mouth with the liner.
“You should make little dashes, so it’s kind of like connecting the dots,” Joy said.
When choosing a lipstick, Cato said to keep your skin tone in mind. Deeper reds are more dramatic, while some more neutral tones can have bronzes or a little pop of color in them.
“Always remember what time of day it is. You don’t want to always be wearing the darker tones to work or the lighter ones for a night on the town,” Cato said.
Women tend to slather gloss all over their lips, hoping to obtain a sexy shine and to keep their lips from drying out. Joy said this just makes a greasy look.
“All you really need is a little dot of gloss in the center of the lip. Then just lightly press,” she said. “The gloss will eventually spread over your lips on its own.”
Lip plumper, which contains ingredients like cinnamon bark or menthol, can also be used as a gloss. In a study conducted by Good Housekeeping Research Institute, participants found that a stinging sensation occurred for only a few seconds and saw immediate results.
“The extracts irritate your lips in a good way. They circulate the blood up to the surface so your lips swell a bit,” Cato said. “It can be that extra oomph you need.”