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How to Make Your Lipstick Last All Day

On a date, at a party or in a meeting, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your lipstick smudging. Oftentimes, looking fresh is all in the formula—finding the perfect product so your lipstick doesn’t find its way onto your cocktail glass. We spoke with New York-based makeup artist Abby Lauren, who has more than 10 years of experience creating long-lasting makeup looks for fashion, bridal and editorial clientele. She gave us a step-by-step guide on getting life-proof lips.

  1. 1. Exfoliate and Hydrate

    Exfoliate your lips with a sugar scrub like Lip Strip by Laura Geller New York. The best way to do this, Abby says, is to apply the scrub, let it sit and then remove with a damp washcloth. You can also use a soft toothbrush to gently apply a hydrating lip balm like Dr. PawPaw’s Original Multipurpose Soothing Balm.   

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  2. 2. Prime and Prep

    Before applying color, you might want to prep your lips with a primer. For Abby, lip primer isn’t really necessary unless someone has really dry lips. It’s “just another layer of product making the color less likely to stay,” she says. If you do have dry skin and want to provide extra moisture to prep lips for lipstick and maximize wear time, tryCARGO’s Picture Perfect HD Lip Primer or something like Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream Lip Protectant, which offers an all-weather shield and hydration.

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  3. 3. Line and Fill

    Lip liner is recommended by the pros to keep color from fading. Duo pencils like butter LONDON’s Plush Rush Lip Liner – Sensual Nude provides long-lasting, hydrating and water-resistant color. The trick is in applying lip liner correctly. Abby’s tip is “to line and fill in the lips completely with a liner.” For the best results, she says, “use a similar lip liner to line and fill in the lips before applying the lipstick.” This ensures the perfect lip color that not only wows, but lasts.

  4. 4. Apply and Blot

    Liquid lip colors are easy to apply, aren’t too dry and provide opaque coverage all day. Abby says, “If you’re looking for staying power, go matte.” A great long-wear lipstick is Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick because it’s super lightweight, waterproof and has a velvety matte finish. After applying the lipstick, blot and repeat, swiping on your color and blotting until you’ve got the exact hue you want.

  5. 5. Set With Powder

    Set your lip color with a translucent powder like NYX’s Studio Finishing Powder. A tiny bit goes a long way and ensures your lips don’t get cakey. A powder sets the lip color and avoids pesky transfers. If you have dry lips, however, Abby says avoid the powder because “your lip color can get even more dry.”

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Beauty Writer

Jessica Griffiths

Jessica Griffiths is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her essays have been published on The Hairpin and Narratively. She loves many things including puns, pups and police procedurals. She strongly believes there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s.