Diary / Beauty / Nov 28, 2023
How to Make Your Lipstick Last Longer
Written by: Piper Gray
Photography by: Ben Ritter & Jon Patterson
Lipstick is an impactful tool that is the ultimate finishing touch to any look. But doesn’t it seem like, when you need it to stay put the most, those are exactly the times when you can’t, or don’t want to, touch it up? Formal nights out, a long-prepared-for presentation—those are hardly the moments to whip out a mirror and reapply, no matter how discreet you are.
Making sure your lipstick can withstand the demands of the day doesn’t necessarily mean you need a formula that promises longevity. (Those do exist, and they are wonderful for the right occasion.) It’s making sure that your color doesn’t smear or travel and that the pigment isn’t too faint to begin with. Fortunately, that’s easy to achieve.
Of course, if you’re enjoying dinner or sipping a beverage, some pigment is likely to come off, but with the right knowledge and techniques, you can make your lipstick last longer.
Let’s get into it. Read on for expert application tips and product recommendations to keep your lip color immaculate and in place.
Why Doesn’t My Lipstick Last?
Lipstick that vanishes within the hour or smears at the slightest touch is a familiar frustration. There are a few culprits to blame.
Glossy, sheer, or silky lipsticks, although elegant and often engineered for hydration, are not always best for longevity. These often contain higher amounts of oils and emollients that contribute to their beautiful texture but may also lead to slipping and sliding; so be prepared for more frequent touch-ups. If your chosen lip color is higher in waxes and pigments though—think: matte formulas—you can likely count on better longevity.
It also comes down to skipping preparation before application. Dry lips, while already uncomfortable, are more often than not textured and rough—which can soak up lip color or unevenly catch the pigment—and in need of exfoliation first. Depending on the formula, even healthy, nourished lips may benefit from an extra layer of product, that acts as a primer or foundation of sorts, before you apply the actual color.
Even your method matters. Dabbing instead of swiping or using a brush for a more precise application can also enhance longevity.
Fading may seem more evident with a more pigmented color, but if the color is faint or neutral to begin with, it’s easy to think your hue, while already subdued, has faded. It’s possible, in fact, that it’s just how it’s supposed to look. In that case, consider applying more to begin with or opt for a slightly more pigmented version of the color you’re applying.
What Makes Lipstick Long-Lasting?
Liquid lipsticks, known for their longevity and intensity, usually contain polymers and silicones that adhere to the lips for an extended time. They are often matte, too, and are more likely to feel drying. (Not always, but sometimes—that’s just the nature of the formula.)
There are other matte lipsticks that aren’t necessarily liquid, but any product that goes on without the gloss and glide of a shinier formula will likely be longer-lasting and flatter, which maintains your natural texture.
If you need a lip color that will not budge, transfer, or fade, take a good look at the formula ingredients and try a color that purports to be long-lasting or is described as “long-wear.” These are excellent for circumstances that truly do not allow for any check-ups or touch-ups.
Even if you do have the capability and flexibility to tend to your lips throughout the day, no one wants to spend their time reapplying or fixing stray color. Consider a formula that offers buildable color payoff and is easy to glide back on, no mirror necessary.
Creamy Texture for the Win
A lip color that tugs, pulls, or feels chalky can derail what should be a simple beauty ritual. Opt for creamy, emollient-rich formulations that keep your lips comfortable.
Enter our Lip Tint. It’s our modern take on traditional lipstick, and it’s meant for on-the-go application. The Lip Tint is ultra-moisturizing, thanks to castor seed oil, for one, and it’s a pleasure to apply and wear. What The Lip Tint is not, however, is long-wear. But its buildable, lightweight texture is fuss-free and doesn’t require any tools or even much precision to maximize the impact. Swipe on a single layer to keep things minimal and casual, or layer it up for a more potent look.
High Pigment Payoff
Ultimately, the key to an enduring lip look is a highly pigmented formula. These products offer rich, saturated color that clings to your lips, reducing the frequency of reapplications.
They often contain higher concentrations of colorants and waxes that lock the pigment in place, ensuring a fade-resistant finish. But don't just settle for any pigmented option; seek out those with additional skincare benefits for a win-win situation.
The right techniques, too, can further enhance the impact of a pigment-rich lipstick. For instance, you can lay a foundation with our Lip Pencil, outlining and filling in your lips to create an ideal canvas. The pencil’s carefully curated blend of waxes and oils offers a barely-there yet impactful finish, allowing you to go for a natural enhancement or a dramatic transformation.
By combining a potent lip pencil with a pigment-dense lipstick, you're investing in a lip look that not only captivates attention but also boasts incredible longevity. Read here for more tips on incorporating lip liner into your routine.
How Can I Make My Lipstick Last?
Achieving a lip look that lasts from morning until night involves more than just swiping on your favorite shade and heading out the door. A well-executed technique combined with the right products can elevate your game to professional levels.
1. Priming Like a Pro
Before even thinking about applying color, preparing your lips is key.
First, get into the habit of gently exfoliating your lips a couple of times a week. You don’t need a specialty product or scrub for this; just wet a washcloth and lightly rub it across your lips to remove any flakiness. Not only will this help with any texture issues (who wants cakey-looking lips?), but it also smoothes the base so your color can adhere more uniformly.
Our Lip Pencil is an ideal color base for your lipstick to help the pigment stay on your lips for longer. It comes in a range of nude shades that can blend seamlessly with your natural lip color.
Furthermore, the waxes and oils in the pencil's formula can act as a gripping agent for your lipstick, bolstering its staying power.
2. Matte Over Glossy
The finish of your lipstick can heavily influence how long it stays put. Matte lipsticks often contain a higher percentage of pigments and waxes, which contribute to their legendary staying power.
However, matte options can be drying, so you should consider moisturizing yet long-lasting alternatives. Our Lip and Cheek Stick, for example, provides a moisturizing yet durable finish. This product offers the flexibility of buildable color while maintaining commendable longevity, giving you the best of both worlds.
3. The Blot-and-Set Technique
Setting your lipstick can determine how vibrant and long-lasting your look will be. After swiping on your favorite shade, lay a tissue in between your lips and blot to absorb any excess oils and emollients.
Then, apply a second coat to enrich the color. This step creates a matte finish and acts as a barrier to external elements, effectively locking in your color. This proven blot-and-set technique can extend the lifespan of your lip look far beyond what a single application can achieve.
The Bottom Line
Mastering the art of long-lasting lip color involves much more than selecting a shade and hoping for the best. It's an orchestrated process, starting with prepping your lips, choosing a formula with enduring qualities, and setting the color to withstand the rigors of your day.
With these expert strategies, you can make a significant difference in the longevity of your lip look.