How To Apply Lipstick For A Perfect Pout

A great lipstick is like a great love. To celebrate National Lipstick Day, we’re breaking down what you need to know about getting a perfect pout sans injectables.
Written by Vivien Moon
Is this article helpful?4 min read
How To Apply Lipstick For A Perfect PoutAndriyko Podilnyk/Unsplash

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” So said Elizabeth Taylor, and we can’t help but agree that lipstick has transformational powers that are unlike those of any other makeup or beauty product. Originating some 5,000 years ago, lip color has graced the faces of everyone from Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I to the suffragettes and David Bowie with its popularity hardly wavering (Winston Churchill kept lipstick in production during World War II to boost morale!).

Your eyes may be taking center stage at the moment with your pout covered by face masks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the familiar feeling of painting on a lavish lip for a friendly Zoom call, right? Like a great love, a great lipstick will always be there to boost your confidence and make you feel like you can take on the world. In honor of National Lipstick Day, New York-based makeup artist Junko Kioka gives us insider tips on getting the perfect lip, as we round up a few of the best lipsticks to upgrade your smile.

How to Get the Perfect Lip Look

Whether you favor a head-turning scarlett, love a classic pink, feel your best in a bold orange, or prefer an understated nude, Kioka has a few recommendations for application. To get started, she emphasizes the importance of prepping the pout the same way you would your skin. “Moisturize your lips. I always apply lip balm on models when I prep their skin,” Kioka shares. If your lips are particularly parched, additional care may be needed. “If you have chapped lips, I recommend you exfoliate dead skin by using lip scrubs,” she says. “For lip balm, I use Homeoplasmine, which is sold at French pharmacies and, recently, on Amazon.”

You’ll want to remove any excess balm before you start applying color. If a long-lasting lip is what you’re after, lip liner is a must. “Apply your lip pencil on your entire lips, then add lipstick with a lip brush, blot with a tissue, and reapply lipstick,” Kioka explains. Those wanting a natural look should opt for a liner one shade darker than the tone of their natural lip. If a stained look is more your style, Kioka suggests applying “a dot of lipstick on the lip and blending the edge out using a fingertip.”

Depending on your desired outcome, a lip gloss can be used to top off the look. “If you are using lip gloss on top of lipstick, using long-lasting lipstick helps it stay on longer,” Kioka shares. With that in mind, here are the five steps to the perfect pout:

  1. Exfoliate with a lip scrub
  2. Moisturize with a lip balm
  3. Fill in the entire lip with a lip pencil
  4. Apply lipstick
  5. Top off with a lip gloss (optional)

One thing to avoid at all costs? Rubbing your lips together. “It makes them rough and dry and is a bad move because lipstick will fade much quicker, requiring reapplication,” Kioka warns. Before you walk out the door (or sit down at your computer to Zoom), don’t forget to check your teeth. “The old-school finger trick works great for this,” Kioka says. “Put a finger in your mouth, close your mouth around it and then pull the finger straight out — although, with COVID-19, a cotton swab may be best now.”

Ready to upgrade your lipstick wardrobe? Here are a few bullets that are sure to satisfy.

For the Showstopper: Kilian Le Rouge Parfum


Day or night, a red lip will always turn heads. When picking a crimson, finding the right shade depends on your complexion. Those with fairer skin should try a blue-based red or cranberry color. Olive complexions glow in a yellow- or orange-based tint, and those with a darker skin tone stun in just about every shade, though purple and brown undertones particularly pop. The Kilian Le Rouge Parfum line offers an array of matte reds that feel velvety (not drying) and are scented with notes of vanilla and neroli.

For the Minimalist: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk


It’s no wonder this shade is often sold out, Charlotte Tilbury’s Superstar Lips in Pillow Talk is about as universally flattering as it gets. The rosy neutral offers a subtle wash of satin-finish color that looks good on just about every skin tone. Consider it the lipstick equivalent of your favorite, it-goes-with-everything white t-shirt.

For the Plusher Pout: Buxom Full Force Plumping Lipstick


Whether you’re not quite ready to make the leap to lip fillers but want fullness or you’re in between treatments and looking for a little extra plumping action, the Buxom Full Force Plumping Lipstick is for you. Formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid and nourishing oils, the slight tingling sensation instantly delivers a visibly plumper, bee-stung look.

For the Rebel: Fenty Beauty


In search of a striking shade? Look no further than Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty hues. The brand offers neons, pastels, and rich shades in sheer, matte, and liquid formulas that are designed to complement any complexion.

For the Busy Bee: Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick


Smudge-proof lipstick dates back to 1950 and has been a makeup bag must-have ever since. While longwear formulas have historically meant sacrificing moisture for staying power, makeup legend Pat McGrath cracked the code with her MatteTrance Lipsticks. Available in “nudes,” “brights,” and “darks,” the buttery matte bullets are richly pigmented but creamy and stay all day — seriously.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

Was this helpful?
VIVIEN MOONis a senior editor at AEDIT.

Related Procedures



‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

App QR Code