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Quit saying goodbye to your favorite lip shade. Follow this advice from makeup pros on keeping your lip color in its place. 

As is true of your favorite denim or snapshot, fading is no friend to your lip color. Before you waste another second applying lipstick that won’t last through a latte, see how the pros paint mouths for long-wearing color. Follow these steps, and you’ll be able to give fading, feathering, and smudging the kiss-off.


Just as the rest of your skin benefits from regular exfoliation, your lips also need the occasional gentle rub-down to remove dry, flaky layers. “For lip color that stays in place, you have to get into the habit of exfoliating lips weekly,” says Janet Curmi, vice president of global education and development for Elizabeth Arden. Removing dead skin gives lip color a smooth surface to adhere to.
Since lips have thin, delicate skin, you need to tread lightly when smoothing them. Makeup artist Ellis Faas shares this trick: Gently brush your lips with an extra-soft toothbrush before applying color. This removes dead skin and increases blood flow to the lips, for a fuller, flushed pout.


To ensure that your lip color bonds with your skin, your lips must be hydrated. “Apply lip balm about 10 minutes before you apply lipstick, to let the moisture soak in,” says Misha Anderson, cofounder of Woodley & Bunny Salon and Apothecary in Brooklyn.
If you’re pressed for time during your makeup routine, slick on your lip balm first, suggests Jillian Dempsey, global color director for Avon. “This will allow you to work on the rest of your makeup while the moisture sinks into your lips.”


Whether you’re dealing with eye shadow, foundation, or lip color, priming is always an essential step for lasting results. Not only will priming your lips help keep them soft, it’ll discourage feathering and help fill in lines, allowing for more even color application.
“The key is letting the primer dry a bit,” says John Stapleton, MAC Cosmetics’ senior artist. “The primer gets tacky as it dries so other products stick better.”
Use a product designed for the lips, such as Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion ($20), to increase your lipstick’s staying power.

“If your lipstick is not a designated long-wear lipstick, lip liner is a must,” says Wende Zomnir, cofounder and creative director for Urban Decay.
Apply a shade that matches your lipstick, because liner will also serve as a backup layer of pigment when the color begins to wear off. “Liner acts as a barrier, which is why I always shade the entire lip when I want durability,” says Gilbert Soliz, Sephora PRO lead artist.
Trace the outline of your lips, making sure you draw a symmetrical Cupid’s bow. “An uneven top lip will show up, especially when you’re using bright colors,” says Jemma Kidd, makeup artist and founder of JK Jemma Kidd. Then fill in your lips, making sure you reach the corners and creases.


Forget creamy, sheer, and shimmery — for all-day wear, matte shades are the way to go. “The dryness of a matte formula will grab at the surface of the lips and stay longer, whereas the slip of a creamy shine formula will move and fade more quickly,” says Sonia Kashuk, makeup artist and founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty.
Which colors should you pick? Carol Shaw, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Lorac Cosmetics, says that “lipsticks with red and fuchsia undertones often have more of a staining effect, so when you eat and drink you still have color left on your lips.”

The more pigmented the lipstick, the more likely it is to last all day. But when it comes to how much of it to apply, less is always more — too much product causes color to run into fine lines. You want to saturate your lips with color without adding a thick layer of lipstick. Plus, applying a heavy coat may actually cause you to rub your lips together, thereby wearing away the color faster, says Jillian Veran, makeup artist and senior beauty director for Philosophy.
To make sure you have the right balance of pigment and product, try a this trick from celebrity makeup artist Tina Turnbow: Use your index finger to tap color on to your lips.
Once you’ve applied your lipstick, separate a two-ply tissue and lightly kiss it. “The cheaper the quality, the better — softer brands are more likely to leave little fuzzies from the tissue on your lip,” Sephora's Gilbert Soliz says.

A dusting of translucent powder can go a long way when it comes to increasing hold. Soliz suggests tapping a light layer of powder over your lipstick. This, he explains, gives the lip color a dry base to adhere to. Apply another thin layer of color, and you can award your lipstick marathon status.