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How to make bold lipstick stay in place

Bold lips are one of my very favorite ways to make a statement. A bold lip can take a total scrub outfit and make it into “oh, I woke up like this”. Seriously. Welcome to my life. My makeup routine is extremely minimal, minus the bold lipstick. It’s a serious lifesaver.

A question I get so often is “How do I make my lipstick stay on?” Often times, I find that girls will avoid wearing a bright lipstick because they’re self conscious it has smeared or that it starts to look messy part way through the night. Not to mention that old Aunt Rhonda lipstick snuggle tooth that you’re just praying doesn’t happen to you (yes, when you have lipstick all over one of your front teeth that nobody tells you about. Rude.)

Follow these tricks though, and you’ll be good to go. No smearing or snaggle-ing involved.

Scrub, scrub, scrub

Make sure lips are well exfoliated. To do this, you can use a lip exfoliating product, or if you have a Clarisonic, gently move it over your lips while washing your face. Just make sure to use a gentle cleanser (exfoliating cleansers and Clarisonics don’t mix, remember!) You could also use a washcloth and some moisturizer, but I prefer the first two options, as I find a washcloth isn’t fine enough to exfoliate as well as the other methods!


After your lips are exfoliated, make sure they’re nice and moisturized. If not, your lipstick starts to flake off (ew) in minutes. I like use Eucerin original healing cream and apply it to my lips every morning and night, and use Burt’s Bees and Rosebud Salve throughout the day. When my lips are need of some intense moisture, I apply a bit of Moroccan Oil (which is normally reserved for hair, but it works amazingly on your lips too–just be sure to keep it on your lips and not smear it on the skin around your mouth, to avoid breakouts.)

Tip: Do this before you apply your makeup, and wait to apply your lipstick until your last step. This way, it gives your moisturizer time to sink in. If you apply your lipstick too early before your moisturizer has set, it won’t go on correctly. (Smear city.)

Apply your base all the way to your mouth

It’s easy to forget to apply foundation and powder all the way to your lip line, but this is a great way to get that perfect, defined lip line that you’re wanting. If you make a smudge when applying your lipstick, go over it with a q-tip dipped in makeup remover, and then re-apply your foundation and powder with a small brush, to reinforce the line around your lips.

Apply lipstick

Finally, it’s time to apply your red lipstick! Go ahead, give it a good swipe. Here are some of my favorite bold lipsticks. In general, MAC, Nars, and Givenchy are my go-to splurge-worthy brands, and NYX and Essence make some great lipsticks that’ll only set you back a few bucks.

Fill in details with a lip brush

Red lips are all about the details, so go over the line of your mouth with a lip brush, including the inner corners of your mouth.


The first lipstick trick you likely learned from your mother. Blot with a tissue, or if I don’t have a tissue handy, random paper items such as receipts (not to offend any germaphobes) or old to-do lists.

Lightly dust with powder

Take some of that powder you just applied to your lip line, and lightly dust it over your lipstick. The same way a dusting of powder sets your foundation, it will also set your lip color.

Finish with a top coat

Just like your nails, your color will really go the extra mile with an extra coat. After your powder dusting, apply your color again, the same way you applied before–getting all the details with your lip brush.

you’re done!

Go flash those pearly whites, girlfriend–your lips are looking fabulous.