Remembering my makeup Masterclass at the KLMA makeup academy in North Manchester just over 2 years ago, the lessons that inspired me to journal about my creative journey through this blog, I wanted to write about the lesson which focussed mainly on lipstick application on different mouth shapes to create the perfect pout.
Some lips are small and round, some lips are thin, others are big and fleshy. These days, a lot of people’s lips are injected with fillers to look plumper. That’s because, as with many other beauty features, can fall victim to fashion and what’s considered aesthetically pleasing for the times. In the 1990s there was this awful trend of lining lips with 5 shades darker pencil colour than that of the lipstick. The idea was to make lips look bigger but the result was usually a hot mess. You see, the concept of grading colour was not a thing back then. The bigger the difference between lip pencil and lipstick the better it was, apparently. Then, more recently, there was the trend of nude lipsticks to give the impression of natural looking lips. The made-up-to-look-like-there’s-no-make-up-at-all look
Personally, I like lips to have a bit of colour on them. Growing up I associated makeup with bold red lipstick. My all-time favourite is the iconic red lip of the Hollywood beauties of the 40s and 50s. Few people think that Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth were not gorgeous, am I wrong?
All of these glamorous stars wore the signature red lipstick with pride. And have you noticed how red suits them all regardless of their hair colour?
Anyway, parenthesis over…
What I realised during the makeup class (and subsequently from practicing on a number of women) applying lipstick on others is really not the same as applying in on one’s self and definitely not as easy.
I will do my best here to share with you what we were taught in terms of creating the perfect pout.
- The starting point is to ensure the lip skin is in good condition. If the lips are dry they might need a lip balm for hydration. If they are very dry to the point where the skin is scaling then a lip scrub needs to come to the rescue. My favourite for this purpose is from LUSH, made from natural ingredients such as castor sugar and jojoba oil. (I use the bubblegum flavoured one which is scrumptious and tasting like candy floss). If the lips are dry and you skip this step the applied lipstick might look clumpy and your lips really unattractive.
- Then on to the shaping of the lips using a lip pencil. It’s good to use a pencil in the same colour or similar to the lipstick you will be wearing but if you don’t have one a nude lip pencil can also be useful to do the lips’ outline. Depending on your mouth’s shape and whether you want to make it look larger or smaller you can carefully outline with your pencil slightly outside your natural curve (to enlarge the shape) or inside it (to make it appear smaller). The same goes with evening out a lopsided lip or a smaller upper to bottom lip and vice versa. In class we were taught to start lining from the corners of the mouth towards the middle top or bottom but I personally feel more comfortable starting from the arch of the top lip in the middle doing one side first and then the other, creating an X where the two lines meet at the top. Similarly for the bottom lip I like to start from the middle towards the outer corners of the mouth. This step is extremely important in not only ensuring you have the shape you want but to also avoid the lipstick you will apply next from “bleeding out”.
- The next step is to fill in the lips with the pencil colour followed by the red lippy of your choice for full coverage.
- For maximum duration (who wants to be re-applying lipstick every time they take a sip from a glass or bite from their fork, right?) I recommend blotting your lipstick on a tissue then reapplying your lipstick, putting the tissue again between your lips and dusting some translucent powder with a big makeup brush onto your tissue-covered lips and then re-apply lipstick for a third time. Sounds a bit tedious, I know, but trust me if you’re a bride or going to a super important event this trick will work wonders for keeping your lipcolour in place for hours without retouching! Besides, if you spent all that time perfecting the shaping would you really want to be doing that over and over again throughout the day?
- If you want a bit more shine, you can add lipgloss as a top coat , especially if your lipstick colour is a bit matte but you’re going for a glossy look.
So there you have my step-by-step guide to creating the perfect pout. As I mentioned earlier, it’s much easier when I do this on myself. As hygiene is important, I avoid sharing my lipsticks with others. I use lipstick palettes and lip brushes instead both of which I can more easily sanitize. But this means that the lipsticks which are perfectly shaped for applying colour directly onto the lips are out of the question when doing someone else’s makeup. It can take much longer applying lipstick using a lip brush and the experience of doing this on various different ladies has made me realise how squishy lips can feel.
Not forgetting my obsession with red lipsticks before finishing this article I wanted to share with you my current collection of red lipsticks and liners:
- Lip liner no. 11 Burgundy from The Body Shop. I bought this years ago so not sure if it still exists
- MaxFactor’s colour elixir lip liner no. 10 Red Rush
- INGLOT’s no. 20 Lip Pencil (can be used both as liner and lipstick)
- A L’Occitane organic lip balm/lipstick which was a birthday gift a couple of years ago from my best friend Maria (unfortunately the writing on the packaging has faded so I don’t have it’s name)
- The LUSH lip scrub – not a lipstick but thought I’d show it off as I find it handy
- Two similar red shades from Lancome, no. 132 and no. 151 from the L’ absolu rouge line (have had them for a while too)
- A Diego Dalla Palma lipgloss in no. 44
- My brand new Elizabeth Arden Red Door Red dedicated to Reese Witherspoon. This little gem was my Secret Santa gift from a colleague last Christmas and I’ve been treasuring it since. It looks so pretty intact in it’s packaging I don’t have the heart to spoil its look by using it! But I look forward to trying it as it’s moisturising and has a beautiful, vibrant colour.
I know that red is not everyone’s cup of tea. Although I find it hard to accept, I know that some people find it a very strong colour. Some even told me they find it vulgar! Do you like red on the lips as much as I do?
Did you find my guide to creating the perfect pout useful? Did I miss any important steps?
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.