Jezebel is back with another beauty basic: how to achieve a flawless, perfectly applied lipstick look. Lots of questions were posed, and hundreds of user answers sifted through. Sampling below, click through for all of Jezebel's selected tips.
Prefer to learn via video? Scroll all the way down for a selection of lipstick application videos, courtesy of WonderHowTo.
Here is my four-step process for applying perfect red lippy. It's not highly scientific, but it is very easy.
1) Exfoliate. As with any cosmetics, you need a smooth canvas before you apply any paint. Scrub lips gently with an old toothbrush or some oil-and-sugar mix, then wait until the tingling feeling has subsided to move on to the next step.
2) Prime and line. Slick on some waxy balm or a lip primer - MAC makes an amazing one, but my Mary Kay cheapie also works pretty well. Wait for the primer to dry. Line the outside of the lips with either a nude or invisible liner - this is your safety net for ultra-long wear. Then follow your natural lip-line with a liner that matches your lipstick. This doesn't have to be perfectly precise, for reasons that will become apparent. Gently fill in the lips with liner. Just kind of roll the side of the pencil against your lips and you'll be fine.
3) Fill in the colour. Now, take a lip-brush (again, a cheap one works fine) and start applying layers of colour. If you're a rosy-tint kind of gal, skip the lip-lining step and just mix a bit of lipstick pigment with some lip-balm on your brush. This will give you a sheer, diluted layer of whatever lipstick you choose. For a bright, matte look, just keep applying lipstick, blotting between each layer, until the lips are pigmented enough. Blot again.
4) Line again. Now, this step is really for those of us who are clumsy in our initial applications or super-paranoid about long wear. Remember how you didn't have to care about getting a perfect outline in the first go? That's because you're going to take your liner, sharpen it, and outline your lips again, with your elbow propped up and your face very close to the mirror. Re-lining lets you fill in any gaps and really lets you get a sharp, precise lip shape.
This whole process, when you've practiced a couple of times, takes about five minutes. It makes you look instantly 'done'. Throw on some matte powder and brow liner (before your lipstick, of course) and you're practically 'polished'.
When it comes to red lipsticks, there are three different genre's of color that I have encountered while working with them. There are the blue and yellow/orange (what ever you have heard it called) based colors, then there are true reds. I use orange reds and true reds. Finding a true red is like finding a needle in a hay stack, but they are out there, just generally a little more expensive (in my experience). Ask an artist when looking for a red, and go to a counter worker! I say that because the vast majority love what they do, know colors, and try to make sure that you know how to distinguish between the colors.
First, if you really want lasting lip color, your best bet is to get a more expensive but more highly pigmented blend, or to purchase a lip stain. These will last much longer than your average bear. There are also the 'long lasting' lipsticks but I find they end up looking like I have a plastic coating on my lips and just. Gross.
With stain, you apply it in thin layers and there's no need to blot. This should last a good long while, especially if you avoid fatty food.
If you want a non-stain to last, the long-form is to put on a thin layer, blot and lightly powder, then another layer on top of that, blot again.
I also get good results by buying a lip liner that is the same shade as my lipstick (or a hint darker), applying it all over the lips, and then putting a thin layer of lipstick on top of that and blotting.
Close your lips around your index finger, and then pull the finger out of your mouth. Sounds dirty, but it gets all the excess pigment out of the centre of your lips (where it's likely to transfer to your teeth).
Believe it or not, you need to exfoliate your lips, too, if they get too chapped or dry. Couple of different ways: rub a warm, wet washcloth on your lips (gently!) and after you dry them put on some Vaseline or Aquaphor and let them heal. Mary Kay also makes a Satin Lips set where you rub on a scrub/mask, rinse it off & apply lip balm. If you do this at night you'll wake up with soft, hydrated lips, which makes lipstick, gloss, whatever go on and stay on much easier.