How to apply matte liquid lipstick like an adult

I’ve accumulated a lot of matte liquid lipsticks over the past three months. This lipstick format presented a new set of challenges for me, and it took several tries before I got the hang of it. I think I’ve mastered the art - at least of applying it on myself - and here are some of the tips I learned as I eased into liquid lipsticks.

image via

image via

Tip #1: Remove as much product as possible from the doe foot applicator.

The amount of product in the applicator is usually more than what you’d need for a single application. I find that you really don’t need much to get an opaque color payoff. So I remove as much product as possible by carefully scraping the wand against the tube’s opening, to the point when I feel like there’s almost nothing there. Believe me, whatever’s left on that applicator, it’s enough to fill in at least the top part of your lips. Otherwise, if I skip this step, I end up with goop on the corners of my mouth and edges of my lips.

This tip works best with watery formulas, like liquid lipsticks from Jeffree Star and The Balm.

Tip #2: Apply on the corners of the mouth last.

Some types of applicators really soak up product, so it gets a little difficult to remove the excess. After scraping off as much of the excess as I can, I apply in the middle of the lips first to get most of the product there. As it starts to set, I blend out the product to the edges to line the lips. Whatever is left on the applicator, I apply on the corners of the mouth, where most of the goop usually collects and bleeds. In the rare occasion that I do need more color, I carefully pick up a bit more product from the excess that I had just scraped off, apply it on the area just before the corner, and spread it out.

I recommend this for perfectionists who can sacrifice a little bit of wastage for faultless application. I do this when I’m feeling OC about getting a perfect lip line. Applying straight from the applicator can sometimes be challenging, so the lip brush trick allows me to get the exact amount of product I need. This also allows me to apply the lipstick at my own slow, but therapeutic pace.

This tip is also recommended for people who don’t have a steady hand. Lip brushes, for me, are easier to control compared to lipstick wands.

Tip #3: To minimize cracking and flaking, apply the thinnest layer possible.

I noticed that when I apply my liquid lipstick a little thicker than usual, it either cracks or flakes in a few hours after it dries. My theory is that thick layers dry into a solid decal-like crust that breaks when the lips move. Thin layers are much more yielding, and don’t make the creases on my lips as noticeable as a thickly spread layer does.

This tip is especially great for mousse-y formulas, like NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream, LA Splash Liquid Lipstick, and Lime Crime Velveteen.

Image via NYX

Image via NYX

Tip #4: Consider using a lip liner.

I didn’t have any use for lip liners before I became liquid lipstick crazy. Now, I consider it one of my most useful makeup tools. Retracing wobbly edges with the same wand is a nightmare, and most of the time, it ends up messier than the mess I wanted to correct. Lip liners are so much easier and faster to use. The fine tip is just perfect for lining the edges where the doe foot applicator runs out of product.

I also have a “reverse lip liner”, which is actually concealer in pencil form. You apply this just outside your lip line, in the same way you use concealer to give better definition to your brows. Examples are Nyx Wonder Pencil and NARS Rue Bonaparte.

Tip #5: Have cotton buds and a bi-phase makeup remover on standby.

Sometimes, the mistake is so bad that it can’t be remedied with a lip liner, like if you sneeze mid-lipstick application. It happens, people! I prefer to use a bi-phase makeup remover because most other types of makeup removers just don’t cut it. It wipes off matte liquid lipsticks swiftly, without needing to apply that much pressure, so you lessen the risk of also removing the foundation underneath. It’s a must-have, especially if you own liquid lipsticks from LA Splash. I tried cleansing oil to remove those and they didn’t even budge.

We love the pointy tips of the Nippon Disposable Dual Cotton Tips and the Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover for the clean-up.

Do you have some tips of your own? Please share them in the comments!