Look prettier, faster, with these insider tips from top experts.
1. Pick the right shade.
What most of us do: Swipe a possible new color on the back of the hand to see if it flatters. A better idea, says San Antonio-based celeb makeup artist Starley Murray: Test the lipstick on your fingertip. That way, you can hold the color next to your face to see how it looks. (No mirror? Your finger is still a better gauge, since it's similar in color and texture to your lips.)
2. Get buff.
For the prettiest finish, run your toothbrush over your lips to exfoliate any dry skin (a damp paper towel also can do the job). Post-scrub, lipstick will glide on without caking.
3. Fill in fine lines.
Here's a way to keep lipstick from feathering (a great trick if you have tiny wrinkles above your upper lip): Coat your mouth and go slightly outside your lip line with a clear balm -- like plain ChapStick -- before applying color. "Like invisible spackle," says celebrity makeup artist Shalini Vadhera, "it keeps your lipstick from traveling."
4. Extend the life of your lipstick.
So you'd like your color to last through lunch, but you don't like the feel of long-wearing formulas? Here's a tip from makeup guru Laura Mercier: Apply a coat of regular lipstick, then press it with a single-ply tissue and powder lightly (over the tissue) with a puff or brush. This sets the color and prevents running and feathering.
5. Plump up.
For a finishing touch, dab the middle of your lower lip with a bit of silver or gold lip gloss. Any makeup artist worth his shimmer powder will tell you this is the fastest route to creating the illusion of fullness. But remember: If you blot or purse your lips, you'll blur the Jolie effect.