How To Prep Your Lips For Liquid Lipstick

In an ideal world, putting on makeup would only require one easy step: Application. However, the reality is that most makeup looks have at least few steps, and how to prep lips for liquid lipstick is perhaps the most important for lipstick lovers to learn.

Thanks to Kylie Jenner and the popular opinion that a bright, saturated, liquid lip just looks damn good, liquid lipsticks are in high demand. While the colors are more opaque and definitely more long lasting, there are some downsides to the look, too. Compared to other solid formulas, liquid lipstick can be significantly more unforgiving.

A matte liquid lipstick, for instance, has the potential to feel like it's sucking every ounce of moisture from my mouth, subsequently highlighting all of my lips' cracks and crevices. A non-matte liquid lipstick, however, can bleed into the corners of your both and even stain your lips even after removing the product.

I spoke over Facebook chat to Terri Capon, a hair and makeup artist who I have worked personally with on set for Polyester in a shoot I did for the zine. Her work can be seen on album covers, magazines, and live television. Capon confirmed my own personal experience: Much of the time, liquid lipstick can make you feel like all moisture is leaving your body via your lips.

Her advice? You've got to properly prepare your lips ahead of time. "If lips are dry, it's best to do a little sugar scrub or rub with a soft toothbrush to get dry skin off," she tells me. "As liquid lipstick tends to be drying."

Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub, $17, Amazon

The sugar scrub and the toothbrush both seemed like great options, but to be sure which method would actually be best, I decided to try both. Thankfully my roommate already had some of the LUSH lip scrub pictured above and I can attest to the fact that the "bubblegum" name isn't a mislabelling. I could (and probably would) eat a whole tub of this with joy. For this occasion, I simply used it to rub any possible dead skin off my lips.

Then it was time for the liquid lipstick. For this lip, I used NYX Cosmetics Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in the shade Tea & Cookies. As this is a lighter color, I figured dry skin the lip scrub left behind would be prominent. Thankfully, there wasn't any. The process of application didn't go any more smoothly than usual, but when the lipstick was on and dry, the difference was definitely noticeable. With no dead skin to hold on to, my pout looked prettier, cleaner, and more polished.

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick In Tea & Cookies, $7, Amazon

The next day, I decided to try the toothbrush method. This hurt more, but it might have simply been because it didn't taste of candy. Somehow, bristles are much less fun than sugar.

After a repeat of my application process, I could see that the results were similar to the day before: Smoother lips and a nicer liquid lipstick effect. That said, I can imagine someone getting carried away with the toothbrush technique, so definitely take care not to over scrub. With this method, my lips definitely felt more moisturized than usual, probably because the toothbrush got every last bit of that dry skin lingering on my mouth.

For this look I stuck to the same brand but a different color: NYX Cosmetics Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Sandstorm. I made sure to use the same brand and type of liquid lippies to ensure fairer results (and to make my high school science teachers proud).

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick In Sandstorm, $9, Amazon

This time when applying my liquid lipstick, my lips definitely felt more moist than usual, and the process was quick and easy. There wasn't much of a difference between this and the lip scrub, but this method has an added bonus of convenience: Most of us will always have a toothbrush on hand.

With both methods, I've learned it is important to prep your lips as equally as you would any other part of your skin for makeup. Especially when said makeup is a mattifying, potentially drying liquid lipstick formula. But given the choice between a sweet, delicious treat and an exfoliation attack method with an old toothbrush? I'd definitely recommend the lip scrub route. Whichever way you choose to do your lip prep, the important part is that you're doing it in the first place. Polish and pout on, liquid lip lovers.

Images: Georgina Jones, Courtesy LUSH