Tuesday, 22 October 2013

#theSOproject: 09 Lips

The second to last week of #theSOproject is here (sniff, sniff) and today we're covering the topic of lip products! I thought that this would be a good opportunity for me to cover all of the bases of looking after your lips to give you the perfect pout! So first of all, I thought that it would be a good idea to tell you about the sorts of products that we may be popping on our lips to change their colour. Afterwards I will deviate a little and tell you how to get your lips ready for these products and some other tips, too. But first, the basics:

  • Lipliner - Pop this on by itself, or before lipstick for a great base
  • Bog-standard Lipstick - You know the drill; comes in a tube in what we call a 'bullet' shape
  • Lip Crayon - Sort of like a chubby, very soft pencil for an alternate lipstick application
  • Lipgloss - Perfect as a sheen over lipstick or on its own.
  • Lip Plumper - These are usually lipglosses that give your lips a mild allergic reaction so more blood flows to your lips, making them look plumper! They do work a bit, but boy do they feel tingly!

Of course, as always, we are also presented with many different finishes of lip products. I won't pretend to be an expert, but most will fit into these four broad categories:

  • Sheer - Sheer lip products can still be pigmented, but apply a more transparent layer of product.
  • Matte - No shimmer, no gloss, just intense colour (this finish can be particularly drying on lip products)
  • Frosty - Think a shimmer, gitter paradise. I like a bit of sparkle, but be warned that these lipsticks can steal the show so you may want to go easy on the eye makeup.
  • Glossy - These types of lipsticks are my favourite and give off a beautiful sheen when they catch the light.

How to Pick

Now when it actually comes to choosing a lipstick, you can be as creative as you want! Personally I think that it's great to have a rosy colour, a red and a nude as some staples. Everyone's style is different, though, so to help you in choosing a shade you love I'm going to bust a few lipstick myths for you.

01 Swatch your tester lipstick on the back of your hand - I agree that without some sort of sanitiser it's totally gross to apply a tester lipstick on your lips, but when it comes to picking the perfect shade, seeing a colour on the back of your hand won't help. The skin of your lips obviously has a lot more of a reddish tone to it, so try swatching any lip products you like the look of onto your fingertip; it's a lot closer in colour to your lips!

02 The more lipgloss the better This is going to be more relevant when it actually comes to applying your lipgloss, but sometimes a quick swipe won't do the trick. Too much lipgloss or lipgloss that goes over your lip lines can make it look like you're drooling from some angles. You're better off applying a little in the centre of your lips for a nice sheen.

03 Some people don't suit reds Reds, just like any other colour, come in all sorts of shades and tones - there is one out there for you! You just won't necessarily have found it yet. Perhaps give a slightly more vampy, blue-toned red a go, or even try out the classic letterbox red!

04 Nude Lip = SUPER PALE Nude, like it sounds, means matching to your skin tone. Blank your lips out with your concealer; now that's the shade that you should be looking for. Therefore some people's 'nude' will be paler, or more brown-toned than others. (P.S. As a general rule don't go paler than this for any colour, it doesn't look natural - unless that's the look you're going for of course!)



Not so fast! I know you're probably dying to scribble on that new lip product of yours, but if you want it to go on smoothly and last for longer then there are a few steps that you can take first to make it look even more fabulous! Mostly, these steps are exfoliation and moisturisation.

There are a few ways to exfoliate your lips. You may have seen a few lip scrubs out there which you rub on, leave for ten minutes and then rinse off (or eat off if you're using sugar!). Other people opt for the more hands-on approach of gently working off any dry skin with a toothbrush. After this, people will apply some lipbalm and generally leave it to do it's funky stuff while you do the rest of your makeup. Personally, I found both methods to still leave little bits of dry skin on my lips, so I've found a new secret weapon...

NIPPLE CREAM! Before you close the window and decide that I'm crazy, think about it... nipple cream is designed for new mothers who may have sore and flaky nipples... well, when you use this stuff on your lips it really gets rid of all of the annoying little dry bits that just won't seem to shift while providing your lips with that all-important moisturisation! The one that I use was only £2 from Superdrug, and you'll only need a little bit so it'll last for ages!


Maybe you won't go for the whole nipple cream idea, but hopefully you'll at least pop on a little lipbalm before moving onto this step. Depending on what sort of a look you're going for you're going to want to a couple of steps here. By all means, feel free to swipe on that lipstick and be done with it, but when I'm going all out with my lips I tend to go with the following steps:

(N.B. I find it easiest to apply all of my lip products while sort of smiling with my mouth open to stretch out the skin.)

Lipliner: This allows for some pretty precise application of colour. Make sure that this is super sharp and start out by outlining your lips - don't forget those pesky corners! This will help to stop your lipstick from bleeding. You can even slightly change the outline of your cupids bow (the M-shaped high point of your lips) to make them look bigger if you're feeling brave! Even if liner is just a smoothing base for you and you're applying lipstick afterwards make sure your liner is all over your lips. When your lipstick starts to wear off a little you'll look pretty silly if you just have a line around your lips.

Lipstick or lip crayon, or whatever... When I go in with my main lip product I tend to swipe it on straight from the bullet while paying special attention not to go outside my lip lines, unless I'm using a particularly bright colour. In these instances I'll probably have a lipliner on too to help to guide me, but I will go in with a lip brush to make sure that I get a really precise application. This will make your lipstick look 100% more clean-cut. Plus you want people to be looking at your bright lips for the right reasons rather than because you've missed your lips - or worse - got it on your teeth!

Lipgloss I rarely wear lipgloss by itself, but of course you still can if you want to! If a lipgloss is particularly bright I might still use a lip brush, but usually I'll just swipe a thin layer over my top and bottom lip. It's also a really pretty effect to just pop a little clear gloss over your lipstick on the very centre of your bottom lip. Not only will this make your lips look plumper, but it looks gorgeous when it catches the light.

Highlight This is another lip-plumping effect that some people like to do. Try popping a little highlighter or light-coloured eyeshadow across the top of the M shape of your cupid's bow. Even if you feel like your lips are big enough already it adds a lovely, natural-looking glow!

Some of my current favourites (left to right): Rimmel Moisture Renewal Lipstick in 'Crystal Mauve', Stila Lipglaze in '27 Black Cherry', Revlon Colorburst in 'Pink Sorbet', Mac Lipstick in 'Hue', and YSL Rouge Volupte in 'Nude Beige'

Tried and Tested

I've tried quite a few lip products in my time. For lipstick Mac is probably my favourite brand (lipsticks are really what made them famous), but don't neglect drugstore brands. There are loads of lovely, low-end products out there too, so I've tried to make an eclectic list of lip products that I've tried (with a few disappointing products thrown in that you can avoid them!).

Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipgloss - I've tried only one of these, but the pay-off is amazing. It is so, so shimmery and is a great product to have in your Christmas makeup collection, even though it is a little sticky.

Kiko Pencil Lip Gloss - Kiko is a European brand that is definitely worth checking out online if you get the chance. This product is perfect to throw in your bag for a night out. Simple, glossy lips with no fuss for a night out. I'd actually argue that this is a little thicker and a lot less sticky than a lipgloss, though.

Kiko Precision Lip Pencil - This is soft and very easy to use. I've tried only a couple of lip pencils in my time, but this is definitely my favourite, and it's only £2.50. I have the shade '308' which is a deep, berry pink/red.

Lush Lip Scrub - I tried the popcorn flavoured one of these a while ago as a lot of bloggers were raving about them. It's definitely a fun product, but I'm not sure how well it actually worked on me. You could probably make something similar out of olive oil and sugar at home. Besides, I was always far too tempted to eat it!

Mac Lipsticks - As I've already said, I love them. There's a great range and they tend to have fantastic pay-off and longevity. With their enormous collection of colours and finishes, there's bound to be one for you (they are a little pricey, though).

Mac Cremesheen Glass - I've tried a few Mac lipglosses, but my favourite by far is a shade in this finish called 'Partial to Pink'. It's is a really natural pink, and the texture is so smooth and glossy. Definitely a good one if you're pale and blonde like me!

My Little Star New Mum Nipple Cream - This is something I didn't think I'd be writing about for a good few years... As I explained earlier, it just does the job! Pop this on before you apply the rest of your makeup and you won't look back.

Nars Lipgloss in 'Super Orgasm' - What a name. This is the only Nars lipgloss that I've tried, but it's lovely. It's not as sticky as a lot of lipglosses and it's an amazing colour. It's a warm, mid-toned pink that I think would suit most skintones. It also has a bit of shimmer.

Nivea Lip Butter - I hopped on the Blogger-Hype-Train and bought the Vanilla and Macadamia one of these this summer. It's gorgeous, creamy texture is to die for and the smell is incredible. It's a great, standard lip balm to have lying about, with a little something special to it.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter - I only recently got my first one of these in 'Pink Sorbet' but I love the amazing sheen it gives your lips while still giving a lot of colour. These really are a bargain, and I would definitely repurchase!

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker - I actually have two shades of this (clear and a peach called 'Pink Apricot') and it's the only lip plumper that I've ever used. It definitely works and I kind of like the tingly feeling, although I don't wear it very often as I'm scared of eating it and it making my tummy tingly! Probably a bit silly, but there you go.

Stila Lip Glaze - I got a Christmas set of these and they're really useful. The only issue is how sticky they are, but they a very well pigmented and last a pretty long time, too. They come with a brush applicator and a twisty end that controls the amount of product you disperse.

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick - These are my guilty pleasure. I bought my first one several years ago and there's just something so special about the packaging and formula. It's incredibly creamy and light without being thin, as well as very well pigmented. It's got a nice, slightly floral scent to it, too.

Are you a lipstick or lipgloss person?

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Emily said...

Oh thank you! I'm getting into reds a bit more and have a deep red that I'm looking forward to wearing on my birthday next week! x