A quick peek into my makeup bag, and you can already assume that I’m obsessed with lippies. On average, I carry about five to six tubes a day, even though I probably have a totally different color on. Yup, I’m that girl.
My love affair with lippies started when I was about 13, after I realized that they make good souvenirs from my trips. Some people collect post cards, magnets, or shot glasses, and then there’s me: the girl who brings home lipsticks to remember her travels.
Almost 10 years later, here I am with a ridiculous lipstick collection size, years of lipstick shopping experience, and some expert-approved tips I’ve picked up on how to perfect the art of lipstick shopping.
1. Be careful of lipstick testers.
You’re never sure how many lips and hands testers have touched! In 2010, the Daily Mail reported that dangerous bacteria like e.coli, staphyloccus, and streptococcus were found on makeup testers at beauty counters in London. This means that women could contract and pass on infections unknowingly while makeup shopping. Definitely a terrifying thought!
So when you do want to swatch and test out a lipstick, ask the sales associate to disinfect the product first and use a disposable applicator. Better safe than sorry!
2. Getting your first red lipstick is *kind of* a rite of passage.
Shopping for The One Red Lipstick can be quite intimidating when you have to consider undertones, finishes, and longevity. But I’ve learned from Carmel Villongco, Training Manager and Chief Makeup Artist of Shiseido Philippines and Prestige Cosmetics Head Training of Guerlain and Elizabeth Arden, that one way to familiarize yourself with red lipstick is to ease into the whole process. “If you’re not someone comfortable with wearing red, choose a stain or a gloss first to help you get comfortable with the color. Build up from there depending on how fire-y you want it to be,” she said.
Every woman deserves a go-to red lip. Once you find yours, stick with it forever!
3. Don’t worry about buying the "wrong" shades.
I get it, lipstick isn’t cheap and buying one that makes you look like you’re sick AF can be heartbreaking. But don’t forget the most fun thing about makeup: you can always mix and match. Finding yourself stuck with a color/finish that you’re not too happy about gives you the perfect excuse to experiment and blend it with the others that you already have.
4. Expensive lippies aren't necessarily the best.
I’ve tried and tested low, mid, and high-end lippies, and I can tell you confidently that their price points don’t always dictate their quality. A lot of lip products that are easily available at the drugstore can have better staying power than some of the expensive ones at the department store. If you don’t have money to spend on high-end makeup, trust me when I say that you can always find alternatives elsewhere.
5. Organizing your lipstick really helps.
Group your lippies in a way that will help you remember what you already have. I particularly recommend dividing them according to their colors. This simple way will help you save money in the long run, because you won’t end up buying duplicates.
6. Pay attention to expiry dates.
The average life of lipsticks, lip glosses, and lip liners is two years. Good Housekeeping reports that because lipsticks contain water, they can breed bacteria and eventually dry out. If your lippie is past its due date, toss it out. If the packaging is too pretty, you can keep it but vow never to use it. Your lips are very sensitive and prone to infection—it’s not worth the risk!
7. Bring your own brushes, wipes, and makeup removers!
Sometimes, makeup counters will only hand you dry tissues when you ask for help to remove the lipstick you swatched. Best to be prepared! If you’re not sure if the makeup counter has disposable applicators, bring several clean lip brushes instead.
8. Prep before shopping.
Exfoliate your lips before leaving the house and put on a thin layer of lip balm to get your lips ready for shopping. Sometimes, you end up not picking up a really pretty color just because your lips look chapped and dry. Sure, you could put the blame on the matte finish, but it can also be your lips’ lack of moisture.
9. Once you master your lipstick shopping, you can get away with just swatching lippies on the back of your hand.
A lot of my friends ask me how I instantly know what shade of rosy nudes and deep reds will work for me. Truth is, it comes after years of spending my money on the wrong shades. But once I found the shades that I loved, it was easy.
Once you find the colors that you find flattering on yourself, explore similar shades. Preview's Associate Beauty Editor Belle Rodolfo once told me that one of the safest ways to find a deep hue is to go back to your favorite red lippie and explore within the same color group. Use the same rule on other colors and you’ll never go wrong!
10. Lipstick has this amazing power to make you feel 100%.
I think my favorite part about lipstick is its transformative power. Just one swipe of the perfect shade can instantly make you look like a new person. While this might seem shallow to some, I say don’t be ashamed of something that makes you feel and look amazing. Long live lipsticks!
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