Of all the products on the shelves, lip gloss is one of the most foolproof. Slick it on (with or without a mirror) and go. Right? Well … sorta. Makeup artist Taylor Babaian has seen and experienced her share of gloss mishaps, so she’s here to dole out her top seven hard and fast rules for buying and applying it. Break them at your own risk.
Rule #1: Unless you’re going for a patent leather-y bold lip color, always go with a sheer bright or dark gloss hue. Opaque bold glosses are nearly impossible to keep looking neat, and they create a more over-the-top look than most of us are going for. Babaian’s go-to glosses: Lancome Juicy Tubes and L’Oral Paris Colour Juice—the Passion Fruit Squeeze is a mauvy-neutral she swears “looks great on everyone.”
Rule #2: If you buy a gloss that doesn’t seem to mesh well with your skin tone, mix it with clear gloss or petroleum jelly to make it more wearable. “I do this all of the time,” says Babaian.
Rule #3: If you have fine lines around your mouth, choose a gloss shade that’s “close to your skin tone,” says Babaian. This will make any bleeding that occurs with gloss less obvious.
Rule #4: Don’t shy away from thick or sticky formulas. “They are not necessarily bad,” says Babaian adding that thicker formulas give “the highest intensity shine” and last much longer their thinner counterparts. One warning: these are “not kissable, they’re definitely for looks only,” she says.
Rule #5: Don’t get caught with any icky gloss mouth. You know how some people seem to have a gloss/saliva combo collecting in the corners of their mouth and along the inside rim of their lips? We hope you’re nodding. Babaian says this can be prevented by exfoliating lips regularly. She uses the simple “Vaseline with a warm washcloth” trick to get rid of excess skin. If that doesn’t solve the issue, carry Q-Tips with you to swipe the excess gloss/skin/saliva/whatever-it-is off the corners and inner rims of your mouth.
Rule #6: Protect your lips. “Wearing lip gloss is like wearing oil on your body,” says Babaian, so you need to protect your lips with sunscreen. She recommends applying Chapstick Ultra 30 before swiping on gloss to prevent sun damage.
Rule #7: “Don’t rub your lips together,” urges Babaian. “It pushes the lip gloss outward so your lips no longer look finished.”