Beauty U -- How to: Shop for Lipstick

For those of you who normally wear lip balm, gloss, or even go bare-lipped, I urge you to try on lipsticks. Even if you think you'll never wear lipstick because you hate the taste (accidentally licking your lips) or feel like it's too aging -- lipsticks are extremely versatile. Just because each makeup counter displays 50+ shades doesn't mean you need to try or buy them all! There's something about having a flattering shade of lipstick on your lips that cannot be ignored and in my experience, wearing a smoky eye is forgettable when compared to being aware of the sophisticated rose lipstick everyone will be staring at during your convo. Excellent for special occasions when you need to kick it up a notch without having to choreograph your eyeshadow combination, wearing lipstick alone with a flawless face and a touch of mascara can get you camera-ready in 5 minutes. Here are SIX tips on how to shop and choose your lipstick arsenal:

1.  Preparation is key.  Arrive at the makeup counter with moisturized lips -- this means exfoliating with a mixture of sugar and honey or simply lightly brushing your lips with a soft toothbrush and diligently wearing lip balm!  Dry or cracked lips will only be able to withstand trying on 1 to 2 shades tops!  

2.  Sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize.  I cannot stress the importance of asking that the shades you've chosen be clean and free of any and all bacteria that may have collected by being exposed to passersby and previous wearers.  Your best bet is to dip the lipstick in alcohol or wipe it with a tissue.  

3.  Try on your colors "chromologically."  Okay, it's my made-up word, but it means to start from light shades and progress to darker shades.  Lighter shades have less pigment and will wipe off more easily than dark shades which tend to leave stains and settle in the fine lines of your lips -- trying on darker colors first will affect how other lipstick colors appear on your lips thus skewing their "true" shade on you.

4.  Shop smart.  Let's face it, although we'd all love to own every lipstick shade under the sun, it's neither affordable (for most of us) nor practical.  My lipstick recommendations which can be purchased from any brand are as follows:  
  • 1 nude shade
  • 1 pink shade
  • 1 coral shade
  • 1 rose shade
  • 1 red shade
5.   Access your inner artist!  Remember how you had to mix primary paint colors in school because each kid only had 5 in their kit?  Mixing or layering your lipstick colors is an ingenious and cost-effective way of doubling your lipstick color palette.  Using my shade recommendations above, here's how I would combine them:
  • nude + pink = nudepink (when you don't want your lips to be totally devoid of color)
  • pink + coral = pinky coral
  • nude + coral = peachy nude
  • rose + red = berry
  • coral + red = red-orange
If you've already got lipglosses,  think of the possibilities...!

6.  Try on the lipstick in real life.  By this, I mean to take advantage of the store's return policy if it allows you to return upon dissatisfaction with their product.  Lipsticks, like all make-up products, look different under different lighting and show their "true" colors outdoors in direct sunlight.  You may fall in love with the shade under store lighting, but spotting yourself in your car's visor mirror may leave you speechless ... in a bad way.  If you don't like the way the lipstick looks on you, don't get stuck with it!
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