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Lipstick Tips for Older Women

How to camouflage "wrinkly lip syndrome" and much more


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As we age, our lips thin, they can become more wrinkled and lines may develop around our mouths. You can combat this with lip injections, ala Lisa Rinna and 99.5 percent of the women who live in the Los Angeles area (I'm joking!), or you can embrace the less expensive lip plumping tips I share below. There are a few rules when it comes to lipstick, gloss and liner that will make your life more, well, a little more beautiful.

Get dozens more makeup tips in Older Women Makeup Tips.

Embrace Pinks -- If You Have Light Skin

Author Charla Krupp in her book, "How Not to Look Old," encourages older women to go the pink route and never look back. She should have stipulated that pinks look great on women with light to medium-colored skin. Women with dark skin look great in reds, browns and even purples.

If you have fair skin, consider lipstick shades such as nudes in a slightly apricot shade, pinks and light corals. Stay away from browns. Women with a medium skin tone can go a bit darker. You'll look great in roses, mauves and berries. Deep plum, chocolate or red is fabulous with dark or black skin. According to the editors of Allure's "Confessions of a Beauty Editor," women with dark skin "can go in one of two directions: toward brown or purple. Think caramel or walnut for day, and plum or wine for evening."

Try on a Bunch of Shades to Find the Right One

Not sure what exact shade works for you? The best natural lip shade will just be a shade or 2 darker than your natural lip color, according to makeup artist Bobbi Brown.

I recommend trying on lipsticks and glosses at the department store counter (I swear by Sephora) along with a friend or family member you trust. Try on many colors with the help of a salesperson and you'll figure out quickly what shades flatter your skin tone. Lipstick shopping is kind of like frame shopping for glasses. You start out with a bunch and cull it down to a few, finally leaving with one or 2.

You can test different colors by applying color to only one lip, leaving the other bare. Your goal is to find a shade that's slightly darker than your natural shade.

Get more information in How to Select the Right Shade of Lip Color.

Yes, You Can Go Bright and Bold

While dark shades can be aging on some skin tones, bright, bold lip colors can be flattering. Bright lipstick is especially stunning on women who wear glasses. The bold lip balances out the heaviness of the frames.

Just remember to tone down your eye makeup and blush if you are going bold on your lips. Too much makeup and you risk looking like a clown. Don't believe me? Check out Play Up the Eyes or the Mouth?

Love red lipstick? Find out how to wear it in How to Wear Red Lipstick.

Should You Go for Gloss or Matte?

If you like to wear lip color or think you'll magically become one of those women who do as soon as you find the right shades, I recommend you get a lip gloss and couple lipsticks, and while you're at it, you're going to want lip liner, too. More on that in a bit.

Every women needs a good gloss. Gloss brings more attention to your lips than matte shades. They can also temporarily "plump up" lips. Glosses are great for day, night and especially in summer when you have a tan. At night, you can swipe a bit over your darker lipstick to make your lips appear fuller and poutier. See my list of The Best Lip Glosses.

There are some great combination lipstick/gloss options available, too. Years ago, I went ga-ga over Chanel's long-lasting color/gloss combination (read about it here). This stuff lasts literally hours. There are now drugstore versions that are more affordable. But I like it because the lip color is matte and stays on forever, while the gloss added over it adds pop.

Dark Shades or Lighter Shades?

Lighter shades tend to make lips look bigger and poutier (because really, we would all like to have a 21-year-old pout again, wouldn't we?) than darker shades. If you have thin lips, keep in mind that super dark colors may make your lips look like they have disappeared into your mouth leaving two thin lines.

So now that we've established that light shades can be great, just remember that a too-pale shade can make you look as if you are wearing no lipstick at all. If this is what you're going after, great. But most of us want a little pop of color.

The Changing of the Seasons

Some women believe they should change their lip color with the seasons, going bolder or darker in winter while staying light in summer and spring. There's actually no need for this. Reds look just as good in summer as they do in winter while glosses and sheers work year-round, too.

Do consider adding a layer of lip balm under your lipstick in winter and if your lips are scaly, avoid dark colors which will exaggerate flakes. I love Burt's Bees tinted lip balms all year round because they moisturize while adding just the right amount of color.

Is There a Real Difference Between a $5 Lipstick and a $30 Lipstick?

When it comes to beauty products, many times you're paying for a pricey packaging and the ability to try before you buy. When it comes to lipsticks, you can find a good one at the department store that will rival the much pricier one at a department store. Some experts say you may not get the sophisticated color palette in a drugstore. Still others say the packaging on a drugstore lipstick may be shoddy. It's really up to you.

See How to Apply Lipstick: 16 Tips and Tricks.

Lip Liner: The Secret to Long-lasting Color

One of the most annoying things I find about being a woman is frequent lipstick application. I hate having to worry about this, which is the No. 1 reason I fell in love with Chanel's Ultra Wear Lip Colour. If you don't want to buy one of these long-lasting lipstick combos, you can still get long-lasting color by simply following this tip:

Pick a lip liner shade you like and fill in your lips with it, topping it with a similar colored lipstick or gloss.

Yes, you read that right: fill in your entire lips. Not just the outskirts of your lips. The liner will act as a stain. You'll love it.

How Not to Wear Lip Liner

Never, ever, ever draw an exact line around the edge of your lips. If you've been doing this for years, even if it's been 40 years and you've been happy with the results, stop.

There is a right way to line lips so as to make them look bigger. The trick is to draw just outside your natural lip line right above the bow of your top lip and just outside the fattest part of your lower lip. Never line from one end to the other if you're going outside the natural line.

Fill in the rest of the lips with the liner and top with a lipstick or gloss.

How to Deal With Dry, Chapped Lips

Before applying moisturizers or foundation to your body, you really should exfoliate first. Why? Because the product will stick to the dead stuff without soaking in. The same rule applies to the lips. As we age, our lips lose oils and their plumpness. To maintain your full plump factor and keep lips looking smooth, make sure to keep lips exfoliated all year round.

So how to exfoliate? Try my amazing scaly lip fix recipe. All it takes is an old toothbrush and a dollop of petroleum jelly. You're welcome. Use a hydrating lip balm under your lipstick if your lips seem dry.

How to Keep Lipstick From Bleeding

To keep lipstick from bleeding into fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth, try this tip I got from Allure Magazine: dip a cotton swab in a translucent powder and roll it outside the lip line before you apply color. Don't apply powder to the top of lipstick thinking it will "set" it. It won't. It will just muddy the shade, according to Allure.

Quick Way to Remove Lip Stain or Lipstick

Remove lipstick or stain by slathering on petroleum jelly, letting it sit for a minute and then wiping off. Makeup remover also works.

Yes, You Can Fix Those Wrinkly Lips of Yours, But It Will Cost You

As we age, our lips wrinkle. Now there are those people who are OK with this and there are those of us who are not. If you have a lot of money to burn, there's a fix: injectable fillers like Restylane or CosmoDerm and laser resurfacing. The fillers will plump up your lips and the lasers will work on the lines that feather out from the lips. If you do choose to go this route, recommend finding a good doctor who comes highly recommended, otherwise you might end up with funny lips. It's pricey. Fillers can run anywhere from $500 on up and the longer-lasting laser resurfacing comes in a series at about $500 a session.

Don't want to spend the money? Temporarily plump lips with a lip balm. Exfoliate with my Vaseline trick above and use a gloss. These tips are much cheaper than a doctor's visit and they work wonders.

Loved this? Get more lipstick tips in How to Apply Lipstick: 16 Lipstick Tips & Tricks.

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