5 Lipstick Mistakes to Stop Making on Mature Lips

No more feathering or flaky matte formulas.

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Lipstick Mistakes
Photo: Getty Images/Tara Moore

There's more than one reason why women love lipstick. First, nothing makes a statement like walking into a room swiped in a bold red. Second, a signature lip color can become something akin to a childhood blanket, giving comfort and confidence when you need it most. Lastly, if a time arises when you want to try something totally out of your normal wheelhouse, there's always magenta or mauve waiting to replace that signature pale pink, even if only for the night.

However, when it comes to lipstick-wearing endeavors, there are many scenarios to consider. For example, our lips start to lose collagen as we get older. Lips might not feel or appear quite as pouty, fine lines can start to creep around the corners to cause pesky feathering, and your trusty lipstick might have a harder time holding its ground over the course of the cocktail party. This is no reason to break up with lipstick for good, but you can certainly get ahead of it by avoiding these common lipstick mistakes. While they certainly afflict more than just maturing women, it just happens that some of them become more prominent once we make like a fine wine and age gracefully.

Here are five lipstick mistakes to avoid—and how to apply lipstick for aging lips, fine lines, or wrinkles.

Mistake No. 1: Picking the Wrong Formula

Long-wear is your new best friend. But first, know that long-wear and matte are very, very different things. You might think that the more matte a lipstick is, the more it should stay put and, hence, solve all of your problems. Sometimes, it's true—sort of. A matte formula (many times found in the form of a liquid lipstick) is indeed long-lasting, but it can also be insanely drying, which is already a concern for mature skin. Instead go with a velvet, cream, or soft matte finish that also boasts hydrating ingredients.

"I'll use something that's velvety and long-wearing. One of my favorites right now is Maybelline SuperStay Ink Crayon," says Vincent Oquendo, celebrity makeup artist and Maybelline Brand Ambassador. "You get the definition and precision without having to carry both a lipstick and lip liner all day."

Want something creamier? L'Oréal Paris Celebrity Makeup Artist, Sir John, recommends going classic: "L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick is my go-to for all ages. The pigment is so rich, and the formula is nourishing and hydrating."

Mistake No. 2: Forgetting to Prep Your Canvas

Just like foundation goes on smoother on dry skin after a layer of moisturizer, your lipstick doesn't love starting with a flaky, cracked pout. Exfoliate and moisturize your lips before applying any color. Dead skin cells build up on the surface, so handling them will ensure that you have a smooth, even canvas to work on. Start by using a sugar scrub or washcloth to exfoliate once weekly, and make sure to apply lip balm afterward to hydrate your lips before grabbing the lipstick tube.

Mistake No. 3: Skipping Liner—or Primer!

Two words you never want to associate with lipstick: bleeding and smudging. That's where lip liner or lip primer come in handy. These products create a barrier that will keep your lipstick in place all day, making the extra step more than worth it. This also helps to keep the product from seeping into corners or fine lines.

For an easy everyday fix, find a long-lasting lip liner that is close to your natural lip color. (For a special occasion, consider matching your lip liner to your lipstick shade.) You can't go wrong with Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil and its generous shade range.

Mistake No. 4: Being Scared to Use Color on Mature Lips

There's a common misconception that we have to stop wearing bright or bold lip color as we get older—and it makes us madder than a wet hen. Pick flattering shades for your undertones, to be sure, but never, ever stop wearing your signature red or pink if you don't want to. Want to find a new signature color? Check out our recommendations for the best lipsticks to wear fearlessly for every occasion.

"My mother had an old trick. Whenever she felt tired, she would put on some red lipstick. If you're not feeling your best, sometimes lipstick is the perfect thing to brighten you up," says Oquendo. "It instantly makes you look more awake and calls attention to your lips instead of tired eyes! "

Mistake No. 5: Doing Too Much at Once

Granted: Usually, this is not a bad thing. For instance, when you're dressing a baked potato. More is more. However, if you're rocking a burgundy lip color with smoky eye makeup, you might be in danger of committing to a harsh look that doesn't do the complexion any favors, especially one that has started thinning out as a result of collagen loss. Instead, pick one feature to enhance and commit to it. This rule applies to all ages! If doing a red lip, consider keeping eye makeup minimal and natural. If doing a neutral lip, feel free to pump up the mascara.

The moral of the story? You've basically got permission to go out and buy at least two new lip shades. You're welcome.

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