When it comes to lipstick, we all want something that will look great on our lips and stay put throughout the day. And by “look” we mean a lipstick that won’t feather, settle into or accentuate the lines in our lips (a tall order, we know.). With all the technological advances in the beauty world, our expectations are higher than ever, even when it comes to more affordable drugstore makeup.
First rule of thumb: Creamy or satiny lipsticks are more forgiving when it comes to downplaying imperfections on our lips, but on the flip side, they tend to feather and wear off quicker. Matte lipsticks last longer, but typically make every dry patch and lip line glaringly and unflatteringly obvious (liquid lipsticks in particular are most guilty of this).
If you’re someone like me who has fairly obvious lip lines and who struggles with constantly dry lips, the solution is a lip primer.
Think of a primer as a souped up lip balm. Not only will a primer smooth over and fill in any fine lines across your lips, it’ll also extend the wear of your lipstick and prevent it from feathering out beyond your lip line. The best part is you can layer it under any lipstick you own to make it look more flattering.
There aren’t too many lip primers out at the moment which is a crying shame, but there are definitely a few worth trying out.
#1 Nyx Lip Primer, $14
This lip primer is affordable and even comes in two shades for lighter and deeper skin tones. It feels like how you’d imagine a smoothing primer would feel like on your lips, only a tad drier (which means it’s going to last longer). The only concern I have is that it doesn’t “set”, which may affect the lasting power of certain liquid lipsticks that dry down super matte. But it works amazingly with the Nyx liquid lipsticks (my favourites are the ones that don’t dry down completely) so it still gets a whopping four out of five stars in my book.
#2 Too Faced Lip Insurance Primer, $31
If you love matte liquid lipsticks in particular, then this primer is going to work better for you. It dries down which means it won’t mess with the formula or staying power of your existing liquid lipstick. Sure, it requires a bit of finessing to make sure you’ve applied an even coat, but once it sets, your lipstick will glide over with amazing ease. The formula is even enriched with vitamin E to keep your puckers from feeling dried out.
#3 Colourpop Lippie Primer, US$5
The most affordable of the lot (not including shipping costs), this lip primer contains spherical beads to fill in lines and smooth your lips. It’s also got a good amount of nourishing ingredients like mango and avocado, shea butter and vitamin E to really moisturise and soothe your lips. And like the rest of Colourpop’s Lippie Stix, the applicator of this lip primer is perfectly shaped to fill in your lips with precision. Make sure you get as close to the edge of your lip line as possible to prevent your lipstick from feathering.
#4 Becca Lip Priming Perfector, $40
The most luxurious of the bunch comes from Becca, and it utilises hyaluronic filling spheres to fill in those fine lines as well as something called Lipocire A to smooth and hydrate your lips. It feels like an almost silky cream formula on the lips and also neutralises some of your natural lip colour, so it doesn’t interfere with the colour of your lipstick. So if you’re someone that likes to conceal your lips before adding colour, this might be a good option for you.
#5 Mac Cosmetics Prep + Prime Lip, $34
Like Colourpop, MAC proves that prep products don’t have to be fancy. It wears like a clear skinny lipstick and is colour-, fragrance- and oil-free as well as dermatologist tested to boot. It has lightly moisturising properties, smoothes and refines your lips, and keeps your lipstick from feathering.
#6 Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer, $35
While these are not strictly primers, they are lipsticks that have a built-in smoothing primer to fill in those fine lines and make your lips look more flawless. And it isn’t just a gimmick, either: These lipsticks are incredible both in colour payoff and how great they make your lips look, not to mention absolutely comfortable to wear on the lips. There are two formulas depending on whether you prefer a sheer wash of shine or some seriously pigmented matteness (personally speaking, we love it matte most days). As long as you love a bold matte lip, you absolutely cannot go wrong with these; there are over 18 colours to choose from too, so feel free to experiment.