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There are so many lip products out there with so many claims. I often get asked if they really work, and how. So here is my basic guide to lip products.
We've all heard of lipsticks that don’t "kiss off". This is great for use on special occasions, but for everyday wear can be very drying on the lips. Most of these products consist of a 'stain' that is very dry and matte, and then a balm to wear over it to keep the lips hydrated. It will stay on, unless something oily is eaten which will break down the product and remove it.
Perhaps you already have a favorite lipstick, and want to achieve that long wearing result without having to try to find a similar color in another product line. Your best option in this case is to purchase a lipstick sealer. I have purchased these in the past on-line, and also seen it at various beauty supply stores. It usually comes in a small bottle; it is a clear liquid and kind of smells like nail polish remover (ew!) It can sting a little when going on, but if you can bear the sting and the smell, it actually works very well (and the smell does disappear when it dries). I have used it on countless brides and actresses in kissing scenes, and it is very nice because you can use an existing lip color that you already have. Again, it can be very drying and should only be used when needed. It will break down if something oily is eaten; otherwise, it will last all day.
For a long wearing lip color that is a little less harsh, first hydrate the lips with some balm or your favorite lip moisturizer. Then apply a matte pencil liner, and finish with a little more balm. Or, take a highly pigmented blush; usually higher end cosmetic lines (i.e. department store vs. drugstore) will have higher pigment contents in their products. Wet a lip brush, dip it into the blush and apply it to the lips as a stain. It can be a little dry but has very good staying power.
Look out for products containing ingredients such as menthol or camphor, as they can actually irritate the delicate skin on your lips and contribute to the problem of dry lips. Don’t try to use a lip plumper as a substitute either. A good lip balm or lip moisturizer is your best bet for taking care of chapped lips.
‘How do they work?’ ‘Do they really work?’ are the questions I always here. The way most lip plumping products work is that they contain an ingredient (which varies from product to product) that stimulates the blood vessels in your lips. This is felt as a tingling sensation when you apply it. The stimulation causes the vessels to dilate and be more filled with blood, which can make your lips look a little bit fuller and also more red! So even if the product itself has no color, your lips may temporarily look like they have more color because of the extra blood in them. Of course, as soon as the ‘tingling’ wears off, both the plumping effect and the extra color will be gone as well. It is not a substitution for injectable fillers, if you really want a permanent result, but can be a fun sensation with a subtle, temporary result. Different products use different ingredients to stimulate the blood vessels. Some of these can be very drying and irritating, while others claim to have more natural and soothing ingredients. My opinion is to have fun with them, but don’t substitute these for a good, hydrating lip treatment, especially if your lips tend to be dry.
Good luck, and enjoy. Mwah!
© 2008 Mimi Pettibone/Stellar Style, all rights reserved