lipstick look

Ask a Makeup Artist: How to Create the Perfect Just-Been-Kissed Pout

For those of you who don’t kiss and tell.

By: Isabella Sarlija

Overlined, intense color, high shine—there are countless variations to try when applying your favorite lip product. But our favorite way to rock some color on our lips? By blurring out the edges for a sexy stain that says I may have just finished a makeout session. It’s a gorgeous, subtle effect that looks good on everyone and will have your friends demanding that you share your makeup secrets.




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And although it might seem easy enough to just slap on a product and then blur the edges, the application can be difficult if you want your makeup to last, especially without any feathering. We thought, who better to ask than makeup artists about their techniques for applying this sort of lip look? Here are what four industry experts do when they’re looking to achieve that sexy, blurry, just-been-kissed pout.



Gucci Westman

Makeup Artist and Founder of Westman Atelier

“First, I like to exfoliate [the lips] using a washcloth with warm water. It’s way less messier than a scrub, and it works! Next, apply a clear balm. You don’t want one that’s too slippery, or it will interfere with your color application. I like [the] lip balms from Dr. Barbara Sturm and Omorovicza for this. Then I’ll use one or two shades from Lip Suede in Les Rouges. The shades have a matte finish, but the formula is packed with high percentages of [oils] to make sure that the pigments are never drying.”

“[As far as tools necessary for application goes,] fingers will instantly give you that just-been-kissed look, but a lip brush will give you more control. I don’t use lip liners, so for me, applying with a brush first defines my lip line. Then you can go in and blot to give the lips that diffused look.

“A tissue really is the best for blotting. And to avoid getting lipstick on your teeth, place your index finger in your mouth, close your lips and then pull your finger back out. Any lipstick that would have ended up on your teeth will now be your finger!”

“[For someone with mature lips,] I would definitely recommend applying lip color with a brush [to avoid feathering], since it helps to fill in the contours of your lips and gives you more precise control during application. Use a small detail brush to apply a little bit of foundation around the lips. The foundation will keep it from bleeding, and it’s also a great way to fix the shape. Use a pointy Q-tip afterwards to remove any excess foundation.

“[If you are looking to add some fullness to your lips], you can extend the color just ever so slightly around the lip area using your fingers in a dabbing motion, but [be careful, as] too much just doesn’t look natural. To give your lips depth and that ‘fuller’ look, dab a slightly deeper shade just in the middle of your lips and blend. It will give your lips a more naturally juicy look.

“[And] don’t be afraid to play with different textures and products, too. I really love adding a velvety eyeshadow shade to the middle of my lips to amplify that pouty look and to give the look more dimension. The Vin Rouge shade from Eye Pods layered over the brick-red shade in Lip Suede is stunning together.”


Daniel Martin

Makeup Artist and Director of Artistry & Education at Tatcha

“[To start,] I love using The Kissu Lip Mask from Tatcha, which acts as both a gloss and a super-hydrating balm. For a natural finish, I’ll apply a thin layer all over the lips and let the formula soak to give that shiny, plumped look. If you want to add a little color, you can color in the lips using a matte lip pencil or liner and then apply a layer of The Kissu Lip Mask on top. The pigment from the color acts as a semi-sheer stain, and the hydration from the lip mask stops color from feathering and gives it a glossy, hydrating finish that lasts.”

“[To create the just-been-kissed look,] apply an even, thin layer of products to your lips and then blot lightly—I always use Tatcha’s Aburatorigami Blotting Papers because they don’t leave behind any residue. But in a pinch, you can use a tissue.

“If you are worried about feathering in mature lips, apply a long-wear lipstick (I like the Rare Beauty Liquid lip in Strengthen) starting in the center of the lips and blend out with either a fluffy shadow brush or your finger. Then apply The Kissu Lip Mask over it and blot gently. You’ll minimize the risk of feathering because you’re not applying product directly to the edges of your lips, and it gives it a more natural, flushed finish.”

“To cheat fuller-looking lips, first find a liner that matches (or is slightly darker) than your natural color and apply it along the line around your lips. Next, follow the same steps as above (apply a long-wear lipstick starting in the center of the lips and blend it out using your finger, followed by a light coating of The Kissu Lip Mask and blot to remove any excess). By diffusing this intense color, you’ll create a staining effect that bleeds to the outer corners of the lips. This mimics the actions of a hot kiss without suffering the consequences.”


Erin Parsons

Maybelline Global Makeup Artist

“I love the new Maybelline Color Sensational Ultimatte slim lipstick for a just-been-kissed look. It delivers intense pigment with an extreme matte finish, but its super lightweight! Apply to the lips by dabbing with a fingertip to create a stained effect, then blot with a tissue to lock it in place.

“Dab on a cherry-red matte lipstick, then blend into lips using the fingertips. This will create a gorgeous stained effect. Finally, blot with a tissue and then reapply lipstick, then blot again for an opaque look until theres no color coming off. This will help your lipstick color to last forever yet avoid any smudging.”

“[Using] an eyeshadow brush, dip into a loose face powder and sweep over the lips edge. This technique will softly diffuse the lipstick color and also help set everything so it won’t budge. If you want to add a touch of shine, I love using Maybelline Lifter Gloss Lip Gloss in Ice, a gorgeous nude that will further soften the effect.

“If your lips are dry and flaky [due to age], your lipstick can’t adhere to your lips and it won’t stay on. Remember to always exfoliate and keep your lips moisturized. My favorite exfoliator is Maybelline Master Glaze Lip Scrub Stick. Rub with your fingers, then wipe excess off with a tissue. I then use Dr. Devgan Lip Plumper to hydrate and again blot off excess with a tissue. Finally, apply Maybelline Color Sensational Shaping lip liner. Its the key first step to avoid feathering in the lines around your lips.

“I am the queen of overdrawing my lips. Its truly the only way to start your lip canvas [for a fuller look]. But you don’t have to be excessive with the lip liner to get a just-been-kissed pout. [First,] scrub off any excess dead skin on your lips. [After that,] add hydration with [a lip plumper]. Allow this to set and sink in, then blot off any excess. Contour around your lips using a small eyeshadow brush and taupe powder. This creates fullness by adding depth to the edges of the mouth. Slightly overline around your lips and then fill in with the lip liner. [To amplify] the just-been-kissed effect, add a rosy matte lipstick to the center of the mouth first, and then dab outwards. Blot with tissue and top with a clear gloss for the fullest pout possible.”


Deney Adam

Ulta Beauty Pro Team Member

“You can create a just-been-kissed look with a variety of products, but I recommend using a velvet matte lipstick or lip stain as these will give you the soft, natural finish you’re looking for. You can also use a cheek tint or blush that doubles as a lip stain, or even matte eyeshadow for a similar effect.”

“[First,] dab the lip product into the center of the lips (top and bottom), then press and tap outward to the outer edges of the lips with your finger or with a flat press-on brush. Using your fingertips, apply a little bit of foundation on the lip edges, leaving the center untouched. For a smoother finish, use a small blending eyeshadow brush and lightly buff out the foundation and the lip product together.

“To avoid bleeding around the edges, use a thin paper tissue. Open your mouth and put the paper in front of the mouth and press softly with your hand. Lightly dust with a loose powder using a soft puff brush to lock and seal.

“To achieve this look on mature lips, apply a silicone base lip primer first, and lightly dust a pressed or loose powder all over the lips, then apply the lip color. Use matte, stain lip products or an eyeshadow for maximum long wear.”

“ [And if you’re after a fuller pout while creating this look], outline the lip first with a pencil closest to the lip color, then buff it out with a little bit of foundation using a small blending eyeshadow brush to achieve an invisible pout.”


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