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You could deal with having just one foundation, one blush, one eyeliner, and so on, but lipsticks are that item that you can never have enough of in your makeup collection.

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Applying lipsticks may seem easier to get the hang of than, say, eyeshadow, but a terrible lipstick, or a terrible lipstick application, can make or break your entire look.

We asked some local makeup artists to bestow upon us the know-how of achieving that perfect lip look that will have everyone staring at your puckers.

1. How to minimise streakiness when applying lipstick

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Thank goodness we live in an age where streaky lipsticks aren’t the norm anymore, but once in a while you’d find a product with the perfect colour but with a streaky formula. How do you deal?

Celebrity makeup artist Benedict Choo recommends a method that most people might actually be familiar with, “Apply a layer of lipstick, then let it dry or blot it. After that, reapply another layer to cover up the streaks.”

TG Goh, another celebrity makeup artist with more than a decade of experience in the industry, recommends using a lip primer before application. “You can also apply a moisturising lip liner all over the lip, which can help to define the lip lines and prevent lipsticks from bleeding.”

Lipstick bleeding happens when the formula of a lipstick is slippery enough that it would start smudging out of the outline of your lips, which can get pretty messy.

“Use a lip brush to apply your lipstick,” advises Valerie Tang Yong. A lip brush can give you better control over your application, which means you can minimise streaking.

2. How to make sure your lips aren’t chapped before applying lipstick

For makeup artists Gin Chia and Cynthia Oh, though, the secret of perfect lipstick application lies in having silky-smooth lips to begin with.

“Make sure your lips are always prepped by regularly exfoliating and moisturising them,” says Cynthia. “Use a good lip oil, like the one from Clarins, or a good lip balm on your lips, press your lips on some tissue to blot off the excess, and then apply your lipstick over.”

Gin also endorses the use of a lip balm before lipstick application. “Also try to exfoliate your lips gently with a toothbrush at least twice a week,” she advises, just to keep those dry skin flakes from messing up your lipstick. “Let your lips rest after you’ve worn a drying lipstick. Use a tinted lip balm instead, like the one from Innisfree!”

If the toothbrush exfoliating method is not for you, you can also try a lip scrub, as Benedict recommends. “Use a lip scrub, moisturise your lips with lip balm, and leave it on while you do the rest of your makeup. Come back to the lips last, blot off the lip balm, use a lip primer, then top it off with your favourite lipstick.”

TG also recommends using a lip sleeping mask, such as the famous one from Laneige. “Your lips will be soft and supple by the next morning.” Of course, dry lips can also be due to being dehydrated, so TG reminds us to drink enough water every day.

3. Are lip liners necessary?

The makeup artists we interviewed were split in half on this one.

Benedict replies in the negative, “No, I don’t use lip liners at all.”


Gin and Valerie are on the fence, saying that they’re not necessary for every day looks. Gin says, “Skip the lip liner for an every day look if you don’t have time for it, it’s not a must-do step.” Valerie agrees with this, adding, “They’re not necessary if you’re doing an ombre lip, or a natural lip tint. Korean style makeup typically doesn’t require them as well.”

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All the makeup artists agree that lip liners are only necessary when you’re looking to do a very defined lip look with a strong statement colour, such as bright red, purple, blue, and so on. Cynthia says, “A red lip liner is essential for the perfect red lips.”

Some makeup artists, like TG, Valerie, and Cynthia, like to apply lip liner to the entire lip before lipstick, just to extend the wear time of the lipstick. TG says, “It helps to hold the lip colour better and prevents streaking and feathering of the pigment.”

However, it’s not always necessary to own different coloured lip liners for all the lipstick colours you have! “Choose a natural lip liner closest in shade to your natural lips, so that your lipstick won’t appear to be a different colour when applied,” says TG.


Valerie points out another advantage of colouring in the entire lip with lip liner, “If you accidentally ‘ate up’ most of your lipstick, your lip liner would become visible and lining your entire lip prevents you from having that ‘outlined lip’ look.”

4. These colours will exaggerate yellow teeth


Benedict immediately pointed to a culprit from the 90’s which is not as commonly seen today, “It’s that fuchsia, purplish-pink lips that can tend to emphasise yellow teeth.”

Cynthia recommends avoiding paler colours, like Barbie pink and those with beige undertones.

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Gin, Valerie, and TG are unanimous in their aversion to warm-coloured lipsticks, and advise those conscious about yellow teeth to stay away from colours like coral, orange, peach, and yellow-toned lipsticks.

Similarly, as we have written about in this article on lipsticks for whiter teeth, the makeup artists recommend using cooler-toned lipsticks to let your pearly whites shine. Cynthia likes “burgundy hues“, while TG goes for “blue-undertoned reds”.

5. They were surprised by how flattering these unusual colours are

As makeup artists, we’re sure that they have way, way more opportunities than we do at trying out all the weird, funky colours of lipsticks available. So what colours actually worked surprisingly well?


Dark grey, it’s so trendy right now too,” says Cynthia immediately.


“A champagne-coloured lipstick from Dior, or a bronze-gold lipstick from Urban Decay,” offers TG. “I love how it emphasised the pout and gave the lips a glow, especially if it’s only applied to the center of the lips. When it’s layered over another lip colour, it can dramatically change the intensity and shade too.”

The experts we spoke to

Benedict Choo

A post shared by Benedict Choo (@unclebene) on Sep 22, 2016 at 7:08am PDT

Instagram: @unclebene

Having been in the makeup artistry line for the past decade and more, industry veteran Benedict Choo’s work is not only seen regularly in local magazine photoshoots, but also on international celebrities. He has worked with big names such as Eva Longoria, Roger Kwok, Kenneth Ma, Zoe Tay, Quan Yifeng and Carrie Wong.

Cynthia Oh

Instagram: @cynderellasg

Facebook: Cynderella

Website: Cynderella

Having graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business and Marketing, Cynthia originally began her foray into makeup artistry as a hobby. What was a sideline interest soon became a career motivation, as she eventually took a Professional Diploma in Advanced Bridal, Fashion, Glamour, Period, Photographic and Creative Makeup from The School of Makeup in Singapore. Since then, she has developed a strong style in editorial makeup and hair styling, and her works have appeared on cover pages and editorial spreads in magazines such as Singapore Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, and Today.

Gin Chia

A post shared by Gin Chia ☆ (@ginchiamakeup) on Jun 26, 2017 at 9:17pm PDT

Instagram: @ginchiamakeup

Facebook: Gin Chia Makeup

Website: Gin Chia Makeup

Armed with a Diploma in Bridal, Photographic & Fashion Makeup from Cosmoprof Academy, Gin Chia has established a successful makeup artistry brand specialising in bridal makeup and hairstyles. Having earned her reputation in makeup artistry, Gin has been featured in numerous magazines under lists of influential top local makeup artists

TG Goh

A post shared by Tg Goh (@tggoh) on Apr 21, 2016 at 6:00am PDT

Instagram: @tggoh

Facebook: TG Goh

TG Goh has been making people beautiful with his makeup artistry skills for more than 20 years now. He is a regular makeup artist for many local bridal magazines, and has worked with stars such as Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Sharon Au and Vivian Lai.

Valerie Tang Yong

Instagram: @tangyongmakeup

Facebook: Tangyong Hair & Makeup

Website: Tangyong Makeup

Valerie is an award-winning makeup artist that has been featured in several bridal magazines and top makeup artists features over the past few years. She is not only a full-time makeup artist, but also a full-time mom, so Valerie is definitely something of a Superwoman by her own rights. Her successful makeup artistry brand, Tangyong Makeup, has won numerous awards in various local magazines.

What’s coming up next?

Do makeup setting sprays really work? What’s the most important step when it comes to prepping your face so your makeup stays on well? We ask makeup artists these skincare and makeup prep questions in our next instalment.