Black lipstick is actually pretty versatile, universally flattering and lends every woman who wears it an air of cooler-than-thou style cred. They can effortlessly transform even the most basic outfit into an edgy and daring look. But that extra bite can be difficult to pull off, and nothing’s worse than seeing dry flaky lips or a cool black smile that’s worn away. By following a few key tips, you can make your black lipstick last all day long, proving to yourself and everyone around you just how much of a rock star you are.

1) Before you even think about applying black lipstick—or any lipstick, for that matter—onto your lips, you must prep your pout. Dark lipsticks will amplify any dry imperfections you may have on your lips, so you need to exfoliate.

2) After exfoliating, it’s time to moisturize. Matte lip products tend to dry skin out faster than other glossier beauty items, so you’ll need to combat this head-on. Apply a moisturizing balm and blot off any excess product from your lips with a tissue. Wait at least five minutes before you begin applying your lipstick.

3) With your lips are properly prepped for lipstick application, you have just one more detail to take care Of lip liner. If you opt for a matte lipstick finish, you don’t necessarily need a lip liner, but it can help you achieve perfect application precision.

4) With your favorite new black lipstick in hand, prepare for your beauty metamorphosis. Press your lips together to see your lips’ natural outline. Then start applying your lipstick from the middle and continue outwards. After you apply your first coat, blot your lips with a tissue. Then apply another coat of your black lipstick and gently blot your lips again for long-lasting lip color.

5) Afterward, dust your lips with some translucent setting powder, and you’re ready to go. If, after application, you decide you don’t feel completely pleased with the finished result, make a mental note and change up your application method for your next attempt. Instead of first applying black lipstick to your lip, try a different colored base color like wine red or burgundy. Then blot your lips as usual and apply a new layer of black lipstick.

For optimal contrast, pair your black lips with a soft, dewy face. And when you’ve locked down a hot beauty look that you’re proud of, show it off by styling your hair. Braids, buns, waves…every hairstyle looks great with black lipstick, but if you truly want to show off your new lip color, pull your hair back and bare your beautiful face to the world.

If you find yourself insecure about your new black lips, don’t worry; you’re not alone in feeling that way. Black lips require a tremendous amount of self-confidence because let’s be honest, it can be quite a jarring change. Instead of giving up hope on achieving fashion’s latest and greatest trend, be persistent and stay determined.

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