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How to get the most lipstick swatches (without wrecking your lips)


BEAUTY, Featured, Lip Articles | by — February 1, 2014

How to get the most lipstick swatches without wrecking your lips


I was asked this question a long time back by a fellow beauty blogger, who was intrigued by how I manage to swatch the number of lipsticks I do with such consistency.  The truth is that no single swatch session is the same.  On some days I barely manage to swatch a few, whilst on other days I managed to swatch as many as the products featured in the picture above.

That’s 15 lipsticks and 14 glosses – in one sitting!

What influences how many lip products I can swatch in one go are:

  • the quality of the lipstick
  • the lipstick formulation (eg. matte, stain)
  • my lip condition.

Before I start a swatch session, I will prepare my lips for 2 consecutive days not just in terms of hydration, but also strengthen the lip surface so that it will be more resilient to changing lip colours multiple times.  The best lip balms that both hydrate and strengthen the lip surface are by Uriage, Lanolips and Clarins HydraQuench.  Dr Lipp mainly protects and strengthens the lip surface over night.  To speed up lip exfoliation, I use Carmex. I also try to drink as much water as I can – eg. 1.5 to 2 litres a day – to ensure my lips are as hydrated as possible.

On the day of the swatch session, I will swatch an unforgiving colour (eg. nude, sheer coral) to see if my lips are ready, as these shades will accentuate lip flaws that only become really visible with such a shade.   If there’s a lip flake or two, I will apply extra lip balm and wipe down with a cleansing wipe to see if it comes off.

If the lip flake still lingers on, I may swatch only lip glosses that day, or cancel the swatch session altogether until my lips are ready.  Otherwise I’m good to go & proceed to my swatch routine below.  You can also see a pic of my swatching kit here.

How to get the most out of lipstick swatching (without wrecking your lips)

  • I prepare my lips with a smoothing lip balm such as Mecca Cosmetica Lip De-Luscious which is possibly the best lip balm for swatching as it makes lips look super juicy.  I adjust the amount according to the type of lipstick I’m swatching.  Less for sheer lipsticks, more for creamy matte.
  • Remove lipstick by wiping down gently with a gentle cleansing wipe – eg. Nivea Pure & Natural Facial Cleansing Wipes.  For stubborn stains, use Clinique Take the Day Off.
  • Re-apply lip balm using circular motions to stimulate circulation.
  • In terms of lipstick formulations, start from sheer to shimmer, then move on to mattes and finish with creams.
  • In terms of lipstick shades, start with nudes, pinks, then violets and finish with reds and darker colours.
  • Once you’re done with lipsticks, start swatching glosses in the same order for both formulation and shades.  Lipglosses hide a multitude of lip flaws.

Other tips

  • Don’t swatch staining lip products if you have a large amount of lipstick to swatch. Dedicate a separate day for lip stains.
  • Don’t remove lip products from the lip brush with a brush cleanser as this will strip your lips of moisture.  Instead use a cleansing wipe to clean the lip brush as best you can.
  • Lips look their fullest after a hot shower, or after sipping hot tea.
  • Having multiple lip brushes is handy so that you can rotate them for different shades.  See my post on which lip brushes I recommend for which lipstick formulas.
  • Molton Brown Pep-Rich Lip Booster is another awesome lip booster that revives tired, flat looking lips into plump, firm and sculpted looking lips.  It’s so expensive that I save it only for tutorials.

I realise that now that I have blogged about how I get through a swatching marathon, the obvious question that will come next is how I photograph my lip swatches with consistency.  To answer that question, I will have to whip out my Wacom Tablet to draw a doodle about how I position myself in front of my lamp.  Bear with me while I attempt to draw a post-worthy diagram and stay tuned…

I hope this helps other beauty bloggers out there with their lipstick swatching!

As for everyone else, there is absolutely no need to try this at home.


12 Responses to “How to get the most lipstick swatches (without wrecking your lips)”

  1. Nicole says:

    Great info!
    thans a lot… i’ve trying to swatch some lipsticks.. noe qith this my result will be better 😛

  2. Shirley Be says:

    Wow! Good work Yishan! I never would’ve thought there would be days of preparation required! But with the quality of the swatches you post, I’d understand! Keep UP THE GREAT WORK!

  3. Erin says:

    Awww mannnnn!!! If only I saw this about 3 weeks ago, my lips are still trying to heal from all the swatching I did in one night. I will be sure to use these tips and tricks next time 🙂


  4. Shirley David's says:

    Interesting post. I m not a blogger but still I enjoyed reading it.

  5. Shirley David says:

    Hey, How is ur cute daughter? Enjoy with her as they grow up with super sonic speed….My son will turn 4 year old this March and I miss the time when he was tiny n chubby. Being a mom is little tiresome but it is worth it. Hope u remember me ….I am Shirley David from India.

  6. Bethany says:

    Great tips. I’ve always wondered the same about your gorgeous swatches.

  7. […] things about my blog that one usually keeps pretty close to their chest.  Now that I have shared how I prepare my lips for swatching, next on my “blog bucket list” of things to share is  SEO – short for search […]

  8. Shana says:

    your lips look so pretty in your swatches!

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