Over 353.1K Daily Active Readers

Click to Find a Makeup Artist

How to Do Your Lips

Miss California USA 2018 Kelley Johnson. Photo: Monty Nuss Photography
Miss California USA 2018 Kelley Johnson. Photo: Monty Nuss Photography

The lips frame your smile. This makes them an important asset on stage and in interview. Proper makeup decisions are crucial in pageantry. In a world of changing lip phases and trends, popular pageant lip choices remain the same. Read below to learn the lip guidelines for pageant competitions!

Once you’ve mastered the lips, read up on how to do your eye, body and face makeup.


MAC Cosmetics

“Myth” lipstick

MAC Cosmetics is the leading brand when it comes to lipsticks. MAC Cosmetics’ makeup is known for being excellent for both stage and film. The long-wearing lipstick comes in a plethora of shades and finishes, making it an excellent resource for a girl who wants to try out some different options.

MAC Cosmetics lipstick in “Myth” is a subtle nude that complements a brighter lipliner well. It mutes the brighter lipliner to make it a little more natural. The color would go well with nude, pastel or white evening gowns. This color works best on lighter skin tones.

Applying MAC Cosmetics "Myth" lipstick. Photo: Megan Coyle
The author applying MAC Cosmetics “Myth” lipstick. Photo: Megan Coyle Photography

“Bombshell” lipstick

MAC Cosmetics “Bombshell” is a gorgeous shade for any skin tone. The color is perfect for both interview and stage. It is bright enough to highlight the lips but subtle and classy enough to not steal the show.

“Bombshell” is a classic pageant shade. It is a go-to color that every contestant should have in her makeup bag. Keep the gloss subtle without glitter, allowing the color to appear as an enhancement of your natural lip shade.

Jade Spilka wearing MAC Cosmetics "Bombshell." Photo: Jade Spilka
The author wearing MAC Cosmetics “Bombshell.” Photo: Jade Spilka

“Ruby Woo” lipstick

If you’re looking for a show-stopping red, look no further than “Ruby Woo” by MAC Cosmetics. The color is one of MAC’s most popular lipstick shades. It is popular among celebrities and makeup artists alike.

This color is perfect for a contestant who wants to make a bold statement in evening gown. Stay away from this color in interview and swimsuit, though. It has its time and place, but it isn’t for every occasion and it isn’t for everyone.

If your evening gown is simple, “Ruby Woo” might be for you. This color is definitely more suited for darker skin tones. The contrast between “Ruby Woo” and pale skin would be too much for the stage.

Alessandra Ambrósio wearing "Ruby Woo." Photo: Clio Makeup
Alessandra Ambrósio wearing “Ruby Woo.” Photo: Clio Makeup

What not to do

Keep it simple in interview and swimsuit. Save the brighter colors for evening gown or appearances. Wearing brighter colors in interview or swimsuit can be a little distracting and inappropriate for the occasion.

Don’t put lipstick anywhere you didn’t already apply lipliner. Some ladies have a tendency to overdraw their lips with lipstick. Placing lipstick above the lip without lipliner will become a mess quickly.

Don’t apply lipstick straight from the tube. Use a lip brush to be more precise. Try this Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush to ensure the color goes exactly where you want it to.


Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush. Photo: Walmart
Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush. Photo: Walmart

Lip gloss


Clear lipgloss should be worn by Teen, Miss, Mrs. and Ms. contestants. It is more mature than glitter and adds shine to the look; however, don’t overdo the clear gloss or it could separate into globs. Apply the gloss to the center of the top and bottom lips, dragging some product to the corners as your distribute.

Too Faced Lip Injection is a clear gloss and a lip plumper. It puffs up your lips and makes them appear bigger, which is something many pageant girls aim to achieve. (Read: Do Lip Plumpers Really Work?)

Too Faced Lip Injection. Photo: Amazon
Too Faced Lip Injection. Photo: Amazon


Glitter lip gloss can be worn by Princess and Preteen contestants. Glitter lip gloss provides a fresh and young take on makeup that is appropriate for the younger age groups. However, be careful with glitter. If too much is applied, it can be overbearing.

MAC Cosmetics’ “Smile” Dazzleglass is a bright and sparkly gloss. Though it looks intimidating in the tube, it blends in well with the lipstick and is the perfect pair to a bright lipstick.

Applying "Smile" dazzleglass. Photo: Megan Coyle Photography
The author applying “Smile” Dazzleglass. Photo: Megan Coyle Photography

When to wear

Lip gloss should always be worn in any phase of the competition. It is like the icing on a cake: It completes the look. Lip gloss is optional for appearances, but most titleholders choose to wear lip gloss in everything that is related to their pageant life.

Keep in mind what is appropriate for your age. Younger girls can wear glitter lip gloss, while clear is the best option for Teen, Miss, Mrs. and Ms. contestants because it completes the look without looking childish. Early Teens can most likely get away with both options on stage or in interview.

Lip liner

When should you wear it?

Lip liner is what provides a base for the lipstick to stick to. It should be worn anytime lipstick is applied. Use lip liner to trace your lips or even overdraw them (slightly!) and then fill them in. Lip liner aids both shape and longevity, therefore, it is a pretty important tool.

“Half Red” lip liner

MAC Cosmetics “Half Red” lip liner can serve many different skin tones and lipstick preferences. It is a very adaptable shade, coordinating with many mainstream lip colors.

Applying "Half Red" lip liner. Photo: Megan Coyle Photography
The author applying “Half Red” lip liner. Photo: Megan Coyle Photography

“Rosebud” lip liner

It is very important to have adaptable products in your pageant weekend makeup bag. “Rosebud” by NARS is long-wearing and flattering. It can be made to look fancy or casual depending on the lipstick and lip gloss you choose to pair it with.

NARS "Rosebud" lip liner. Photo: NARS Cosmetics
NARS “Rosebud” lip liner. Photo: NARS Cosmetics

Tips and tricks

When lining or overdrawing your lips, always start from the center and draw outward. This allows for precision and a more symmetrical pair of lips. After you line the lips, fill them in so that the liner can act as a base for your lipstick and lip gloss.

Exfoliate your lips before applying lip liner. This will help with the longevity of the lip liner. Prep really does matter when it comes to lip makeup!

For the appearance of larger lips, apply concealer all over the lips until they completely match your skin color. Then, starting with a clean slate, draw on your lips with a lip liner, making them larger than they were before.

Lip shapes

Refer to the useful chart below to identify your lip shape and find ways to achieve your most desired lip look. (Read: Best Pageant Lipstick For My Lip Shape)

Lip chart. Photo: Milady Pro
Lip chart. Photo: Milady Pro

Moving forward

Lips are fairly simple in pageantry. Once you’ve mastered a lip look that works for you, stick with it. A good lip can be the final touch to a perfect face of makeup. (Read: What Shade of Lipstick Should You Wear Based on Your Pageant System?)

Which dress do you like better?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join The Largest Pageant Network on the Planet! Choose a registration option below to write reviews, contribute to our Hall of Fame, and more!

Get a Free Account Get Unlimited Pageant Coaching