As the founder of Lantana Lip Lab in East Memphis, Lynn Calzada spends her days obsessing over lip health and helping others look and feel their best. She shares her insights on how to up your lipstick game.

How do I choose the right color?

Make sure the color flatters your warm, cool, or neutral skin tone. Also, pay attention to the depth of the color. People have bright or muted physical characteristics (equally gorgeous), but that can make the difference between you wearing a lipstick and the lipstick wearing you. Play with samples!

What else can lipstick do for my lips?

Your lipstick should be moisturizing and include botanical oils like avocado, jojoba, or grape seed. It can also have a lip pumping additive to volumize, plump, hydrate, and smooth fine lines. To keep it fun, lipstick might also have a “flavor” or essence.

Should a lipstick include SPF?

Keep your lips protected the same as you would your face and body. Zinc-based mineral sunscreen is a great thing for your lipstick to have. Proper protection helps your lips remain soft, plump, and hydrated instead of shriveled up and dry.

What should I do before I apply lipstick?

Use a lips scrub like coconut oil and sugar that exfoliates and gets your mouth ready. It’s so simple and a must!

What’s the best way to apply lipstick?

Different types of lips benefit from different techniques for applying lipstick. If you have naturally beautiful and well-defined lips that are already pigmented, then you might only make a slight enhancement by using your fingers to pat a small amount of product. But if you’re like most of us, you probably need a little help creating definition. Use a lip liner that is just a shade darker than your natural lip color. Neutral colors can be applied from the tube or with your fingers or a brush. If you’re applying a bolder color, like red, I recommend using a brush for easy application, especially along the lip line. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. If you feel more comfortable swirling it on from the tube, then go for it!

What’s the No. 1 mistake people make when choosing a lipstick?

It’s easy to buy a color you’ve not tried on, only to find that it doesn’t work with your skin tone. Or if it matches your skin tone, it could have too much depth of color or not enough. That can lead to trying to adjust it with a lip liner or even another lipstick—or throwing it away.

What are common mistakes people make with lipstick?

You can cheat your natural lip line out a little bit, but too many people go overboard. Another mistake is applying lipstick to dried, flaky lips. Most matte lipsticks are extremely drying, so that’s a big no-no. I often see people apply too many layers of matte liquid lipstick to the point of looking caky, flaky, and full of cracks.

Lantana Lip Lab creates custom lipstick and gloss blends. With seven bases to choose from, they guide you to choose the right pigments, depth, and luminosity to perfectly match your features while enhancing your lip health. Their products are made in the US in an award-winning lab and are free of gluten, GMOs, paraben, and synthetic fragrance. Reach out at: and 901.308.0288 or on social media @Lantanaliplab