Lipstick application isn’t as simple as swiping on your favorite shade! Here you’ll find detailed instructions and makeup ideas to walk you through the entire process.

First, pre-application: You’re definitely going to want to exfoliate your lips, especially if you plan on wearing a matte lipstick. One way to exfoliate your lips is to rub them with a toothbrush or a damp towel for several seconds. An alternative is to purchase or make a sugar scrub. To make a sugar scrub, simply use one part sugar and one part oil (jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or even honey are all options) and apply it to the lips. After using the sugar scrub or another exfoliating method, apply a lip balm. Let it sit for at least a few minutes.

Before lipstick application, remove any excess lip balm. Your lips should now feel smooth and moisturized. If you want to avoid staining your lips or want to bring out the true shade of the lipstick, you can apply foundation over your lips. If you choose to do this, smile while applying the foundation to your lips–it’ll ensure you cover all the crevices and leave a clean slate for lip color.

Next, you can use lip liner if you’d like. It’s recommended because it makes lipstick last longer and stay in place. For a bold lipstick color, choose a lip liner that is slightly darker than the shade of lipstick. For a more neutral look, match your lip liner to your lip color. When applying lip liner, you should first outline your lips before filling them in. You can also “over-line” or “under-line” your lips to change their shape if you’d like.

Finally, applying lipstick. Start in the middle of your lips and work your way out. You can use the included applicator or a lip brush if you feel you need more precision. Another method is to apply lipstick to your bottom lip, press your lips together to transfer the product, and then fill in your cupid’s bow for a perfect application.

If you’re using a cream lipstick, you’ll want to add a second coat. If you’re using a matte lipstick, use your best judgment–some matte lipsticks will get cakey if you add a second coat.

Finally, for added staying power, lightly blot your lipstick with blotting paper. Leaving the blotting paper on your lips, smooth some pressed powder over it to really lock in your lip color.