Everything You Need To Know About Lip Liner

After the heavily lined lips of the 90’s, lip liner was left stuck with something of an image problem. Those days of pale and often shimmery lipstick with dark brown lip lines are (mostly) long behind us now but for many they still linger in the backs of their minds, leaving them with an unneeded fear of lip liner.
Properly matched and applied, a lip liner can add definition, correct the shape and if necessary change the size of the mouth, make the mouth appear more symmetrical, prevent lipstick feathering and even increase the longevity of your lipstick product meaning fewer touch ups are needed throughout the day.
One thing I should point out first though, is that you don’t need to use a lip liner with a properly formulated and fully drying matte liquid lipstick, even if you want to over-line; so heaven only knows why a certain well known brand sells lip kits with a matte liquid lipstick and a matching liner…?

In this post I’m going to cover some tips and tricks of using lip liner and teach you everything you need to know to get started.

Colour Matching

In order to get the full benefit of using a liner you need to know the tricks to pairing your lipsticks and liners together for the look you want to achieve.

Matching Lipstick & Liner
Purple is a hard one to get a match for!

You don’t need to go crazy and match up every single lipstick in your collection with a perfectly matching liner, although I’m sure that there are some people out there that would if that were actually possible!
The only thing that is really important is that the shade of your lip liner is roughly the same tone as your lipstick.
Some will say it should always be slightly lighter to avoid muddying the lipstick that sits over the top but I think if it is lighter it can look blurry at the edges whereas it being very slightly darker (not too much though, only 1 shade!) can help to add depth and really make the lip colour pop. Adding depth is especially handy if you’re over-lining your lips.
Over-lining can be a very obvious make-up look and isn’t for everyone, but unlike other people out there I’m not going to tell you not to do it! Make-up is whatever you want it to be and not about conforming.

Nude Liners
A selection of nude toned liners

If you’re totally new to liner and you’re building your first lip liner collection, I’d recommend starting with three to four versatile shades depending on the colours you like to wear the most. A nude (something just slightly darker than your natural lip) is good starting point to work from as you’ll be able to pair it with a lot of different lipsticks in your collection. A colourless liner can of course go with any shade of lipstick but creates a more naturalistic look, so it’s great if you want to prevent feathering but don’t like the defined look of regular liner.

8 Lip Liner Tips

  • Rounded tips, rather than sharpened points, provide the most natural definition as well as being much more comfortable to work with. After sharpening your lip pencil run it back and forth over the back of your hand to round off the point.
  • Fill in the whole lip with liner! Draw a few vertical lines on the lip and use a lip brush to blend the liner thinly inwards and across the inner portion of the lip surface (see picture). This coverage is what will help with longevity and help avoid the obvious line around the outside. In a pinch, smudge it carefully over the lip with a clean finger leaving the very edges intact.
  • You can go as far to as to simply colour in the whole lip with pencil if you choose, this works particularly well when paired with other types of lip products like glosses.
  • Rather than attempting to follow the lines of your cupid’s bow exactly, try just drawing an X. The X-shape will create the illusion of a strong, even cupid’s bow without looking overdone.
  • Don’t try to go around the lips in one unbroken line! You’ll end up lookingArrows & X uneven. Draw two arrows, one at each corner and an x at the cupid’s bow and then join these lines together.
  • Remember to line the corners of your lips. If you leave the corners of your mouth unlined, you’ll end up with unnatural looking coverage or feathered lipsticks.
  • Practice the basics before moving on to something tougher like over-lining.
  • Experiment! You could try pairing two completely different coloured products together to make a new unique shade or ombre when worn together – it all depends on the look you’re aiming for.

I hope these tips will help some of you out. I use a lip liner to help balance out the shape of my lips as one side of my mouth appears larger due to damage to my facial nerves as a result of (a much needed) dental surgery. I find it a very useful tool for correcting this issue!


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