5 ways to use lip liner

Jenessa Williams 30 November 2021

Seen by many as an extra beauty product, the humble lip liner can be used to create a wide variety of looks

Seen by many as an extra beauty product, the humble lip liner can be used to create a wide variety of looks

To keep lipstick in place

If you’re dealing with a high gloss finish or a moisture-rich formula, you’ll likely know the irritation of having to reapply lipstick regularly throughout the day, or cleaning up bleeding edges after eating, drinking or kissing.

Think of a lip liner like applying a primer before foundation. To keep any shade in place, apply a natural-coloured pencil around the shape of your lips, and to areas that cause the most problems—corner creases of the mouth, the very centre of the lip. Debuting a bold red for a festive party? Fill your lips in completely with a pencil before you apply, and the colour will stick for much longer.

To create a 90s fashion look

At the height of 90s supermodel and hip-hop glamour, lip liner was an essential, not an accessory. Getting the look just right can take practice but start by choosing your complementary colours; a beigey-pink lipstick with a chestnut brown liner, an orangey-red lipstick with a brick red liner.

After applying the liner, apply your lipstick in the centre of your lips and dab outwards, blending as you go to reduce any harshness. For full effect, keep the rest of your look simple—just mascara and liner rather than any competing shadows or colours.

To create beauty spots or freckles

If you’re looking to get more creative with your make-up looks, lip liners can be really effective for mimicking natural beauty pigmentations, available in a huge array of colours and soft creamy formulas.

Add freckles or beauty spots in soft browns, blending gently with a finger. Lip liners can also work as eyeliners or blushers in a pinch—just be mindful of ingredients and irritants and be sure to cleanse well at the end of the day.

For an all-over matte look

The glossy look isn’t for everyone, but a great many liquid matte lipsticks out there on the market can feel drying or even too stubborn, creating stains that are difficult to remove without removing your whole make-up face. Look instead for a think, crayon-like lip pencil, and apply all over, using a soft brush to blend in.

Just be sure to exfoliate first—a gentle sugar lip scrub or a soft flannel will work wonders to remove any dry skin, creating a much smoother base to work with.

To make lips look fuller

To enhance your natural mouth shape, choose a lip pencil one shade darker than your natural lips and work lightly around your cupid’s bow, gently exaggerating where you’d like to fill things out. Think of the lip liner as a sketching tool rather than a marker; you want to suggest the idea of fullness, rather than laying something entirely new over the top.

Using liner to create a tiny shadow in the centre of your bottom lip might also help to accentuate your pout, as well as a tiny bit of contour right in the centre of the lip, blended out with a complimentary lipstick colour.

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