Lip liner: it had a moment in the 90s, and forever earned a bad rap. I don’t think any 90s babes will live down the dark outline fad, but don’t let that traumatizing trend scare you off completely! Lip liner still has a place in current makeup routines, and is only getting more popular with more brands releasing lip kits of matching liner/lipstick duos. From extending wear time to fixing makeup mistakes, having a few lip liners on hand can really round out your collection
Best Drugstore Lip Liners
First off, I want to shout out the best drugstore lip liners that I use in my routine.
Covergirl Exhibitionist Lip Liner: I love this unique liner with its flat, slanted tip. This shape makes it easy to fill in the lips with liner while also giving you a precise edge for outlining. This liner has more of a satin finish but still prevents feathering and helps extend wear time.
Milani Color Statement Lipliner: Super pigmented and creamy, with a traditional pencil tip, so you can always get a sharp point.
NYX Suede Matte Lip Liner: The most matte pencil of the bunch, this is great for maintaining that true flat appearance when paired with a matte lipstick.
There are multiple ways to use lip liner depending on what purpose you want it to serve. You can also combine multiple techniques for the ultimate lip look!
1. Use Lip Liner to Make Lips Look Bigger
Lip liner is a great tool when you want to make lips look bigger with makeup— no filler needed! I have a detailed step-by-step tutorial with pictures on how to achieve this in this post here, but here’s the shortcut version:
- Apply the liner just outside your natural lip line, building to your desired shape. I start in the center at my cupids bow, adding height to my upper lip. As you work your way out from the center, be sure you bring the liner into the natural corners of your lips for a realistic appearance (don’t make your lips wider than your mouth… you’ll look like a muppet).
- Next, you’ll either want to fill in the rest of your lip with the liner or choose a matching lipstick shade to complete the look.
- If you feel that the liner is obvious, and you can still see your natural lip line peeking through, adding setting powder will help blend the look.
2. Use Lip Liner to Fix Uneven Lipstick
Sometimes I end up overdrawing my lips by accident because I’m just trying to even out smudges or crooked lines. Using lip liner is a more precise way to clean up the edges of uneven lipstick.
- Sharpen your lip liner to get a precise point.
- Apply in small, short strokes for the most control and even out the lip line.
3. Use Lip Liner to Make Lipstick Last Longer
Lip liner can help your lipstick last longer by giving it a base to cling onto. You can use a clear lip liner or lip primer crayon for this, but I prefer to choose a color similar to my lipstick. This way, it will also help reduce the appearance of fading if the top layer of lipstick transfers. The lip liner will still be there underneath to fill in sparse spots. This technique also works to make your lipstick look more smooth, since the liner fills in fine lines.
- Apply lip liner to the edges of your lips first, then fill in completely.
- Finish the look by applying your lipstick of choice on top, completely covering the lip liner.
4. Use Lip Liner to Avoid Feathering Lipstick
Glossy lipsticks always run the risk of feathering, or spreading outside of the lip lines. Lip liner can help create a barrier to avoid this.
- Apply lip liner at the edge of your lips. Be sure the shade matches closely to your lipstick, or use a clear lip liner.
- Fill in your lips normally with your lipstick without going past the lip liner.
5. Use Lip Liner to Add Color Under Gloss
Using lip liner underneath can help add a boost of color without adding layers of gloss, which can get messy.
- Fill in your lips completely with the lip liner shade of your choice. You don’t necessarily have to match shades exactly, since gloss is typically on the sheerer side. The shades will blend together, unless you’re using a clear gloss. You can test layering on the back of your hand first to see what the final result will look like.
- Top with your favorite gloss.
- Wipe off the wand with a tissue or makeup wipe before putting it back in the tube to avoid color distortion.