If you were around for the rather scary nude lips with unnaturally dark outline craze of the ‘90s, chances are you might be a little gun-shy about rocking lip liner this time round. But you shouldn’t be! Used correctly, lip liner is totally flattering, as well as being super handy for giving your lippie staying power and ensuring your colour doesn’t stray or feather. Follow these tips to the letter and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
Start with a smooth canvas
Colouring in your pout with lip liner will draw attention to any dryness, and you want to create a smooth base so your pencil doesn’t snag. So, slough away those dead ol’ skin cells with a store-bought lip scrub, or make one at home by mixing one tablespoon each of coconut oil and honey with two tablespoons of sugar and half a tablespoon of lukewarm water.
Select a colour the same shade or a shade or two LIGHTER than your lipstick
You probably won’t have a lip liner shade to match every hue in your lipstick wardrobe, and that’s ok. Just try to stick to the same colour family and match as closely as possible, OR go one or two shades lighter when outlining your pout. Go darker than your lipstick and you’ll make your lips look smaller. And give out some serious baby Britney vibes.
Sharpen your pencil to an eye-gouging point and you’ll end up with a harsh outline – not the look you’re going for. You also want to ensure your liner glides smoothly, and you can do this by keeping the tip slightly blunted and opting for a creamy gel formula. One of our faves is the Mellow Cosmetics Gel Lip Liner – and you’re all scoring one this month! Cruelty-free, paraben-free and vegan, this little beauty glides on fluidly to deliver rich, saturated colour. It’s long-wearing and budge-proof with the velvety matte finish that’s so hot right now.
Go slow and use short strokes
Hold your pencil at a 45-degree angle and use short strokes to outline your lips – go slow and DO NOT attempt to draw one single, fluid line. Even if you have a super-steady hand, it won’t look as natural. (And remember, natural is the aim here!) Continue to fill in your entire lip. This will ensure that, not only is your lipstick safe from bleeding, your lip colour will last loads longer.
Go nude to fake volume
If your lips are on the smaller side, a lighter hue is generally more flattering as it gives the optical illusion of more volume. You can also overdraw, but it takes a bit more practice.
Don’t forget your cupid’s bow
A common lip liner mistake people make is somehow managing to flatten out their cupid’s bow. Pay a little extra attention here and it will definitely pay off. Instead of trying to trace it, which can be kinda tricky, mark the spot with an x, then blend with a cotton tip or lip brush to soften any lines.
Apply a coat or two of lipstick and voilà – beautifully (but invisibly) lined lips that will go the distance!