Lip Liners Buying Guide


Hello there beautiful! Looking to expand your makeup collection? This guide will help you navigate the world of lip liners (believe it or not, there's an entire world of them). Lip liner  has one primary use, which is to line the lips before applying lipstick  so that the color doesn't bleed or feather. A lip pencil  is a bit fatter used for filling in the entire lip area to create a matte wash of color and help lipstick stay on longer.

Nowadays, there are all sorts of uses for lip liner. Aside from perfecting the appearance of your lipstick, you can use liners to make your lips appear bigger or smaller. People are starting to use liners with lip glosses , which creates a fade-in effect. Finally, lip liners are sometimes used in place of lipstick or lip gloss, as a more permanent and muted look.

If you're new to makeup, you probably want to start out at our Health and Beauty or our  Cosmetics gudies. Lip liner is generally considered one of the least essential makeup tools, so don't fret if it's just not for you. 

Finding the Right One

Finally, a product you don't have to splurge on! Instead of buying the luxury brand, go with a brand you trust. Lip liner, unlike lipstick , is just about the same in quality across the board so you don't have to spend a lot on it. Simply find a brand that you can trust and that is in your price range. The bottom line is if you think your liner should cost less than your dinner, then go for it! As a matter of fact, don't be afraid of a pencil that costs less than your morning coffee . 

Do you prefer the more traditional pencil-with-sharpener, or would you rather use an automatic twist-up pencil? Choose between classic  pencil or automatic  style. This is really a matter of personal preference, but keep in mind that twist-up pencils are often more convenient than wood ones simply because there is no sharpening needed. On the other hand, remember that sharpening a pencil each time you use it means a finer point and less bacteria. While mechanical liners are convenient, they can be deceptive since you never know when you are just about to run out. You should also know, automatic pencils tend to be wetter or smoother, which makes them easier to apply but less easy to maintain. The wooden pencil will stay neater longer, without rubbing away.

Get the right color. Lip liner should match whatever lipstick you are wearing, neither be a shade darker or lighter, nor a different tone. Otherwise, you risk creating a perfectly unflattering clown look. You may also just opt for a colorless wax pencil  that performs the same way as a colored pencil, but that imparts no color. This is a very good tool to have in your makeup arsenal since it is versatile and can be used with all types of lip color.

If you want your lips to appear smaller, try lining them a half a shade darker than the lipstick you're wearing. If you aren't wearing lipstick, line them just a tiny bit darker than your natural color, but be careful not to stray outside of your lips - this will make them look bigger. Therefore, if you're looking for bigger lips, try using a pencil just a smidgen lighter than your lipstick or natural color. When you line your lips, 80% of the liner should land inside of your lip line; the other 20% will extend the are of your lips without making them look fake (or clownish).

Quick Picks

DuWop Reverse Liner 

This is a nice, fat, colorless liner packed with enriching macadamia oil.

Chanel Precision Lip Definer 

It's pricey, but it's also a great lip liner that goes on smooth with lots of color options.

MAC Lip Pencil 

Tons of colors, a tug-free application and a reasonable price make this one a winner all around.

Cover Girl Smoothers 

One of the best budget priced liners and it's chock full of jojoba oil for smooth, soft lips.

Application Tips

  • Fix minor imperfections.
    • For thin lips, line slightly outside the edges to make them appear fuller.
    • For lips that are too big, line slightly inside the natural edge to slim them down.
  • Define or make lipstick last.
    • Line only on the outside of the lips to create definition. Make sure to soften the line though before applying lipstick. Otherwise, as the lipstick wears off, you'll get a clown look.
    • Line then fill in the lips completely to make your lipstick last all day.
  • Reduce clutter.
    • Liners with dual ends are good because they either give you two different sizes to work with (one for lining and the other for filling) or two similar colors, so that you can go from office to evening out without carrying two products.
    • If you don't want to spend more money on extra products you may also use a regular wax-based lip balm that you already own in place of a liner. In this case you have to apply and wait for it to dry a bit then blot off any excess. Dab a bit of translucent powder over the top and you are ready to apply lipstick.

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