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How to Choose Lip Liner

If you’re confused about what lip liner to use, no worries! When in doubt, match your lip liner color to the color of your lipstick. If you want to get a liner to use with any shade, pick the one that matches your natural lip color as close as possible. You can also base your liner color around your skin tone. Simply pick a liner, apply the liner in small dashes starting at the center, and then put on your lipstick.

EditSteps

EditChoosing a Liner Type

  1. Try a lip liner pencil for a thin, precise line. This is the most popular lip liner option because of its creamy, rich texture. Use the tip of your pencil to outline the shape of your lip, and use the side of the pencil to color in the outline.[1]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 1.jpeg
    • Sharpen the pencil before each use so you have a sharp tip.
  2. Select a twist-up liner for an easy, dark line. This liner comes in a plastic applicator with a twistable end to raise or retract the point. With this product, no sharpening is required. It has a thin, pointed tip that works great to line the middle and corners of your lips.[2]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 2.jpeg
    • Since twist-up liner is often softer than pencil liner, you will likely get a heavier application.
  3. Go with a crayon liner if you want an easy application. These liners are similar to a pencil, but they have a thicker, fuller tip. Since the tip is larger, it makes it easy to apply a lot of pigment at once. The thick tip creates a softer, more natural look, making it a great option for daytime wear.[3]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 3.jpeg
    • You can find crayon liners in small and large sizes. The smaller liners provide more control, while larger liners cover more area at once.
    • Most lip crayons also come with a sharpener attached or included. For best results, sharpen your crayon before each use.

EditPicking a Lip Liner Color

  1. Choose lip liners with blue or purple undertones for cool complexions. You have a cool complexion if your skin has a bluish tint and looks best against silver jewelry. The best liners for you are those that have purple or blue undertones, as they compliment your skin tone.[4]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 4.jpeg
    • For instance, when choosing a red lipstick, go with one that has a plum tint rather than an orangey shade.
    • Avoid very light lipstick colors since they can make you look washed-out.
  2. Select orange or red shades if your skin has warm undertones. If your complexion has a golden, yellow, or olive hue, you have a warm skin tone. In this case, warm shades of lip colors often look the best, such as peach, salmon, and reddish orange.[5]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 5.jpeg
    • For example, if you are choosing a pink lip color, choose one that is more peachy rather than purple.
  3. Experiment with different colors if you have a neutral skin tone. If you have a neutral skin tone, you have both warm and cool undertones to your complexion. In this case, nearly any hue looks good on you. Play around with your lip liner color freely, knowing you can pull off almost any shade. In general, you'll look best in subtle shades rather than bold ones.[6]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 6.jpeg
    • For instance, choose between red, orange, pink, peach, fuschia, and purple lip liner colors.
  4. Try a clear lip liner to keep lipstick in place without additional color. If you want to prevent your lip color from bleeding but don’t want to apply more makeup, consider trying a matte lip liner. This won’t add additional definition to your lips but your lip color still looks fabulous.[7]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 7.jpeg
    • For example, instead of choosing a red lip liner to use with your red lipstick, try using a clear one instead. This way, you still get bold, brilliant lips without feeling like they are overdone or too full.

EditAchieving Different Looks

  1. Pick a liner that matches the color of your lipstick for a seamless look. To ensure your lip color matches your lip liner, choose a shade that is as close as possible to the color of your lipstick. This is a great idea for your everyday makeup.[8]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 8.jpeg
    • For instance, if you are using a rosy pink lipstick color, go with a rose-colored lip liner.
    • This way, your lips appear luscious and defined.
  2. Choose a lip liner close to your natural shade for a daily choice. If you don’t have a lip liner in every color of your lipstick, that’s okay. Pick a liner that closely matches your natural lip shade. Use this color with any shade of lipstick or lip gloss to ensure a neat, clean application. By picking a color close to your natural shade, you can make your lips look more vibrant and supple.[9]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 9.jpeg
    • The liner may have a pink or brown hint, depending on your complexion.
  3. Use nude shades to create a plump, full look. For a bit of definition, choose a nude shade of lip liner, such as tan, beige, or peach. Create a border around your lips with the natural color. In addition, you can wear nude lip liner without applying lip color to give your lips definition without adding extra pigment. This is a great idea if you want a minimal makeup look. [10]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 10.jpeg
    • The neutral shade makes your lips look large and voluminous.
  4. Select a brighter shade of liner if you want your lips to pop. If you want your lips to be the focal point of your makeup look, pick a hue that is a bit brighter than your lip color. This is a simple way to give your lips a bit more definition.[11]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 11.jpeg
    • For example, if you’re going with a pink lip color, choose a bright fuschia.
    • For a more natural look, add a second, natural shade of lip color. Using your finger or a small makeup brush, blend your first shade with a hue that is slightly lighter.[12]
    • For a more dimensional look, apply a soft color onto the center, fuller part of your lip. Then, apply your bright shade to the outer edges of your lips.
  5. Pair white liner with bright lipstick for a neon look. Neon lips are all the rage these days. To create them yourself, apply a neutral concealer or nude lipstick to your lips. Then, apply a bright lipstick along the outside of your lips from edge to center, leaving the neutral/nude shade visible on the inside of your lips. Finally, use a white liner to draw a line over the bright shade of lipstick, dividing it into two parts.[13]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 12.jpeg
    • Instead of outlining your lips, you'll divide your lips with the lip liner. You should have bright lipstick on either side of your line.
  6. Create an ombre look with 3 lip products in the same shade family. Start by lining your lips and using the side of your pencil to color in your outline. Next, apply a dark lipstick to just the outer part of your lips, blending it with a brush. Then, apply a lighter shade of the same color to the inner part of your lips. Use your brush to blend the lipstick outward. This creates an ombre effect.[14]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 13.jpeg
    • Don't apply more than 3 different shades, as it can start to look messy.
    • Use a lipstick brush to blend the colors together for a seamless look.

EditApplying the Lip Liner

  1. Hold the pen at 45-degree angle for best results. To easily apply your lip liner, position the pencil at a 45-degree angle with your lips. This gives you greater control and precision as you draw your line.[15]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 14.jpeg
  2. Draw on the liner in short, light strokes for a smooth, even line. Rather than applying the liner in 1 consistent motion, make short dashes across your upper and lower lips. This way, the liner looks crisp and sharp.[16]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 15.jpeg
    • If you apply the liner in 1 motion, the line may look jagged or uneven.
  3. Start at the center of your lips, drawing an "X" over your cupid's bow. Your cupid's bow is at the center of your upper lip. You want to create a defined bow, so you'll mark it first.[17]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 16.jpeg
    • Starting at the middle ensures your lines match the shape of your lip.
    • To make it easier, try smiling as you start. This stretches out the skin of your lips so you can easily apply the liner.
  4. Draw arrows at the corner of your mouth. The point of each arrow should be the corner of your lip. The two lines that make the point will be your top lip and bottom lip. This makes it easier to create an even outline.[18]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 17.jpeg
  5. Connect your arrows to your "X" to complete the outline. On the top, you'll draw a line on each side, connecting the edge of your lips to the center. Then, you'll do the same for the bottom. This way, your lips look full and defined.[19]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 18.jpeg
  6. Apply lip liner before putting on lipstick to create a bold look. If you want your color to stay all day, create a base of pigment before you put on your lipstick or gloss. Fill in the rest of your lips with the liner after you line the edges.
    Choose Lip Liner Step 19.jpeg
    • The waxy consistency of the liner holds the color on your lips longer, and it also provides a base color that enhances the look of your lip color overall.
  7. Put on lipstick before liner if you want to ensure a smooth, clean edge. If you are concerned that the edge of your lip color will bleed or look uneven, try applying your lipstick first. Cover your lips in the pigment starting from the center and working toward the corners. Do this for both your upper and lower lip. Then, draw the liner on the edge of your lips in short dashes.[20]
    Choose Lip Liner Step 20.jpeg
    • This smooths the lip color while lining your lips, helpful when going for a neat, polished lip color.

EditTips

  • Purchase lip liner from makeup and beauty supply stores.
  • If you don’t have the proper lip liner shade, consider putting on your lipstick without the liner.
  • Sharpen your pencil every time you use it to prevent bacteria and keep a crisp point.

EditSources and Citations


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