A lipstick is a mainstay in a woman’s makeup pouch. But a lip liner? Not so much. Because why would you need one when your lipstick’s doesn’t feather, or your lipstick applicator does an OK job of defining your lips? Well, for starters, it makes your lipstick look better and last longer.
For another, it helps even out any asymmetry in your lips and can help make your lips look fuller and poutier. So if you’re looking to get one, here are the basics you should know, according to freelance makeup artist Melissa Yeo, who has almost 20 years of experience in the field.
1. Choose your lip liner colour according to the look you want to get
Do you match it to your lipstick, or go one shade darker or lighter, or go for a nude one? It depends on what you’re planning to achieve, says Melissa. “Choosing one that’s the same colour as your lipstick helps define your lip; going for a darker shade can help create the illusion of fuller lips; and using a nude shade can help neutralise any uneven tones on your lips so your lipstick colour can stand out better.
For example, if your lips are a little rosy or darker-toned naturally, using a lip liner to fill up your lips can help ‘reset’ the colour so you can achieve a more true nude lipstick look,” she explains.
2. Always sharpen your lip liner
“A sharpened pencil gives more definition when you are lining your lips,” says Melissa. If you’re not a fan of toting around a sharpener, a retractable lip liner should work as well. (Yes, it’s just like eyeliners.)
3. Fill in your lips with your lip liner
“While lining your lips helps in creating a guideline for your lipstick application, defining the lips and preventing your lipstick from feathering, filling in your lips with the lip liner helps your lipstick last longer. It also creates a more opaque finish for the lipstick,” says Melissa.
But if you are intending to do so, “you can apply a lip balm before as doing so can be drying for your lips”, says Melissa. Her take? Go for a creamy and matte formula that brands such as Nars, Urban Decay and M.A.C Cosmetics are known for.
Here are five of our favourite lip liners to try: