Photo: 123rf

I consider myself quite the lip colour expert. When I was in my early teens I was already familiar with lip liners, lipsticks and lip glosses (only allowed on weekends though). And when I was 18, I got a “high-flying” job that required me to wear bright red lipstick (and equally red nail polish) every moment of every working day. 

I have tried every makeup artist trick in the book including the tedious 5 step liner-lipstick-blot-lipstick-powder sequence, as well as just about every lip colour out there. Years of lippie trial-and-errors with the sole purpose of finding a lip colour that lasts long, doesn’t flake off, wears comfortably and lets me eat and drink normally. 

I have the secret. And it isn’t any lipstick. It isn’t a special technique either. In fact, it is a single product. Yes, just one.

Photo: 123rf

It is, quite simply… lip liner pencil. 

Here’s the trick – with a lip liner pencil of your choice, outline the lips and meticulously fill them in completely. And that’s it. No need to layer on lipstick, and no blotting required. 

This technique will usually give your lips a matte finish, which is incidentally, quite the trend for lips at the moment. In terms of staying power when eating or drinking, there’s no escaping the fact that the overall lip colour will probably diminish slightly if you eat a plate of oily char kway teow, but you can be sure it will fade evenly. No weird ring tracing the lips. After all, that usually happens when you outline lips with a pencil then fill in with a lipstick, as the richer, creamier texture of the lipstick tends to have less staying power compared to the liner. 

Comfort-wise, this liner-only technique feels weightless to me, almost like leaving my lips completely bare. I think it boils down to the fine-tipped application of a lip pencil, the fact that you are colouring tiny strokes onto your lips, instead of covering it with a paint-like layer that could potentially dry out and flake off. But, if you’re used to the moist feeling of a lush lipstick or slick lip gloss, you might find that lip liner alone feels a little dry. But bear with it if you want the staying power. The lightest dab of lip balm before this liner-only technique will definitely go towards keeping your puckers soft.

From top: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lip Pencil, $38; Hourglass Panoramic Long Wear Lip Liner, $49; Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Pencil, $35; Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner, $28; Urban Decay 24/7 Lip Pencil, $32; Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)outliner Longwear Lip Liner Pencil, $34.

Pick a lip liner pencil that glides on without tugging but isn’t too creamy or waxy for the best long-lasting results.