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Question: How should I apply lip liner?

Answer: Lip liner isn’t just your grandmother’s product anymore. In fact, more and more makeup artists and users alike are opting for this great product—and for good reason. Follow this easy guide for tips on applying lip liner and some great products to make this whole process a cinch!

If you’re among those who don’t understand the concept of lip liner or feel that it’s a bit outdated, let me explain. Lip liner, when used correctly, helps enhance your lip color, prevent lip color from bleeding, creates a smooth line, and adds shape/fullness to your lips.

It’s important to remember that your lip liner should never be noticeably darker than your lip color. You definitely want to avoid the “sharpie lip liner” look and stay as close to your actual color as you possibly can.


The first thing you’ll want to do when applying lip liner is prep your lips. Make sure that your lips are smooth and hydrated by either applying lip balm or a lip scrub if your lips are really chapped. Some women like to apply liner first and then lip stick, while others prefer lipstick followed by liner. The choice is really yours and whatever works for you, but if you’re new to applying lip liner, I would suggest applying lipstick before liner. Then you can trace your lips and sharpen up any uneven edges left behind by the lipstick.

Make sure that you follow your natural lip line when tracing your lips, so that you don’t have a doll-esque mouth when you’re done. Remember: lip liner is all about looking natural—which means not resembling a throwback from the 90’s! If you want to try lip liner but don’t know where to start, try the Laura Mercier Lip Pencil ($22, Nordstrom). This pencil glides on smoothly and is long-lasting. There are several color to choose from, like nude and bright red. It’s difficult to go wrong with this product, so match up your lip color as best you can and try out the magic of liner!

What is your favorite lip liner?