lip liner why you should bother

I reckon lip liner (aka lip pencil) is the underdog of the makeup world and quite possibly one of the most misunderstood makeup products. I personally didn’t ‘get’ the appeal of lip liner until this year – and now I’m making up for lost time and I’ve transformed into an avid lip liner spokesperson!

So, why bother? Here’s three reasons you too should get excited about lip liner…

It’ll make your lips look fuller and more defined

In a few weeks I’m going to be hitting a zero birthday (it starts with the number four…) and in the last year I’ve noticed my lips have started to thin, albeit slightly.

Asking around my friends in their forties and fifties as market research for this blog post, everyone is whinging about the same thing: Bloody lines and thining lips. A few of them have even got Lip Fillers to help stop the aging! So why does this happen? I asked a beautician friend. She told me that the older we get, the less collagen we produce and it’s collagen that gives our lips plumpness. Seeing as there’s sod all we can do about collagen production (I’m not keen on having a procedure) this is where lip liner comes in. After a well defined natural lookin’ lip? Invest in a liner that’s close to the natural colour of your lips, line your lips, fill ’em in and your lips will have way more definition. Now, all that said, if you have super thin or uneven lips – you should go for a liner that is slightly darker thank your natural lip shade. This’ll make them look fuller.

Your lipstick will last longer

With makeup, the more layers you do, effectively ‘sandwiching’ the colour, the longer the product will last.

You wouldn’t paint a wall without a primer – right? This is true for your makeup base (primer, foundation and setting it with a powder) and the same goes for lips. Lip liner gives your lippy something to stick to. It’s lip insurance on a night out. You can also get lip primers that go on before lip pencils, but I digress! I’ll do a ‘how to make your lipstick last’ blog post in due course. Stand by!

See ya laters feathering!

If it’s not bad enough that my lips are starting to thin, some of my lipsticks and lip creams are starting to feather i.e. Migrating into the fine lines that have popped up around my lipline. Ugh, that’s sooo not pretty.

You know where I’m going with this: A lip liner will act like a fence for your lipstick, keeping it in place. That said, sometimes even serious lip liner action is required, grab yourself an invisible waxy lip liner and run this just on the outside of your lips. The Body Shop’s Lip Line Fixer is a cracking product. Other makeup companies make these too, but I’ve only tried The Body Shop one…!

Things you need to know!

Here’s a couple of lip liner must know tips…

lip liner why you should botherHow to apply…

I tried to take some photos doing this – and they were an utter failure, so I need to resort to words…!

  • Part your lips slightly and make your lips taut, again, slightly! We want to apply lip liner with our lips closest to their natural shape.
  • Now, apply the liner using light, short strokes. I start at the v-shape at the top of my upper lip then start moving out. Regardless of where you start – make sure you follow your lips’ natural shape, overdrawn lips aren’t on trend anymore!
  • Now FILL your whole lips in with the pencil. That’s right, get colouring. Avoiding a recreation of Pam’s nineties lip is highly desirable.
  • Finish up with lipstick (or not – keep reading).

Exec summary? Line them properly, stay on the lines. Fill ’em in. Apply lippy (if you want – keep reading).

Invest in three colours

lip liner why you should botherDon’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to match every lipstick with a liner, ain’t nobody got time nor money for that! Nope, IMO you just need three colours. A nude, a red and a wine/bright shade. Here’s my logic…

  1. The nude works to give a base to almost any colour in my collection; I usually pear it up with pinks, light browns or nudes – basically a lighter tones.
  2. The red will rock with, um, red lipstick, as well as any vibrant berry shades and any orangey colors.
  3. A ‘deep tone’ – like a burgundy/wine or even raspberry shade is mission critical if you are going to rock a bold wine, berry (think raspberry – that’s so hot right now) or plummy look. Basically, this deep shade will give depth to any colour you put on top.

Once you’ve got these three basics: Experiment and have some fun creating your own unique shades. Use your wine liner under a bright pink to achieve a deeper tone. Put a nude over the top of the wine liner – you’ll get a more toned down look. I have a tonne of fun doing this and get so many unique combos! On a side note, you can just wear lip liner on it’s own… I do, the effect is a lovely well defined matte lip. Then again I live on the edge and whack lip balm or lip gloss on top. See? Lip liner is super versatile. If you don’t like the colour you’ve created – wipe it off. Start again. It’s only makeup.

In terms of recommending colours – I’m nervous about recommending nude lip liner shade, the perfect shade for you will depend entirely on your natural skin tone. Luckily makeup legend to the stars, Lisa Eldridge did a blog post on this very topic! Click here.

Nevertheless, my personal favourite nude liner is MAC Dervish: This is perfect on my pale but olive skin. I’ve also had raging love affairs with Australis’ Tickled Pink (Farmers – click here for the link). As for red liners, I love Youngblood’s Truly Red. For my deep tone, I’m currently in love with NYX’s Retractable Lip Liner in the colour Plum (which I wore regularly in winter with balm on top). I’ve also recently bought a bold raspberry/purple colour from MAC called Heroine – this is getting a good thrashing and pairs so well with my lippy faves like Body Shop’s Deep Damson and MAC’s Up the Amp. As you can see, there’s a mix of more pricey lip liners and lower end ones: MAC’s are around NZ$36, NYX lip liners are under $10 but you’ve gotta buy them online, which is annoying as I like to try lipsticks before I buy. Kiwis in Auckland should get themselves into Farmers Queen Street, they have a NYX stand – yippee!

Eliminate chapped lips!

lip liner why you should botherHere’s a warning: NO lip product, whether it’s lipstick or liner, will look good if your lips aren’t well cared for first. That’s especially true for lip liner because, as it’s a matte product (i.e. got not sparkle/shimmer in it), it’ll pick up any dryness on your lips, and if you’ve got chapped lips these will stand out like dog’s balls. So get happy with lip balm! You can find some great lip balms at Quantum Health packed with natural products to help them get smooth again.

I obsess over Image Skincare’s Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex (it’s got good anti-aging properties if you are worried your lip line will end up looking like a dog’s bum). At the lower end of the price spectrum Eco Store’s lip balms are shit hot, as is Trilogy’s Everything Balm.

So there we have it: The ins and outs of lip liner. Are you convinced? Gonna give lip liner a whirl? Or if you are already a convert, what’s your must have lip liner colour?