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Lip Liner 101: How To Get That Perfect Pout And 5 Lip Liners To Get

Get that perfect pout with our round up of lip liners we love.

A lipstick’s 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. Can you use a lip liner as a lipstick by simply filling in your lips?

Yes, says Melissa. “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,” she adds.

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 to try.

Nars Precision Lip Liner, $36 from Nars counters at Tangs, Robinsons and Sephora
This pigmented lip pencil has a budge-proof formula, and ingredients such as vitamin E, silk powder and mango seed oil to keep lips nourished and soft. Urban Decay 24/7 Lip Pencil, $32 from Urban Decay and Sephora
This lip pencil has a waterproof formula that doesn’t dry up lips as vitamin E, jojoba oil and cottonseed oil keep your pucker soft and nourished. There’s a clear shade (which is their best-selling shade) called Ozone, which you can use for any lipstick since it goes on colourless. M.A.C Cosmetics Cremestick Liner, $16 from M.A.C Cosmetics
This lip pencil is retractable, which means you never have to sharpen it. The formula is creamy and glides on easily too. Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Precision Glide Lip Liner, $28 from Elizabeth Arden
With a creamy formula that’s enriched with vitamins A, C and E, this retractable lip pencil helps keep lips soft and nourished. It’s also waterproof, smudge-proof and transfer-proof, and comes with an inbuilt sharpener. Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Lip Liner, $30 from Sephora
You’ve probably heard of how Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick doesn’t budge, so here’s its lip liner counterpart. This retractable lip liner comes in 30 shades, including uncommon ones such as navy blue and green, to match its Liquid Lipstick and Studded Lipstick ranges, so you can play around with different looks if you want to.