To Line or Not to Line – The Golden Rules of Lip Liner: A 2014 Update

In 2008, I wrote a feature about the Golden Rules of Lip Liner. Lip liner has often gotten a bad rap, especially due to the ladies that use/used really dark liner to trace their outer lip lines and then fill their lips in with light, pale pink lipstick. That is not the ombre lip look you should be going for, ladies. That never, ever looks good, simply because the contrast is too sharp and too jarring.

While I have spent the past few years avoiding lip liner or using clear versions, I am happy to update you on the amazing advancements the product has made.

The popularity of chubby lip pencils and crayons, which allow you to opt for sheer washes of color or bright, bold and concentrated looks, has helped improve liner’s rep. The textures are often velvety or glossy, but they are always creamy and smooth, which makes the actual task of lining of the lip a breeze. No pulling. No tugging. No too-sharp lines. No general harshness or too-defined lines.

Clinique’s Chubby Sticks aka Moisturizing Colour Balms are a perfect example of the versatility of lip pencils and crayons that aren’t exactly regular ol’ lip liners. The chubbies can act as both liner and lipstick, so they are multi-taskers. If you want a wash of color but not a perfect, precise look, well, you can run one of these crayons over your lips and go. If you want to use the chubby for a serious, Old Hollywood glam pout, in a rich red, then you might want to opt for a liner first, then buff it inward and cover with the lip product and color of your choice, in this case the Clinique Chubby.

NARS also offers a variety of options, like their divine Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, which is different than the Velvet Lip Liner, which is thinner and longer. More on those in a quick second. The lip pencil is a mini chubby and is crayon-like. It’s also pigment-rich, so you get the look and feel of lipstick in a pencil/crayon form, which leads to more controlled application. You can use the tip to trace, without having to deal with a severe line that shows up as the lipstick fades, and then fill in the lips. I personally love this method, since the product will wear (and wear away) more evenly and you’re not stuck with ring around the mouth.

The brand’s Velvet Lip Liners are also supremely amazing. You can use them to trace your natural lip shape —please don’t try to fake volume or Angelina lips, or to enhance your Cupid’ bow, thank you— and as a base for color. Or you can even use them as the fill-in color, too. #Versatile! Oh, the Satin Lip Pencils are pretty amazing, too. They are chubbies with a glossier texture.

It’s totes up to you how you want to use these products, which shows that linin’ lips has come a long way, baby.

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