Lip liners come in varied forms, mostly pencil, but the size of the pencils and the creaminess varies from brand to brand. It's ultimately a question of personal choice. In any case, there is one inalienable truth when it comes to lip liners: They are useless unless they are sharpened. It's staggering how many women will drop $15-$20 on a good lip liner, yet not pay the extra $5 to get a high-quality sharpener. Quality does make a difference. Bad sharpeners can actually cause the wood in the pencil to splinter. There are better ways to get the illusion of bee-stung lips without poking them with a splinter of wood from your lip-liner pencil.
All lip-liner pencils are not created equal. If, as you draw the pencil across your lips, your lip goes with it, the formula is far too dry. The pencil should glide smoothly across the lip surface, leaving a fairly strong pigment.
Application Technique Using Lip Liner and Lip Color
Here is the easiest way to apply lip liner:
Start at the perimeter of your lip line and, using light, feathery strokes, bleed the color inward toward the center of your lips. This allows you to blend the color as you apply it. If you are following the liner with an application of sheer lipstick, don't overapply the lip liner, as it will defeat the purpose of the sheer lip color.
Applying the liner in one solid stroke is fine for those already adept at lip liner application. But for novices, it can be easy to distort the line of the lip accidentally. Also, keep your mouth slightly open as you apply, since this keeps the lips closest to their natural shape. If you are trying to alter the shape of your lips-we'll tell you how later-still follow your lips' natural shape with lip liner for the preliminary application. Changing the shape will require you to build on the shape you already have.
Once you have drawn the basic shape of your lips, step away from the mirror and take a look at yourself from a distance. Taking a step baok is a good thing to do at numerous points in the process of applying makeup, since most people are not going to look at you while standing three inches from your face. Stepping back helps you keep a sense of balance and a lighter (or heavier, when needed) hand in terms of the overall impact you are creating.
When you are satisfied with the shape you have outlined, you are ready for the lipstick. Many women wonder if applying lipstick with a brush as opposed to straight from the tube is really such a big deal. If you want your color to last, and you don't want half your lipstick to come off with the first cup of cafe can leche you drink at the office in the morning, brush application is much more effective. You'll use less product, but more of it adheres to the lips, and the pigment is more evenly distributed. Applying lipstick straight from the tube leaves more pigment on the lips, and often too much the excess can bleed into any fine lines around the lips. Blotting the lips with a tissue, a technique to remove excess lipstick from the lips, is an unnecessary step when applying color with the brush. A brush allows for more precise application, which is important when you are creating vampy, matte lips a la Rita Hayworth or using a complicated lipstick application technique, like changing the shape of your lips or creating the illusion of pouty, full labios.