Yes, You Can Wear Lip Liner Without Lipstick

September 24, 2020
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
hands holding NYX Professional Makeup Dazed and Diffused Blurring Lipstick
Whether it’s because you’re in a pinch and forgot your lipstick or simply because you really love the color of the lip liner, chances are you’ve used your lip liner as an impromptu lipstick. And if you have, then you know it can be a little drying. To find out how to master the *just* lip liner technique, we reached out to Giorgio Armani Celebrity Makeup Artist Tim Quinn for his golden rules of application.

STEP 1: Make Sure Your Lips Are Prepped

If you’re looking to wear only lip liner as your lip color, you want to make sure your lips are prepped and ready for a pencil (as opposed to a creamier formula). “The lips need to be well hydrated,” says Quinn, “and I like to scrub the lips with the Mizzi Cosmetics Lip Luxe Lip Treatment.” After your lips are flake-free and moisturized, the color comes next.

STEP 2: It’s All About the Shape

Quinn notes that the key technique to lining and filling in your lips with liner has to do with mastering your lip shape. ”I make sure to create the desired shape first, for example, really defining the Cupid’s bow,” he says. Next, as far as color goes, multiple shades are going to be essential here. “I usually like to combine two shades to outline and fill the outer edges with a slightly deeper tone and fill with a coordinated lighter tone for the rest.” 

One of his favorite shades includes the Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Lip Pencil in #5 for a literal your-lips-but-better finish.  We like the NYX Professional Makeup Dazed and Diffused Blurring Lipstick because the crayon format offers the same precision as a lip liner. 
NYX Professional Makeup Dazed and Diffused Blurring Lipstick

STEP 3: Lip Balm Is Your BFF

After you’ve completed your color, you should be good to go — unless you feel that your liner is appearing too matte. “Especially in deep plums and berries where the colors might feel too matte, feel free to add a bit of lip balm over top,” says Quinn. This will add dimension to your lip liner shade and help your finish feel less drying.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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