How to apply lip liner? Step by step guide & video tutorials

How to apply lipliner? Do you want to know how to apply lip liner? We have gathered all our best tips!

What is lip liner?

Lipliner or lip pencil works as a kind of primer for your lips: it makes your lip color stay on for a long time without smudging or bleeding.

Never used lip pencil before and find it scary? Don’t worry! These techniques look a little intimidating at first, but with some practice you’ll get the hang of them really quickly.

We’re going to show you step by step (with helpful videos and tutorials) how to apply your lipliner and give you all our best tips & tricks to apply lipliner just like a professional makeup artist.


Photo: Rafael Martino / Pexels

What types of lipliners are there?

There are different types of lipliners and lip pencils, what’s the difference and which one do you need?

  • Lip pencil (you have to sharpen it yourself with a special sharpener for lip pencils, don’t use an ordinary pencil sharpener).
  • Mechanical lip pencil (these have to be unscrewed and are more difficult to get a sharper point)

What do you need:

What products do you actually need to start creating a beautiful lip look? Basically, you can use the same products for each technique, it’s the technique that differs.

As a beginner we recommend you to choose a regular lip pencil and a good sharpener. A mechanical lip pencil is harder to sharpen, which is not so useful for beginners.

  • Lip Scrub (you need this to remove loose skin from your lips, you can also do this with a toothbrush if you don’t want to buy a lip scrub. My favorite lip scrub is just a little sugar with a drop of almond oil and I make it myself)
  • Lip balm (this will make sure your lips are well nourished before you start lining your lips)
  • Lipliner
  • Small lip brush (optional)
  • Lipstick (optional)
  • Lip gloss (optional, but can add a nice little extra depth to your lip look)
  • Concealer and brush for your concealer

Applying lip liner: natural look

Step 1: Prepare your lips

First, use the lip scrub to get rid of dead skin cells. Then apply a little lip balm to your lips.

Give the lip balm a few minutes to soak in, then you can continue with this step-by-step plan.

Step 2: Apply concealer

Apply concealer to the skin just outside your lip line and do this on both your upper and lower lip.

Next, blend the concealer either with your fingertips or with a damp sponge (hello beautyblender) into your foundation (or bare skin, if you’re not wearing foundation) until you touch the edges of your lips.

Blend the concealer out nicely so it doesn’t stand out too much.

Step 3: Line your upper lip

If you are using a lip pencil, always make sure the tip is not too sharp, this way you can avoid injuring yourself and get a more natural result.

Start by making an X-shape on your cupid’s bow (the point just below your nose where your lips meet in a heart shape).

Then continue lining your lips from your cupid’s bow toward the outside of your lips until you reach the outer corners of your lips.

You don’t need to line your inner corners of your mouth, but be sure to check how this looks on you. This look is not for everyone and can lead to a bit of a weird mouth shape.

We recommend never over-lining the corners of your mouth and just leaving them as they are.

Step 4: Line your lower lip

To outline your lower lip, start at the center of your lower lip and work your way to the corners of your mouth, staying just inside the line of your natural lip shape.

This takes a lot of practice; it’s not that easy to apply lip liner. So don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t go easily the first time and keep practicing!

Step 5: Fill in your lips

Now it’s time to fill in your lips. You can do this with even more lipliner (don’t use the tip of your lip pencil, use the longer side) or with a lipstick.

Apply some lipstick over your lips and blend the lipliner and lipstick out slightly to help the color fade better.

Next, take a close look at your lip line in the mirror, check and blend the lipstick into the lipliner.

Does it look good? Then you can move on to coloring in your lips. Apply some lipstick with a brush in the center of your lips and work outwards. Blot with a tissue to remove excess lipstick.

Repeat (with tissue blotting) until you achieve the desired coverage of your favorite lipstick.

How to outline your lips with lip liner

One of the biggest trends in make-up in recent years (read more about the make-up trends of 2022 here) was created by Kylie Jenner: she started to outline her lips more and more in order to achieve a full effect. Big lips are an incredibly big trend.

Not blessed with full lips? Then you can definitely try these techniques to fake the effect of fuller lips.

Step 1: Prepare your lips

We are going to use the same method and gently exfoliate your lips with an exfoliator, toothbrush or washcloth.

Then treat them with a lip balm and leave it on a little longer – up to 15 minutes – because this look requires more precision. You also don’t want super-smooth, slippery lips to start applying your lip liner.

Step 2: Apply concealer

Apply your concealer along your lip line and blend it out with a sponge or concealer brush until you can’t see where your lips end and your skin begins.

It’s best to apply the concealer as precisely as possible, because this will ensure that you can create a new lip line.

Step 3: Overline your lips

Starting at your cupid’s bow, use your lip pencil to draw short strokes on your skin right above the natural border of your upper lip.

Use short strokes the first few times you do this. Once you get better at this technique, it’s best to switch to longer strokes, which will give a more natural effect.

Once you have drawn this line, do the same on the center of your lower lip.

This is the place where your lips naturally look the fullest, so it’s a good starting point for determining how much (or little) you want to overline your mouth.

Work from the center to the corners of your mouth. By the way, you never overline the corners of your mouth.

Step 4: Fill in your lips

Starting with your upper lip, use the flat side of the pencil (not the tip) to fill in your lips.

Repeat the same on your lower lip.

This technique provides a good base for other products. Apply lipstick over your lips, dab and repeat as we saw in the previous technique.

Lipliner hacks and tips:

In the video below, you will learn the very best hacks to go about lining your lips as naturally and beautifully as possible.

Be sure to watch the video, but here are some of the best tips, tools and take-awasys from this video:

  • Use the side of your lip pencil to fill in your entire lip area
  • Use less pressure on your pencil when coloring your entire lips, this way you won’t get a streaky effect
  • Use the center of your nose as a guideline, not the center of your lips.
  • If you are outlining your lips or correcting your own lip shape, use a matte lipstick instead of a glossy one: it helps to hide your actual lip shape.

Lip liner for drooping corners of the mouth

If you have droopy mouth corners you should check out the video below: Professional Makeup Artist (MUA) Lisa Eldridge explains the best way to apply lip liner if you have droopy mouth corners.

Her tips allow you to slightly change your mouth shape without making your face look sad.

Really, these are great tips and I definitely recommend you try them!

The benefits of lipliner

So you use lipliner to create a nice base for your lipstick or your lip gloss (you can also just wear the lipliner without anything else), but what other benefits does lipliner have?

  • You get a more intense lipstick look thanks to lip liner: a striking color will stand out even more thanks to the lipliner base. Think of it as a base coat that makes your color pop! That’s why it’s best to apply your lipliner all over your lips and not just as a line. This way you get extra staying power and your lipstick stands out more: win-win!
  • No runny lipstick: especially with creamier lipsticks you can run the risk of your lipstick running during the day. Very irritating, and makeup is so much more pleasant when it’s ‘one and done’.
  • Lipliners come in many different colors and especially brands that are made by professional makeup artists and MUAs, provide a matching lipliner with each lipstick.
  • You can correct the shape of your lips with lipliner: whether you want to overline your lips or get rid of some imperfections, you can fix this just fine with lipliner.

Can you use lipliner without lipstick?

Yes, you can! Just make sure you moisturize your lips with a good lip balm, otherwise the lip liner can feel dry on your lips.

After applying the lip pencil, you can apply some gloss or lip balm if your lips feel too dry.

Tips for beginners

Do you find it very difficult to get a nice line with lip liner? You can also practice with clear or nude colored lipliners first.

This will help you master the lip shape and make your lipstick stay on better without having to worry about all the lipliner details.


Well known brands of lipliners and lip pencils

  • L’Oréal
  • Maybelline
  • Charlotte Tilbury (I love using these lipliners and think the quality is fantastic, these lipliners are really my favorite and I think they are the best I have tried)

More makeup tips:

How to apply red lipstick?
How to make smokey eyes
What eyeshadow looks good with green eyes
Makeup trends 2021 / Beauty trends 2022
Make-up looks for the holidays
Make-up looks for Christmas
Make-up looks for New Year
How to apply bronzer?
How to apply highlighter


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