Tutorial: How to Line Your Lips Perfectly Every Time

Updated 05/30/19
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Most people’s thoughts on lip liner fall into one of two camps: Duh—I've totally got this or No way—I would have no idea what I’m doing.When it comes to lining your lips, the initial thought might seem easy, yet there are a few things to really keep in mind when wanting to create the perfectly shaped pout. Whether you're confident in your liner game, or you feel like you could use a few pointers, we’re guessing this might be the first time you've heard of this technique. Shown to us by celebrity makeup artist Lauren Andersen, this method is simple and effective, and a total game changer when learning how to apply liner and lipstick, for real. You’ll get a perfectly even shape every time, and it only takes four steps.

Keep reading to find out how it’s done!

Justin Coit

Step 1: Place your pencil at the highest point of your Cupid’s bow. Draw a diagonal line extending down from that point, following your lip line. Do the same thing on the other side to create an X in the center of your top lip. The X shape helps as a guideline to give you a place to start, when you might have initial trouble creating the perfect shape on your own.
Step 2: Starting from the top of your X, draw a line down toward the inner corner of your mouth. Andersen says to "sketch the line so you can adjust as you go—don’t attempt to do it in one swoop." This allows you to not feel under pressure in having to create a perfect line. Then, do the same thing on your bottom lip. Start from the inner corner, and sketch the line out just to the center of your lip, slowly and steadily. Now you start to see the shape of the lips really begin to form.
Step 3: Repeat step two on the other side. When applying the liner, Andersen says to be sure you’re using the pencil right on top of your natural lip line (a sharp pencil helps with this). If you don't have naturally full lips, it's okay to take it slightly out of your lip line, ensuring it doesn't look too overdrawn or dramatic. A great tip is to lightly smudge the line upward with your finger, and smooth it out so it looks like you've naturally got fuller lips and it looks natural.
Step 4: Fill in with your lipstick color of choice. Andersen likes to use a lip brush for this step to blend the liner and lipstick together, but using your lipstick straight from the tube or finger to lightly pat color on is perfectly fine.
Have dry lips? The key to any lipstick wearing successfully is to make sure your lips are nice and hydrated. When the skin of our lips tends to be dry, we can find that lipstick might flake or not go on as smoothly, especially more matte formulas. To keep lips in their best shape, it's good to exfoliate them a few times per week. To exfoliate, take a small amount of scrub and rub gently over the lips to ensure the entire area gets covered. Then remove the scrub with a warm washcloth, letting the natural oils from the scrub become absorbed. Follow up with your favorite lip conditioner or oil.

Versed Silk Slip Conditioning Lip Oil $10
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Fresh Beauty Sugar Lip Polish $24
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If you want to wear a totally matte formula, but need to prevent it from bleeding or flaking, try this lip primer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Primer $16
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Shop the products used in this tutorial below!

Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in True Red $23
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Nars Lipstick in Heat Wave $28
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