12 Genius Lip Liner Tips From Makeup Artists

Brace yourself for several "aha" moments.

Lip liner is one of those ubiquitous beauty products that we always seem to have lying on top of our bedroom vanities or taking up prime real estate inside our makeup bags. We know that it works great as a barrier to keep lipstick from bleeding and that it can even be worn on its own as a lip color. But we haven't been convinced to make lip liner a part of our daily routine, until now.

We asked a few of the best makeup artists in the business to share their unique uses for lip liner. Below are 12 hacks that will change your life for the better.

Lip liner is great for preventing your lipstick from feathering and creating the illusion of fuller lips.
PeopleImages.com via Getty Images
Lip liner is great for preventing your lipstick from feathering and creating the illusion of fuller lips.

Work at a 45-degree angle. "Hold your lip liner at a 45-degree angle and apply it with short, light handed strokes. You never want a harsh line or else it will look terrible when your lipstick/gloss wears off. And secondly, if it takes a heavy hand to get any color from your pencil it has dried out and you need a new one." - Kari Bauce, head makeup artist at HuffPost Live

Move your chin up and down to see all your angles better. "Applying lip liner is all well and good, but if it isn't straight it might not look as good as it could. When you think you're done, put your chin to your neck and look in the mirror. You will see the top lip line from a different perspective, almost 3D, and this will help you even out any edges. For the bottom lip, lift your chin so you can see your neck and then check the bottom lip line in the mirror. It's a key trick I use on set." - Katie Jane Hughes, global color ambassador for Butter London Cosmetics

Use contrasting shades for a fuller pout. "If you want to make your lips appear fuller while still looking natural, use a slightly darker lip liner to define the bow and the middle of the bottom lip. Then, blend it with a lighter shade liner like Chantecaille Lip Definer in Nuance." - Melanie Inglessis, a celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Kate Hudson, Lea Michele, Olivia Wilde and Amber Heard

Nude also creates a plump illusion. "For quick lip definition, use MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Subculture or Stripdown -- both colors apply a natural tone and add the illusion of fuller lips. Try to draw the line softly right on the border of your lips. This will help add volume." - MAC Cosmetics Senior Artist Gisel Calvillo

Go clear for a long-lasting finish. "If you don't like the look or idea of liner, but still want your lipstick/gloss to stay in place, opt for a clear, mattifying pencil that will keep your makeup in place without adding extra color. Make Up For Ever has [clear liners]." - Bauce

Apply lipstick first, and then add liner. "You'll see exactly where you'll need to line. And when your lipstick starts to fade away, it fades away with your liner. That way you're not left with a ring around your lips." - Cassandra Garcia, Bobbi Brown Editorial Makeup Artist

For more intensity, start with your liner. "Create the desired shape by drawing in the edges of the lip; the more pressure you apply, the more intense the effect will be. Fill in the entire lip with the liner for an all over color that can be worn alone or layered with lipsticks and gloss." - Jake Broullard, NARS Lead Makeup Stylist

Build a guideline starting at your cupid's bow. "Apply a little 'X' on the Cupid's bow and then a centimeter line in the center of bottom lip line. It creates a good map for the rest of your lip. Do it in stages. Break it down for yourself. Remember small goals are easier to reach." - Hughes

Don't sharpen too much. "I like the pencil to be a little dull so that it doesn’t create too severe of a line and becomes blended inside the lips." - Inglessis

Transform your liner into a carpenter's pencil for more precision. "Wrap the tip of the pencil in a tissue and squeeze the pencil into a flat tip, turning your lip liner into a carpenter's pencil. This gives you the best tool to hug the corners of your mouth." - MAC Cosmetics Senior Artist Keri Blair

Wipe clean between each use. "I always recommend wiping off with a Kleenex after, especially if you're putting lipstick or gloss and you're going over it again to keep it fresh." - Garcia

White tips are a sign of expiration. "Watch out for any white film that forms at the tip of any pencil product. That means it has turned and you should no longer use it." - Bauce

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