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The Common Lip Liner Mistake You Might Be Making

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In the last few years, lip liner has become almost as essential to me as mascara. That may sound crazy to some, but 1.) my lips are on the smaller side, and 2.) the couple of times I had lip filler years ago, my dermatologist told me I had an uneven lip border (it’s not a perfect outline all the way around). This is actually the case for many people due to aging, damage, injury, etc., and the easiest way to fix it (temporarily) is with lip liner. It’s also the easiest way to make your lips look bigger, and since my filler has completely worn off, I now rely on my trusted pencils to get the job done.

However, there are a couple very common lip liner mistakes people make, and in order to help make the product as helpful and easy-to-use as possible, we’ve turned to the pros to set the record straight.

Mistake #1: Matching Your Lip Liner to Your Lipstick

This is one lesson I learned from a few different makeup artists, who learned it from the late makeup maestro Kevyn Aucoin: “Kevyn believed your lip pencil should match your natural lip color, so you can overdraw or balance the lip shape in a natural way, no matter what lip color you choose to finish your look,” says Nick Lujan, global director of artistry & education for Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. “Kevyn Aucoin’s Unforgettable Lip Definer is the last lip liner you will ever need [it’s also a 2021 NewBeauty Award Winner!]. Once you find your perfect shade, you will never want to take it off. You can wear it on its own or as a base to any lipstick color.”

Celebrity makeup artist Ermahn Ospina loves Aucoin’s liner tip, too. “I love this trick we got from Kevyn about matching the lip liner to the lips, not the lipstick. I remember that when he shared his knowledge in the ‘90s through his incredible makeup books. We were going through a period of natural makeup colors at the time, especially for lips.”

Mistake #2: Not Blending in Your Lip Liner

Many lip liners come with a blending brush or tip one end, which are meant to be used after applying the liner. “Use the lip brush to soften and blend the edges of the liner inward toward the center of the mouth,” says Lujan. “You can also use it to apply lipstick and stretch the color from the center of the mouth to the edges of the lips with precision.” And if your lip liner doesn’t come with an attached blending brush, many brands sell a lip brush that can be used the same way, and should be used to make sure the liner looks most natural. Two we like are Luxie 160 Lip Brush ($6) and Sigma Beauty L04 Detailed Lip Brush ($15). “In order to have a successful, beautiful look, it is also best to make sure your lips are moisturized to allow the lip liner to glide on easier,” says Ospina.

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