How to Line Your Lips

Published in: Lips, Makeup Tips/How To, Video

I swear, sometimes lip liner makes me feel like the most uncoordinated person to have ever lived. On the one hand, it should be easy, right? I mean, if a kindergartner can trace a picture of a unicorn in a coloring book, a grown woman should be able to outline her lips, but nooo! Try it sometime with a dark plummy black or red. Not easy. Drawing a symmetrical, even outline can be a lot harder than it looks, especially with really bright or dark shades.


Breaking the whole process down into baby steps helps, like using short strokes with the pencil and drawing the lines on my upper lip in an upward direction.

This video is a little different than my usual review videos. It’s more on the instructional side. I hope you find it helpful, and I hope it inspires you to rock a good lip liner soon. Now’s a great time for deep plums, reds and browns. ๐Ÿ™‚

Products mentioned

As always, thank you for watching.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 25 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Genesis says:

    Oh my gosh Karen thank you so much for this video!! I bought my first lip pencil last week and looked everywhere online to see if I could find a tutorial for what to do with it. I didn’t find anything helpful and made a mess of trying to line and fill in my lips. I was about to give up on the whole idea and then I saw this post!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Genesis,

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy and hope that it makes it easier for you. What pencil did ya buy?

      Happy (almost) Friday!

      • Genesis says:

        I bought MAC Whirl because I fell in love with the color and had to have it! The only problem is it really dries out my lips. Any tips on how to fight that?

        • Karen says:

          Lots of advanced prep helps. I do a thick layer of lip balm before I go to sleep, and then when I put my makeup on in the morning, I apply another layer to let it sink in while I’m working on the rest of my face. You can blot it down and keep a thin layer of it on underneath your lip liner. Or, you can just wear your liner, and then layer a balm on top. I do that all the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Erin says:

    Lip lining is definitely sounds like something that SHOULD be really easy, but these tips are super helpful. I don’t use liner all that much, probably because my technique could use some help! Loved this.
    Erin recently posted … Review + Giveaway! Maple Holistics Natural Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

  3. Ania says:

    This video is so awesome and helpful! I find this whole lip liner business really confusing. I have maaany lipsticks, some quite bright or dark, and I never use lip liner with them. Not only because of my lack of skills but also because I don’t know which liner to buy. I mean, should the liner match the lipstick exactly? Should I have a different liner for each color of lipstick? I have really laid back and lazy approach to make up and this almost seems like too much effort for me :).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ania,

      The liner doesn’t need to match the lipstick exactly, although I think if you’re doing a very bright color or a dark color it does help to have something close or at least very similar to help keep the lipstick within the boundary of your natural lip line. If you’re happy with skipping the liner then I say don’t worry about it, and if one day you feel motivated to start trying, then get a liner that works with the most-loved lipstick in your collection. HTH, and let me know if you have any other questions.

  4. My biggest problem is that my lips aren’t even, and if I outline them, it becomes even more obvious…
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Going through phases – Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer + Treatment

  5. The way you feel about lip liner is the way I feel about liquid eyeliner, lol. Raven is a really nice shade for you. Thanks for showing us your technique! I actually don’t really have a ‘system’, I don’t really think about what I’m doing much, oops ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | New Le Petit Marseillais soap and shower products fall 2015

  6. jessica says:

    I don’t have any lip liners…I don’t line.
    jessica recently posted … Expectations

  7. Kim says:

    I hear you 100%. My lips definitely aren’t symmetrical so it just adds that extra layer of difficulty. And I’m also a lip rubber/smoosher so there was a time when the lip color had worn off but the stark, uneven liner line remained. HAHA! I started coloring in my whole lip with liner after that mess! I don’t line enough to get good at it but totally appreciate all your tips, as always! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Pavithra says:

    I loved it! I’ve been on a NARS Audacious kick lately, and those need liners, I often find though that my cupid’s bow goes missing after I line my lips. Will try your method for sure, thank you Karen ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Jane says:

    I don’t use a lip liner that much, but when I do, I use a nude one. My favorite is Bobbi Brown’s Ballet Pink. I have a similar issue with eyeliner pencils. I have used gel liners for years, but have recently started using longwear pencils. I can never make a line that is symmetical on both eyes. It always gets messy. I have started to do it in small steps as opposed to one line.

  10. Rachel R. says:

    You did a great job explaining/showing. I agree that smaller lines are teh way to go. I frequently apply the lipliner after my lipstick, too. I know it sounds weird, but it works for me.

  11. Debra says:

    Karen, what foundation are you wearing? I love it!

  12. Nicole says:

    I line my lips almost every day and always struggle to get it right. I usually have to go back and fix it somewhere. I’m going to try this method. I love these videos and the look you are wearing too BTW!

  13. Icequeen81 says:

    Love the tips, Karen, I have the same problem, I will try this out to not make mistakes, you see I only have reds, plums, and browns so basically all those shades that are not easy to apply.

    I will try also to find a mirror that is more in front of my face or below like yours, we have a mirror at home I need to be on my tiptoes to see myself on it, not handy if you want to be precise

  14. Chelsea says:

    I’ve been wanting to try the Nuxe lip balm, especially with winter coming!

    I’ve been doing lipliner a bit lately, NYX in Nude Pink! Since it’s natural-looking, it’s pretty easy to work with.

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