Does Lip Liner Go On Before Or After Lipstick?

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. 

There are many reasons why people use lip liner. It can be used to help shape and define lips, to make lips look bigger, or to help lipstick last longer. If you’re a beginner at applying makeup, you may be wondering if lip liner should be applied before or after lipstick. For yoVur convenience, we did the work to help you discover which is the correct way to apply lip liner and why.

Lip liner is usually applied before lipstick. Just like you would apply primer before foundation or eyeshadow, lip liner acts as a primer for your lipstick. It can also help to keep lipstick contained only to your lips.

Lip liner can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your lip makeup. Now that you know when to apply it, let’s look at the reasons why you might use lip liner and how to apply it perfectly. Keep reading for more information.

A makeup artist putting on lip liner to her model for a photoshoot, Does Lip Liner Go On Before Or After Lipstick?

Why Would You Want To Use Lip Liner?

Different colored make up pencils on a white background

There are three main reasons as to why you might want to use lip liner. You might want to use lip liner if:

  1. You’re using a moisture-rich lipstick.
  2. Your lips are thin.
  3. You want your lipstick to last a long time.

Let’s take a closer look at these three instances and why lip liner helps with each of them.

You’re Using A Moisture-Rich Lipstick

There are two main kinds of lipstick: moisture-rich and matte. Matte lipstick dries with a flat appearance, while moisture-rich lipstick tends to be more slick and shiny. Moisture-rich lipsticks are designed to keep your lips moisturized and hydrated.

The downside to using moisture-rich lipstick is that it tends to bleed or come off more easily than matte lipstick. Applying lip liner to your lips and concealer around your mouth before applying lipstick can help stop the lipstick from bleeding onto the skin around your mouth.

Your Lips Are Thin

Some people have lips that are thin, and one might want to make them look bigger or more full. Lip liner can help with this as well. This works best if you use a lip liner that is a shade darker than your natural lip color. The lip liner will give dimension to your lips, making them look more full.

You Want Your Lipstick To Last A Long Time

Lip liner has the same consistency as wax. This means that it will hold onto lipstick and make it last longer than it would if you didn’t wear lip liner. If you need your lipstick to last for several hours, apply lip liner to your lips. It will help protect against fading and keep lipstick from coming off when you eat or drink.

What Are The Steps To Perfect Lip Liner? 

A woman applying a red lip liner on a white background

There are different ways to apply lip liner depending on the look you want to achieve. In any case, there are certain steps you need to take before applying lip liner to help your lip liner go on more smoothly and evenly. We will discuss what to do before applying lip liner and then discuss different ways to apply lip liner to achieve specific effects.

What To Do Before Applying Lip Liner

  1. Exfoliate your lips with a lip scrub if they are flaky.
  2. Moisturize your lips with a moisturizing lip balm.
  3. Let the lip balm dry for up to 20 minutes.
  4. Prime your lips with lip primer. This step is optional but may help your lip liner stay on better.
  5. Choose a lip liner that is either neutral or matches your lipstick.
  6. Sharpen the lip liner to both remove bacteria from previous uses and create a more precise line.

Click here to see this lip moisturizer on Amazon.

For more detailed steps, see our article on How To Apply Red Lipstick.

How To Apply Lip Liner To Your Natural Lip Line

  1. Open your lips slightly to more accurately trace your lip line.
  2. Trace your natural lip line by starting at the center and working outward. To make the liner even on both sides, it helps to draw an ‘X’ at the center of your lips where your cupid’s bow is and work your way outward.
  3. Use short strokes to trace your lip line instead of one sweeping movement.
  4. After you’ve lined your lips, apply your lipstick.

How To Apply Lip Liner To Make Lips Look Bigger

  1. Choose a nude lip liner to make your lips look more natural if you aren’t applying lipstick, otherwise choose a color that matches your lipstick.
  2. Blur your natural lip line by applying concealer to your lips and the area around your mouth.
  3. For slightly larger lips, trace around your lips just outside your natural lip line.
  4. For noticeably larger lips, use a lip liner that is a shade darker than your lipstick. 
  5. Near the corners of your mouth, return to tracing your natural lip line. This will ensure that your lips only appear larger in the center, which results in a more natural look.
  6. Apply lipstick to the center of your lips.
  7. Use a brush to blend together the lipstick and lip liner and spread the lipstick to the corners of your lips.
  8. Use your finger to smooth out any noticeable lines.
  9. Add lip gloss to make your lips look plumper (optional).

How To Apply Lip Liner To Make Lips Look Smaller

  1. Apply concealer to your lips and around the edges of your lips to blur your natural lip line.
  2. Trace your lips with nude lip liner inside your natural lip line. 
  3. Fill in your lips with lip liner.
  4. Use your finger to smooth out the liner.
  5. Dip the end of a cotton swab in makeup remover and run the swab around the edges of your lips to clean up the line.

Do You Use Lip Liner All Over Your Lips?

A woman drawing her lips on a pink nude lipstick

Lip liners do not have to be used just for outlining your lips. They can be used all over your lips as well. Here are some reasons why you might want to do so.

  • Since lip liner can help hold lipstick in place due to it’s waxy texture, you can use lip liner as a primer by applying it all over your lips and blending it out.
  • You can also use lip liners in place of matte lipstick because lip liners have a matte finish. Apply the lip liner like you would lipstick, then use your finger to smooth it out.

Using Lip Liner To Fill In Your Lips

  1. Use a nude or colored liner to outline your lips.
  2. Use short strokes to fill in your lips with lip liner. 
  3. You can wear the lip liner by itself or apply lipstick on top. If you choose to apply lipstick on top, apply the lipstick starting at the center and working outward.
  4. Dip the end of a cotton swab in makeup remover and run the swab around the edges of your lips to clean up the line. 
  5. If you have lip liner or lipstick outside of your lip line that is difficult to remove, apply concealer around your lips to cover it and help the product on your lips stay in place.

How Do You Use Clear Lip Liner?

Clear lip liner is very versatile and great for people who are new to lip liner or uncomfortable applying it. It can be used as a primer to help your lipstick stay on longer and prevent fading and bleeding. Use it the same way you would regular lip liner by lining your lips with it and then filling them in, or line around your lips to keep colored lip liner and lipstick from going beyond your natural lip line.

Click here to see this clear lip liner on Amazon.

You May Also Like: Does Lip Liner Keep Lipstick From Bleeding?

In Closing

We hope this guide was helpful in teaching you the proper way to apply lip liner. Lip liner can be used in multiple ways, whether it’s making your lipstick last longer or making your lips look bigger or smaller. If the thought of lip liner still makes you uncomfortable, you can always use the clear kind to achieve similar effects. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply