How To Apply Lipstick Without Lip Liner

Lip liner is a valuable tool in any makeup lover's arsenal, but what to do when you're stuck without one? Here's the good news: you can still create a beautiful lip without lip liner. We researched and found the best methods of applying lipstick without lip liner, so your makeup look is always on point, even in a pinch.

The applicator can be used with liquid lipstick to trace a delicate line around the lips before filling in. For a bullet/stick lipstick, a small makeup brush will create the same effect. Just coat the brush in your lipstick of choice and line your lips as if using a lip liner. Then fill your lips in as usual. 

One thing is for sure: there's nothing worse than a sloppy lipstick application. Lip liner allows you to draw inside the lines, but bad days happen to the best of us. Maybe you can't find a good color match, or perhaps you forgot to throw a liner in your makeup bag. Luckily, the same beautiful result can still be achieved without a lip liner. Keep reading for our game-changing tips and tricks.

A beautiful woman putting on red lipstick, How To Apply Lipstick Without Lip Liner

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What Can I Use If I Don't Have Lip Liner?

A beautiful woman putting on a light pink colored lipstick

Okay, so you're in a sticky situation. You want to apply your favorite lipstick, but you don't have a lip liner to ensure the application is neat and precise. There's no need to panic; the solution is right in front of you! If you use the right tools and techniques, your lipstick itself can be used to mimic a liner's properties.

Whether it's a stick or liquid lipstick, we've got it covered.

Check out this article to learn some useful lipstick knowledge: Does Lipstick Expire If Unopened? Here's What You Need To Know

How To Apply Liquid Lipstick Without Lip Liner

Liquid lipstick is the best way to get a crisp, opaque, and (usually) matte wash of color all over your lips, but the application process is notoriously finicky. There are two ways to execute this look flawlessly, even without a lip liner.

First, you can start from the outside in. The best part of liquid lipstick is that precise applicator, so use it to your advantage. With a careful sweeping motion, trace the outer edges of your lips with the tip of the applicator. From there, you can fill in the center of your lips. This technique requires a steady hand, but the finished look is worth the practice.

It may be in your best interest to start from the center of your lips and slowly paint outward if you are fainter heart. This allows you to work slower and apply more carefully. Follow the video tutorial below for a step-by-step guide on how to perfect the look.

Check out this Honest Beauty Liquid Lipstick in Fearless on Amazon. 

How To Apply Bullet Lipstick Without Lip Liner

Classic stick lipstick, otherwise known as bullet lipstick, has been around for centuries. The creamy consistency that makes it feel so luscious on the lips is the same reason it can be difficult to apply straight from the tube. Without a lip liner to keep bullet lipstick in its right place, you'll need to apply it with special care.

The easiest way to do this is with a small, precise makeup brush (something with a flat or pointed tip is best). Pick up some lipstick with the brush and use it to trace a line along the outer edge of your lips. From there, you can continue using the brush to paint in the center of your lips or apply straight from the tube. The guidelines you created with the brush will ensure that the finished look is flawless.

Check out this Retractable Lip Brush With Natural Bristles on Amazon. 

What Is Clear Lip Liner For?

Any avid wearer of bright lipstick knows the struggle of bleeding and feathering. Especially without lip liner, bold lipstick colors can bleed into the skin around your lips throughout the day, leaving an unappealing, messy finish. This is where clear lip liner comes in.

The purpose of a clear lip liner is to create a barrier around the outer edge of your lips, so your lipstick doesn't travel outside the lines. Its waxy consistency is like an impenetrable wall – that's to say, it does work. If bleeding or feathering is a problem you regularly face with your favorite red lipstick, a clear lip liner is worth a try.

Check out this article for more info on lip liner: Can Lip Liner Be Used As Eyeliner?

Protip: if you're prone to flaky lips or patchy lipstick syndrome, clear lip liner can be applied all over the lips to create a smooth, even base for your lipstick. Think of it as a hack for when you need a lip primer but don't have one laying around.

Check out this Maybelline New York Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner in Clear. 

What Is Lip Primer For?

Like face primer, lip primer's purpose is to create a smooth, even base for makeup and help it last all day without fading or smudging. Lip primer, in particular, has two beneficial properties. First, it moisturizes the lips, so they don't crack and dry out. Second, a good lip primer dries to a sticky consistency that will grab onto your lipstick and keep it looking beautiful for hours and hours.

Some lip primers have the third added benefit of coming in a nude shade rather than clear. This will wash the natural color out of your lips, so your lipstick applies as true to shade as possible.

Check out this NYX Professional Makeup Lip Primer in Nude on Amazon. 

Is Lip Primer Necessary?

Although lip primer is a great tool to have on hand, it's not completely necessary to apply lipstick like a pro. If you don't want to shell out a couple of bucks for a primer, you can create a similar effect by only taking good care of your lips and prepping them well.

The two main tenets of lip care are exfoliation and moisture. Before applying lipstick, slough off dead skin with a dry toothbrush or washcloth. Then generously apply lip balm for ultra-soft lips. Although primer is helpful, there is no substitution for thorough lip care.

Check out this Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Natural Mint on Amazon. 

Can I Wear Lip Liner Without Lipstick?

This question may confound some people – why would anyone wear lip liner on its own? But if you want a semi-defined lip with a natural finish, this is an awesome trick. Keep reading to learn how to do it right.

Stick To Soft Pinks And Nudes

A red lip liner is perfect when paired with red lipstick, but wear it by itself, and it will look a little clownish. This liner technique is for a natural pout, so only use soft, natural colors. Pinks, nudes, even mauves will work well. For the best results, make sure the color is only one or two shades darker than your natural lips.

Check out this L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner in the shade Au Naturale on Amazon. 

Shade Inside The Lines

Unlike your typical liner application, you won't want a stark line for this look. Instead, define the outer edges of your lips and then bring the pencil inward to lightly shade your lips. For an ombre effect, stop before you get all the way to the center. This creates a soft wash of color that plays off the natural tones in your skin (and it's also why you don't want to choose a shade that's too dark).

Top It With A Gloss Or Balm

To finish off the look, lightly tap your favorite lip gloss or lip balm on the center of your lips. Go for gloss if you want a little glam, but lip balm (tinted or not) is perfect for a naturally beautiful finish. Voila! A subtle wash of color and some extra moisture – it's the best of both worlds.

Check out this ELF Moisturizing Lip Laquer in the shade Bubbles on Amazon. 

Get Ready To Apply Your Lipstick Like A Pro

With these helpful tips and tricks up your sleeve, you'll be serving bold looks in no time. Remember: you don't need a lip liner to wear beautiful bright lipstick. Use the precise applicator on your liquid lipstick to draw yourself a guide, or pick up a detail brush to mimic lip liner with your favorite bullet lipstick. Either way, you'll be more than ready to show off your smile!

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