How To Sharpen Plastic Lip Liner

Have you ever tried to apply lip liner from a dull pencil? It makes your makeup routine even harder. The last thing you want is to ruin your flawless look with a dull lip pencil. Maybe your liner was plastic and you didn't know how to sharpen it. Lucky for you, we know all about sharpening plastic lip liner.

The best sharpener for pencil-style plastic lip liner is a sharpener specifically designed for plastic makeup pencils. Most eyeliner and lip liner sharpeners at the drug stores are made for wood. These are not the best choice for plastic pencils. Once you have the correct sharpener, you sharpen plastic lip liner the same way you would sharpen any other makeup pencil. 

You probably have some more questions about plastic lip liner. Keep reading to learn some helpful tips and tricks and alternative methods for sharpening plastic lip liner. You'll never have to apply dull lip liner again!

Girl applying lipstick with cosmetic pencil on the lips. How To Sharpen Plastic Lip Liner

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What Is Plastic Lip Liner?

How To Sharpen Plastic Lip Liner

Most lip liners are either wooden or plastic. This means the pigment you apply to your lips is either encased in a wooden pencil or a plastic pencil. Plastic lip liner refers to the liners encased in plastic.

Many wooden and plastic lip liners look similar. If you are casually shopping and pick up a new liner on a whim, you may not even realize you bought a plastic liner.

Unless you thoroughly research the product you want to buy, it may not be obvious just from looking at a picture of the liner or viewing it through a plastic case. You might even think it's a wooden pencil until you try to sharpen it with your normal sharpener and turn your precious lip liner into a mangled mess.

How To Sharpen Lip Liner That Is Plastic 

Sometimes a regular sharpener isn't enough to create a clean sharp point on plastic lip liners. Let's look at the best kind of sharpeners as well as some helpful tricks to make the process easier.

Use A Double-Blade Sharpener

If you don't already have a double-blade makeup sharpener, you need to get one for plastic lip liners. Plastic is more difficult to sharpen than wood.  This isn't because plastic is stronger but simply because plastic is softer. Strong blades are designed for wood, but they can tear up plastic pencils.

These double blade sharpeners have a primary and secondary blade system. The secondary blade improves sharpening to create cleaners tips and smoother edges.  Having two sharp blades instead of one strong blade is better for sharpening plastic. Plastic pencils are sharpened faster and cleaner with double blade systems.

Glo Skin Beauty Pencil Sharpener

Here is a wonderful double-blade sharpener. This German-designed tool minimizes waste, so your lip liner lasts longer. Also, you can choose to sharpen to a rounded or pointed tip. Whether you want a defined pout or a smooth natural look, you can shape your liner to deliver the perfect results with this sharpener.

Click here to view it on Amazon.

Use A Single-Blade Sharpener 

It is possible to sharpen plastic lip liner with single-blade sharpeners. Just remember that double-blade sharpeners work better. With single-blade sharpeners, there is a high chance your lip liner will come out destroyed, not sharp, or jagged.

If you want to use a single-blade sharpener, make sure it is a high-quality, durable sharpener. You need a sharpener with a very sharp— but not too strong—blade to sharpen plastic effectively.

Lord & Berry Jumbo Makeup Pencil Sharpener 

Here is an excellent single-blade lip liner sharpener. It is specifically designed for large pencils but accommodates pencils of all sizes. It is sharp enough to delicately sharpen plastic lip liner without destroying or breaking it. There is even a cleaning pick included, so you can clear out residue after you sharpen your pencils.

Click here to view it on Amazon.

Tips And Tricks For Sharpening Plastic Lip Liner 

Now that you know what kind of sharpener you should use for plastic lip liner, let's look at some helpful tips and tricks to make sharpening even easier.

Put Your Lip Liner In The Freezer

Freezing makeup before you apply it sounds absurd, but we promise this works! Simply place your lip liner in a freezer for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, take it out, and sharpen it. The cold helps the pigment harden, so your sharpener creates a smoother cut. Remember not to leave your liner in the freezer for too long. A half an hour is enough to help with the sharpening process.

In case you are a skeptic about lip liner in general, check out this post: Do You Really Need Lip Liner? 

Clean Your Sharpener Regularly 

It is important to sanitize your makeup pencil sharpener regularly. Makeup buildup happens quickly. These layers of old makeup inside your liner sharpener interfere with the sharpening process. A dirty sharpener filled with makeup residue won't give you the sharpening results you are looking for.

Luckily, cleaning makeup sharpeners is very easy. All you need is rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.

First, dip a clean cotton swab in rubbing alcohol until it is soaked. Then, wipe down the inside and outside of your sharpener. Repeat as needed until you no longer see makeup residue when you wipe the sharpener with the cotton swab. We recommend doing this at least once a week. It helps the liner sharpening process and helps prevent infection from bacteria.

Test Liner On Your Hand

Before you apply your lip liner, test it on the back of your hand. Draw a small line to see how smooth and even it is. This is especially helpful if you don't have a great sharpener. Since your makeup pencils may be too sharp or jagged, you can shape the tip by drawing back and forth until the liner is smooth.

How Do You Sharpen Your Lip Liner Without A Sharpener?

If you find yourself without a makeup sharpener, there are a few ways you can sharpen lip liner without one. However, it is always best to use a sharpener. They are better at sharpening and safer to use.

X-Acto Knife 

If you happen to have an x-acto knife, you can use it to sharpen lip liner pencils. Apply pressure towards the tip of the pencil in a downward motion. Make sure to move the blade away from you. Be very careful, as these knives are very sharp.

No 1 Precision Knife 

Here is an X-acto knife. This nitrate-coated blade is extremely sharp and meant for fabric, paper, thin metal, and plastic. It will sharpen your makeup pencil, but be very careful.

Click here to view it on Amazon.


If you can't find your makeup sharpener, you can probably find a pair of scissors. In a pinch, this will sharpen lip liner pencils too. Carefully place the pencil head in between the blades. Then, gently shave away the tip until you have a point. Again, remember to be very careful and don't apply excessive force.

Scotch Precision Scissors

Here is a great pair of scissors. It's always good to have some in your house, and in a bind, you can always sharpen your makeup pencils with them.

 Click here to view it on Amazon. 

Normal Pencil Sharpener

You can also use a normal handheld pencil sharpener on makeup pencils. However, these pencil sharpeners are more likely to waste and break your makeup liners. Only use them in emergencies.

Sorillo Pencil Sharpener 

Here is an affordable pencil sharpener you can use for makeup. Just don't expect perfect results, and get a makeup pencil sharpener as soon as possible.

Click here to view it on Amazon. 

What Is The Difference Between Lipstick And Lip Crayon?

Lip crayons and lipstick both add a pop of color to your lips. However, lip crayons are more similar to tinted lip balms than lipstick. They are creamier and usually come in a chunky stick. Lipstick has more pigment in it and comes in a wider variety of colors. It is typically packaged in a tube with a lid.

If you are curious about using lip liner and lipstick together, check out this post: Should Lip Liner Be Darker Than Lipstick?

Can Lip Pencil Be Used As Lipstick?

Yes, you can use a lip liner pencil as impromptu lipstick. First, apply the liner as normal. Then, apply a small amount on your lips and blend the liner by rubbing it with your finger. This will create a soft matte effect.

Never Have Dull Lip Liner Again

We hope this guide helped you better understand plastic lip liner. And now that you know how to sharpen plastic lip liner, all your makeup pencils will be ready for action!

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