How To Apply Lip Liner

Discover how to apply lip liner for a fuller-looking, picture-perfect pout.

Darlings, discover how to apply lip liner to perfect the look of your pout! Lip liner is a magical makeup bag essential that acts as the secret to fuller-looking lips while helping to boost the staying power of your lipstick.

The key to lip liner application is the perfect colour match! With the right shade of my Lip Cheat lip liner, you can create a pouty, natural-looking lip shape that you can wear day or night.

Discover my tips and tricks on how to apply lip liner with this easy tutorial featuring iconic, globally loved and NEW! shades of my award-winning Lip Cheat lip liner!

How To Apply Lip Liner: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Apply Lip Liner

  1. Lip close up applying Charlotte's Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir

    Step 1: Prep your Lips

    Applying lip liner starts with skincare! Before you apply your Lip Cheat lip liner pencil, make sure your lips are magically moisturised with Charlotte's Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir! This crystal-infused formula rolls across the lips to nourish and condition them with lip-loving ingredients from my Magic 8 Matrix such as hydrating hyaluronic acid, resurrection leaf to reduce the appearance of lip lines, and antioxidant-rich alpine rose. When lips feel smooth and hydrated, your lip liner can easily glide across them.

    Tilbury Tip: When applying Charlotte's Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, apply over the top of your lips for further hydration.

    Shop Charlotte's Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir!

  2. All shades of Charlotte's Lip Cheat lip liner

    Step 2: Choose Your Shade

    Choose your Lip Cheat shade based on your chosen lipstick. My guide to the perfect lip liner and lipstick combinations will help you to find your perfect lip liner shade that magically matches your go-to Charlotte Tilbury Beauty lipstick.

    Discover AWARD-WINNING Pillow Talk, a nude-pink lip liner that SUITS EVERYONE; Walk of No Shame, a rose-toned berry red; Love Trap, a brown-toned pink; as well as NEW! Hollywood Beauty Icon shades Icon Baby, Red Carpet Red, 90s Pink, and more!

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  3. Close-up of a medium-tone model with green eyes wearing black eyeliner and getting lip liner pencil in nude pink applied.

    Step 3: Start To Line Your Lips

    Using short, light-handed strokes, glide your Lip Cheat onto the top corner of your lip and follow just outside your natural lip line. This will help to create the illusion of fuller, wider-looking lips and define the look of your pout. Mirror this on your bottom lip, connecting with the upper lip line at the corners of your mouth to complete your lip liner look.

    Discover more tips and tricks for how to make lips look bigger

  4. Close-up of a medium-tone model with green eyes wearing black eyeliner and getting lip liner pencil in dark pink applied.

    Step 4: Fill In Your Lips

    For longer-lasting lip colour, you can fill in your lips with the lip liner to give your lip makeup added intensity. My Lip Cheat lip liners are a waterproof formula that lasts at least 6 hours with no smudging*; applying your Lip Cheat all over the lips can help to create a smoother-looking base for your lipstick and can help to boost its wear time.

  5. A short video of a light-skin model wearing glowy, rose gold makeup getting a peach lipstick with nude-pink undertones applied.

    Step 5: Add Lipstick for Extra Colour

    Lining your lips creates a neat, defined lip shape to be filled in with lipstick. When applying your lipstick, the goal is to fuse the colour seamlessly with your lip liner while staying inside the lines for the most flawless, pout-perfected look. Apply your lipstick over the top of your lip liner for a more dimensional lipstick look; you can apply lipstick straight from the bullet or with the Lip Brush for extra precision.

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  6. Close-up of a fair-tone model getting a soft pink, high shine lip gloss applied.

    Step 6: Lip Gloss Finishing Touches

    If you want to create the appearance of fuller-looking lips and adore a glowing, glossy lip look, apply lip gloss over the top of your lipstick for a glamorous, glossy finish. Collagen Lip Bath is a high-shine, mirror-like gloss with a soft, plumping effect that helps lips to look more voluptuous, and Lip Lustre is a shimmering lip gloss that delivers a perfect coat of kissable colour. Choose your favourite and get the most magical lip gloss look!

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How To Apply Lip Liner: More FAQs

How To Apply Lip Liner close up

Where should you start when applying lip liner?

The best way to apply your lip liner is to start with your top lip. Glide your lip liner along the natural line of your lips starting halfway between your Cupid’s bow and the corner of your mouth. Trace back and forth along your top lip to create a defined line that softly accentuates the shape of your cupid’s bow and connects with the outer corners of your mouth. Once you’ve perfected the look of your top lip, you can line your bottom lip to balance out your shape.

Do you put lip liner or lipstick on first?

Lip liner is designed to be applied before lipstick. You can reshape and define the look of your lips with lip liner to create a fuller-looking lip shape, which in turn makes it easier to get a neater lipstick application. Filling in your lips with lip liner before applying lipstick can also help to build intensity, giving lipstick greater colour opacity and helping to increase its longevity.

Should lip liner be darker or lighter than lipstick?

As a rule, your lip liner should be a close colour match to your lipstick to help them mesh seamlessly on the lips. However, you can also use a darker shade of lip liner to contour the look of your lips; reach for a shade that mimics natural shadows on the outline of your lips to make them appear fuller and more dimensional.

What is overlining lips?

Overlining your lips involves applying lip liner just outside of your natural lip line. It’s sometimes referred to as overdrawing and is the secret to exaggerating the look of your lip shape. Your lip line is the very edge of your lips where the pigment of your lips stops and your skin tone begins; taking your lip liner and subtly overlining past this point allows you to create the illusion of a fuller, wider-looking lip shape.

Are you supposed to blend lip liner?

You can blend your lip liner to get a softer, more natural-looking lip look, however, to create a well-defined lip line it’s important to leave the outer portion of your lip liner sharp and unblended. The purpose of lip liner is to create a defined line around the lips and blending out the line you have created will lose the definition you’ve built. To get a flawless blend, I suggest lining and filling in your lips with lip liner, then applying a lipstick or lip gloss inside the lines to create a diffused, soft-focused finish.

Can you wear lip liner alone?

Yes – you can wear lip liner on its own, darlings. Whether you want to use a lip liner shade that’s close to your lip colour to softly enhance the look of your lip shape, or you want to use a bold shade of lip liner to fill in your lips, you can create a magical lip makeup look with a single lip liner.

How can I make my lip liner look natural?

To get a natural-looking finish with lip liner, choose a shade that’s a close match for the natural tone of your lips such as a beige-nude, pink or brown. Opting to follow the natural line of your lips instead of overlining them will also create a more natural look.

Tilbury Tip: My Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk Original is everyone’s perfect shade! I created Pillow Talk as the perfect nude-pink shade that suits everyone – it’s a natural makeup must-have!

Shop Pillow Talk Original Lip Liner

What lip liner shade makes lips look bigger?

Darker shades of lip liner can help lips appear bigger and more voluptuous. Deeper shades like browns, mauves and mid-toned pinks can mimic the look of shadows to create the appearance of contouring on the lips. By accentuating the outline of your lips with lip liner, you can create the illusion of fuller, wider, plumper-looking lips!

Tilbury Tip: To make your lips appear bigger with lip liner, discover my Supersize Me Lip Cheat!

Discover how to make lips look bigger