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In Praise of Lip Liner

A beauty journalist recently contacted me to ask what I thought about lip liner. I told her that I love it. Not in the way that was embraced in the ’80s with that porny dark liner with pouty gloss or the ’90s with a matte chalky brown effect, but in that lip liner keeps your lips looking finished and generally holds lipstick or lip gloss in place and keeps it from feathering. She wasn’t quite buying it. In her opinion, lip liner was a new and amazing discovery and only trendy application involving what would only be described as whiskered lips could elevate it from a blah product to something coveted.

I beg to differ.

Lip liner is the backup singer of the makeup case. It doesn’t often appear under the spotlight, but it always makes the star look so much better. Lip liner can transform a dull color to the dramatic, or add a deeper or brighter hue to a color you already love. If you prefer a nude effect, a lip-colored lip liner takes you from faded to notable in the time it takes to swipe some on. I’m no fan of complicated lip liner application, nor do I ever recommend creating a very exaggerated outline since it’s rarely attractive when it fades and it almost always fades.

One of my all-time faves is Sephora Rouge Gel Lip Liner in 25 bellflower – matte lilac, which suddenly appears to have a price drop.

Meanwhile, if you’re new to lip liner or just want your lipstick to last, you might want to try one of my top five beauty products of all time, Guerlain Liplift primer. Don’t be put off by the beige-y color. Apply all over lips and just the slightest bit outside the edge. It smooths lips and plumps them up the tiniest bit. Most importantly it locks lip color in place so bleeding is kept at a minimum. I’m guessing the gorgeous case designed by jeweler Herve Van Der Straeten is one of the reasons it’s on the pricey side.