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How to over-line your lips in a natural way


The technique of over-lining lips is nothing new; professional make-up artists have used lip liner to enhance the shape and fullness of mouths for decades – as have the drag community. Now it’s a mainstay look of red-carpet regulars, from Kendall Jenner to Jennifer Lopez, who over-line in a realistic way.

However, lip liner can easily veer into fake-looking territory. Legendary make-up artist Bobbi Brown, who recently founded Jones Road, puts it frankly: “Any attempt to use colour and liner to draw on brand-new lips won’t be successful.” But you needn’t avoid the technique all together.

“You can use lip colour and a lip pencil to adapt and enhance the shape of the lips— but just be sure to follow your lips’ natural shape,” Brown advises. As with her famed signature aesthetic, think ‘less is more’.

Make-up artist Vesta Boateng, founder of Vesta London Beauty, agrees that “the key is not to over-do the over-lining”. So, where do you draw the line?


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How to over-line your lips:

“Use a shade slightly darker than your natural lip tone just outside the lip line, to frame and shape,” Boateng explains.

And don’t stop there: “Two different shades of liner will create a more natural, fuller look,” she reveals. “Use a lighter shade – matching your lip tone – further in to the lip.” This creates extra dimension, key to the illusion.

Finally, fill in the lips with a shade of lipstick or gloss that matches the lighter liner. A shiny texture will reflect the light for a further 3-D effect, unlike matte formulas which can read flat.

Cheating your lip line, as above, looks most cohesive with products in neutral shades. But if you want to try it with bright or deep hues, Boateng says to still apply the principles of darker just outside the lip line, lighter on the inside, “with the intention of creating an ombre effect”.


More lip liner tips:

— “A blunt lip liner can hurt and scratch the lips, so don’t try that,” warns Boateng. Plus, the sharper your pencil the more precise your application will be.

— Blend the edges to soften the line. “Avoid colour blocking; liner always looks more natural and polished when blended or smudged in,” she explains. Try using a tiny lip brush or simply pat it – gently – with your fingertips.

— Use a hydrating formula, which will naturally plump your skin. A drying lip liner will have the opposite effect.


From Harper’s Bazaar UK

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