Day 6: Lip Liners
by MUA's Cavewoman
If you ask a group of women about lip liners, you will probably start a very lively discussion, especially if these women love makeup. Lip liners fall in and out of favor in makeup trends, and the days of the dark liner with lighter lip color are finally gone (I hope) -- and from what I am seeing in the magazine articles for Spring makeup trends, it looks like the lip liner is back again. For a pretty lined look without looking like you're wearing liner, the magazine beauty articles mention lining the lips after applying lipstick. This technique works really well and is less harsh than lining first.
Some women will never use a lip liner and some women won't wear a lipstick without it, and I fall into the latter category. As I age, I find that a more defined lip looks more polished on me, and my lipstick doesn't migrate into the lines on the edges of my lips. The days of dabbing on a bit of gloss and having it stay where I put it are long gone for me. That's a lovely look for younger women, but on me, without a liner, my lipstick bleeds out terribly and makes me look a bit messy. So yes, I wear lip liner, and I present a few for discussion.
For years I used a lip liner that needed to be sharpened, like a regular pencil. My color was Ultima II Cranberry. I went through dozens of these because it seemed that it matched my lipsticks very well. It is a darkish pink-rose shade, and it stayed put, was easy to sharpen, and was soft enough to apply comfortably. It held my lipstick from bleeding, and I saw no need to look any further. That was until the entire line was discontinued. You're nodding, aren't you? The dreaded d-word had me in search of a substitute. I found it at the Borghese counter (I know what you are thinking, where did Borghese go? I think it's at Bloomingdales only, but I digress) -- the color was Puccini Ruby, and it was a good substitute. Since I tend to buy mostly rose-pink, cool toned lipsticks, Puccini Ruby was perfect. And each lip liner came with a new sharpener! One pencil lasted a year or more. I stocked up when the line was pulled from our local Dillards. There are four of them in this photo, in varying stages of use. The little stub at the bottom of the photo is almost unable to fit in the sharpener now, and when I have to toss it, I'll be sad. But the sharpeners are the best I've ever found, and I have a pretty nice supply now. I use the Borghese sharpeners with all of my sharpen-it style lip pencils.
I was at the Lancome counter browsing lipsticks shortly after Borghese was pulled from Dillards. I chose a pretty pale lavender-mauve color and I knew my Borghese wasn't going to look right with this lipstick, and my Lancome makeup artist showed me a lip liner that would match. It was called Lilac, and it was the twist-up, crayon-style liner. This kind of lip liner was new to me, but I really liked it because it went on smoothly, didn't need to be sharpened, and gave a slightly softer line than the sharpening type. I was hooked on the crayon style and started looking around for more of them. On the cheap, I really like L'Oreal's twist-up crayon style, and over the years they've changed the name of these liners. Crayon Petite and Lip Precision seem to be the same formula, but Colour Riche turned out to be awful, hard and draggy and laying down almost no color at all. Maybe I bought an old one. But L'Oreal is Lancome's parent company, and for the most part, the difference between these brands is merely in color selection.
At Prescriptives, while venturing out of my lip-color comfort zone, I was trying on a beautiful dark red lipstick. My SA showed me the liners to match. These pencils are the sharpen-it style and they have a little brush on the end, to blend out the liner for a soft effect or even to apply lipstick from the tube after lining. Lancome makes these types of liners too, with the brush on the end.
Guerlain makes beautiful sharpen-it lip pencils in some unusual shades, and these are very creamy and smooth.
The square sharpen-it pencils in the photo are from Lord & Barry. That was a great, cheap drugstore brand that had fabulous lip products. I can't find them any more, and I am hoarding the two that I have. The red one is absolutely superb. They were made in Italy.
You'll notice two MAC red pencils in the photo. One is Cherry, and the other is Redd. The difference in color is slight, but when wearing a red lipstick, it's really important to try to get as close a match in a liner as possible. And so that's why there are two of them.
And that brings me to my main pet peeve about lip liners. Why is it that so many makeup brands don't seem to have liners that match their lipstick colors? To prove my point, I present MAC. When I bought my MAC Sweetie lipstick, none of the liners matched it. Even my MAC makeup artist agreed that I'd have to check other brands in order to find a match. Estee Lauder has so many beautiful pinks and roses, but to get a liner to match, I had to head over to Lancome. I've never found a lip liner at Chanel that matches any of the lipsticks from that brand that I own.
But I am happy to report that the new lipsticks and liners at Shiseido, designed by famous makeup artist Dick Page, have solved the match problem beautifully. Page made sure his liners matched his lipstick colors. From pales to nudes, warms and cools, to the delicious reds and bright fuschias, there is no need to counter-hop to get a perfect match. The rest of the brands should take notice, and maybe even wonder why they hadn't thought of such a great idea!
Wearing a lip liner is not really a choice for me, it's a necessity. I have a pretty decent arsenal of pencils and pencil formulas and colors, and I try to match them up as best I can to whatever lipstick I'm wearing each day. The little Borghese stubs, they go in my makeup case in my purse. Along with a MAC Sweetie, my go-to lip color. It's a match made in lippie heaven.