Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022

How to Line Your Lips with Lipliner & Lipstick

Written by: Jones Road Beauty

Photography by: Ben Ritter

Updated Nov. 2023
A woman applying The Lip Pencil by Jones Road

Makeup styles are always cycling in and out of trendiness—and one thing that is always up for discussion: embrace the lip liner or skip it? 

While some swear by the precision a lip liner provides, others prefer the effortless swipe of a lipstick sans definition. Lip liner isn’t just for formal looks; given the polish it imparts, it’s often thought of as a tool for a night out, and you may have reservations given its (unearned) complicated rep. 

Simply put, lip liners help define lips with a thin line of lasting color around your mouth or underneath your lipstick but its precision is also versatile, allowing for gradation, layering, and other techniques to help your lipstick last longer. 

When wearing a statement lip color, starting with a liner is a great idea. And you have options—use the lipstick itself with a narrow brush as a liner, or use a dedicated lip liner pencil. We’ll get into why you would want to go with one over the other.

Ultimately, we created our Lip Pencil to be your lips but better, a color that enhances and defines your natural shade. It’s easy to apply, easy to maintain, and a beautiful, subtle addition to your makeup.

Let's dive in.

(Up top, Constanze wears The Lip Pencil in Nudist.)

A woman applying The Lip Pencil by Jones Road

Why Use Lip Liner

It’s frustrating when lipstick seeps into fine lines around the mouth. It’s avoidable, too: lip liners act as a barrier to prevent feathering and smudging.

For those aiming for perfect symmetry or a particular shape, lip liner is an indispensable product. Using the right shade and technique ensures impeccable definition, shining the spotlight on your lips. They define and enhance the natural shape of the lips, offering a guideline to follow when applying other lip products or subtly (or even dramatically, if you’re so inclined) exaggerating your mouth’s silhouette. 

Ever desired a fuller pout or a pronounced cupid's bow? Lip liners provide the flexibility and freedom to achieve natural-looking or a more powerful enhancement.

Above, Isabel wears The Lip Pencil in Mauve.

How to Prep Your Lips

Just as you would prepare your face with cleansing and moisturizing before applying foundation or concealer, it’s important to do the same with your lips.

Use The Cleansing Stick, our solid oil cleanser, to remove leftover makeup—it won’t strip your skin of its natural oils and can help restore moisture to parched lips. 

Drinking plenty of water and regular exfoliation also keep your lips in top condition. Exfoliation can be simple though; you don’t need a special scrub. 

After cleansing, lightly rub a damp washcloth across your lips to get rid of any flakes, and follow it up with The Lippie Stick, an everyday lip balm formulated with jojoba oil that leaves your mouth soft and smooth. 

Should I Use Lip Liner or Lipstick (or Both)?

You also don’t have to use a dedicated lip liner; if you use a brush with short, narrow bristles, lipstick is also excellent at lining the lips. 

If you want a product that is intended solely for lining the lips, our Lip Pencil is the ultimate you but better lip color. It’s a modern, fresh take on lip liner that breathes and supports longer-lasting lip color, if you choose to top it with a different formula. Think of it like the foundation underneath your favorite shade.

Some lip liners can feel waxy or drying, but not The Lip Pencil. It goes on smooth and light for a barely-there finish. To start, we recommend selecting the color that matches your lips most closely.

It can be worn solo, as a layer of all-over color in lieu of a lipstick. Or for extra punch, top the most neutral color with a gloss, pigmented or clear, or a subtle but creamy formula, like our Lip Tint.

To smooth on a lipstick as liner, use our Eyeliner Brush (yep, eyeliner—but its bristles are just the right size and width to apply lipstick) and The Lip Tint, the same color you’re applying all over. This is a good option when you’re wearing a bold color and want to easily add guidance so you don’t over-apply the pigment.



Match. What we mean is, if you’re using a lip liner to define your lips, the color of your lip liner should match the color of your lips. If you’re using lipstick to define and make a statement, use the same lipstick with a brush, as we’ve said, to ensure the color extends but doesn’t escape.

Either way, apply liner first and fill in accordingly.

An utterly natural appearance

For a no-makeup makeup look, apply The Lip Pencil, and The Lip Pencil only, all over. In that case, we recommend lining your lips and filling in the bottom only. Smack your lips together to transfer the pigment up top. And then leave it. The result is nude, modern, and perfect for everyday wear.

A tried-and-true matte look

This may seem counterintuitive but start with a base layer of our creamy Lip Tint, then seal with The Lip Pencil. The result is a very comfortable take on a matte lip that’s not drying.

Rich and pigmented

This is a matter of your formula preference, honestly.

Our Lip Tint is buildable, creamy, and good for on-the-go application. If you want to dial up the color, apply a couple of coats after your liner, or keep it subtle with just one.

A high shine moment is easily achieved with simply one layer of Cool Gloss

Start in the Corner

Make sure your liner starts all the way in the inner corner of the mouth for a complete look.

How to Make It Last 

First, invest in a quality lip liner. Our Lip Pencil is formulated with a special blend of waxes and oils for a lightweight, breathable finish that won’t chap or sap moisture, so you can trust your lip color won’t get absorbed by the lips.

A woman holding The Lip Tint by Jones Road

Drew wears The Lip Pencil in Nude Pink and The Lip Tint in Pink Rose.

If you’re extra concerned about keeping your lip color lasting all day (and night), fill in the entire lip with a liner before you apply your color—not just on the bottom lip.

Top with a pigmented lip color in the same color or with the lightweight, never-tacky Cool Gloss (or both!) for shine.

Don’t Overline

When you’re using a neutral lip liner, it can be tempting to overdo it since the lip color will blend in easily. Drawing outside the natural lip line can be noticeable, and inconsistencies can be challenging to correct. 

While lipsticks are generally more forgiving, lip liners demand a steady hand and a keen eye for detail. 

No matter if you’re using a lip pencil or lipstick, take caution and go slow so the color stays within the natural lines of your lips. It will always be more flattering.

The Bottom Line

The debate between lip liner versus no lip liner is as multifaceted as the shades of lipsticks available. While liners provide longevity and versatility in lip looks, going without them offers natural simplicity.

However, what's most important is finding your approach—skipping the liner, or using lipstick to define, or a dedicated lip liner for precision. Regardless of your method, it’s an easy step, with just a few foolproof tricks to master.

Shop the article:

Cool Gloss

The Lip Tint

The Eyeliner Brush

The Lip Pencil

Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022

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