Lip liners have had quite the journey. The concept first came about in the 1920s but really came into the limelight in the ’90s. Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Janet Jackson, Pamela Anderson, and Victoria Beckham (to name a few) all heavily influenced the overlined-lip trend during that decade. While the popularity of lip pencils faded slightly in the 2000s, they have since made a big – and we mean big – comeback this year. Now, you can once again spot ’90s-supermodel-inspired lip liner on stars like Megan Thee Stallion, Kim Kardashian, Lizzo, and Storm Reid, among many more, on the red carpet.
Whether or not you line your lips every time you do your makeup is a personal preference, but even if you only save this technique for special occasions, you need a good lip-liner pencil (or three) in your makeup bag. There are a few different ways you can use them. The first and most subtle way is to outline the shape of your lips before lipstick application to keep any color from bleeding. Other people prefer to overline the area above and around the cupid’s bow to give the illusion of fuller lips. Then, there are more nuanced techniques pioneered by different makeup artists. Mario Dedivanovic of Makeup by Mario, for example, went viral when he shared his “lip flip” method.
In terms of colors, a nude lip liner in a neutral hue close to the natural shade of your lips is good to have on hand, while a lip liner in brown gives you that nostalgic ’90s look. If you’re not a fan of all-over color, however, you can also go for a lip liner and lip gloss combo, which is a TikTok favorite.
Here at POPSUGAR, our editors have tried countless options, so you can trust they have the best lip-liner recommendations to offer. If you’re in the market for a new one yourself, find a roundup of choices to consider ahead – starting as low as $5.