This Is the Trick to Making Lip Liner Cool Again

I’m a liquid lipstick fiend. You name the shade, and I’ve got a few tubes that fit the bill. I know some people aren’t a fan, but our love is true; I love the look and the long-lasting finish. But this isn’t a story about liquid lipstick. It’s a story about the simple combination that’s managed to unseat my usual routine, in favor of a one-two punch that looks gorgeous, lasts forever, and doesn’t dry out my lips in the process. It’s lip liner, back in action and better than ever.

But it’s not the lip liner you know. Where the first wave of liners were scratchy, stiffly-pigmented formulas meant as a barrier so your lipstick wouldn’t bleed, I’ve started wearing Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat lip liner 24/7. The creamy formula goes on easily, and brings with it a subtle tackiness that you know isn’t going to budge. I fill my lips in all the way, specifically in the shade “Walk of Shame,” a deep, berry-rose color. I top it with Charlotte Tilbury’s Superstar Lips balm in the same shade, and look upon nirvana.

It’s impeccable math. The glossy, balmy formula doesn’t add a ton of shine, but brings a dose of hydration that keeps my lips alive and kicking. The look is precise thanks to the liner, but feels low-maintenance, since the balm lends the combination a flexible texture. And yet, the layered colors last all day, making good on lip liner’s promise to never leave your side.

Lip liner used to be crucial. I started learning about how to do makeup from the how-to videos on Lancôme’s website, in the distant, pre-YouTube past. The videos are long gone, but I’ll always have the memory of a French-accented voiceover instructing viewers to fill in your lips with liner, before topping it with a lipstick. I absorbed the knowledge like a sponge, but it wasn’t relevant to my life at the time, and the image of a prim model layering her lip products didn’t resonate and felt like a needless step.

Now, though, lip liner has a real underdog feeling to it. Decked out in pretty packaging and topped with lip balm, I’m here for its revival.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Walk of Shame, $22, sephora.com; Charlotte Tilbury Superstar Lips in Walk of Shame, $34, nordstrom.com

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This $18 Lip Balm Is Worth Every Single Penny
This $10 Revlon Lip Balm Is the Best Drugstore Purchase I’ve Ever Made
This Lip Plumper Is Literally Like Filler in a Tube

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