Crossing the Line Want bigger, more even-looking lips? I drew outside my lip line… and I liked it

Lip liner outside your lips

The title of today’s post takes inspiration from this song. Except, you know, we’re talking about lip liner (not cherry Chapstick).

Yep, I did a total beauty “don’t”—or at least what I used to think was a don’t—and I’m all over it.

Surprised? Let me explain how this happened. A reader by the name of Maggie (hi Maggie!) asked me a few weeks ago if I could post the how-to for Prada’s S/S ’13 makeup. Because I like to be service-y, I willingly obliged:

Prada Spring 2013 makeup Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

Now, look closely at those lips. The reason they look so awesome is not just because of the lipstick colour (CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Hot, in case you’re wondering). It’s because makeup guru Pat McGrath deliberately went for an “oversized” shape.

The lip liner (CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipliner in Passion) was used to draw just outside the model’s natural lip line, putting the thinner top more in balance with the fuller bottom. The result: much plumper, pillowy-looking lips.

Since, you know, we can’t all be Daphne Groeneveld.

Daphne Groeneveld eyebrows Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

And Lindsay Lohan isn’t exactly selling me on the whole lip injection thing.

Lindsay Lohan lip injections Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

(Or bronzer, but that’s a story for another day.)

Anyway, looking at the Prada pic reminded me that it wasn’t the first time I’d seen this whole drawing-outside-the-lip-line thing work its mouth magic. Back in the fall, I attended a Chanel event where their national makeup artist, Julie Cusson, applied some lipstick on me. Not only did she say that I should always wear cool colours (since she thinks their contrast with warm skin and hair looks better than everything harmonizing), but she also made my lip shape look PERFECT.

Before that, I knew I had a thin upper lip—but I didn’t really think anything could be done about it without looking like this.

Obvious lip liner Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

I mean, lip liner is so ’90s!

How Julie did it wasn’t with lip liner at all, though. She just applied the lipstick with a lip brush, and painted just outside my lips not everywhere—but around the corners. This photo isn’t from that day, but I’ve added arrows to illustrate where you would focus, if you were to do this at home:

Where to apply lip liner outside your lips Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

Got it? You don’t want to go crazy drawing outside the lines all the way around, as then you’re going to look like a clown. But a tiny bit in these spots can make a WORLD of difference. In case you’re unaware of how thin my upper lip gets, go look at my pic in the Pantene post the other day. (PS: You have signed up to score some FREE hair products already, haven’t you? Go! Now!)

Of course, you can also use regular lip liner to do this. Or—my favourite and what I used in these pics—a chubby lip colour stick! What I am wearing in these pics is my old favourite, Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint:

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

(Out now for $31.00 each; click here to learn more and purchase.)

I think it’s the best product for the job because it’s a stain (so therefore won’t smear around during or post-application), and gives you quite a bit of control.

NARS is also just coming out with these new Satin Lip Pencils:

NARS Satin Lip Pencils Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

(Out March 7th for $30.00 each at Holt Renfrew, and at all other NARS retailers starting April 1st.)

They are also lovely but you need to go more slowly with your application because they’re super-glidey and slippery… although the dry-down isn’t.

If you mess up, remove any excess with a makeup wipe or for even more control, Givenchy’s Mister Perfect makeup remover pen:

Givenchy Mister Perfect Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

(Out now for $33.00; click here to learn more and purchase.)

You can also go over the edges at the end with concealer on a brush to neaten them up. Although I found I didn’t even need to with the Tarte—it was super easy.

Lip liner outside your lips 2 Want bigger, more even looking lips? I drew outside my lip line... and I liked it

If you REALLY want to go to town, add a touch of highlighter (like the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer I raved about here) at the Cupid’s bow, which is the technique Pat McGrath used at Prada.

Are you liking this? Tell me:

Have you ever tried this technique to draw outside your lip line?
What’s YOUR trick for bigger, more even-looking lips?
Do you use lip liner, chubby pencils or just regular lipstick?


Wednesday, March 6/2013 at 4:35 pm

What a neat little trick. Thanks for sharing! :)

I do slightly line outside my lip line sometimes, like when I wear a light nude lip and want to fake a fuller lip. I line with a slightly darker pencil than my lipstick and it does the trick!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:27 pm

You are already a pro! Good to know you do this too. I know what you mean about the nude lip, I always think it needs a little something extra when I see myself after in pictures. Will have to find a nude pencil to try this technique with.


Wednesday, March 6/2013 at 4:48 pm

Michelle, that colour is SMOKIN’ on you!! It’s a superb contrast with your hair. You make me wish I was a redhead :(

I can’t wait for the new Nars Satin Lip Pencils. I am getting married in July and want a super long-lasting and comfortable lip product: would that be something I should consider? Thanks so much!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:37 pm

Thank you :)

Very good question! Yes I think so (although I haven’t given the NARS a full day test drive yet so take my advice with a grain of salt). What I like about it is that it stays pretty creamy after it dries down. So it’s much more moisturizing than most long-wear products.

You could also investigate the YSL Glossy Stain:

I like the Hourglass long-wear lippie too – However, it feels a bit more drying so you may need to combine with balm or gloss on top.

The new MUFE one I didn’t like, I’m sorry to say – I really wanted to but I wore it for a special event in the fall and my lips looked like hell (chapped and uncomfortable) even though I loved the colour.

I hope that helps!


Wednesday, March 6/2013 at 8:56 pm

Great colour on you! I actually tried doing this the other day with the Revlon Balm Stain in Smitten, just around the edges and really liked the effect – I feel like using a lipstick would too hard to control. I already have full lips but it made their shape better.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:38 pm

Yes I agree – the pencil is the best for this! Easier than a brush I think as well. Glad it worked for you :)


Thursday, March 7/2013 at 3:54 am

How would you say the Tarte lip tints compare to Clinique chubby sticks?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:43 pm

The Tarte I’m talking about here is much more intense – it’s a stain whereas the Clinique sticks are sheer gloss-balms. I wrote about them here:

So I don’t think this lip idea would really work with them as you don’t want anything shiny where you are faking out your lip line – plus they are too sheer. Still a great product though! But the Tarte is one of my all-time favourites… it’s one of the few stains that isn’t drying at all and I love the intensity of the colour. I layered gloss on top in these pics.


Elaine R
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 12:36 pm

This might be the only time, but I don’t think I agree with you, Michelle. Although that lip colour is absolutely PERF for your skintone, I still think colouring slightly outside a person’s natural lip line looks sloppy. It’s one of those things that I have noticed a lot on the runways lately and can’t get behind. This is one trend I will have to pass on!

My personal favorite trick for full lips is putting a teeeny tiny bit of vaseline (or other clear glossy substance) on my finger and patting it very gently into the center of my top and bottom lip when i’m wearing something matte. It gives a bit of texture to an otherwise flat look and therefore makes your lips look plumper than they actually are.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:47 pm

No worries! We don’t always have to agree :)

I know exactly what you mean about the sloppiness of it… and in general I would agree with that statement 100%. That is until I tried it just at the corners and not all the way around, and with this product in particular – somehow it made all the difference.

Love the clear gloss tip – I find full matte hard to wear so will try that!


Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:28 pm

I always draw outside my lip line when I wear an opaque and strong lip, i.e, red or other bold colour as they tend to make lips look smaller, but I agree – it’s a fine line (pun intended) to make your lips look plush, as opposed to the likes of Peter Burns (singer in Dead or Alive, Google and be very afraid!).


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:49 pm

Oh dear! Is this who you’re talking about?
He would’ve been an excellent addition to the post – saving in the archives for the next time I talk about lips :)


Thursday, March 7/2013 at 3:30 pm

The very man himself! :D


ana p
Thursday, March 7/2013 at 2:54 pm

I love this technique, um, but it’s not really a new technique…
I honestly thought that pic of Lindsay was some 60+ yr old woman who’s lived a hard live. Oh Li-Lo..
Nars already has some chubby lip pencils that are semi-matte to matte, and super soft, in addition to this new series – and I highly recommend!


Friday, March 8/2013 at 8:47 am

And hi to you!!
I NEVER thought of applying lipstick outside my lips at just at a few spots to make them look bigger.
I always tend to emphasize my whole mouth (like, the more – the luscious) but end up with a nude lip because I look like Ronald McDonald.
This is so great. (And so simple I could kick myself.)


Friday, March 8/2013 at 2:36 pm

I’ve never thought about it, equating “drawing outside the lip” with the heinous ’90′s Pamela Anderson lips; the light brown lipliner & nude lipstick. Always freaked me out.

Turns out I do what you’re suggesting almost every time, just on my upper lips, where my lipline is a little pointier & “off”. Making the bow a little shallower & rounding the upper lip line a touch at the outsides makes them look less harsh, not bigger.


Monday, March 18/2013 at 10:21 am

It looks really beautiful. This technique is really amazing and I love the color you used. Your lips look naturally fuller. I will try this one and see if I can pull it off.


Monday, April 1/2013 at 1:22 am

This post made me smile. I go over the line all the time and I love it! Isn’t it wonderful!?

First of all, as for visible lipliner being “so 90′s”… bold eye liner, false spider lashes and high teased crowns are so 60′s and most of us don’t mind that. Bohemian rich hippy chic is so 70′s and it sticks. Hot and gorgeous is always in.

I’ve been going outside my natural lip line since I discovered lip liner. As far as I’m concerned, that is liner’s purpose. For those of us with not-so-perfect or anorexic lips, it was invented to disguise the line between our natural lips and the lipstick we wear. *wink*

In the photo above, I can see the natural line of the model’s lips. Who cares? Fake is fake by any other name. Lipstick is fake. It’s not the natural color of our lips so what confines us to the natural shape? I don’t get that. So many of us fake it with bras, shapers, high heels, colored contacts, boob jobs, hair extensions, fake tans, etc., and someone’s afraid of looking like a clown? Oh, dear…

This is my trick for when I want to appear especially dazzling with my not-so-naturally puffy lips. I keep only four liner colors on hand; deep red, medium pink, burgundy and nude. Although I only use one most of the time, these four colors blend gorgeously with all lipstick colors. For extra long wear, I apply a bit of balm and only use liner. It works beautifully and stays put all day or night.
For some added glitz and plump, I keep a very thick white frost on hand to dab on mid top and bottom lip.

Confession: My over-the-top-over-the-line secret for the sexiest lips ever is to take my frosty wand over my entire matte painted lips, then very lightly (key words – “very lightly”) blend the liner into my lipstick by barely dobbing around the edges. This lightens original color a bit but creates an illusion of beautifully plump, lucious lips. For extended wear, I do the same thing using pearl white powdered eye shadow. It barely kisses off, and whatever may has never made a difference to me or the person I was kissing. At least, they always called me back.

It’s always been my opinion to step, draw, paint out of line where I need to. My eyes once turned upwards naturally. They don’t anymore, so I draw a small wing at the edge of my eye to create the illusion. Get out of line. Sometimes it actually looks much better. Besides… it feels incredible too!


Friday, August 8/2014 at 6:01 pm

kinda weird to reply this late to a comment, but I just want to yell “SPOT ON SISTER”. Fake is OK. We are all constantly enhancing our look with make up, and what is considered tacky changes with the flick of an eye. Just imagine a contemporary edgy/sexy style icon rocking the lipliner look from the 90s, Rihanna for example. She’d look boss.


Monday, April 8/2013 at 7:27 am

I have one top lip that is slightly uneven, and thin lips. I have been using lipliner forever to correct the uneven lip and make my thin lips a little fuller. I only use light shades since I think the darker colors make what I am doing more obvious. I think I am pulling it off. But even if people notice, it is more important for me to even out my lips for the overall look of symmetry.


Thursday, August 29/2013 at 10:15 am

Lindsay!!!!what’s that fucking face???§§§


Anna Mae
Tuesday, April 15/2014 at 6:28 am

Lol white people *facepalm*


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