Take '90s Lipliner Into The 21st Century

Photo: MCV Photo.
I recently rewatched Isaac Mizrahi's Unzipped and was incredibly inspired by Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Kate Moss's looks throughout the film, which heavily featured lipliner. It also took me back to my high-school days in central California, when I would sport the darkest of brown liners with the lightest of frosted, pink lipstick.
I'm not the only one taking a trip down memory lane. Lipliner is back from the '90s — in a big way. With a new, modern approach to color and finish, liner has become a go-to staple for many makeup artists. So, now’s the perfect time to take note of its transformation over the last 20 years, and add it to your beauty armory if you haven’t already. Plus, it’s a great tool if you want to get in on the matte-lipstick trend: Cover a filled, lined lip with a bit of balm, and voilà — your perfectly colored pout’s not going anywhere.
Advertisement
Sarah Lucero, Stila pro makeup artist, shared her favorite application tips with me. “When I use matte or velvet-finish lipsticks, I always apply [them] with a lip brush before adding the liner,” she says. “I sketch the liner along the corners of the mouth and perfect the edge. It’s best to hold the pencil [at] an angle, so it’s not just the tip or point drawing a line around your lips. It almost locks in the lipstick, but [sketches a soft] edge.”
Click through for more tips on how to modernize your liner so it looks anything but dated.
1 of 9
Photo: MCV Photo.
A Bolder Orange
One of my favorite looks using lipliner is a bright-orange lip color paired with a heavy brow, as seen here at Tanya Taylor’s spring 2015 runway show. It's effortless but still makes an impression.
2 of 9
Photo: Via NARS.
To copy it, first line your lips with NARS Velvet Lip Liner in Playa Dorado. Fill in generously, and finish with NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Timanfaya. The combination of these two textures creates a clean, hydrated-yet-matte finish.
Advertisement
3 of 9
Photo: MCV Photo.
Your Lips, But Better
“Everyone needs a lipliner that mimics their natural lip tone,” says Lucero. “You can use this [tip] for nudes, reds, or clear gloss. It will enhance your pout and add a polished finish to your makeup look.”
4 of 9
Photo: Via Charlotte Tilbury.
You can easily create a barely-there lip by mixing a nude liner, like Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Pencil in Pillow Talk, with a flesh-toned liner, like Dior Contour Lip Pencil in Grege. You can create a custom color by adding more of one and less of the other, depending on what gradation you’re in the mood for. Add a small amount of illuminator, like NARS 413BLKR, to the lips for a moisture-rich finish. Or, for an even more nude look, Lucero recommends using concealer on the lips.
5 of 9
Photo: MCV Photo.
Goth Grows Up
A dark, berry-colored lip is perfect for all seasons. Pair it with light blush, and it’ll become a statement piece to wear with just about anything.
6 of 9
Photo: Via Stila.
“To recreate the '90s-supermodel, deep-berry, grunge-glam lip, try adding in a brown eyeliner pencil, like Stila Espresso Smudge Stick, and mixing [it] into your berry lipstick," says Lucero. "I love the matte texture it can create, and [it] adds that cool edge to a classic berry lip. Avoid too much gloss for this trend: They tend to sheer out.”

First, apply a medium, dark-berry lipstick like Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in L’Adorée. Then, lightly apply a brown eyeliner, starting from the inside of the middle of your lips, moving outward.
7 of 9
Photo: MCV Photo.
Classic Red
A perfectly lined, matte red lip will stop New York traffic every time. This classic color has remained a constant beauty staple, and only continues to become more iconic with each passing decade.
8 of 9
Photo: Via Burberry.
To get the look, first line and fill your lips with Burberry’s Lip Definer in Red Brick. Then, add a dusting of Fresh Glow Powder for a matte finish.

“Lip pencils can also be used as matte lip color,” advises Lucero. “Just prep lips prior with matte lip balm, like Nuxe or Burt’s Bees: That way, the pencil glides on easily and won’t sheer out.”
9 of 9
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Advertisement

More from Makeup

Watch

R29 Original Series