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TikTok’s Oval-Lining Hack Plumped My Lips (Without Needles)

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
If I had money for every time a lip-enhancing hack went viral on TikTok, I'd be sunning myself on a private beach right now. In the name of Beauty In A Tik, I've tried semi-permanent lip liner using brow tint (such a fail, the pictures have to be seen to be believed), and food coloring as lip stain (impressive, but I got a telling-off from a dermatologist).
The obsession with all things lips — specifically how to give them a natural boost without needles — is still a major makeup trend. Of course, you don't need me to tell you that your lips are perfect as they are. But if you do want to enhance them for whatever reason, TikTok's latest viral trick might intrigue you.
Enter: oval-lining.
@stxph.h Love this technique for a natural pout! But I wonder how this would look with a bolder lip color? 🤔 ib: @katiahaek #liplinerhack #makeuptips #makeupinspo #lippout ♬ original sound - stephhui

What is oval lining?

Not to be mistaken for over lining (using a lip pencil to trace the outer edge of your lip line so that your lips appear larger), oval lining consists of etching a tiny line in the center of your Cupid's bow and mirroring it underneath your lower lip. Using those lines as a starting point, the technique then involves drawing an oval shape spanning just the center of the lip (leaving the edges free of makeup) so that the lines are connected.
A swipe of gloss or lipstick all over the lip is supposedly all that's needed to complete the look, according to TikTokers @katiahaek, @stxph.h and @jawarshere, who are all sold. The effect? Plumper, juicier, and more shapely lips in moments.
Most days when I wear makeup, I over line my lips using makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic's 'lip lift' technique, which pulls lips upwards. But it does have a tendency to make them appear a bit pointy. The reason for oval-lining is that it lends lips a very natural suppleness, so that they're rounder, more pillowy, and don't look obviously defined. In other words, oval-lining is the makeup method that I — and 20.8 million others on TikTok — have been looking for.

What you'll need

In theory, you could do this with any color lip pencil but I reached for a rosy-nude in my trusty Morphe X Ashley Strong Tourmaline Soul Lip Liner. It's limited edition (and excellent), but Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Liner in Hazelnut is a close match. I made sure the pencil nib was super sharp to minimize any mistakes and scribbled my two lines, then joined them up with the oval. I found out that it really does pay to prep your lips first using a lip scrub, like Barry M Watermelon Lip Scrub, to get rid of flaky skin, followed by a hydrating lip balm like Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Lip Balm, otherwise the pencil can snag.
Stepping back from the mirror, I looked a bit ridiculous, like a ventriloquist's dummy. But you've got to trust the process. I picked up Charlotte Tilbury The Super Nudes Lipstick in Runway Royalty (a rosy taupe) and applied this all over (making sure it reached the line through my Cupid's bow) until I was happy with the shape of my lips. Like TikTok's @stxph.h, I cleaned up any slip-ups with a dry Q-tip.

The verdict

Surprisingly, it worked. My lips appeared rounder and a lot more plump — the top lip more so than the bottom. It's more of a modern lip shape as there are no harsh lines or sharp edges, which can be typical of lip liner. This look is softer.
@jacquelinekilikita Stop over-lining your lips and start oval-lining! Inspired by @katiahaek #ovallining #lipliner #plumplips #liphack #makeuphack #beautyinatik ♬ Glue - Bicep
My only gripe is that I have quite a pronounced Cupid's bow and while the makeup technique gets a thumbs up (plus looks great on camera), the over-lined top lip is a little noticeable up close. One way around this is opting for a glossy finish rather than satin or matte — I find this blurs the contours of the lips.
Would I try oval-lining again? I've actually been doing it all week, trying it out with different shades of lipstick, including red. Nude works better, though, and when I get the shape just right I'm convinced my top lip looks slightly filled. In reality, filler isn't right for me but this is a fun trick to try if you want to give your lips a boost with makeup.
This story was originally published on Refinery29UK.
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