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How to Get Overlined Lips That Don’t Look Ridiculous

Achieve natural-looking, plump lips in minutes with the help of lip liner.
August 14, 2023

Overlining your lips can feel like an intimidating task, especially if it’s not something you do often. It’s likely because there’s a fine line between lips that look fuller and lips that look exaggerated or costume-like. We’ve seen both trending on social media — the natural-looking plump pout definitely prevails — and what truly separates the two is technique.

Your lips are always going to appear more natural when you overline them by following their actual shape. When the goal is to enhance what you already have, rather than to create an entirely new shape, that’s when you know they’re going to look proportional and most importantly, natural. So, if you’re in the mood to rock a plumper-pout, keep reading, as we dish out everything you need to know about overlining your lips with lip liner. This easy, step-by-step tutorial for overlined lips will help you fake bigger lips in no time.

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What Does “Overlined Lips” Mean?

Overlining your lips means mean applying lip liner slightly outside your natural lip line to create the illusion of bigger, plumper lips. This helps to add definition to your pout, and it can help create a lip shape with perfect symmetry.

How Do You Overline Your Lips?

There’s more to overlining your lips than just applying lip liner with a heavy hand. Exfoliating your lips, priming with concealer and using highlighter to define the shape will all help to fake the appearance of a natural-looking, fuller pout. Check out everything you need for lips that appear bigger, below.

1. Exfoliate Your Lips

Prepping your pout before you apply lipstick is so important, and that means addressing any signs of dryness or chapped skin. Use a lip scrub or a damp washcloth to lightly buff and exfoliate the surface of your lips to remove any dead skin.

2. Apply a Lip Balm

After you’ve exfoliated your lips, lock in moisture with a light layer of lip balm. This will help to create a smoother application for your lip liner and by the time you’re ready to apply lipstick, your lips will be glowing, soft and hydrated.

3. Prime Your Lips With Concealer

Similar to the way foundation evens your skin tone, applying concealer on your lips can help to blur your natural lip line to create a smooth base for drawing over it. Use a full-coverage formula like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage for this. While it seems like extra work, this little step will help to make your overlined lips appear more natural.


4. Pick Your Lip Liner

When it comes to choosing your lip liner, the two things to keep in mind for the perfect, overlined lip are the finish and the color. To keep everything looking natural, you definitely won’t want to use a lip liner that’s too shimmery — stick with one that has a matte or satin finish. As for color — keep it neutral. As we said, you want your overlined lips to pass for your actual lips and the best way to do that is to stick with natural shades like pinks, browns and nudes.

To line your lips, we love the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner. This lip liner is perfect for creating definition and comes in 12 shades that offer rich, opaque color. Since it has a satin formula, it pairs well with satin lipsticks. Alternatively, if you prefer the long-wearing finish of a matte formula, try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner, and pair it with a matte lipstick.

For mature skin, we recommend the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Anti-Feathering Lip Liner - Smooth Application. This lip liner has a carefully crafted applicator that offers precision without tugging at your skin and an anti-feathering formula.

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5. Shade the Corners

Take your lip liner and use it to shade the outer corners of your lips, going ever so slightly outside the lines. By shading, you’ll avoid a stark contrast between your lip liner and lip color. 

6. Define Your Cupid’s Bow

Next, you’ll want to accentuate your Cupid’s bow. Lining just outside your natural lip line, create an X over your cupid’s bow and fill it in according to the shape of your lips. For those that don’t have a defined cupid’s bow, simply follow the natural outline of your lips. 

7. Outline Your Lips According to Their Shape

After you’ve shaded the corners and filled in your Cupid’s bow, continue shading your lip line, going slightly outside of your natural lip line. It’s helpful to identify your lip shape and follow that when lining. Keep in mind that less is more, so avoid creating a new shape or harsh lines. Once you’ve successfully outlined your lips, then you can use your lip liner to lightly shade the lines you’ve created to add more fullness.  

Editor’s tip: If you have difficulty drawing clean lines when you line your lips, sharpen the liner before using it so the tip is sharp. It will make a big difference in your application and precision. 

8. Choose Your Lipstick and Fill in the Empty Space

You don’t want to leave the rest of your lips bare after you’ve lined them so lipstick is a must. When choosing a lipstick, look for one that has the same finish as your lip liner. If you’ve used a satin lip liner  formula, try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick. If you’ve used a matte lip liner, try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick or the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Resistance Liquid Lipstick

As for the shade, choose a color that’s one to two shades lighter than your lip liner to help create the illusion of fuller lips. Think of it as contour and highlight for your lips, adding dimension and lift in the same way it would for your cheekbones. Apply your lipstick as normal, using the bullet or applicator to follow the shape you just outlined. You can also use a lip brush for a more precise application. 

9. Smudge the Edges

Rather than cleaning up your lips with concealer, you’ll actually want to do the opposite. Use your fingertip or a lip brush to gently smudge your lip liner, creating a more natural, diffused line all around the outline of your lips.


10. Add Some Highlighter

Finish your look by applying liquid highlighter, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer onto your cupid’s bow. Similar to contour and highlight, this will help to lift your lips, faking a fuller, more defined pout. Apply the highlighter to your index finger and lightly dab it onto your Cupid's bow.

Editor’s tip: If you want your overdrawn lips to look extra juicy, top them off with a plumping gloss like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Gloss Plump. This non-sticky gloss gives your lips a dose of high-shine and noticeable plumpness thanks to the hyaluronic acid infused formula.

Next: 10 Travel Makeup Products We Swear By When We're on the Go

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Associate Creative Director: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Associate Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Model: Alexandra Van Zant 

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