Like All Other 90’s Trends, Lip Liners Are Making A Comeback… (Plus 5 Steps To Get The Perfect Look)

You may have dusted off your crop-tops, hunted out those long-lost scrunchies and wondered whether Heather Shimmer was ever going to be re-released in the last few months – because the 90’s are back in a big way. You can’t step into any clothes store without being greeted with styles that probably graced the wardrobes of the Spice Girls or Cher Horowitz back in the day, while knee socks and platform shoes are commanding stupidly high price tags from the designers that took their inspo from watching re-runs of Friends. (Another throwback phenomenon seeing a resurgence since all nine seasons hit Netflix; I’m currently mid way through season five and I can’t get enough.) It’s making me feel super old that the trends I’ve already embraced once are making a comeback, but that’s just the circle of fashion life – and it really was inevitable. One of the biggest 90’s beauty trends that (until recently) stayed firmly filed away in the ‘we thought it was a good idea at the time’ bin, was lip liner. But thanks to an influx of super precise lip looks and an endorsement from a member of the Kardashian clan, lip liners are here to stay…

For the forseeable at least. The sales of lip liners have been pretty low in the last decade, with many brands removing them from their repertoire altogether. They do offer a great way to create a precise line and ensure lipstick doesn’t smudge, but they also have the potential to go very wrong – especially when not perfectly matched. (The sight of a dark pink line surrounding a light pink gloss still make me feel queasy.) Although professionals have continued to use them alongside wised-up customers who knew the longevity and precision they could offer, most of us have barely touched a liner in the best part of twenty years. So why are they suddenly popping up all over the high street and finding their way onto some of the most popular cosmetics counters across the land?

It all started with a Lip Kit. That lass Kylie (you know, the one that kept her pregnancy ‘secret’ for nine months) embraced the power of a great lip liner in helping her pout to appear bigger, and passed that knowledge onto her fans via her Kylie Lip Kits in 2016. (I’m choosing to ignore the fact she later admitted to lip fillers, after denying it profusely for months.) Those lip kits sold out in minutes and supply simply couldn’t meet demand, which caused a huge number of brands to jump on the bandwagon and release their own versions. Part of her ‘look’ and a style increasing in popularity across Instagram was a super precise and super pigmented lip – only achievable with the help of a great liner. As beauty enthusiasts actively hunted out lip liners to do the job, sales went up; and when sales go up, brands start to take note.

The beauty industry is more influenced by fashion than any of us would consciously realise, but with the increase in 90’s style paralleled with the consumer demand for the Kylie lip look, we had the perfect conditions. Lip liners are back in style – and in a big way. Everyone from GOSH, Buxom, Primark and Charlotte Tilbury are expanding their offering with a huge selection of lip liners in all number of colours, and the important thing is that they’ve come along way since a lot of them last tried them. The textures are much smoother, more long-lasting and better matched to the shades we’re all coveting, as well as featuring everything from foam applicators to touch-up and tiny brushes to help blend inwards for a base that stays put. They really can up your lip game, even if you’re really not on-board with the 90’s revival, and help lipstick to stay looking fresher for longer… So this is a trend I’m surprisingly on board with.

If you want to get back on the lip liner bandwagon but haven’t flexed your application skills since Rachel turned down Paris for Ross, here are five simple steps to get the perfect look.

STEP 1: Prep lips with a small about of balm to ensure they’re hydrated and the colour won’t bleed. Blot on a piece of tissue to remove any excess that will stop the colour from depositing on the lips.

STEP 2: Starting from your cupid’s bow (the centre of your top lip) draw from the inside out on each side; use the tip pointing up and push the side of the pencil down on the lip at the same time, allowing you to draw the outline and fill the lip at the same time.

STEP 3: Repeat on the lower lip, paying attention to creating an even and fine line. You can follow your natural lip line, or for fuller lips draw a small amount around the edges (making sure it’s even around the whole lip line.) 

STEP 4: Apply the matching lipstick shade starting from the middle and swiping outwards – the colours should blend effortlessly into one.

STEP 5: Blot on a piece of tissue and add a dusting of powder for a matte longer-lasting look.

What do you think about the lip liner revival? Are you a fan or would you rather leave them in the past, with your pinafore dresses and feathered hair ‘do? 


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  1. Candice Petersen
    March 1, 2018 / 7:46 am

    I haven't used lip liners in such a long time.. Candice |

    • Hayley Hall
      March 1, 2018 / 9:40 am

      They're such a secret gem – I'm enjoying rediscovering!

  2. Nicole Baxter
    March 1, 2018 / 8:43 am

    I've always used lip liners as I am terrible at precise lip application, I am so glad they are a trend now as there is so much more choice out there!

    • Hayley Hall
      March 1, 2018 / 9:40 am

      The choice is immense now; for such a long time they were really hard to find!

  3. Ezara
    March 1, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    I love lipliners, they are so useful. I particularly love NYX and Rimmel but also Urban DecayEzara-

  4. Merkitty Blog
    March 1, 2018 / 3:51 pm

    Lip liner can be so nice when it's done right. I'm with you on the dark pink lip line and light pink gloss making you queasy! One example I can think of this is I've seen some really bad lip lining when it comes to the band Little Mix. They are all so beautiful naturally and they look more than twice their age sometimes, especially when their lip liner is off.

    • Hayley Hall
      March 6, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      Lip liner can be so ageing if you're not careful – and I'm not down with this overly drawn different colour lipstick thing either!

  5. Frankly Flawless -
    March 1, 2018 / 4:05 pm

    Lip liners are old-school but I still love them. I like the more creamy formula and some great tips you have shared here

    • Hayley Hall
      March 6, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      Glad they're helpful!

  6. Danish Pastry
    March 5, 2018 / 6:36 am

    I've never been one for lip liners, even in the 90's, I've used them but not very much. When I have used them, they've been as close a match to my lipstick as possible, and I've done the trick of filling in my whole lip with it (cause who wants the lipstick to wear off and just be left with liner?). Then of course my trusty lipcote! The last few years I've been using a more shear lip colour, but I'm ready for more colour, so lip liner may cream in on occaision.

    • Hayley Hall
      March 6, 2018 / 3:57 pm

      Ahhh lipcote! SO many memories of that as a child – my mum still uses it!

  7. Allanah Methven
    March 6, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    I'm so glad there are more liner products on the market at the moment, I love a bold lip and have loved some of the recent releases from brands! I don't think I could bring myself to splash the cash on a Kylie Lip Kit mind you!

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