I keep protesting on this blog that I don't care much for lip liner, but I also keep buying more lip liners. I need to cut out one of those habits. I also need to figure out what I want lip liners to do for me, because I'm a bit hazy on that point right now. Do I want to increase the longevity of my lipsticks? Create sharper, clearer lines? Experiment with layering colors? Make sheer or patchy lipsticks opaque? Most importantly, do I care about any of these activities enough to spend extra time applying lip liner? Right now, I'm afraid, the answer seems to be no.
I did, however, have specific reasons for buying each of these colors. I wanted Dolly Pink as an underlayer for the not-quite-opaque-enough Maybelline Lilac Flush, and Pumpkin looked like a cool color that could be worn on its own. And because Ulta was having a sale on NYX lip products, I paid only $4.50 for both, which even I consider a small price to pay for two different lip colors. Plus, having a lip liner for Lilac Flush would make me less likely to go out and buy an opaque lavender lipstick, right? Right.
NYX's Slim Lip Pencils are standard wooden lip liners that need to be sharpened and come with plastic caps:
Swatched, with Dolly Pink on the left and Pumpkin on the right, obviously:
I was immediately impressed with Pumpkin. It has a soft texture (no furious scribbling to achieve full coverage), it's decently pigmented, and the gold shimmer is so fine that it creates a metallic effect. Pumpkin does emphasize dryness slightly, but I wouldn't hesitate to wear it alone--it looks just like a metallic orange lipstick once applied:
There's something very '70s about this color: I can imagine one of Roger Moore's Bond girls wearing it. She might even have worn it with a frosty seafoam green like the left-hand shade of NARS Habanera:
I was curious to see whether the shimmer would come through when a lipstick was layered over it, so I tested Pumpkin under two warmish lipsticks. The first was Urban Decay Streak, which looks like this on its own:
Pumpkin + Streak:
I wasn't terribly impressed with this combination: it looked like a slightly pinker Pumpkin with frost (shudder) instead of shimmer. Basically, the least flattering color I could possibly wear. On to the next: Pumpkin under Revlon Candy Apple, a sheer warm red.
I'm sensing a pattern here: Pumpkin drowns out any lipstick with which it's paired, and the metallic effect turns into a frosty one. Not a great layering partner, methinks, but I'm still excited to wear it by itself this summer and fall. Cyborg goes to the beach, or something.
The second lip liner, Dolly Pink, is the complete opposite of Pumpkin: it looks terrible on its own, but plays well with others. Dolly Pink has the same soft texture as Pumpkin, but it's also thick and waxy, and I had to exert a lot of effort and apply a lot of product to get full color coverage:
It felt as gross and cakey as it looked, and that feeling only increased when I tried layering a lipstick over it. I got better results from scribbling lightly on my lips with Dolly Pink, then using a finger to even out the pigment for coverage that was just shy of opaque. Still not a lip pencil I'd wear on its own--it makes my lips look hideously shriveled.
As you may recall, Lilac Flush looks like this without liner:
Not bad! Still emphasizes dryness, but at least the color looks right. And my lips look less painfully dry when you're standing at a proper distance...
Verdict: I don't regret buying either of these lip pencils, but I also feel compelled to set a new rule for myself: NO MORE LIP LINERS. I'd rather live with a lipstick that's a bit sheer or uneven than apply a lip liner and carry it around all day so I can touch up both the lipstick and the liner constantly. We all have a few makeup habits we're appallingly lazy about, and this is one of mine. What are your thoughts on lip liner?