How To Match Lip Liner and Lipstick

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Lip liner helps define and shape your lips, prevents smudging, bleeding, and feathering of your lipstick. And keeps it lasting a lot longer. Lip liner is a great tool for making your lips look plumper and more luscious.

And while lip liner is an often overlooked part of your makeup toolkit, we’re going to look at why a good lip liner is important and how to match lip liner and lipstick.


How to Choose the Perfect Colors for You

The first step to matching your lip liner to your lipstick is to find the perfect lipstick that looks great on you. The colors that will suit you best are determined by your skin’s undertones.

Once you’ve chosen the right lipstick, then you can choose the matching liner.

To determine your skin’s undertone, look at the veins on the underside of your wrist in natural light.

If your veins look blue, you have cool-toned skin with pink undertones.

You have warm-toned skin with yellow undertones if your veins appear green.

If your veins appear both blue and green, you are one of the lucky people that have neutral undertones. This means that almost every shade of lipstick will look great on you!

If it’s hard to tell what color your veins are, or if you can’t see them at all, hold up silver and gold jewelry next to your face.

Regardless of your personal preference, which one looks better next to your skin?

Those with warm-toned skin will look better with gold jewelry. Those with cool-toned skin will look better with silver jewelry.

Best Colors For Cool Tones:

Any colors with blue or pink undertones will best compliment your skin.

Pink, Plum, cherry, mauve, crimson, and purples all fall within the cool tone range. If you want to go red – lean toward a berry red, rather than tomato red.

Best Colors For Warm Tones

If you have warm or yellow undertones, the colors that will suit you best will have reddish, peach, orange, or even yellowish undertones. They will and lean towards more orange hues, from coral, gold, and copper to sienna and browns.

Best Colors For Neutral Tones

Neutral undertones work with almost all colors. If you have a neutral skin tone and are overwhelmed by the color choices, you can try pink shades for fair skin, mauve shades for medium skin, and berry shades for darker skin.

If you’ve figured out your skin has cool undertones and decide to get a plum-colored lipstick, you realize there are 50 different shades of plum!

There’s no fool-proof formula for finding that perfect shade of lipstick for you.

Use the colors that best suit your undertone as a guide. Then use the lipstick samples and swatch them on the inside of your arm. You will see how the different shades of the same color will look against your skin.

How to Match Lip Liner and Lipstick


When coordinating lip liner and lipstick, match finish to finish.

In other words, you should pair metallic lip liner with a metallic lipstick, or a matte lip liner with a matte lipstick.

You’ll also want to use a lip liner that’s one to two shades darker than your lipstick color, and keep it in the same color family with the same undertones.

How Do You Use Lip Liner With Lipstick?

Now that you know how to match your lip liner to your lipstick, it’s crucial to know how to prep your lips and apply lip liner properly in order to create those perfect lips.


Use a lip scrub to exfoliate your lips. Removing the dead cells will give you a more even and smooth appearance.


After exfoliating, dab on a lip primer to help create a smooth base for your lip liner and lipstick. If you don’t have a lip primer on hand, you can use a tiny bit of foundation or concealer. Another option, if you are caught out without a primer on hand, would be to use the liner to line your lips and then fill them in with the lip liner before applying your lipstick.

Rimmel Kate Lip Conditioning Balm, Cream, 0.14 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Rimmel Kate Lip Conditioning Balm, Cream, 0.14 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Up to 8 hours of moisture; Immediate relief from dry feeling; Helps prevent lips from cracking and chapping
$5.49 Amazon Prime


Start by lining your lips by creating an ‘X’ from the top of your cupid’s bow. From the top of your cupid’s bow work your way down to the corner of your mouth and repeat on the other side.

For your bottom lip, start from the center and work your way out to the corner. And then do the other side. Now you blend the liner inward so you don’t have a distinct line, just a defined edge.

Fill in with your matching lipstick.


Now if your liner isn’t as precise as you wanted, or you’ve colored outside of the lines with your lipstick, you don’t have to start all over again. Simply use a cotton swab with micellar water or makeup remover to touch up the edges.

See here for tips on how to keep your lip liner sharp.


This step is optional, but it will give your lips more depth and give you a poutier look. Dab some gloss in the middle of your upper and lower lip.

What Lip Liner Goes With All Lipsticks?

If you have tons of different colors of lipstick and don’t want to have to buy (and store) a different liner for every shade, then a neutral, or nude, lip liner may be just what you’re looking for.

Rather than matching the shade of your lipstick, neutral liners match the shade of your natural lips.

For neutral liners, you’ll want to choose a lip liner that’s one to two shades darker than your natural lip color and matches your natural skin’s undertones. Neutral liners can be worn with almost any lipstick or gloss that matches your undertones.

Neutral Lip Liner for Cool Tones

CHARLOTTE TILBURY Lip Cheat Lip Pencil - Pillow Talk
CHARLOTTE TILBURY Lip Cheat Lip Pencil - Pillow Talk
Pillow Talk - Nude pink lip liner; A rich, velvety lip liner; For reshape, resize and balance the look of lips
$28.00 Amazon Prime

Neutral Lip Liner for Warm Tones

If you are still unsure about your undertones, or you just want to keep a clear gloss staying put, you can always opt for a transparent lip liner, like .


Lip liner provides that little bit extra to the lips. Some may wonder if lip liner is necessary. But when you use it right, it can really make your lips pop!

When matching lip liner and lipstick, start with the skin. Use your skin’s undertones as a guide to your lipstick color.

Your lip liner should be a shade or two darker, but still in the same color family and finish as your lipstick.

Remember to blend the liner!

If you are having trouble finding the right liner for your lipstick, or if you just don’t want to have to get a different liner for every shade of lipstick you own, get a neutral lip liner that matches your lips, rather than your lipstick.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).