How To Overline Your Lips For A Plumper Look

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It's the age of the pout. From lip fillers, to trends like the gym lips, to makeup lovers recreating the famous Bratz doll lip on TikTok, plump pouts are the in-thing. And makeup, specifically overlining, allows us to achieve Kardashian-esque voluptuous lips without the hefty price tag that comes with cosmetic injectables. According to Makeup Muddle, overlining is the makeup technique of making your lips appear fuller by drawing along your natural lip line with a lip liner. Overlining also helps correct the asymmetry of the lips, where one half is larger than the other.


A favorite among celebrities like Beyoncé, Marilyn Monroe, and Kylie Jenner, the technique guarantees you fuller lips in minutes. But, there is a thin line between natural-looking fuller lips and creating unnatural and exaggerated features, literally (via Ipsy). And sidebar, it's pretty easy to cross. Thankfully, there are makeup-artist-approved ways to overline your lips without going too far or messing it up. With a bit of practice, you'll be rocking a plumper pout in no time.

Exfoliate and moisturize your lips

Overlining does not only depend on what liner or lip products you use; it also depends on how you prep your lips. Where chapped or dry lips do not create a smooth canvas for you to work, prepped and hydrated lips are fuller and easier to glide products on top of. To prep your lips, MasterClass says to exfoliate with a toothbrush or a lip scrub like the highly rated Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator at Sephora. After less than one minute of gentle scrubbing, wipe it off and follow it up with a moisturizing lip balm like the ILIA Lip Wrap Reviving Balm. This process sloughs off the dead skin cells from your lips and plumps them. 


When overlining, not only should you be concerned about your lips, but you also need to pay heed to the area above your lip line. Senior national makeup artist John Stapleton explains to Ipsy how the hairs above your lip, A.K.A. peach fuzz, can cause your lip liner to "ball up" or clump. P.S.: It's not very pretty. Waxing off the hair is a great way to avoid this and ensure your lip line is as ball-free as possible.

Pick the right lip shades

The goal of overlining is to get a fuller pout that still looks natural. The color or shade of your liner can be the line between that goal and a comic-looking lip combo. For the best finish, Be Beautiful says to go for more neutral shades of lip liner, or to select a color that's closest to your skin tone but a little darker. Remember, you want your lips to look natural and plump, so using a shade of liner that's slightly darker than your actual lip color will blend in while adding dimension to the look. We recommend the Patrick Ta Monochrome Moment Precision Lip Crayon, which has a rating of 4.6 stars at Sephora.


If your lipstick color is a wine-red shade, Real Beauty School advises you use a dark wine or dark brown lip liner. Again, choose a liner in the same shade range but a tad darker. Avoid using lip liners that are far away from your natural lip color or not suited to your undertone as they can ruin the look, per MasterClass.

Outline by highlighting and shading your lips

And now for the fun part: outlining. Lips come in different shapes, so you might outline your lips using a different technique from the next plump pout lover. The general idea, however, is to outline your lips, starting from your cupid's bow. As L'Oréal Paris explains, define your cupid's bow, which is the area between your philtrum and your top lip, by drawing an X over it and filling it in with the same liner. An alternative to this is to apply a bit of highlighter over your cupid's bow to give the illusion of a fuller pout (via 


Accentuating your cupid's bow is essential to overlining, and so is shading the edges of your lips instead of drawing straight lines. According to Be Beautiful, shading your lips' outline this way creates a more diffused effect, which should be your aim when overlining. Unlike a regular lip where cleaning your edges with concealer enhances the look, shading your liner in and out of the natural lip line prevents harsh lines against your skin and makes your overlined lips less obvious. And of course, it's easier to work with a sharp lip liner that creates light strokes as it's easier to clean up if you make a mistake.

Fill it up, and apply some gloss

Last comes the most crucial element of the look, lipstick. With a matte or cream lipstick like the fan-favorite Huda Beauty Power Bullet Lipstick, fill in the rest of your lip, or inside the shaded area, per Lala Daisy. Matte lipsticks are easier to blend in with your lip liner using a lip brush. But if you like the feel of your lip liner and would prefer to use it throughout the whole area for a much longer color stay, Charlotte Tilbury gives you the go-ahead. 


And finally, some gloss. Lip gloss creates a plumping effect and gives your lips a voluptuous finish. Note that applying lip gloss over your overlined lips is optional as it can make your lips look overly done. It's pretty much a matter of preference as a matte finish is just as good (via Poosh). Overlining can be tricky, but it's all about practice. Remain cautious of your natural lip line while overlining, pick the right lip liner and lipstick combos, and you'll master the technique.