From Eyes To Lips: How to use eyeliner to create new lip looks

I’ve been complaining to Nine and Den about finding the perfect dark lipstick, a la Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Never mind that my collection of orange lippies were the perfect choice for summer - my desire for vampire lips had to be sated! While I was very tempted to buy a tube, I couldn’t find the color nuance at the price point I wanted (aka, cheap) because of my low-buy. So I was super intrigued when I watched a tutorial by YouTuber Sarah Cheung, who created a 90s look inspired by Canto-Pop Queen Faye Wong. She used a brown Colourpop pencil eyeliner and mixed it with her red lipstick to create the signature grunge look of the era. And so, here I am with a bunch of pencil eyeliners and lipsticks to test how well this hack works!


While lip liners have mostly stuck to the traditional nude, pink and red shades, eyeliners are available in a wide spectrum of colors and finishes! Thus, using eyeliner as a lip liner is very handy if you’d like to experiment with more adventurous lip shades without stretching your budget. Plus, a lot of eyeliners have a waterproof formula that may improve the longevity of your lip color!

The undertone of the eyeliner can affect the outcome of your lip look. Such was the case when I layered the Etude House Play 101 Pencil in 19 (P348) underneath my Tom Ford lipstick in Leigh. Leigh is a watermelon pink, almost coral, while the EH pencil is a purple-pink with blue undertones. Combined together, the resulting lip color turned into a bubblegum pink! Not exactly my fave color against my morena skin, but hey, it was fun to try.

Blue eyeliner is a fun, less tricky to use alternative to blue eyeshadow, and if you’re trying to figure out how to match your lip, this is a good way to harmonize colors! I found the Artdeco Soft Eye Liner in Dark Indigo (P595) too dry and not as richly pigmented as the other pencils I tried, but I was very impressed at how it turned my L’Oreal Color Riche Matte in Rich Merlot into a deep violet color.

If you want a blue that can stand on its own though, check out the Browhaus Heavy Duty Bi-Liner in Midnight Blue (P498). Just as the name implies, it’s a dark blue with shimmer that applies smoothly without any grit. You can wear this on its own, or matched with an actual a blue lippie like the Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream in Moscow.

Gold eyeliner makes me think of Anck Su Namun in The Mummy but it’s also a great way to add a metallic dimension to your lip color. On its own, the Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Bling Bling (P149) emphasized my lip lines due to the nature of the color. Under the bright orange hue of the Estee Lauder Pure Lip Love in Hot Rumour though, it took on a subdued orangey gold with a frosty sheen.

While I never shy away from a dark lipstick, green lips (and green makeup in general) are unthinkable. However, I did want to know what I’d look like with Poison Ivy lips! The Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Outrageous Emerald (P575) is a rich, shimmery emerald green that prolonged the wear time of the transfer-prone Careline Kiss Stick in Alien. The shimmer was actually fine enough that it didn’t affect the matte texture of the Kiss Stick but created a richer-looking. Dare I say it - green looks good on me!

Now, most of us probably have the usual blacks and browns in our collections. As dark and intimidating as it may seem, they work really well for upping the drama of your lippies! To achieve a really dark, oxblood red lip, I outlined my lips with L’Oreal Infallible Gel Crayon in Black (P500) then layered on Rich Merlot. This is one of the richest black liners I’ve ever tried, so I had to apply it quite sparingly so that my lips didn’t look too black. The result? It’s a perfect match for my coveted RHW lips once I top it with gloss!

If black seems too intense, brown is its more chill counterpart. Some of my fave liners are the Happy Skin Gel Eyeliner in Chic Brown (P599) and the Clio Gelpresso Waterproof Pencil Liner in Dark Choco (P620). Both are which shimmery dark brown liners, but the Clio one feels creamier than the Happy Skin one.

If brown adds too much warmth, another color to try is gray. I find that blue-toned grays make my lips lean into a dark berry! Some of my favorites are the Clio Gelpresso Waterproof Pencil Liner in Midnight Gray (P620), a shimmery dark gray, and the Sephora Collection 12H Contour Eyeliner in 5th Avenue, a matte dark gray with blue undertone.

Now before you start tracing your eyeliners all over your lips, here are some important tips to take note of!

  • It’s best to use separate products for your eyes and for your lips to prevent cross-contamination. If this is not possible, you can sanitize your pencils by sharpening the tip or wiping it down with alcohol.

  • While you can use eyeliners on your lips, you cannot use lip liners for your lids. That’s because the pigments used for the eye area are specially formulated to not cause irritation.

  • Most of these liners have a long-wearing formulation and feel a lot drier than your usual lip liners, so expect them to tug a little during application.

  • Prep your lips accordingly - scrub and hydrate if you must! This balm is my personal fave for prepping the lips. I also really like this scrub for removing flakes after swatching so many eyeliners dried out my lips way too much, and nursed them back to health with these picks .

  • A lip brush will be your best friend in blending out the liner and lipstick seamlessly. Trust me, the 90s Gwen Stefani outlined lips may have been trendy back then but it doesn’t look cute now.

What lip look did you like best? Are there crazy lip colors you’d like to try? Send us your fave pencil eyeliner recos, too!

Photography by Nicole Quindara