You Can Use Eyeliner for Lip Liner (& Why It’s Just as Good)

Whether it's lip liner or eyeliner on the lips, we think a liner by any other name is just as sweet. Learn why it's worth making the switch.

Published May 1, 2024
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 Close-up of a young woman applying red lip liner to her upper lip

Step aside no-makeup makeup, we’re jumping back to 2016 and diving deep into the versatility of some makeup products. From lipsticks as blushes and blushes as contour, there are so many unique ways you can use makeup other than what it’s intended for. But can you use eyeliner for lip liner? Not only can you, but we’ve got all the tips to help yours come out flawless every time.

Can You Use Eyeliner for Lipliner?

Surprisingly, cosmetic products that are deemed eye-safe are usually safe to use on the other parts of your face, too! The FDA has some of the most stringent regulations for cosmetics meant to be used on and around the eye, so anything FDA-approved is safe to use on the rest of your face.

Notice the way eyeliner (particularly eye pencils) glides across the skin? And how it feels suspiciously similar to the liner you rub across your lips? That’s because they share a number of ingredients. It’s what makes eyeliners such good lip liner alternatives in a snap!

How to Safely Use Eyeliner as Lip Liner

Happy dark-skinned woman with short hair holding a lip liner pencil in a peach-colored background

While you can use eyeliner on the lips, you shouldn’t just grab the nubby eye pencil you’ve got buried in the bottom of your purse. While makeup doesn’t have any rules per se, there are safety practices you should follow to make sure you don’t get any nasty infections or skin irritations.

Choose the Right Type of Eyeliner

There are several different kinds of eyeliner with gel, liquid, and pencil being the most popular. And while you can technically use gel or liquid on your lips if you want, you’re not going to get the same effect as a pencil eyeliner.

Gel will likely leave too thick of a layer and both gel and liquid can be drying. If you’re not planning to use a hydrating lipstick or gloss formula, then you’ll get an unplanned cracking effect.

Check the Expiration Date

Did you know that cosmetics have an expiration date? Everyone knows that they should throw out their mascara after a few months. But things like powders, shadows, and highlighters feel like they can last forever.

Because of cross-contamination, every dip of your brush or sponge back into these products from touching your face introduces bacteria. Additionally, some products can start to degrade over time.

If you don’t want to irritate your skin, make sure you’re only using products that are still in date. Check the fine print on your products to find the expiration date. It’s usually listed in months, such as 12 or 24, with the numbers encased in the outline of a cosmetics bottle.

Related: Best Hypoallergenic Eye Makeup for Sensitive Eyes

Sanitize Your Eyeliners Before Using Them

While your eyes aren’t the germiest places on your face, you should still be careful about cross-contamination. So, if you have the perfect eyeliner shade to go with a new lipstick you just bought, dip the tip of the pencil into an isopropyl alcohol, such as a fast-drying 91% isopropyl alcohol. Dunk the cap if you have one as well. Allow the alcohol to dry, and then wipe away any excess.

Quick Tip

Sharpen your pencils before you clean them, so you don’t have to disinfect your pencil sharpener with every use as well.

Once Used, Label the Eyeliner for Lips Only

If you head down the TikTok rabbit hole, you’re sure to find thousands of people using expired makeup and double dipping from their eyes to their mouths and back again.

According to the National Institutes of Health, your mouth has over 700 species of microbes in it. And while not all of them are bad bacteria, there are enough there to make it dangerous to use products you just applied to the lips on your eyes.

Is it guaranteed that you’ll get an adverse reaction if you do? No. And while sanitizing your products after each use can lower that risk immensely, it doesn’t remove it entirely. So, if you like your eyeballs free of pesky infections, only use eyeliner on your lips that you’re okay with never using as an eyeliner again.

3 Tips for Applying Eyeliner to the Lips

Woman applying liner pencil on her lips with a light grey background

Eyeliner and lipliner are much the same, and the application isn’t all that different. However, there are a few things to consider when picking out your next shade.

Waxy Eyeliners Won’t Have a Good Payoff

Eyeliner pencils that have a high wax content won’t give you the vibrant payoff that highly pigmented lip liners do. So, look for a high-pigment eyeliner like NARS High-Pigment Longwear eyeliner in Mulholland Drive to get that deep color.

Waterproof Eyeliners Will Last for Hours

If you want to rock a beautiful lip all day long, gravitate towards waterproof eyeliners. These eyeliners are formulated for long-term use and shouldn’t smudge when you take your lunch breaks.

Urban Decay’s 24/7 waterproof eyeliner pencils come in a wide variety of shades. From bright cobalt to deep emerald, these eyeliner pencils are perfect for those harder-to-match lipstick colors.

Lip Oils Lock in Moisture Underneath Eyeliners

Both eyeliner and lip liner are drying products, and if you’re tossing a matte lipstick or stain on top of them, you’re going to walk away with crusty lips. Prevent that from happening by giving your lips some hydration before the application.

Lip oils like Milani’s Fruit Fetish lip oils are packed with hydrating ingredients that will lock in enough moisture to stave off the drying effect that eyeliner can have on your lips.

Helpful Hack

If you don’t have any lip oil on hand, top your lip products off with a gloss. MAC’s Lipglass is a super shiny gloss that goes over every kind of lip product.

A Liner by Any Other Name Is Just as Sweet

If you’re running low on funds, want to travel light, or can’t shade-match a unique colored lipstick, then eyeliner pencils as lip liners will save the day. Believe it or not, there are far more eyeliner shades and formulations than lip liners. This means there are so many more exciting makeup combinations for you to give a try.

You Can Use Eyeliner for Lip Liner (& Why It’s Just as Good)