Lip liners are an essential item for me despite their questionable reputation. I'm not talking about this look, of course, but of a subtle way to extend the wear of lipstick and make it look polished. Or, when the lip pencil is especially good and creamy, used as a base color under a gloss or a lip balm. These three lip liners by Giorgio Armani, Paula Dorf and Sisley are exactly that.
Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk lip pencil in Pale Raspberry #9 is a lively plummish mauve that offers the "my lips but better quality" and works with many of my lipsticks as well as by itself under Armani's fabulous lip gloss, Gloss d'Armani.
Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Gloss Lipliner is actually a hybrid: a glossy moisturizing lip pencil that actually smooths the lips and gives them a nice boost. It's still quite tenacious and holds firmly in place. Thé Glacé No. 1 is a warm shade, a light brick color mixed with beige.
Paula Dorf lip liner in Retro is a classic lip pencil. It's smooth to apply, gives full coverage and stays put no matter what, keeping your lipstick and balm where they need to be. This one can be drying if your lips haven't been moisturized prior to application, so my favorite way of using the Paula Dorf pencil is over my lipstick, for an extra hold. I also do the makeup artist thing by mixing it on the back of my hand with a lip balm and applying with a brush.
Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk lip pencil in Pale Raspberry #9 and nine other shades ($26) is available at Saks, Nordstrom, Barneys and giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.
Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Gloss Lipliner ($40) comes in four colors, of which Thé Glacé is the lightest. Available at Bergdorf, Saks and Neiman Marcus.
Paula Dorf lip liner (Retro is one of ten shades, $20 each) is available at Henri Bendel in NYC and pauladorf.com.
My beautiful assistant is Sophie.