Lip liners are the unsung hero of every makeup kit. You can use them solo with lip balm or clear lip gloss as part of TikTok’s “gym lips” trend or layer it under a nude lipstick or a bright lipstick to boost its staying power. Basically, lip liners make so many different styles of lip looks possible, it’s good to keep a few on hand.
Whether you’re already a lip pencil lover or you're looking for your first-ever lip liner, continue reading to discover 12 of the best lip liners available, with tips and tricks from makeup artist Allie Glines. With a wide range of shades, finishes, and staying power, there's a lip product here for every look and skin tone.
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You don’t have to spend a million dollars to get a longwearing, pigmented lip pencil. This one comes in a whopping 32 colors from nude shades to mauves to brights. The cruelty-free, creamy formula contains jojoba oil, shea butter, and coconut oil so it glides on buttery smooth and stays put all day. Glines is a big fan. “I’ve tried and reviewed hundreds of lip liners and this is my go-to formula!” she says. “It’s the perfect texture, comes in so many shades, and is only $5.” Her favorites are Nude Beige and Nude Truffle.
“This formula is great when I need my lip liner to stay put,” Glines says. “It’s smooth upon application and then seems to dry down; It doesn’t budge for hours. I can’t live without the shades Pillow Talk and Iconic Nude.” IPSY members agree with the makeup artist: CHARLOTTE TILBURY’s velvety lip pencil glides on smooth and doesn’t move. “I have enjoyed this lip liner with gloss and with lipsticks. It lasts well, it is a good balance of creamy and firm formula, and has been easy to sharpen,” says one IPSY member. “This stuff stays put! It does not feather and wears all day. Probably the best lip liner brand that I've ever used,” says another.
Sure, you can use any lip pencil to give your pout a plumping effect. But M.A.C.’s Lip Pencil is just so easy to use. IPSY members agree with us. The smooth and creamy formula glides on effortlessly without any skipping or dragging. “[It’s] easy to use for beginners [and] the color is nice,” says one IPSY member. “Can you ever go wrong with a MAC lip color, in pencil, or lipstick form? Not really!” says another.
Iconic makeup artist PAT MCGRATH’s gel lip liner has a creamy texture that shapes and transforms your lips with no feathering. There’s something about the luxe liner that makes sculpting your pout actually fun. We like to blur and smudge the lip line for that pretty “just-kissed” lip look.
While we like this waterproof liner on its own, we especially love it as a primer for any and all lipsticks. We make our creamy lippies have a matte finish by applying URBAN DECAY’s 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil all over lips first to increase the staying power. There are so many shades to choose from and they never smudge.
Get stuck with a dull lip pencil and can’t find your sharpener? We never have to worry about that when using REVLON ColorStay Longwear Lip Liner. It’s a drugstore staple for a reason. The long-wearing formula is one of the best lip liners for perfecting our lip shape because it never feathers or bleeds.
Glines swears by this velvet-matte lip liner for the foolproof formula and stellar shade selection. “This range is absolutely stunning; You’re guaranteed to find a color you like,” she says. “Deep Taupe is my most used shade, especially for creating the illusion of more full lips.” Sign us up!
Glines also loves the clean and cruelty-free lip liner from makeup artist Annie Lawless. We couldn’t agree more! “It’s so smooth on the lips,” she says. “The application is absolutely effortless. Honey Rose is a shade that never gets old to me. It looks great day to night.”
This is our favorite lip liner to use on the go thanks to its easy-to-use, twist-up packaging and creamy crayon formula. Plus, there are so many nude shades to choose from no matter what your skin tone. It’s our go-to!
Makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic made it so easy for us to fake a fuller pout with this dual-ended lip liner. On one end is a matte, full-coverage lip liner with a ton of pigment and on the other side is a small lippie brush to shape lips and create the perfect cupid’s bow.
There are a whopping 40 shades of COLOURPOP’s affordable lip pencil, everything from Rosey Taupe to Deep Brown to True Orange. Plus, all shades are cruelty-free and vegan, which just makes them all the better to us.
Glines calls this multi-use liner “amazing” because it’s safe and easy to use it on your lips, eyes, and cheeks. “You really can’t mess this up,” she says. “It looks great no matter what. The shade Work of Art is my favorite for everyday!”
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