Makeup Products » Best Lip Liners

15 Best Lip Liners of 2023 for That Perfect Pout

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Lip liner is a must when you want your lips to look truly flawless. A bit of an afterthought in the makeup world, lip liners are actually incredibly useful and versatile. They’ll create an outline for your lips that makes applying lipstick a little easier, prevents feathering, and ensures better longevity

That’s not the only way to use a lip pencil, though. You can use a nude lip liner with a bit of gloss for a quick but elevated pout or apply lip pencil all over your lips as a lipstick or long-lasting base. Either way, you’ll need a reliable lip liner, and that’s why we’ve selected the best lip pencils for every technique, style, and budget. 

Best lip liners overview:

How we chose the best lip liners

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including shade range, type, and more, to create a short list of the top lip pencils. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best lip liner for each category.

Our picks for the best lip liners

Best overall
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Liner

What we love

  • Creamy and easy to apply
  • Easily sharpens to a fine, precise point
  • Longwearing and smudge-proof

What we don’t love

  • Nude-dominant shade range

You can’t go wrong with these universally loved lip liners from Anastasia Beverly Hills. They’re perfectly balanced, with enough creaminess to be smooth and easy to apply yet enough firmness to sharpen to a fine point easily.

Reviewers raved that the formula is longwearing and smudge-proof for a perfect pout that lasts all day. The pencils are squared off rather than cylindrical, which is a nice touch — it saves the risk that they’ll roll off your makeup table.

The pigmented shades are designed to pair with specific Anastasia Beverly Hills lipsticks, but they’ll work just as well with lipsticks from other brands. That said, the range skews strongly towards pink and brown nudes, so you may not find a match if you prefer unusual lip colors.

Shades: 22 | Type: Pencil

Best budget
Wet n Wild Perfect Pout Gel Lip Liner

What we love

  • Budget-friendly
  • Pigmented and glides easily
  • Convenient, retractable format

What we don’t love

  • Small shade range

These lip liners from Wet n Wild feature a smooth polymer-based formula in a convenient retractable format. Thanks to their intense pigmentation and soft gel texture, you can expect a lot of color with minimal pressure. They glide on easily and then set down to more of a matte finish. 

The shade range is very small, though. You can find some pretty pink and berry tones, but we think it lacks a medium peach or nude brown shade. Given the affordable price, however, these liners are ideal for beauties on a budget.

Shades: 6 | Type: Retractable gel

Best longwearing
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil

What we love

  • Smooth and easy-gliding
  • Very longwearing and waterproof
  • Keeps lips nourished

What we don’t love

  • Difficult to sharpen

Famously longwearing and creamy, Urban Decay’s lip liners are ideal if you find that most lip liners feel a little too firm or drying. This formula is very soft, so it glides over the lips easily to impart an opaque line of color. Once it’s on, it’s fully smudge-proof and waterproof. It also includes nourishing ingredients so it feels comfortable and moisturizes the lips. 

That said, since the formula is so creamy, sharpening it without breaking the tip can be a little tricky — make sure to use a sharpener designed specifically for makeup products.

Shades: 25 | Type: Creamy pencil

Best for lip contouring
Makeup By Mario Ultra Suede® Sculpting Lip Pencil

What we love

  • Ideal for making the lips appear larger
  • Pigmented, creamy formula
  • Includes lip blending brush

What we don’t love

  • Not very longwearing

These lip liners are like contour for your lips, helping them look lusher and fuller. Developed by the makeup artist responsible for Kim Kardashian’s signature pout, these pencils are ideal for lining the lips in the dimension-enhancing ombré technique. 

The range includes a lot of brown-leaning shades with various depths and undertones, allowing shoppers with all skin tones and undertones to find their perfect sculpting shade.

There’s a lip brush built into the end of the liner, so you can even blend the liner into your lipstick for a perfect look. The pigmented formula is creamy and effortless to apply, but some reviewers mentioned that they didn’t find it particularly long-lasting.

Shades: 19 | Type: Pencil

Best universal shades
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat

What we love

  • Universally wearable shades
  • Creamy and nourishing
  • Long-lasting and waterproof

What we don’t love

  • Pricey

Charlotte Tilbury’s luxury lip pencil range may not be massive, but it includes some of the most universal and effortlessly wearable shades we’ve seen. Nude-pink Pillow Talk is the brand’s best-seller, but nearly every shade will work with most skin tones and lipstick colors. The formula is very creamy and nourishing, but it sets down to a waterproof and long-lasting matte finish.

Shades: 17 | Type: Pencil

Best vegan
KVD Beauty Everlasting Lip Liner

What we love

  • Creamy, comfortable formula
  • Creative shade range
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

What we don’t love

  • Tip can break or become dull easily

Looking for a quality lip liner that’s also vegan? KVD delivers with its range where even the most saturated reds are free from animal-derived ingredients like carmine. These lip liners are excellent even if you’re not vegan, thanks to their creamy, opaque formula and comfortable feel on the lips. 

The shade range, while not massive, is very unique. In addition to the typical roses, reds, and nudes, it also includes shades of black, purple, and green. Just be careful when rolling it up since some reviewers mentioned that the softness of the lip liner meant it was also quite fragile.

Shades: 12 | Type: Retractable

Best shade range
NYX Slim Lip Pencil

What we love

  • Budget-friendly
  • Massive shade range
  • Perfect for precision lining

What we don’t love

  • Can be drying for some

These drugstore lip pencils are available in nearly every shade imaginable, and since they’re reasonably priced, there’s no reason you can’t own the rainbow. Since they’re so slim, creating a fine line is very easy, and the color payoff is excellent. 

That said, while NYX promotes them as smooth and creamy, this is still a firm formula, and some reviewers found it drying.

Shades: 39 | Type: Pencil

Best applicator
Patrick Ta Monochrome Moment Precision Lip Crayon

What we love

  • Innovative click-to-reveal applicator
  • Excellent formula
  • Wearable nude shades

What we don’t love

  • Very small shade range

We didn’t think it was possible to reinvent the wheel when it comes to lip liners, but Patrick Ta did it. This crayon lip liner has the best applicator we’ve seen. Instead of the easily breakable mechanical liner, this liner has a clicker on the bottom. As you press on it, it reveals a controlled amount of the crayon, ready to roll onto the lips.

According to reviewers, the formula is pigmented, smooth, and long-lasting. The range only includes four shades, which are all nude pinks or browns of various depth levels. So while they’re quite wearable, we’d love to see the range expanded with reds, peaches, pinks, or purples.

Shades: 4 | Type: Clickable

Best splurge
Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Ultra Lip Pencil

What we love

  • Creamy, blendable formula
  • Very longwearing once it sets
  • Excellent shade range

What we don’t love

  • Pricey

This innovative gel pencil formula from Pat McGrath is pure luxury. It’s incredibly smooth, opaque, and creamy at first, making it particularly nice for filling in the lips. It offers a little bit of “play time” for blending, but sets down soon enough then lasts for an incredibly long time. The shade range is massive, with options for any skin tone and aesthetic.

Shades: 27 | Type: Gel pencil

Best budget longwearing
ColorStay Longwear Lip Liner

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Longwearing
  • Vibrant shade range

What we don’t love

  • Fragile

If you need a lip liner you can trust to stay in place, ColorStay is the best budget option. This formula gives all-day wear without ever settling into creases or feathering. If you’re tired of all the nudes, you’ll love this vibrant shade range, including fuschia, purple, and bright pink.  

It’s a retractable liner, so you won’t need a sharpener, although it does come with a “tip sharpener” to help you keep your lines crisp. However, as with many other retractable liners, you’ll want to be careful not to roll it up too high to avoid breakage.

Shades: 16 | Type: Retractable

Best classic
MAC Lip Pencil

What we love

  • Extensive shade range
  • Smooth and easy to apply
  • Longwearing

What we don’t love

  • Pricey
  • Not very creamy

If you’re looking for a particular lip liner shade, rest assured MAC has the pencil for you. The 28-shade range includes effortlessly wearable colors like Stripdown, artistic options like Cyber World, and shades designed to match MAC’s best-selling lipsticks, like Whirl and Ruby Woo. 

The formula is smooth and easy to apply but perhaps not as creamy as other liners. That said, the matte finish ensures excellent longevity.

Shades: 28 | Type: Pencil

Best clear
Maybelline Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner in Clear

What we love

  • Prevents lipstick from feathering
  • Works with any lipstick shade
  • Soft and smooth formula

What we don’t love

  • Can break easily

This colorless lip liner won’t sculpt or define your lips, but it will prevent your lipstick from bleeding into the lip line. It’s the perfect option if you don’t like the look of lipliner or you only want one product you can wear with all of your lipsticks. The formula is soft and smooth, so you can even apply it all over your lips like a lip primer. 

There’s no need for a sharpener since this is a mechanical liner. But you’ll want to be careful when rolling it up since some reviewers mentioned that it can break off easily. There are 21 shades in the range if you want to try a colorful version of this formula.

Shades: 21 | Type: Retractable

Best moisturizing
Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Liner

What we love

  • Soothing formula
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Comes with micro-sharpener

What we don’t love

  • Small shade range

Most lip liners are pretty matte, carrying a small risk of leaving the lips feeling dry. But you won’t have any drying issues with this hyaluronic acid-infused lip liner. The creamy formula keeps the lip line conditioned while also creating the perfect contouring outline. 

While it doesn’t require the use of a traditional sharpener, a built-in micro sharpener will help you create a defined tip before every use. The small shade range is classic and wearable, but it’s not particularly exciting.

Shades: 7 | Type: Retractable

Best for all-over
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

What we love

  • 2-in-1 liner and lipstick
  • Longwearing matte formula
  • Creamy, easy-to-apply formula

What we don’t love

  • Difficult to sharpen

A lip pencil can also go all over your lips if you wish. These cult-favorite lip pencils are jumbo-sized to work either as lipsticks or liners. The formula has a soft and creamy texture that makes it easy to apply, but once on the lips, it has a classy soft-matte finish that lasts for hours. 

Since it’s not a standard pencil size, you’ll need a jumbo-sized sharpener. Some reviewers mentioned that keeping it intact while sharpening was difficult because of the soft texture.

Shades: 29 | Type: Jumbo pencil

Best waterproof
Make Up Forever Aqua Lip

What we love

  • Waterproof formula
  • Creamy application
  • Cult-favorite nude shades

What we don’t love

  • Small shade range

This range of lip liners is a makeup artist’s favorite, thanks to its ultra-long-lasting formula. It’s another creamy lip liner option that goes on smoothly but sets into a waterproof line with a matte finish. The shade range isn’t very large, but it’s well-curated. The various “Rosewood” shades in the range are versatile nudes that have become cult favorites.

Shades: 8 | Type: Creamy pencil

Get in line 

Lip liners may not be as glamorous as lipsticks, but they still pull their weight, giving your lips a precise outline. Today’s trends are all about nude-toned lip liners that look natural and work with most lipsticks or glosses. Anastasia Beverly Hills delivers a versatile, easy-to-use formula for the best of the best within that category. 

How to pick the right lip liner for you

When choosing the best lip pencil for you, the major factors to consider are the type, texture, and color you prefer. Here are our tips for deciding between the various options. 


  • Pencil. Much like your average school pencil, pencil lip liners require sharpening — ideally with a cosmetic pencil sharpener. A single pencil can usually last awhile before it runs out. 
  • Retractable. Retractable pencils are a more convenient option since you don’t need to sharpen them. However, they often contain less product, and the tips are prone to breaking, so you may need to replace them more frequently.  


  • Firm. Firmer lip liners tend to have a slightly dryer formula. They’re solid, durable, and easy to sharpen, but they’re also a bit more likely to feel drying or tug on the lip.   
  • Creamy. Creamy or gel-based lip liners are a little more complex. They’re very soft, so you don’t need to apply much pressure to achieve a great color payoff. They’re comfortable and easy to blend at first, although they’ll eventually set down to have an excellent wear time. That said, they often break when sharpened, and they can lose their sharp point quickly, which makes creating a precise line a little more complicated.  


  • Nude. Nude shades are usually rosy or peachy browns that blend well into the lips. Often referred to as “my lips but better” shades, they pair well with glosses or light to medium lipstick. 
  • Brown. Brown lip liners are a little deeper but neutral. They’re perfect for matching darker lipsticks or pairing with slightly lighter shades for a contoured look
  • Roses and berries. Rose and berry tones are neutral pinks that mimic the natural rosy color of the lips. They pair well with cool nude lipsticks, pinks, and mauves, as well as with any close-matching shades.
  • Red or burgundy. If you want a very stark red lip, a matching red or burgundy liner will match the vividness of your lipstick. That said, it won’t be as versatile as a brown-red tone. 
  • Other hues. The clearer the tint of your lip liner, the less versatile it’ll be. True pinks, corals, oranges, and purples should be closely matched to lipsticks with a very similar or slightly lighter color unless you’re intentionally aiming for an avant-garde look.  
  • Clear. Brands like Maybelline and Urban Decay have clear lip liners that look invisible on the lips (though with multiple layers, they may look a little white). They prevent feathering and improve longevity without showing up, so they’ll work with every lipstick. 


What’s the most long-lasting lip liner? 

Based on our research, the most longwearing lip liners are Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil, Pat McGrath PermaGel Ultra Lip Pencil, and Make Up Forever Aqua Lip. 

Is lip liner coming back?

With current fashion trends so heavily inspired by the 90s, it’s clear to us that visible lip liner is coming back. That said, lip liner doesn’t have to be visible. Using a nude lip liner or a lip liner that closely matches your lipstick is timeless and can help prevent your lipstick from feathering or smudging. 

Which brand of lip liner is the best?

There are many great options for lip liners, but we think the best formula comes from Anastasia Beverly Hills, thanks to its phenomenal color payoff, longevity, and smoothness.