Lip liner doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves. Members of Generation Z may see lip liner as a throwback product used by older relatives back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. If you’re into the no-makeup-makeup aesthetic, lip liner either barely crosses your mind or only accompanies your go-to lipstick shade on special occasions. Au contraire, this product is way more versatile and practical than you think.
First, lip liner can be used with or without another lip product. It’s traditionally known as a tool that enhances the color of lipstick or tinted gloss in an identical shade. A lip liner paired with a lipstick in a shade slightly lighter in color also adds dimension, creating the illusion of a fuller pout. In terms of practicality, lip liner also guards lip color from bleeding outside the lip line—an especially helpful factor when you’re wearing something bold. Alternatively, lip liner can also be applied alone and all over the lips for lowkey color that will stay put. And these are just a few of many application methods you can borrow from pro makeup artists.
If you’re looking for a range of tested and approved options to choose from, we’ve got you covered. These lip liners address a variety of makeup needs and range from affordable to splurge-worthy.
How We Found The Best Lip Liners
Of course, we put together this list by consulting a one-of-a-kind, unbiased algorithm. Our ultra-smart, proprietary tool eyeballs standout products by analyzing data from beauty editor and expert recommendations, product reviews, and social media buzz. Pucker up to our top picks, ahead.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Lip Exfoliators. Opening image: @lauramercier
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Bobbi Brown Lip Liner Pencil
BEST FOR: This lip liner is perfect for blending with lipstick or wearing alone as a smooth lip stain.
USER REVIEW: “This lip liner stays on all day, prevents feathering, and the stick lasts a while (unlike other brands which break off easy as you sharpen).”
Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Lip Pencil
BEST FOR: Precise lines and a lightweight feel are the highlights of this splurge-worthy liner.
USER REVIEW: “Bought one thinking it would be overrated—it’s not! Sooo creamy and buttery. No dragging or pulling. So pigmented and nice, and for me, it was totally budge-proof! I will be buying more for sure.”
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil
BEST FOR: If you want something that will last without drying out your lips, look no further than Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On pencil. Bonus: it's great for newbies.
USER REVIEW: “These are so creamy while still having lasting power. Sometimes I will throw this on alone all over my lips and it still feels great—not drying at all.”
Laura Mercier Longwear Lip Liner
BEST FOR: Whether you want to create thin, crisp lines or blend them out for a softer finish, this versatile liner can do it all.
USER REVIEW: “This lip liner is super easy to apply, the color (chestnut) is a perfect nude for overlining, and it lasts longer than typical lip liners.”
KVD Beauty Everlasting Lip Liner
BEST FOR: Want intense color payoff? KVD has you covered.
USER REVIEW: “This lip liner is the best lip liner of life. I can’t even believe that I feel excited about a lip liner, of all things, but it is fantastic. It is so pigmented and lasts foreverrrr.”
Revlon ColorStay Lip Liner
BEST FOR: If you need to keep your lip color inside the lines for hours at a time, look no further.
USER REVIEW: “I needed to bring a lip liner to work that was small enough to fit in my makeup bag and not too expensive. My expensive lip liners are long, plus I didn't want to bring them to work. This pencil was great, plus I loved that it contains a sharpener on the end. Great coverage, and I only had to apply it once at work.”
MAC Lip Pencil
BEST FOR: From filling in color to outlining the lips to wearing as alone, this product has you covered when it comes to all-around lip liner needs.
USER REVIEW: “This is a versatile lip liner that is so bold, it can totally be worn alone if you accidentally forgot your lipstick. It's wonderful and can even last through a night of sleep without ending up on the pillowcase. I call that a win! Once you've had this liner, you just might not want to try anything else. Give it a go in your favorite shade. This isn't going to rub off onto your teeth or clothing.”
Buxom PlumpLine Lip Liner
BEST FOR: For a natural-looking volume boost, Buxom is your best bet. The formula contains unique peptide and hyaluronic acid boosters that help stimulate collagen, build volume, and plump to perfection without irritation.
USER REVIEW: “This lip liner is so comfortable to wear on its own! The bigger tip makes application so easy. It does not immediately come off, and it fades beautifully.”
NYX Professional Makeup Slim Lip Pencil
BEST FOR: Makeup minimalists, this one's for you. It's ideal for enhancing your natural lip color and adding a touch of moisture.
USER REVIEW: “Holy moly, this is in the top three best lip liners I've ever used. It stays super sharp after multiple uses and glides on so smooth, giving you the best outline before lipstick application!”
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner
BEST FOR: Thanks to the waterproof formula, this rich, velvety liner will sit comfortably on the lips without budging.
USER REVIEW: “Okay, you haven’t lived if you have tried this lip liner! Call it lip contour, because that’s exactly what I think this is. I’ve never been more in love with a lip liner formula. It glides in smooth and stays on ALL DAY!”