These Lip Liners Are Key to Preventing Your Lipstick From Feathering

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In addition to preventing lipstick from feathering, lip liners also help provide the perfect pout and come in a variety of shades, formulas, textures, and packaging. From subtle nudes to bold red, there's lip liner for every occasion. Lip contouring, subtly lining and over-lining lips have become popular trends in recent years, and a good lip liner can give you the look you want.

To choose the correct lip liner, opt for a shade that’s a tiny bit deeper than the shade of your lips. This will help give the appearance of fuller, more defined lips. “With the right lip liner, you can cheat and redefine the look of your lips for a youthful, perfected looking pout,” says Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury, Celebrity MUA and Creative Executive at Charlotte Tilbury Beauty.

Read on for the best lip liners.

Best Overall: Patrick Ta Monochrome Moment - Precision Lip Crayon

Patrick Ta Monochrome Moment- Precision Lip Crayon
What We Like
  • Weightless

  • Glides on

  • Stays on

What We Don't Like
  • Not as true-to-skin in color

Who else recommends it? Vogue and Glamour both picked the Patrick Ta Monochrome Moment - Precision Lip Crayon.

From being a celebrity makeup artist to having an iconic makeup brand, Patrick Ta is nothing short of #lifegoals. Our favorite lip liner from his line is the Monochrome Moment Precision Lip Crayon, a creamy lip crayon that glides on effortlessly and wears for hours on end with zero smudges. Plus, it comes in a range of wearable neutral shades for a natural look.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 4 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.014 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Budget: L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner

L'Oréal Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner
What We Like
  • Creamy

  • Creates a plump effect

  • Comfortable glide

What We Don't Like
  • Wears off easily

Consider this a lip plumper minus the tingles or stinging. Easily add definition, give a plump appearance, or find your favorite matte lip liner. The range of bold to neutral hues leaves room to acquire the perfect shade and, at a great budget price, it’s definitely worth a try.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 8 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.04 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Versatility : Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Pencil

Courtesy of Amazon 

What We Like
  • Waterproof

  • Can resize and reshape

  • Transfer-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Color doesn't look as good on fair skin

Don’t worry, this lip liner’s shade range is truly made for every single skin tone. Its 17 versatile shades range from subtle nudes to bright berry. And, the shade Supersize Me, is a favorite of Schwarzkopf-Tilbury for its "perfect rosy-pink shade."

Type: Pencil | Shades: 1 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.32 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore: REVLON ColorStay Lip Liner

Revlon ColorStay Lip Liner
What We Like
  • Built-in sharpener

  • Rich color

  • Prevents bleeding

What We Don't Like
  • Easy to break

Trust us, this lip liner will feel way more expensive than it actually is. The pointed tip of the pencil makes it easy to apply precisely and impeccably. Plus, the SoftFlex technology allows the formula to stay on for all-day wear. If that wasn’t enough, it’s quite a steal.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 16 | Finish: Cream | Size: 0.32 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Matte Finish: Marc Jacobs Poutliner Longwear Lip Pencil

Marc Jacobs Poutliner Longwear Lip Pencil
What We Like
  • Collagen-infused

  • Natural barely-there hues

  • All-day wear

What We Don't Like
  • Dries up too fast

Let’s be honest, what we love most about lip liners is that they’re matte—and this one is unparalleled. Collagen-infused and composed of barely-there hues, we love how these complement every lip color—regardless of how bright or subtle. And, the gel formula glides on flawlessly for seamless all-day wear.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 9 | Finish: Gel, Matte | Size: 0.01 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Long-Wearing: Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Lip Pencil

Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Lip Pencil
What We Like
  • Prevents feathering

  • Can smudge, fill, and diffuse

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to apply

Leave fading lip liner behind with Pat McGrath’s revolutionary formula. Made with the exclusive Permagel Technology, this formula prevents feathering, is waterproof, and easily sculpts, shades, and defines. Super smooth, it’s also made for smudging, filling, and diffusing to achieve your desired look.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 13 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.042 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Fair Skin: Buxom PlumpLine Lip Liner in White Russian

Buxom PlumpLine Lip Liner in White Russian
What We Like
  • All in one plumper and contour tool

  • Smooth finish

  • Deep color

What We Don't Like
  • Results not drastic to some

Plumper looking lips are just a simple swipe away, thanks to this liner’s built-in brush. The wide range of versatile shades could work on all skin tones, but we love White Russian, a pale-pink nude, for a pop against lighter skin tones. Creamy and pigmented enough to wear alone, it can also provide the best base for glosses or lipsticks due to its unique peptide and hyaluronic acid booster formula.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 2 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.07 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Medium Skin: Chanel Le Crayon Levres Precision Lip Definer in Mordore-Nude

Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Mordore-Nude
What We Like
  • Precise application

  • Comfortable non-drying formula

  • Built-in blender

What We Don't Like
  • A tad pricey

Composed with a soft, delicate glide on-tip, this liner stuns with its taupey-mauve color, a tone that's especially ideal for medium skin tones. The creamy formula glides on comfortably due to the addition of cotton seeds, jojoba seeds, and vitamin E. It makes it simple to keep your lips super hydrated and incredibly contoured.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 10 | Finish: Semi-matte | Size: 0.04 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Darker Skin Tones: Juvia’s Place The Reds and Berries Luxe Lip Liner in Wine

Juvia’s Place The Reds and Berries Luxe Lip Liner in Wine
What We Like
  • Long-wearing

  • Super pigmented

  • Blends well

What We Don't Like
  • Not a lot of product inside

Wine—a red-wine colored shade—is an ultra-flattering shade for darker complexions. The super rich-pigment blends well and goes a long way with only a little bit of product.

Type: Crayon | Shades: 6 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.007 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Victoria Beckham Beauty Lip Definer

Victoria Beckham Beauty Lip Definer
What We Like
  • Infused with conditioning Vitamin E

  • Vegan-friendly

  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

What We Don't Like
  • Colors look a bit different in person

Dubbed Victoria’s go-to for creating a fuller-looking pout, this lip liner gets us one step closer to becoming Posh Spice. Smooth and creamy, the formula allows for impeccable application with zero feathering, skipping, or smudging. Plus, it contains vitamin E to condition lips while you wear it. Trust us, it’s worth the splurge.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 6 | Finish: Cream | Size: 0.04 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Red Lipstick: Armani Beauty Smooth Silk Lip Pencil in Shade 5

Armani Beauty Smooth Silk Lip Pencil in Shade 5
What We Like
  • Silky texture

  • Applies easily

  • Subtle, natural effect

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come with a sharpener

If you’re all about wearing the boldest red lip, you’ll want to add this lip liner to your makeup bag ASAP. Suited for basically every skin tone, this subtle red can enhance any red lip with its silky texture and precise definition. We recommend fully lining your lips and then topping off with a bright or bold lip color to fully reap its benefits.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 1 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.04 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Nude: KKW Matte Smoke Lip Liner

KKW Matte Smoke Lip Liner
What We Like
  • Intense pigmentation

  • Has a '90s appeal

  • Very creamy

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come with a sharpener

Hands down, KKW’s lip liner is the best nude you will find. Established by Kim Kardashian herself, it's three subtle shades —90’s Icon, 90’s Supermodel, and 90’s Runway — is exactly what you need to achieve that overdrawn, but not over-embellished, look that she’s known for. And, the intense pigmentation is a huge draw—just one swipe is all you need.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 3 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.04 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for all Skin Tones: Beauty Bakerie Sugar Sticks

Beauty Bakerie Sugar Sticks
What We Like
  • Retractable, no sharpening needed

  • Infused with very moisturizing castor oil

  • Custom coverage

What We Don't Like
  • Product falls out of packaging

Infused with castor-oil, this lip liner will keep your lips super soft with zero feathering in sight. It’s also highly pigmented, water-resistant, and long-lasting. Bonus: the retractable tip requires zero sharpening for on the go usage.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 6 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.006 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Natural: Lime Crime Velvetines Lip Liner

Lime Crime Velvetines Lip Liner
What We Like
  • Bleed-resistant

  • Velvety texture

  • Applies evenly

What We Don't Like
  • Poor color selection

Leave smudging, budging, and transferring behind with this waterproof lip liner. Cruelty-free and vegan, this product is made without any questionable ingredients. Plus, it glides on with a creamy texture and dries down matte.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 5 | Finish: Velvety Matte | Size: 0.42 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict 

Known for its ability to help define, line, and plump your pout, lip liners can instantly upgrade your pout (no injectables necessary). Created by Celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta, the Monochrome Moment Precision Lip Liner is our overall favorite. It comes in essential neutral shades, wears for hours on end with zero smudging, and glides on effortlessly. If you’re looking to spend a little less on lip liner, try L'oreal Paris’s Color Riche Matte Lip Liner or Revlon’s ColorStay Lip Liner. Both are super affordable, wear impeccably, and live up to the hype. And, if you’re looking for versatile shades that look fabulous on everyone, try Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat Liner.

What To Look For in a Lip Liner

Texture

"A texture that slides on super smoothly and that doesn’t smudge is a must,” says Schwartzkopf-Tilbury. Creamy textures make the application simple and can be adjusted easily to achieve your desired look.  

Color

Choosing a shade that is a bit deeper than your regular lip color will help give the appearance of fuller more defined lips. You don’t want a color that will blend exactly, but you don’t want it to be too dark either. 

FAQ
  • What Does Lip Liner Do?

    Lip liners help create fuller, wider-looking lips and prevent lipstick from feathering out of place. “As we age, our lips tend to lose their fullness and can even start to fade in color, so lip liner is essential,” says Schwarzkopf-Tilbury. 

  • How Do You Apply Lip Liner?

    Schwarzkopf-Tilbury recommends tracing the line of your lips and then focus on creating a defined Cupid’s Bow to enhance the natural shape. She says, “I recommend overdrawing just the top of the Cupid’s Bow and having it gradually match the actual line of your lips for a natural look.”

  • Can You Use Lip Liner As Eyeliner?

    Yes, but you probably shouldn’t. While the formula for lip liner and eyeliner is similar, it can cause irritation and other issues due to the pigment and color additives in them.

Why Trust Byrdie 

Byrdie contributor Rachel Dube has written for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there and has tested hundreds of beauty products. Along with writing about beauty, she also covers wellness and lifestyle. After realizing the importance of lip liner, she is always looking for the next best ones to help contour and define her pout.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. 6 Lip Liner Tricks for a Fuller, More Striking Pout. Vogue. https://www.vogue.com/article/lip-liner-guide

  2. The 12 Best Lip Liners Ever, According to Glamour Editors. Glamour. https://www.glamour.com/gallery/best-lip-liners

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