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You’d think that once you narrowed down your options to a single cosmetics brand, you’d know what to buy — but that’s not always the case. Take the best NYX lip liners, for example. This cruelty-free brand offers loads of popular and affordable lip liners, so before you make a purchase, you’ll have to consider some sub-factors, like the color, thickness, and consistency.
As with any lip product, colors are very subjective. As a result, the best lip liners are offered in tons of different shades and have racked up plenty of reviewer images. That way, you can find one color — or a few — that suits your preferences, and you can see how it looks on real people (with a wide range of tones and undertones). The four pencils below are featured in their most popular shades, but each also comes in over a dozen other options, too.
Then there’s the thickness. Typically, these pencils are on the thinner side, but since there are multiple ways to wear lip liner, how thin is also a matter of personal preference. (Say, if you prefer a chunky pencil that can be used as both a liner and a lipstick.) Keep in mind that while mechanical options are more convenient, they are harder to sharpen to a fine point.
Finally, consider the consistency. Are you looking for something smear-resistant and matte or creamy and moisturizing? This list has both and a few in between — plus, each of them has thousands of five-star reviews to back it up.
1. The Fan Favorite NYX Lip Liner
With over 14,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating overall, it’s clear that the NYX Slim lip pencil is the most popular option. (It was also the top pick in the lip liner category of Allure’s 2020 Best of Beauty Awards.) It glides on like butter, but dries quickly for a slightly glossy finish that’s still resistant to smears and bleeding. Since it’s an actual pencil and not plastic, you can sharpen it to any kind of point you want. Finally, while the Peakaboo Neutral shade is a cult favorite, it’s available in over a dozen other colors, too, some of the most popular being espresso, mauve, and natural.
- Other available colors: Beige, Bloom, Coffee, Espresso, Ever, Hot Red, Mahogany, Mauve, Natural, Nude Punk, Plum, Prune, Pale Pink, Rose, Sand Pink
One reviewer wrote: “It’s one of THE BEST lip liners I’ve ever worn. For me it has a long wear time and stayed on after dinner. I will definitely be buying these again.”
2. A Smooth Matte Liner In Tons Of Colors
Especially when they have a matte finish, lip products can often feel drying and crumbly — but that’s not an issue with NYX’s Slide On lip pencil instead. It’s still matte, but it has a cream-based formula that’s smooth during application and even moderately hydrating. It’s also waterproof, sharpens with any standard makeup sharpener, and comes in loads of colors. Plus, it’s backed by more than 1,500 perfect five-star reviews on Amazon.
- Other available colors: Alluring, Bedrose, Beyond Nude, Brick House, Cheeky, Crushed, Dark Soul, Disco Rage, Fluorescent, High Standards, Intimidate, Knock Em Red, Nebula, Need Me, Nude Suede Shoes, Pink Cantaloupe, Red Tape, Revolution, Rosey Sunset, Staged, Sugar Glass, Summer Tease, Sweet Pink, Timid
One reviewer wrote: “I love this pencil and its application. It glides on really smoothly and the color is a perfect pairing for any lighter shades of lipstick. Sometimes I just use it all over the lips by itself for a nude lip.”
3. The Best Mechanical Lip Pencil
Mechanical makeup pencils are great if you don’t want to bother with a sharpener; just twist the base and the tip lengthens. The NYX mechanical lip pencil has more than 3,800 reviews and a 4.5-star rating overall — but each one still costs only $5. In terms of the formula, it’s highly pigmented and has a smooth, non-drying consistency that buyers rave about.
- Other available colors: Black Lips, Cocoa, Dark Red, Jewel, Natural, Nectar, Nude, Nude Pink, Plum, Red, Ruby, Sienna, Vanilla Sky
One reviewer wrote: “Easy application. Smooth, no tugging. blends well. Lasts and lasts.”
4. A Lip Pencil That Doubles As Liner
While it’s technically a lipstick, reviewers report that the NYX Lip Lingerie works just as well as a liner (or both) thanks to the built-in sharpener and precise applicator. Due to its special plumping formula, it’s designed to make your lips look larger and fuller, all without drying them out even though it has a matte finish. It also has a retractable design that makes it easy to preserve the shape of your lip pencil.
- Other available colors: After Hours, Bedtime Flirt, Corset, Dust To Dawn, Embellishment, Exotic, Lace Detail, Push-Up, Seduction, Silk Indulgent, Teddy
One reviewer wrote: “My new go-to! Love this lipstick! It's creamy, long-lasting, and works as both a lip liner and lipstick in one. The color is just perfect.”