Lip liner is often overlooked as an extravagant extra rather than a necessity. And yes, while it isn’t an absolute essential for everyday survival, it is the building block for a good-looking lipstick.
Essentially, lip liner creates the line drawing that lipstick can then colour in. It provides a barrier to stop any colour from running into fine lines and wrinkles, and can even be used to accentuate the natural shape of your mouth, to make lips appear fuller and larger.
Coming in a pencil-like form, either in a classic wooden style that needs to be sharpened or in a more modern twist-up, plastic-cased variety, there’s a huge number to choose from. Depending on how soft it is, lip liner can also be used to colour the lips as a base for lipstick or for a hit of colour on its own that can be left as is or layered with a gloss or balm for a shinier finish.
Every brand, from budget buys such as Essence and Collection to luxury labels such as Chanel and Dior – not to mention lipstick-lovers’ cherished brand Charlotte Tilbury – has a great range of options, and, in true IndyBest fashion, we set out to test the best.
So, from the vibrant red of 17. to the nude tones of Huda, keep reading to find out which ones deserve to land on your lips.
How we tested
There’s only one way to test lip liner, puckering up that pout and drawing it on – and that’s exactly what we did. Wearing each option for a full day, our tester rated them on a number of factors, including how easy it was to apply, how it felt, looked and how long it lasted.
This process took weeks, with dozens of options to get through, so whittling them down certainly wasn’t easy, which is why there are slightly more options than our usual round-ups. But, if they’re all the best, then we have no choice but to include them. With options for every colour, style and budget, you’ll need to look no further to find the right one.
The best lip liners for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Huda Beauty lip contour: £17, Cultbeauty.com
- Best budget lip liner – Essence soft & precise lip pencil: £1, Justmylook.com
- Best light-nude lip liner – Code8 lip surrealist lip liner: £20, Codeeight.com
- Best for overlining – Nars precision lip liner: £16.20, Boots.com
- Best budget red lip liner – 17. lip define pencil soft liner: £2, Boots.com
- Best dark-nude lip liner – Collection cosmetics lip definer: £2.99, Superdrug.com
- Best waterproof lip liner – Il Makiage make-up for ever aqua lip waterproof lipliner pencil: £18, Ilmakiage.com
- Best luxury lip liner – Chanel le crayon lèvres: £22, Chanel.com
- Best refillable lip liner – Suqqu lip defining pencil: £14, Selfidges.com
- Best white lip liner – NYX Professional Makeup longwear line loud matte lip liner: £8, Boots.com
- Best high-street lip liner – Maybelline colourshow shaping lip liner: £3.15, Lookfantastic.com
- Best designer lip liner – Dior contour: £23, Dior.com
- Best long-lasting lip liner – Catrice cosmetics aqua ink lip liner: £2.14, Justmylook.com
- Best pigmented lip liner – Illamasqua colouring lip pencil: £15, Illamasqua.com
- Best for brand-lovers – Charlotte Tilbury lip cheat: £19, Cultbeauty.com
- Best internet-famous lip liner – Morphe color pencil: £6, Morphe.com
- Best precise lip liner – Mac lip pencil: £18, Lookfantastic.com
- Best full lip kit – Makeup Revolution lip contour kit: £4.50, Lookfantastic.com