The Best Lip Liners For Overlining Your Lips

Because Kylie Jenner is actually onto something.
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Michelle Villett
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Because Kylie Jenner is actually onto something.
Best lip liners

The best lip liners for enhancing your natural lip shape.

One thing I love about beauty is that you can never say never.

A few years back, I don't think I owned a single lip liner. It seemed unnecessary: my lipstick doesn't bleed, and I was all about applying colour straight from the tube.

Frankly, I also thought it was dated. We've all shuddered at the "ring around the lips" syndrome on the red carpet. I associated lip liner with the '90s, and Cholafied.com (which, sadly, no longer exists... sign of the times?).

But I guess you know that all things '90s are back now. And suddenly, lip liner is my new favourite thing!

The New Way To Wear Lip Liner

Forget using it as an outline. The NEW way to wear your lip liner is as a matte, all-over colour. With a bit of balm, you're good to go—no lipstick required.

Most importantly, lip liner can enhance and perfect your lip shape, so that your lips look fuller and/or more even. No need to go full Kylie Jenner, but a tiny bit of overlining goes a long way!

I've been on a mission to find the best lip liners for this specific purpose—ones that are close to my natural lip tone, and work well for drawing just a tad outside the lines. It's also important that they are long-wearing, as nobody wants their overlining job to smear off midway through lunch.

First, let me show you my lips au naturel...

Bare lips

Bare, natural lips—before lip liner changes the shape.

Now, meet my favourite lip liners (and see the difference they make!):

1. Joe Fresh

Joe Fresh Long Wear Lip Liner in Cool Nude

Joe Fresh Long Wear Lip Liner in Cool Nude.

Joe Fresh Long Wear Lip Liner

Wearing Joe Fresh Long Wear Lip Liner in Cool Nude.

The Joe Fresh Long Wear Lip Liner in Cool Nude is SO good, you guys. Crazily good, considering you buy it at the grocery store (unfortunately, they don't sell this online). The subtle rosy colour is super-flattering, and it goes on nice and creamy—plus you can blend with the brush on the other end. After application, it dries down a tad and becomes super-long-wearing, but still doesn't dry you out. I love this product!

Where to buy: Joe Fresh and Loblaws stores

2. MAC

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish.

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish (on lips)

Wearing MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish.

We can't talk about lip liner without mentioning the OG lip liner brand, MAC! They make tons of great liners, but my top pick is the highly underrated MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish. The Longwear line obviously stays put better than their regular pencils—this is probably the longest-wearing liner of the bunch!—and this cinnamon colour with a slight sheen is very unique. It's a bit brownish, but not too much, you know? Although the texture is quite dry, and you'll want to pair with lip balm, this doesn't make your lips look dry, which is a bonus.

Where to buy: Nordstrom

3. Make Up For Ever 

Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Medium Natural Beige 3C

Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Medium Natural Beige 3C.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Medium Natural Beige 3C (on lips)

Wearing Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Medium Natural Beige 3C.

Make Up For Ever is another brand I can always count on to make great, long-lasting makeup that will not smudge or migrate. The Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Medium Natural Beige 3C is a medium nude beige. I like that it has more intensity, and kind of a brick-red undertone, compared to the grey-beiges I usually associate with "nude". It goes on creamier than the MAC, and the finish is more matte. I think this spicy colour would look great on most people!

Where to buy: Sephora

4. Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs (P)Outliner Longwear Lip Pencil in Honey(bun) 302

Marc Jacobs (P)Outliner Longwear Lip Pencil in Honey(bun) 302.

Marc Jacobs Poutliner Longwear Lip Pencil in Honeybun 302 (on lips)

Wearing Marc Jacobs Poutliner Longwear Lip Pencil in Honeybun 302.

You might think Marc Jacobs Beauty is just about trends, and not a performance-driven makeup brand like MAC or MUFE. But you'd be wrong. The Marc Jacobs (P)Outliner Longwear Lip Pencil in Honey(bun) 302 really surprised me! First of all, the wear time is great. Second, I adore this shade. It's described as a rosy nude, but when you put it on, the colour looks more like a pink with yellow undertones. It's very hard to find good pinks like this, and even more so, ones that are opaque enough to overline with.

Where to buy: Sephora

5. Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude (on lips)

Wearing Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude.

The most brownish pencil in my arsenal is the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude. It's very '90s-looking, but is also available in nine other shades, if brown is not your thing! Charlotte is big advocate for always using lip liner, and this is a gorgeously creamy pencil that makes overlining a breeze. It lasts for hours, and even seems to leave behind a bit of a stain.

Where to buy: Nordstrom

6. NARS

NARS Velvet Lip Liner in El Agua

NARS Velvet Lip Liner in El Agua.

NARS Velvet Lip Liner in El Agua (on lips)

Wearing NARS Velvet Lip Liner in El Agua.

I'm not showing you the tip of this NARS Velvet Lip Liner in El Agua because I'm the dummy who tried to sharpen it—and butchered the thing!—when it's really a twist-up. Oops! Anyway, this new range of liners is fantastic, and extremely long-wearing. Like the MAC, they go on creamy and then dry down; after that, they seriously do not budge! This shade is my pick because it's close to your natural lip colour, but the cool-toned mauve is more unexpected than a nude or pink.

Where to buy: Nordstrom

6. Kevyn Aucoin 

Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Bare

Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Bare.

Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Bare (on lips)

Wearing Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Bare.

I've had this Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Bare for ages, and only just started using it. With a name like that, it's obviously perfect for our overlining purposes! I'm not sure if they still make this shade; I think it might be called Medium now, but there are eight to choose from in the range. Compared to the other liners, this one is not as dry or long-wearing, but I really love the texture and how easily it glides. The warm nude-red colour is unlike anything I've got in my collection.

Where to buy: Nordstrom

8. Maybelline

Maybelline Color Blur Cream Matte Pencil & Smudger in 50 I Like To Mauve It

Maybelline Color Blur Cream Matte Pencil & Smudger in 50 I Like To Mauve It.

Maybelline Color Blur in 50 I Like To Mauve It (on lips)

Wearing Maybelline Color Blur Cream Matte Pencil & Smudger in 50 I Like To Mauve It.

I wanted to talk about two more products that aren't long-wear, but worth a mention, since they're just launching now and are really good options at the drugstore. The Maybelline Color Blur Cream Matte Pencil & Smudger in 50 I Like To Mauve It is a lovely rose pink shade—not that mauve, actually—and it delivers a non-drying matte finish. Like the Joe Fresh one, it comes with a blender on the other end. You do have to be more careful re: smearing, but this is a beautiful product. There are nine other shades and this is the most nude one.

Where to buy: Amazon.com

9. L'Oréal 

L'Oreal Le Matte Lip Colour Stick in 104 Game, Set & Matte

L'Oréal Le Matte Lip Colour Stick in 104 Game, Set & Matte.

L'Oreal Le Matte Lip Colour Stick in 104 Game, Set & Matte (on lips)

Wearing L'Oréal Le Matte Lip Colour Stick in 104 Game, Set & Matte.

The last one I have to show is the L'Oréal Le Matte Lip Colour Stick in 104 Game, Set & Matte. The texture and finish are very similar to the Maybelline, except you don't get the blender on the other end. Again, I appreciate that it is matte but super-comfortable, and doesn't highlight dry lips at all. This shade is like a more intense version of the Joe Fresh Cool Nude. It's the lightest of the line (there are five colours in total).

Where to buy: ULTA Beauty

Before we wrap up, a couple more things to mention! First, it's not a bad idea to invest in a lip brush to make it easier to blend your lip liner over your entire lip surface. I use the NARS #30 Precision Lip Brush or the Stila #6 Lip Brush:

Lip brushes

Invest in a lip brush to make your lip liner application even better.

Plus, lip balm! With all-over lip liner, it's a must. My current faves are the Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm and the original Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment:

Best lip balms for lip liner

Add a layer of moisturizing lip balm on top of your lip liner.

I hope I've convinced you that overlining doesn't mean we have to give ourselves big, fake-looking fish lips. I've been using these products to give my pout just a teensy bit of enhancement, and I swear it makes my face look more balanced. Highly recommend!

Shop:

1. Joe Fresh | 2. MAC | 3. Make Up For Ever | 4. Marc Jacobs | 5. Charlotte Tilbury | 6. NARS | 7. Kevyn Aucoin | 8. Maybelline | 9. L'Oréal | 10. NARS | 11. Stila | 12. Dior | 13. Fresh

Do you overline your lips? What's your favourite lip liner?