The Lip Liners Beauty Pros Swear By

Lipliner is the unsung hero behind many a great lipstick moment. For without a trusty liner, any lipstick with a creamy formula can end up smudging all around the edges of your natural lip contour. And while no one wants to be constantly checking in on their lip line after every meal, there's still some wariness associated with thin stick liners and those clownish, overdrawn lips of the '90s — we get it.
But things have changed since then: When you find the right shade and formula, there's a kind of optical illusion that happens, that makes your lips look naturally fuller and plumper. Ahead, we're taking the work of searching for your perfect pencil out of the mix and sharing editors' go-to picks and best application tricks.
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"Lip liner may seem like an unnecessary step to some — and I'm first to admit, it's not something I choose to wear every day. But a pencil that's creamy, pigmented, and long-wearing is an extremely versatile tool to have on hand — and this one is just that. I'll often pencil my entire lips and wear it as lipstick." — Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer
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"I once wore Billie on the Bike out on a Saturday night to a housewarming party and I didn't have to touch up once, despite eating a bowl full of popcorn and downing a few Moscow Mules." — Sam Sasso, Beauty News Writer

Rodin Lip Pencil, $30, available at Nordstrom.
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"I've been wary of 'lip plumpers' since the 9th grade, when a 'venom gloss' sent me to the hospital. So, I was very skeptical about this one — until I gave it a shot. Instead of plumping by traditionally irritating methods, this one gives the illusion of fuller lips when you slightly overdraw the lip line (and the opaque matte finish lets you do that without looking obvious). I love the colors, the finish, and the longwear aspect, and thanks to the hyaluronic acid in the formula, it's one of the only lip liners that doesn't dry the shit out of my lips." — Cat Quinn, Beauty Director

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner, $17, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"I know that certain vloggers and influencers would turn their noses up at me, but I'm not a liner girl. At all. If the lipstick doesn't last all day without a pencil underneath, then it's not for me. But lately, these pencils from Bite have been my jam. I use 082, a brick red, by itself when I want to make a softer statement, or I go against my own rule and shade with them underneath one of my liquid mattes." — Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer

Bite Beauty The Lip Pencil, $18, available at Sephora.
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"Contrary to what some may say, finding a natural-looking lip liner is far more difficult than scoring a liquid eyeliner that lasts all day or a red lipstick that makes you feel amazing. You have to consider undertone, shade, and texture — finding the holy grail color can take years.

"Luckily, it's a bit like finding an apartment or a dog: You just know when it's right. This UD liner is a creamy texture that goes on smooth and doesn't budge, and thanks to the brand's MANY shade options, I only had to try a few before I found a color that was flattering and subtle — and I've been wearing it for months now. It was only much later that I realized that all that work could have been alleviated had I just taken a nude selfie. Ain't that how it goes." — Lexy Lebsack, West Coast Senior Beauty Editor

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in Naked, $20, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"There's something inherently sexy about wearing a Charlotte Tilbury lip product. For one thing, the formula is soft and velvety on the lips, but I also think the names also play a role: Shades called 'Pillowtalk' and 'Foxy Brown' just put you in the right kind of mood." — Sasso

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat, $22, available at Charlotte Tilbury.

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