8 Lip Liners That Won’t Feather, Smudge, or Budge According to Makeup Artists

hen it comes to wearing bold lipstick, achieving a crisp and symmetrical look can take a little bit of effort — and a whole lot of lip liner. That said, fantastic liner formulas are surprisingly difficult to come by, and far too many pencils have feathered, smudged, or otherwise failed us. We consulted celebrity makeup artists Fiona Stiles and Carl Ray to get the scoop on their go-to liners for keeping their clients — including Madonna and Michelle Obama, respectively — camera-ready. First, Stiles suggests prepping lips with a waxy balm to create an extra-smooth canvas (try Taos Bee Honeybee Balm, $20). Once you’re ready to go, read on for the best liners in the league. 

Smashbox®Always Sharp Lip Liners

“The Smashbox Always Sharp Lip Liners ($21) are waterproof and precise; not prone to feathering or fading.” — Carl Ray 

Jouer®Long-Wear Crème Lip Liner

“The color range on the Jouer Long-Wear Crème Lip Liner ($16) is good. And, unlike a lot of lip pencils, this one is a wind-up; the width of the pencil is narrower than a pencil you have to sharpen.”  — Fiona Stiles 

NARS®Cosmetics Velvet Lip Liner

“The NARS Velvet Lip Liners ($24) have a cream-like texture that stays and stays.” — Ray 

Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Lip Liner 

“The formula on the Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Lip Liner ($25) is excellent and the colors are interesting and outside the box. You’ll find shades here you might not find in other brands.”  — Stiles 

Make Up For Ever®Aqua Lip Waterproof Lip Liner Pencils

The Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lip Liner Pencils ($20) are made for water ballerinas, so you know they are going to stay put.” — Ray  

Charlotte Tilbury®Lip Cheat

Charlotte Tilbury [Lip Cheat] ($22) has an amazing range of colors to choose from. Each shade is just perfect, from a pale pink to a deep brown.”  — Stiles

Urban Decay®24/7 Glide On Lip Pencils

“These waterproof Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Lip Pencils ($20) won’t budge or smudge.” — Ray 


“I love the formula of the CoverGirl LipPerfection ($7) lip pencils. The colors are spot on and a great price point.” — Stiles 

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