Comments 23

Nude Lip Liner: Does it Work?

I’ve never been one to call lip liners ‘indispensable.’ In fact, I hardly ever use them. It feels a little tedious to me to have to color match your lipstick to a separate liner, doubling your efforts and your makeup inventory. I’m personally not too bothered with super-clean, razor-sharp lip lines, I decided.

I stopped buying them after dabbling a little, deeming them quite unnecessary for myself. Lipstick doesn’t really bleed or feather on me, so I failed to see the point. In any case, there has been a theory on lip liners. Just a single nude liner is believed to work on every lip color imaginable.

Smashbox Lip Pencil

The Smashbox The Nude Lip Pencil comes in several shades of nude (mine is Light) and is marketed as the only lip pencil you will ever need. That’s a fine idea! But does it work?

Smashbox Lip Pencil - Swatch

Here is what it looks like, swatched. It’s a pretty close match to my lips’ natural pigmentation, though it’s maybe one or two shades darker and warmer.

Nude Liner - Light + Dark Lips

Here, I’ve lined my lips with the pencil and topped it with Rouge Bunny Rouge Colour Burst Lipstick in Whim of Mine (left) and Snoe Beauty in Plum Crazy. Seems to be undetectable on both, but I found it to be inconclusive, so I tested it on a number of other lipsticks. Here are the lipstick shades I’ve picked out to test with it.

Nude Lip Liner - Lipsticks

Nude Lip Liner - Kate Moss 101, Revlon Fabulous Fig

I’ve chosen a super pale shade that’s not brown/neutral on the left, which is Rimmel x Kate Moss Matte Lipstick in 101. On the right, I chose a dark neutral matte lip, Revlon Matte Lipstick in Fabulous Fig. The lip liner is not detectable on both cases either.

Nude Lip Liner - Tom Ford Flamingo, LMdB Signature

I pulled out a bright one Tom Ford Lipstick in Flamingo, and a rich dark red lip, Le Métier de Beauté Hydra-Crème Lipstick in Signature Red, and the lip liner is invisible in both cases as well.

My rather shoddy conclusion is that using the nude lip liner to just line your lips is fine. I have a sneaking suspicion that filling in your lips with the liner, then applying lipstick just may alter the color of the lipstick. Then again, I suppose that is to be suspected.

In any case, I’m not much of a liner wearer, so I’m happy that this means I don’t have to spring for another color. I don’t know if this is the same case for other people, but I think that choosing a color that’s close to your actual lip color is the “trick” here and that it won’t necessarily work for all the nudes.

Are you a big lip liner user? Do you find that having lots of colors actually helps? Do share!


  1. little lulu says

    I’m so happy i came across your blog! 😀 I don’t use lip liner either.. I don’t see the point unless you want a gradient of some sort goin on.
    Great post! Love the writing and the photos are good quality ❤ !

    • Thank you! 🙂 I think that picking the right shade to pair with the lip will get rid of the weird gradient, but I think that that’s also what’s stopping me from exploring the lip liner world. I have enough lipsticks as it is; I couldn’t possibly buy new colors to match them, too!

      Thank you so much, that means a lot. 🙂

      • little lulu says

        No problem girl! Come take a look at my blog if you have time! xx

  2. I do! I am! I use lip liners, mostly a nude, a pinkish MLBB and red. For everyday, I use a nude/MLBB liner and just apply Lip Ice-this is my standard, mostly because I have unevenly pigmented lips. Bright/red lipsticks look so much better with liner, unless you’re going for tint/casual effect? I use MAC Beet for reds, NYX Natural for nude. 🙂

  3. I do use a lip liner that’s in the shade of my lips since my lipsticks seem to last longer. And the smashbox lip liner in medium (or dark?) is perfect. But for red lipsticks, I really use a red lip liner—it gives it a something something that I can’t fully explain, especially when you’re using a matte red.

  4. its not super necessary, but a resounding "YES" to liner nonetheless :D says

    yes! la-la-love liner. love nyx liners for their price point and quality. super agree with the other comments – they take bold/bright lips to the next level by giving you a precise line and added longevity (even when i use lipstick pencils, liner still add some definition). usually similar color family or same color is preferred so that the lip color wont be altered. i like to use them for travel or convenience also as they take up very little space. often, will use them alone with a little balm, since the extra matte finish is something i love. i also like to take darker colored liner and use them on the outer corners or inner portions of the lip, after applying lipstick, for an ombre or bee stung look. sometimes will use a berry/fuschia/red liner and lightly fill in the mouth and then apply a sheer/frost/metallic lipstick on top. this an be adjusted to be very natural or very bold 😀 i forget where i read it, but another blogger had a post on liners and said that if a lip liner is manufactured in germany, its a good indication of quality 🙂

    • Haha I love this comment! Thank you so much. 🙂 I actually did try the liner under gloss thing and you’re right, it’s a good use. I don’t usually wear bold/bright lips, so I think I don’t feel the need, but wow, this is a lot of (good!) information. Thanks again 😀

  5. I don’t think my lipsticks last any longer with a lipliner (unless it’s of the same colour then of course, after the lipstick wears off you just see the liner underneath). I like using think you can use a good concealer to do the whole lip sculpting thing already, so lip liners aren’t all that necessary.

    • I actually feel weird with concealer around the lips, so I would spring for a lip liner over that, but to each their own!

  6. Oh my, the Tom Ford Flamingo and Le Métier de Beauté Signature Red lipsticks are beautiful! They look great on you, too! 🙂

    • Ah, and BTW, I have just about the same attitude you do towards lip liners. I hardly ever use them (I rely on MAC Prep + Prime Lip to prolong lipstick on my lips), although I bought a bunch out of impulse because I felt as if my vanity desk was incomplete without them… 😆

      • Thank you, Erika! 🙂 I don’t use a lip primer either! How does it feel on the lips? My friend who works at MAC said that it’s a really good product to put under matte lipsticks. 🙂

      • I was told that too before, and she was right! I don’t think I can ever use matte lipstick on plain lips again. 😆

        Have you ever tried Burt’s Bees beeswax lip balm? Kind of feels like that but without the flavor. 🙂

  7. Totally out of topic but where did you purchase that beautiful gold necklace of yours? 😀

    • Hi Abby! On Etsy. 🙂 I’m sorry, I don’t have the seller anymore but she is based in Korea. I probably overpaid for this, lol.

  8. I have a UD clear lip liner that I rarely use. I only use liners with lip products that feather like OCC Lip Tar NSFW. But I like finding lip products that don’t feather to begin with. Haha. I have a few other natural colored liners by NYX.

    • I know, most of my lip liners are neutral or muted tones, so I was thinking, “Well, what’s the point?”

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