I have this thing when it comes to makeup where I will become completely obsessed with one product – say, highlighters – and then it will be all I buy for months until the next shiny object catches my eye and I jump on board that train instead. Looking at my collection of nude lip liners is definitely testament to that. I originally had one from Essence that I loved and wore daily (In The Nude), then I had to try a few Mac ones that everyone talked about, there was the PS Love one from Penneys/Primark that everybody called their holy grail… now I own twenty one neutral lip liners! Of course to me they all have their own individual uses and personalities, or so I tell myself so that I sleep easier at night. Today I want to share them with you because if you’re looking for one particular shade, I’m sure I must have you covered! For the record, I’m not for one moment suggesting that you need twenty one neutral lip liners but there are some absolute beauts on this list that may be worth picking up.
To give this post some kind of order, I’ve divided them loosely into four categories although for some the boundaries are a little blurred.
Brown Lip Pencils
There are only three pencils in my collection that I would label out and out brown. It sounds terrifying, even to me; BROWN LIPS – images of 90s super models and ad campaigns flash in my mind. Despite only being a child in the 90s and definitely not looking like a super model, these are some of my absolute favourites (I think I say that a lot) but I do get a lot of wear out of one in particular.
Since Wet n Wild hit our shores a year or two ago, I have been slowly trying everything from the brand. I picked up three of their Color Icon Lip Pencils to try and this one Willow is the most neutral of the bunch. It is a light warm brown that I can honestly say is unlike anything else in this post.
The formula of the Color Icon pencils is very hard and they do pull and tug a little on the lips. I find I have to go over my lips several times to achieve the pigmentation I’m happy with and I think you can even tell from the swatch photo above that it is a little uneven.
As I mentioned already, the shade is unique but it isn’t one that I find myself reaching for. In fact, I don’t know if I have worn it except for in my initial week owning it. The formula is far from my favourite but at €1.99, if you’re on a budget you can’t really go wrong.
You can find a full list of Irish Wet n Wild stockists here.
Next up is definitely a bit of a wildcard. I swear by Collection‘s Lasting Perfection Concealer and have had great success with some of their lipsticks but the brand rarely appeals to me as I think they can look a little cheap. That is until a girl I work with started to wear this daily and I continuously asked her what she had on her lips. It was always just this Collection Lip Definer in Cappuccino, worn alone, and it always looked incredible. I bit the bullet (or kissed the pencil, as this photo suggests) and picked one up and I’m telling you it is love!
The colour is again a warm brown although darker and richer than the Wet n Wild offering. The formula of the retractable pencil is really creamy and smooth and it glides on and wears comfortably. I usually wear a lipstick on top but I really think this is one of the few liners I have ever tried that I could comfortably wear alone.
My one issue is with the pencil itself. The packaging is quite cheap and flimsy which I can definitely look past considering the €3.79 price tag but several times I have removed the lid to find that a part of the nib has broken off, meaning quite a bit of waste. I am so in love with the pencil, however, that I am willing to overlook it and will definitely repurchase.
My final straight up brown is from Rimmel and shares the same name as the Collection one. This is the darkest of the three and this definitely leans a lot cooler than the other two. This was mentioned to me by a girl I worked with in my last job who asked if I had tried it and said it seemed like the sort of colour I would like. I barely lasted until lunch time to get to the shop to pick it up.
Once on my lips, I found it a little daunting. It was the darkest brown I had ever worn and not at all what I had in mind. However, if I am going for a vampier, edgier look, it is perfect. This is probably not an every day nude-neutral but is still one I like quite a lot so it scraped its way into this post.
Rimmel have two different lip pencil lines and this is one of their 1000 Kisses liners which are just pencils that require a sharpener. The formula is beautiful though and really pigmented. I have featured a few other Rimmel liners in this post and I honestly cannot recommend them enough. I can see myself collecting all of the colours eventually.
They retail for €4.79 each and you can find a full Irish Rimmel stockist list here.
Here are swatches of all three side by side so you can see the difference and hopefully believe me when I tell you that I don’t repeatedly by the exact same product again and again. At least I feel better after seeing that.
Pink Lip Pencils
Next up are the straight up pink lip liners. Some of these definitely appear more neutral than others but I have worn all of these in neutral looks so I had to include them.
First up is my very first Mac lip liner, In Anticipation which is part of their Pro Longwear line. I had never heard of this pencil but I was looking for a liner to match a particular lipstick (I forget which one!) and the girl at the counter recommended this. I would probably never have chosen this for myself but it is a nice neutral bright pink.
This is another standard pencil but I find that the nib can get loose sometimes which is disappointing for a product that costs so much. This has a slightly softer formula to the regular Mac lip pencil line and is quite a bit more pigmented. When I swatched this on my arm, it was the only pencil of the twenty one that I had difficulty removing.
This costs €20 which definitely makes me cringe and is available from Brown Thomas or Mac stores.
Next up I have Essence’s Satin Mauve which as the name suggests lies on the mauve side of the pink spectrum. I was obsessed with these Essence Lip Liners for a while and almost collected all shades but as my collection of pencils has grown, I find myself reaching for them less and less.
The colour is pretty and wearable – I know Aisling from Total Makeup Addict is obsessed with it! – and the pencils are soft and easy to apply but I find they wear off quickly and need to be pared often so you don’t get a lot of time out of them. If you’re on a budget, I would definitely recommend these over the Wet n Wild ones but I have just found so many liners that I prefer that these are a little forgotten in my stash.
For €1.29 I can’t complain! These are available at Sam McCauley’s and Penneys stores.
Another in the line is Wish Me a Rose which is one I definitely never reach for. This shade of pink is much too girly for my usual tastes.
It is definitely a wearable one and one I know many other people will fall for. It’s just not my cup of tea. I think I picked it up when I was on a Pokemon-gotta-catch-em-all mission to acquire all of the shades available.
This is Sleek’s Red Sky Night and it is very deceptive. When a Sleek stand appeared in the Boots in Stephen’s Green a year or so ago, I began to collect different pieces to try out. I had heard good things about their Eau La La Liners so picked this up, thinking it would be a very neutral, everyday, wearable pink. On my lips in these photos it looks quite shocking but I think you can see how I was misled – compare the colour on the end of the pencil to the shade on my lips! They’re quite different!
I do think it looks quite bright in these photos but I built it up to full opacity so that you could get an idea of the colour. Paired with a neutral lipstick, this is still workable as part of an every day look.
The formula of these pencils is alright. The pigmentation is great but in all, they’re quite average. I never repurchased any additional shades after buying my initial two and that probably says enough.
My final pink pencil is the much talked about Eastend Snob by Rimmel. This is part of their Exaggerate line, unlike the pencil I mentioned earlier. This is a retractable one but it also has a soft texture and great pigmentation. I don’t know if I could choose a favourite out of the two formulas – I love both!
Despite this being a Holy Grail for some and many comparing it to Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk, unfortunately this shade just doesn’t do it for me. To be honest, I just don’t think I’m a fan of pinks in general! The five I mentioned here are probably the five liners I wear least out of all twenty one! Although it’s always good to have options and there are some pretty shades here.
Despite not being particularly fond of the colour myself, if you’re in the market for a neutral pink, this is your guy and it will only set you back €5.49!
Here they are swatched side by side. As you can see, the Essence ones actually swatch quite disappointingly, Eastend Snob definitely reveals itself as being the most neutral and that bold In Anticipation swatch was a nightmare to remove!
Nude Brown Lip Pencils
Next up I have what I’m referring to as the nude browns. Basically these all have more of a brown undertone to them and this is where some of my real favourites reveal themselves.
I have another Rimmel Exaggerate Pencil (I told you I loved them!). This one is in the shade Addiction and this has to be one of my most random purchases ever. I was in a rush on the way into town and packed a lipstick to put on when I got the chance. I had chosen a matte pale nude and once on the bus I completely changed my mind about wearing it, wanting something darker to pair with my neutral eye. Once off the bus, I ran into the closest pharmacy and pretty much grabbed this on a whim alongside the Rimmel lipstick in Asia and both have gone on to become some of my most worn shades!
This is similar in tone to my natural lip colour but is darker and adds dimension. It is a true staple as it will work with almost any lipstick or gloss worn on top. A true my lips but better shade. You need it.
Here is the Essence Lipliner in In The Nude that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I genuinely think this is my first ever neutral liner and I have repurchased it several times. Looking at it amongst this sea of other pencils, however, I’m underwhelmed. I actually really don’t like. I already pointed out that the formula is smooth and creamy but takes a bit of building to get proper pigmentation. The pencil also wears down quickly because of its soft formula and thus needs to be pared frequently. Sure, look at the little nub I’m left with here.
But formula aside, the colour is so wishy-washy. It is very similar to my own natural lip colour – which I also dislike because I think it is very pale. Saying that, I wore this daily for months before I knew any better but now that I am wiser and my stash has grown considerably, I never touch this one.
Meet Mac’s Subculture. This is one I heard about through the Pixiwoo sisters on YouTube. I haven’t heard them mention it for a long time but I have been watching them for years and this did use to pop up quite a bit. I was heading through Duty Free a few years back and decided I would treat myself to a Mac Lip Pencil that everybody raved about so much. Many of the famous names were out of stock so I contented myself with this one – purchasing it online to collect in store so I never swatched it. Disappointed isn’t the word.
This colour is probably a shade lighter than my own natural lip colour so I find it really hard to get decent payoff with. I could obviously never wear this alone without looking like a corpse and because it is so light, it doesn’t do much to define my lips anyway. The only purpose I could see for this is to blank out my lips if for some reason I wanted to do that and I’ll admit that since buying this two or three years ago, I have never used it for that purpose – or any purpose at all really. What a waste.
Okay this is my final Rimmel one – promise! This is another 1000 Kisses Pencil. This one in the shade Tiramisu. I picked this up at the same time as Cappuccino as both were recommended to me together and this is another I fell head over heels for. This is a gorgeous warm brown nude and is perfect for adding definition and a touch of colour.
The formula is gorgeous, soft and pigmented. It wears and reapplies beautifully. I LOVE RIMMEL LIP PENCILS. I am not ashamed. Jump on board my band wagon – you won’t regret it!
I already blogged about my NYX Slim Lip Pencils (and I have recycled the photos) but I felt I needed to include them here in case you forgot about them. I adore the formula of these – they’re both firm and precise as well as smooth and pigmented.
This is Nude Beige – a gorgeous cool toned beige that I think is everything I wanted Mac’s Subculture to be. This also works beautifully to make the lip colour you apply on top more cool-toned.
These retail for €4.99 each and I found mine in some local pharmacies although they’re a little difficult to find online for some reason. They are available on Meagher’s Pharmacy but if you have a local NYX stockist, I’m sure you’ll find them.
My final nude brown funnily enough is called Nude Pink and it is another Lip Definer by Collection. While you might think I should have put this in the pink category, next to the pinks, this looked brown. Hey, these are all neutrals so the categories don’t matter much. I picked this up at the same time as Cappuccino and thought that I would use this one the most out of the two but I was wrong and opt for Cappuccino far more regularly.
That isn’t to say there is anything wrong with this pencil, I still love it and to be honest, I think this is probably more universally appealing. The bottom line is, if -like me – you ignore the Collection stand regularly, you are missing out!
Here they are swatched side by side where Subculture is terribly misleading! NYX’s Nude Beige obviously stands out as being the most cool toned and the Essence swatch is quite disappointing again.
Nude Pink Lip Pencils
My final category is the nude pinks. Again the term is used quite loosely but hell, this is my blog, I’ll do what I want.
First up I have Illamasqua’s Woo which is an absolute beaut. Illamasqua is a pricier brand and I am forever mourning the counter we once had in BT2, Grafton Street but it is still available to buy online.
The price is hefty but the quality of this brand is way up there. This lip pencil is smooth, creamy, pigmented and absolutely glides on. The colour is a my lips but better one and is one I reach for very often.
You can buy it online from the Illamasqua website where it will cost €20.95 which sounds spendy but is similar to Mac pricing – with a much nicer formula!
This is the infamous Mac Whirl which is heralded as a must-have by so many. I don’t buy from Mac often but before Christmas I went through a pretty hard time and so treated myself to a bit of a spree. Whirl was way up there on my list because of its incredible reputation.
To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed. I don’t like the consistency of Mac Lip Pencils to begin with. They are a very hard formula which doesn’t glide easily over the lips. With a formula so hard, you would imagine that creating a razor sharp edge would be a breeze but I find them pretty average in that department too. This colour is pretty dull. I mean, it is similar to some others in this post but this cost a lot more than most and didn’t wow me the way I thought it would. A severely big MEH.
Another recycle is this NYX Slin Lip Pencil in Natural which is a gorgeous nude packed full of pigmentation.
I can’t give enough credit to these NYX pencils – their formula is divine and their price point is very reasonable considering. These are must-haves in my opinion!
What can I say about the PS Love Lip Liner that hasn’t been said already? These lip pencils appeared in Penneys/Primark stores and people lost their mind at the quality. People were literally buying these in bulk so obviously, I had to give them a go. There aren’t names or numbers on these pencils but this is the nude coloured one. There aren’t too many in the line so it should be easy enough to tell which one this is if you’re on the hunt for it.
It glides on easy, lasts well and is a beautiful colour to boot. I haven’t got a bad thing to say about it and it only costs €1.50. It certainly lives up to all the hype. I used this daily for several months which is why mine is so worn looking but it has fallen out of favour recently, only because I have some others I am totally obsessed with. This is well worth having.
It is available in Penneys/Primark stores.
I picked Mac’s Soar up at the same time as Whirl – again because of its amazing reputation. I already knew that the Lip Pencil formula wasn’t my favourite (I already had Nightmoth and Subculture) but do you think that stopped me? Obviously not.
This is pinker, darker and more pigmented than Whirl and despite thinking Whirl was going to be my new ride-or-die, I get far more wear out of Soar. If you’re tossing up between the two or considering a new Mac Lip Pencil purchase, Soar is the one to go for!
Next I have NYX’s Peekabo Neutral. This is pinker than Natural although quite similar. For the price point, I honestly think you could pick up both.
This is an absolute staple shade that is ideal for every day or for layering under most lipsticks. A beaut.
Finally! My final pencil to share with you is Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Naked and what a colour it is too. I definitely got mine free with a palette or something because it is a mini size but I can’t for the life of me remember where exactly!
This is an incredible lip pencil formula and this is one that I fall in love with every time I wear it. It has the creamiest formula of any pencil mentioned here and the pigmentation packs a serious punch. The colour is beautiful, even worn alone and I am seriously pondering why I haven’t picked up any more of these! I think the price – at €18.50 each – is the only thing that makes me hesitate especially considering some of my other favourite liners are such bargain buys but hell, if you happen to have that cash – you could do far worse than picking up a few of these.
Urban Decay is available at Debenhams and House of Fraser.
And here they are. In this photo you can see that the creaminess of Urban Decay’s pencil caused it to dispatch a little too much product. I haven’t experienced that issue on my lips. I think I may have just applied a little too much pressure on my arm.
In case that was a little information-heavy for you, my top picks are definitely NYX and Rimmel although you absolutely must try the Collection Lip Definers too!
So you must tell me, have I expanded your shopping list?
Do you have an everyday neutral liner that you can’t live without and I haven’t mentioned?!
Disclaimer: No press samples were featured.
No affiliate links were used.