The Gloss Report: lip liners

Ayesha Muttucumaru 25 March 2017
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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Gloss Report: lip liners

When it comes to giving your lipstick greater longevity and putting a stop to feathering and bleeding, a lip liner can take your pout from low to high definition in an instant. From high street to high end, brands are launching new tools by the caseload - but which ones are worth giving a try? We put a pack of these multi-tasking pencils through its paces to find out...

2 / 9

Rimmel 1000 Kisses Lipliner, £2.99

Buy online

The promise: “A long wear pencil lip liner with a creamy texture which glides on to lips.”

We give it: 8/10

Review: “I’m not a pro when it comes to lip liner and rarely use it on my seemingly permanently chapped lips, but I was impressed with this ‘Lasting Finish’ one from Rimmel. Very budget friendly, it’s a higher quality than you’d expect with quite a soft texture (once you blunt it a little… sharp lip liners are never any good in my experience). The colour stained quite well and really stayed put, and when teamed with a crayon-like lipstick it really helped to define the edges and intensify the shade. It contains palm oil and lanolin, which may be off putting for some, but I would happily use it again.”

Reviewer: JJ

3 / 9

CODE SSL in Soft Nude Blush, £18

Buy online from w/c 27th March 2017 at Harvey Nichols , Beauty Bay  and  Code Beautiful .

The promise: "A lip liner and lip plumper all in one elegant, self-sharpening device.

We give it: 8/10

Review: “You’d be forgiven for mistaking this CODE SSL lip liner for a very ordinary pen while rummaging around in your handbag for something to write with at an important meeting*. Let’s just say the packaging is discreet. That said, I was thoroughly impressed by its longevity and easy of application. It has a very thin applicator nib which means that the line is easy to draw and when coloured in to blur, it achieved the soft nude look on it’s own. Since I was going out, I applied my Ciate Pretty Stix lipstick in Boho to finish the look (which miraculously was a good colour match). In the race between lipstick (hare) and lip liner (tortoise), the tortoise took it in the end. Even an hour or so after the lipstick had vanished, the lipliner was still ever present and there I was looking like Posh Spice from that Say You’ll Be There video. Not a great look on it’s own (sorry Posh), but it speaks volumes for the lip liner!”
*based on true events.

Reviewer: Al M

4 / 9

NYX Suede Matte Lip Liner, £4

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The promise: “Every shade goes on super smooth and provides the perfect base for our much-loved matte lippies.”

We give it: 9/10

Review: “When it comes to pigment at an affordable price, NYX is one of my favourite brands on the high street and so I had high hopes for its newest lip liner. In terms of shade selection, it scores full marks, boasting an impressive 36 colours in total. When it comes to results, it adds noticeable definition to the lip line and cupid’s bow, as well as extra intensity to any lip colour popped on top. With a texture that aids smooth application, great colour density and a pricetag that comes in at under a fiver, it’s definitely a worthwhile budget beauty buy  in my book.”

Reviewer: AM

5 / 9

Givenchy Lip Liner, £16

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The promise: “Achieve pout-worthy perfection and kiss-proof wear by contouring and defining the lips with Givenchy’s glide-on lip liners.”

We give it: 8/10

Review: “I'm a complete novice when it comes to lip liner - do I even need it? To find out, I put Givenchy’s lip liner in Fuchsia Irresistible to the test. The hottest pink imaginable, (scary for a first timer!), I was pleasantly surprised - it showed me how lipstick can really look defined and polished with an extra step. Thankfully, application was easy - the soft formula allowed me to glide the liner around the outline of my lips and build the colour up to my desired intensity. I'm actually now a bit of a convert - it stopped my lipstick from bleeding out, (which always happens when I wear a strong colour). Plus, it's waterproof so it didn't budge - even after a few glasses of wine! I don't think I'd bother with it when using a lighter lipstick, but for a strong, bold lip, this liner works wonders - plus it comes with a sharpener!”

Reviewer: SM

6 / 9

Max Factor Colour Elixir Universal Lip Liner, £4.99

Buy online

The promise: “No matter what colour lip you want to wear today, reach for this instant pout perfector to re-shape, re-size and nourish your lips, while it helps to hold colour firmly in place.”

We give it: 7/10

Review: “When it comes lip liners, I’m sure that my bank account would be hugely grateful if I were to invest in just one rather than many to match my ever-growing lip colour collection (it’s a real problem). However this lip liner looks to solve that very problem, claiming to suit all skin tones and every shade of lipstick - a bold promise, but does it deliver? In terms of increasing the longevity and hold of your lipstick, yes. Plus, its noticeably more hydrating feel (that’ll be the jojoba and vitamin E in its formula there), ensures a much smoother finish. The one aspect missing though was the level of added definition and polish that a shade-matched liner provides to say, a bolder and more error-prone slick of lipstick. I would certainly use it again, but perhaps more for muted and nude colours instead.”

Reviewer: AM

7 / 9

Huda Beauty Lip Contour, £16

Buy online

The promise: “Ideal for contouring and filling, they provide an intense pay-off with a matte finish in just a swipe. Kiss, drink, laugh, live confidently, they are waterproof and transfer proof.”

We give it: 9/10

Review: “With a tip firm enough to define expertly and a texture soft enough to apply smoothly, I was hugely impressed with the degree to which this lip liner delivered on its promises. With great colour payoff, it acts as a great undercoat for enhancing whatever you pop on top. I actually opted to wear it alone on occasion too - such was the level of its pigment and mattifying prowess. It came off slightly when it came to food but did indeed stay put when both wine or coffee passed my lips. Plus, it also comes in a range of brilliant colours too.”

Reviewer: AM

8 / 9

Rodin Olio Lusso, £25

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The promise: “A luxury lip pencil, enriched with jasmine and neroli oils to leave lips feeling hydrated and supple.”

We give it: 5/10

Review: “I tested this liner in the shade So Mod, a light, rosy pink which looks more nude at first but is actually quite bright (compared to my natural lip colour, at least). It’s a pretty shade, and the pigment is impressive; it also lasts very well once it’s on, but my low score is for the fact that it felt really quite drying on the lips. I had to create quite a blunt tip in order to use it properly, and though it’s said to be enriched with jasmine and neroli oils I really didn’t feel any hydration coming through. Perhaps better when paired with a more hydrating lipstick, it just wasn’t for me as I’m always topping up on lip balm as it is without this enhancing the need.”

Reviewer: JJ

9 / 9

MAC Lip Pencil in Spice, £13

Buy online

The promise: “A pencil in a wide range of colours designed for shaping, lining or filling in lips.”

We give it: 8/10

Review: “This bit of kit does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s medium hardness for a good outline, but is creamy enough to be used blunt for filling in lips, especially if you like a very matte finish, which I do, to underpin a moisturising lipstick or lip oil.

“The shade range of 38 colours is impressive and it’s easy to choose your shade online on MAC’s website with a detailed description and side-by-side shade comparison chart  to hand. The staying power was pretty good so when my lipstick had worn off (after a scone with cream and jam), I still had some pigment underneath. The price is reasonable too. A safe bet.”

Reviewer: VW