Beauty Lips Roundup

My Favorite Neutral Pink and Nude Lip Liner Pencils

October 7, 2015

I’m a neutral nude lipstick lover but I since I have pigmented lips I can’t always pull off nudes. Many tend to either look super pale and chalky like concealer or are too dark on me – I know everyone has a different definition of nude when it comes to makeup, but to me a true nude is a your lips but better kind of color that is light and close to your natural skintone. I adore shades like MAC Cherish, Blankety, Creme Cup etc but they are almost impossible for me to wear alone without looking like I’ve swiped concealer all over my lips. Lip pencils often make it possible for me to wear lighter nude colors with blending or by creating a good softly lined base. If you’ve tried ordering lip pencils online like me then you know how hard it is to tell what the color looks like based on online swatches. I thought I’d roundup 20+ of my favorite neutral lip pencils alongside cult classics (some of which do not work for me even though they are wildly popular). As you’ll see below many times you can’t tell what the color will really look like until you swatch it. Also like nude neutral lipsticks, lip pencils have a wide variety of different undertones: warm, cool, pink, beige, peach, plum and brown.

Above photo: Diptyque Room Spray in Baies, ChΓͺne candle recycled (boutique exclusive), stacked Blushes from Chanel and Hourglass 

A bit of background on what I look for in lip liners. I like ones that are soft and glide over the lips. I’m usually not a line and fill kind of girl when it comes to lip liners. I prefer to wear them around the outer edge and blend it slightly inwards to the center of lips to create an outlined base and then fill with a gloss or lipstick. Since many pencils are super pigmented and super saturated in color to help extend the wear of lipstick, I find lining and filling the entire lip leaves the lips looking really dry and emphasizes lines. This of course can be fixed with a good lip balm, lip primer or gloss.
I have 28 lip pencils to share swatches of, I’ll link previous lip swatches if I have them. I was debating whether or not to swatch all on my lips – but nudes tend to look so different on me compared to everyone else. I think the swatches on the arms will help show the differences.

  1. Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Lip Pencil in Nudite is a medium pinky brown creamy lip pencil, this one glides on the lips easily and is very pigmented, it has a smooth texture
  2. H&M Lip Liner in Au Naturel is included in the roundup because it’s a new one and the perfect neutral nude color and at $5.99 I couldn’t resist ordering it, on bare lips it’s a disaster for me, you definitely need to prep the lips with a bit of lip balm or primer, this is borderline too pale, but it works
  3. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Cultured is new to me, it’s a long-wear mauvey nude pink
  4. MAC Lip Pencil in Subculture is my perfect nude pink, it has reached holy grail status for me, I’ve gone through 4 of them in my life, it’s the best light pink nude that is still wearable
  5. MAC Lip Pencil in Oak is a classic light flesh nude, it’s a classic for me because it has no orange undertone in it but doesn’t make me look dead, unfortunately I think it might be on the discontinue list – the only place I could find it was on Bloomingdale’s so I ordered 3 backups
  6. MAC Lip Pencil in Stripdown is another good true flesh nude, it’s brown in undertone and slightly warmer than Oak, it’s a good one but I know many find it too brown/grey
  7. MAC Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare comes second to my favorite Subculture, it’s what I wanted Spice to always be, Boldly Bare is the perfect pinky warm medium nude that works wonders with pale lip colors and glosses
  8. MAC Lip Pencil in Spice is a cult classic that was so popular when I was in high school, every cool girl owned it, on me it was always so brown and pulled orangey on my lips even though it swatches more neutral, I still use and wear it to tweak lip colors, it’s just not my favorite
  9. MAC Lip Pencil in Dervish isn’t really a nude, it’s more of a neutral medium rosy pink, but it falls into the neutral category for me, it’s a classic staple I think everyone should try
  10. MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl is another really good nude, it pulls more mauvey nude rose which I adore, the cool tones prevents it from looking orange or brown on my lips, it has enough depth to really define the lips perfectly
  11. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Double-Time is a neutral medium warm brown-pink-nude, this lasts all day without budging
  12. MAC Lip Pencil in Soar is a medium to dark pink, it’s a bit darker and deeper on me than the traditional neutral, if you have deeper skin or deeper lips, this will probably pull more neutral on you than it does on me
  13. MAC Lip Pencil in Hover is another deeper neutral, it’s one of the deepest neutrals I own
  14. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Staunchly Stylish almost matches Subculture but it’s slightly deeper and has a more pigmented finish
  15. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Iconic Nude is my perfect true nude in the sense that it’s a flesh-toned beige nude, this is a classic pigmented pencil that I think might be a universally flattering color
  16. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Pillow Talk is a classic rosy pink neutral, this one goes well with a lot of the Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks like Bitch Perfect, Confession, Penelope Pink etc.
  17. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Size and Re-Shape Lip Liner in Pink Venus is a warm peachy pink, the color warms up the lips and adds life to the face
  18. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Natural is a classic light neutral pink nude beige, if you’re looking for the perfect beige pink nude, this is it, compared to other formulas Chanel can tug on the lips a little, but they aren’t drying
  19. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Beige Satin is one of the lightest colors I own, it’s borderline too pale for me, but I like mixing it with beige and nude lipsticks
  20. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Beige Innocent is another pale pearly lip pencil from Chanel, it’s almost identical to Beige Satin but slightly lighter
  21. Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Nude is a cult classic that has been used on me for every single Chanel makeover I’ve had, it’s always seemed to be darker than what I envisioned a nude to be, but it’s almost magical – artists have used this with every lip color imaginable from red, pink, coral, beige, peach – this somehow transforms and defines lip colors in the most amazing way
  22. Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Naked is light baby pink neutral, it looks super light on me, but when I blend it out, it evens out the lip tone
  23. Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Chestnut is another cult classic that is super popular, it’s always recommended for the lipsticks I look at when shopping at the counter, it’s a mauvey warm neutral
  24. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Honey(bun) is a super pigmented creamy twist up lip pencil, all three shades of the (P)Outliner are reviewed here, Honey(bun) is a neutral bright peachy color
  25. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Prim(rose) is a rosey pink brown neutral
  26. Marc Jacobs Beauty (P)Outliner Lip Pencil in Nude(ist) is a beige brown nude
  27. Edward Bess Defining Lip Liner in Natural is in my top picks for lip pencil formula, it comes in a sleek twist up tube and mine have never dried out, I’ve gone through several pencils, it’s a great go-with-everything kind of neutral, texture is smooth and doesn’t tug the lips
  28. Nudestix Lip & Cheek Pencil in Soul is one of the few chubby pencils I really really like. I own a number of chubby sticks from different brands but always find them a pain to sharpen (they always get so messy). Nudestix has a wide number of great nudes, Soul is my perfect warm peach nude (swatched on lips here)
One more view of all the pencils:

From the * clockwise, Le Metier de Beaute Nudite, H&M Au Naturel, MAC Cultured, MAC Subculture, MAC Oak, MAC Stripdown, MAC Boldly Bare, MAC Spice, MAC Dervish, MAC Whirl, MAC Double-Time, MAC Soar, MAC Hover, MAC Staunchly Stylish, Nudestix Soul, Edward Bess Natural, Marc Jacobs Beauty Nudite, Marc Jacobs Beauty Primrose, Marc Jacobs Beauty Honeybun, Laura Mercier Chestnut, Laura Mercier Naked, Chanel Nude, Chanel Beige Innocent, Chanel Beige Satin, Chanel Natural, Charlotte Tilbury Pink Venus, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk, Charlotte Tilbury Iconic Nude

Truffle Small Clarity Clutch in new Nude

In case you’re in need of some recommendations for clear or sheer lipglosses to layer over liners if you like to line and fill, here are a few of my favorites. In terms of lip primers, I swear by the MAC Prep+Prime Lip and Buxom True Nude Lip Foundation in Naked.

Below shown from left to right:
I hope you found this roundup of neutral lip pencils helpful! I think the swatches show how different many of them are even though they look really similar just based on the pencils themselves. If I were pressed to rank my top picks, my absolute favorites/staples are:

MAC Subculture
MAC Whirl
Edward Bess Natural
MAC Oak
Chanel Nude
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk
Do you have a favorite neutral lip pencil? I’d love to hear about what your holy grail neutrals are!
Press samples featured include Marc Jacobs (P)Outliners x3, Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Moonglow, Nudestix Soul, Buxom True Nude Lip Foundation, Truffle Clarity Clutch

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  • Wow so many great ones! Nude lip liners are my favorite, Charlotte Tilbury and Marc Jacobs have some of my favorites πŸ™‚

    makeupmusicbooks.com

  • Anonymous

    My head is spinning lol. I just want to take a full overview of your collection. People often say I've hoard makeup, but I think I need to direct them to you for perspective hihihi. Love it! My favorite is Chanel Nude. xx. That Luxurious Feeling

  • I'm nude lips fan too! But I dont have not a half of this my liners. Fabolous.
    bojanasblog.wordpress.com

  • Wow this post is amazing! And your collection is also to die for ha ha, so many beautiful shades!

    alice x // beautybyalicee

  • I love MAC lip liners! Can't wait to check out some of the others!

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

  • Wow your collection of lip liners is incredible! I have MJ Prim(Rose) and I actually love wearing it all over the lips, although it can be drying so a good layer of lip balm before definitely helps. I also love the MAC lipliner in Beurre, I prefer the creamier texture and the color is perfect for me. I'll definitely need to give a good look into the ones you've swatched! So many great recommendations.

    Cindy // http://www.cindyhyue.com

  • wow – you are incredible Sabrina! this is extremely helpful. what would we do without you???? πŸ™‚ xo sj

  • Absolutely amazing collection, you can never go wrong with a no-fuss nude/pink liner.
    I absolutely love the CT Pillow talk and MAC Whirl as well. I think I may have to hunt down Subculture!

    chloΓ©βŽͺ status.chlo

  • lovely post! I rarely wear lip liner, but I’m loving Cultured from your collection xxx

  • I have never tried any of mac lipliners but they all look really lovely! Beautiful swatches!

    prettyneutral.com

  • What a super comprehensive roundup- thanks so much! MAC Whirl and Subculture were my first lipliners years ago and they're still my faves πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Sabrina! This is one of the best beauty blog posts I have ever read. Your in-depth swatches is indeed very informative and comprehensive. I have basically given up buying lip pencils because I don't have a naturally good looking lip but you have brought my hopes back. I will try a few on your list for sure. Many thanks.

  • Amazing post especially with all those swatches! I love nude and neutral pink lip liners. Charlotte Tilbury's Iconic Nude shade looks so pretty and when I purchase a lip liner from her that'll be the first shade I get.

    http://perfectshadeofmauve.blogspot.com/
    http://perfectshadeofmauve.blogspot.com/

  • Currently using and loving NYX lip pencils in Nude Truffle and Nude Beige. Both great nudes which don't pull orange on my lips.

    Great post!
    Cheers Lisa

  • Oh wow, this post was amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word (and that's not even mentioning how long I swooned over the images and your incredible collection of pink and nude lip liner pencils). Needless to say, I'm thoroughly impressed.

    My own lip liner collection is dismal at best, so a huge thank you for listing your favourites. I love Charlotte Tilbury, so I may just have to search for the Pillow Talk liner.

    Kiara <3 // http://www.lioninthewild.com

  • I so love MAC lip liners! I have purchased them several times and they perform well. Can't wait to try other shades.

  • Love the post but sad to see that 2C and 3C by Makeup Forever (Aqua lip liner) haven't been featured!

  • Amazing collection! I really need to get some nude lip liners.. I wear pinky nude lips almost everyday but I just never have a lip liner to go with it!

  • Such a great selection! Really useful post too, thanks for sharing – I think I'm gonna keep this bookmarked to refer back to next time I can't decide on a lipliner!

    Misia xx | gowashyourface.com

  • Wow Sabrina, this is amazing!! I appreciate this kind of post , it's really difficult to do and takes definitely a lot of time ^^
    I love your swatches and always try to look for your references before I buy anything, *true story*. And now I know where to go whenever I want to buy lip liners hihi

  • CT Pink Venus and MAC Soar look beautiful! I love MAC Boldly Bare.

    Sophie x | SophiesMakeupBlog

  • You know Sabrina I'm taking my lead from Christian Louboutin when it come to lip pencils and just using two. Leanue & Nats from the Christian Louboutin range. One pink, one nude. I am streamlining my make up. I just can't cope with the volume I have when I keep finding unused things in my cupboards that I never knew I had or forgot I bought. Tom Ford won't even let his counters stock lip pencil as he hates it but he gets bombarded by his staff because they must get asked thousands of times a week for lip pencils. But hey if CL can manage with 5 and TF with none there might be something in it? Although I suspect I will carry on with Charlotte Tilbury in Kiss n Tell as I can't believe I won't need a red. Lovely post and please don't think I don't appreciate your work but I think my 2016 make up rules are going to be about consolidation and quality over quantity. I say this as currently I have enough make up to dress a small army into 2020! Xx

  • These lip pencils shades looks so pretty!! And wow so many of them

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • Hi Sabrina, I was wondering what sharpener you use to get such a pointy point on your lip pencils.
    -Lisa

    • Hi Lisa, I usually use ones that come with the pencils – for the smaller ones I use Chanel or Laura Mercier (love that the pencils come with a sharpener). For the chubby sticks, I bought a Charlotte Tilbury Sharpener. Also Nudestix comes with a sharpener that works for most chubby pencils.

      HTH!

  • NARS Rosebud is my all time favorite!

  • Ellen

    My lips must have a lot of pink undertones in them, even though I am very fair, because most of these pencils will either be way too pink on me or turn a greyish tone. My three HG's are from MAC and they are: Stripdown, the perfect brown, Hover, a darker reddish brown that is perfect for lining lighter neutrals because when they blend, the color is deepened enough to be flattering, using it with MAC Jubilee is a good example. The third is MAC Spice, which I swear is not the same color it was when it first came out. It was originally much more of a pinky brown, everybody's lip color, which in the nineties was a new concept. Then the copies multiplied and now every company has a color in that range. It is now much more of a red brown, depending on your undertones, because of all the pink in my lips, it comes out very red on me, and I use it with more red toned shades, or when I want a neutral to be more red toned. I know it comes out browner on some people. I wish you had mentioned some Bobbi Brown pencils, because she has some of my favorites too: Her Cocoa pencil is a drop lilghter than Stripdown, but still a warm, toasty brown, her now discontinued Brownie pink is what Spice used to be, a pinkish brown, to be used with all my neutrals with a little pink in them like Clinique Tenderheart. Her new Nude lip pencil is similar, a little less brown. I think that Laura Mercier's Chestnut is a good dupe for Bobbi' s old Brownie pink. Bobbi Brown's new lip pencil color pink mauve is one of the only pink toned pencils I can wear, I guess its a warm pink, and it goes well with her Rose lipsitck, a warm rose and MUFE's No. 7 lipstick Copper Pink, also, one of the few bright colors I can wear. Just For Redheads makes two lip pencils that are great for warm looks: cappucino, which is almost a dupe of BB's cocoa or MAC's Stripdown, and Earthy pink which is a bit less bright than BB's pink mauve. I didn't give my stats, but I have very fair skin, with hazel/green eyes and warm auburn hair with blonde highlights. So my skintone is cool, but my coloring is warm, thus the problem of colors turning on me and the need for warmer colors to counter the pinkness in my skin, eyelids and lips. Hope this helps those out there with similar coloring. I was amazed that your skintone is so different than mine, yet you had my three HG lip pencils in your collection!! And some others I own for summer like MAC Boldly Bare and LM"s Chestnut. You have quite a collection! I see a few that might work for me, I"ve never tried Marc Jacobs or Charlotte Tilbury, but I"ll have to look out for them. Thanks for the round up!!

  • Wow, that is quite a collection you have there!
    I love these colors so I'm loving every single shade right now.

    Nereydaβ”‚ This Girl Is Obsessed

  • Wow, so many! I'm tempted to try that H&M one and MAC do some fab liners x

    Wonky Lauren

  • These are all so great for fall! I really like the Nudestix Lip & Cheek Pencil, because it also has that extra gloss it looks like. xx

    http://mybeautycloud.com/

  • May

    Hi Sabrina,
    I'm not sure if you've covered this before but how long do lip liners last? I have an unused MAC pencil for at least a few years ago. Thanks!

  • Cheryl

    Wow, I love this post! Thank you, Sabrina! My favorite lip liners are CT Pillow Talk and Giorgio Armani #12.

  • Woah girl, this little collection here is a DREAM! I'd love to try some Chanel lip pencils.

    Creepers & Cupcakes

  • Anonymous

    Ridiculously expensive for the amount, but love YSL Nude #13.

  • I literally made a screenshot of your pick and added it to my wish list! I adore nude lip pencils and I never can find a good one. You gave all the good ones in one photo/post and I'm so grateful!

    http://www.cojograab.com

  • OH! IMy favorite WAS a SHiseido that I've been trying to duplicate for yeeeaars. I keep thinking Ive done it and then….pffft. My lips are a light mauvy pink. But you've helped me! Thanks!

  • This post is unbelievably helpful. Thankyou!
    Beauty Wanderer

  • Amazing collection of lip liners, and really great and informative post!!! Totally agree with you on the absolute favourites being MAC Subculture and Whirl, as well as CT Pillow Talk. I would also add MAC Soar and NYX 849 Beige are really good too xxx

  • Anonymous

    Great post!tx u.=)