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Which black lip liners are best?

Whether you want to improve your black lipstick game or go for a cool ‘90s retro look, black lip liner is a great addition to your makeup bag. Lip liner is a great way to improve the look and durability of your lipstick, which is especially important when it comes to black lipstick. The ‘90s look is when you have dark lip liner with a much lighter lipstick color. This can be a fun way to try something in a new way. 

The best black lip liner is the MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Color Pencil: Eye, Lip & Brow Pencil in 100 Whatever Black that you must give it a go.

What to know before you buy a black lip liner


Lip liners generally are meant to be firmer than lipstick. This is to make it easier to apply the line with greater precision. Ideally, a lip liner should be fairly easy to use because you’re essentially tracing the outline of your mouth with it so that you can fill the rest in with lipstick later. If you want a softer line, don’t sharpen the liner all the way. But if you prefer a sharp line, get a lip liner that is firm enough to maintain a good point.


There are some great reasons to wear lip liner. Mainly they help to keep your lipstick from “feathering.” Feathering is what happens when your lipstick bleeds past your natural lip line and sinks into the fine lines. Lip liner is also a good tool to trace the outline of your lips. Whether you prefer to overline or not, you can use a lip liner as a guide before applying lipstick. This is especially true with the black lip liner because there is less margin for error.


If you oversharpen your lip liner, your lip line may end up looking too severe. Since black lipstick is already a bold statement, it’s worth considering softening the edges of your black liner just a little, so your lips will look more like they’re a part of your face and not floating in front of it. You also have to be careful if you overline your lips because the black pigment will be harder to clean off.

What to look for in a quality black lip liner

Pencil vs. retractable

Some lip liners come in pencil form while others are retractable, and there are benefits and downsides to each. Pencil lip liners can be considered more sanitary since you remove the outer layer by sharpening it regularly. Some prefer the formulas in pencil liners too. However, having to use a sharpener can be a pain. Retractable lip liners can be sharpened as well, usually with a small plastic attachment, but they may not be quite as hygienic. The formulas are often softer too.


In general, lip liners tend to be more matte since matte shades stick to your lips more effectively, and you want a liner that won’t budge when you add lipstick on top. Aside from this, liners can be softer or harder, depending on the formula. Usually, harder formulas can be softened with some warmth and have more staying power, but the application can be more annoying. Consider your preferences when weighing the different options.


By and large, you shouldn’t use most mouth products on your eyes. Eyes are particularly sensitive, and bacteria that can exist safely in and around your mouth could cause irritation or infection if transferred to your eyes. However, some products are specially formulated to be used on both. If you’re in need of a new black eyeliner while also looking for black lip liner, it’s not a bad idea to consider a product with multiple uses.

How much you can expect to spend on a black lip liner

A black lip liner will cost from $4-$20.

Black lip liner FAQ

Can I just use black eyeliner?

A. You can, but be sure you sanitize the liner carefully before using it on your eyes again.

Can I use lip liner on my eyes?

A. Yes, but only if it’s been sanitized first. Sharpen it and wipe it using alcohol. 

What are the best black lip liners to buy?

Top black lip liner

MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Color Pencil: Eye, Lip & Brow Pencil in 100 Whatever Black

MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Color Pencil: Eye, Lip & Brow Pencil in 100 Whatever Black

What you need to know: This versatile liner can be used on your lips as well as your eyes and brows.

What you’ll love: MUFE is a very popular brand for makeup artists because of their high quality. This liner can be used in multiple ways, making it a great product whether you’re on the go or just want a simpler routine.

What you should consider: The pigment in some might be too soft to withstand frequent sharpening.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Top black lip liner for the money

NYX Professional Makeup Suede Matte Lip Liner in Alien

NYX Professional Makeup Suede Matte Lip Liner in Alien

What you need to know: This lip liner is very affordable, which is perfect for anyone wanting to experiment with something new.

What you’ll love: NYX has enough lipstick shades that you can easily mix and match with this black lip liner for any kind of look you want. It’s also vegan and meant to add a slight plumping effect.

What you should consider: Some have reported the formula to be too dry and challenging to apply.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta

Worth checking out

KVD Beauty Everlasting Lip Liner in Skully

KVD Beauty Everlasting Lip Liner in Skully

What you need to know: This retractable lip liner is vegan and cruelty-free.

What you’ll love: It’s highly pigmented and meant for lasting wear. It’s easy to pair with lipstick shades from the same company according to your preferences. The formula is creamy but dries down quickly.

What you should consider: There are occasional quality issues with certain batches.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora and Ulta


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Eve Jones writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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