LIPS | Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheats vs MAC lip pencils

MAC Lip Pencil vs Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat lip liners

I, like the rest of the world, am really into lip liners at the moment. I’ve actually kinda always been into lip liner. I find that, on the whole, they’re easier to control and have better pigmentation and wear time than most lipsticks. I’ve been gradually building my MAC Lip Pencil collection, because there are tons of them and they’re always great, and of course all those neutral-warm-mauve ones are popular at the moment. I also grabbed two Charlotte Tilbury ones as part of my haul last month, so I thought, why not compare them?

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat

I’m not too sure why these are called lip cheats. They’re lip liner pencils. Technically, all makeup you put on your lips is ‘cheating’, isn’t it?

I bought the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and Iconic Nude (US $22). Pillow Talk is the one all the UK bloggers go on about, but I thought that Iconic Nude would suit me better, so I got both.  Pillow Talk is more of a pinky nude, and Iconic Nude leans brown.


Here’s the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk on my lips. It is virtually the same colour as my lips. The formula isn’t creamy enough to get an even, fully opaque coating over my whole lips, so they look a little blotchy. I can see this being a great lip liner, however, if your lips are naturally quite pale.


The Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude is just that wee bit darker, which allows it to cover my lips better. It doesn’t get fully opaque, again, but it is better than Pillow Talk. The formula is still a little dry for wearing all over the lips on its own.

I have to say, I wasn’t as taken with the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheats as I thought I would be. They are decent, functional lip liners, but I am tempted to suggest that their seemingly overblown price is, indeed, overblown.

MAC Lip Pencil

Like I said before, I have always really liked the MAC Lip Pencils (US $16 or about NZ $35… I think?). I’m building my collection toward having one for every occasion, and my latest two additions are great nude options and consistent with the Kylie Jenner mauve-nude trend. The Jenner girls are definitely due some credit for somehow being attributed for the re-popularisation of an incredibly bland and predictably globally-flattering lip colour. I mean, pinky browny nude looks good on most people?! What a revelation!


The MAC Lip Pencil in Soar is the one that Kylie allegedly uses, but whether or not she actually does, I don’t really care. It’s a nice pinky mauve. It is flattering on my skin tone, and I can see it being flattering on many other skin tones also. It’s creamy and pigmented and easy to build up to an even coverage all over the lips. I didn’t actually mean to buy this: I wanted to buy the shade Chicory, but it was sold out. This is perhaps a good thing, because Chicory is so much like all my favourite lipsticks that it’s entirely unnecessary for me to own it.


Lastly, the MAC Lip Pencil in Spice is like a more orange version of Soar. It has a similar depth of tone, but it’s easier to wear, in my eyes at least. Again, it’s smooth and creamy and pigmented. Often I will wear this without any lipstick on top, and it wears all day.

So what’s my verdict? MAC Lip Pencils have a creamier formula that I like better than the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheats. They’re cheaper, too, which makes them the true winner to me. The darker shades of the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheats may work better for me, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to spill the extra cash. CT is billed as a luxury makeup brand, but I don’t seen true luxury in the two lip pencils I have.

 Have you tried either of these brands of lip liner? What is your favourite lip liner formula? What’s with the world’s obsession with lip liners at the moment? And what colour do you think suits me best?

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  • I really like Soar. I have always disliked the Jenner girls as much as I have loved the Kardashians, so hearing about Kylie’s damn lips (injections) for the last year has made me rage. I own two lip liners and they’re both from Jordana and I rarely wear them. Does that make me a failure? Maybs.

    • Nicole

      If that makes you a failure, I’m here with you gal.

    • I find lip liners really prolong the wear of my lipstick! I’m reluctant to wear lipstick without one, to be honest, even if it’s just my clear one to avoid feathering.

  • Jamie

    MAC lip liners all the way. I think the CT ones are completely overrated and I probably wouldn’t buy any more – glad I only stuck to one. I really want to do a MAC haul through the US website but have been holding out. I’ll definitely be stocking up on the lip liners though, that’s for sure!

    • There are so many good MAC things I want at the moment. One of each of all the other lip liners, for a start!

  • Nicole

    I’m pretty disappointed in myself that I don’t own any lip liners that aren’t red, I really need to revaluate. Soar looks like the one I’ll try to find – they all look sooooo good on you Morgan! Kind of surprised to hear that the Charlotte Tilbury ones aren’t that amazing – don’t think I’ve heard anyone talk about them as less than divinity before. Such a crazy price too, though they do look very flash.

    • I think because they look so nice and the rest of Charlotte Tilbury’s products are so luxurious that people aren’t prepared to admit they spent so much money on something crap? I’m definitely disappointed I bought two of them now…

  • I just purchase Soar today ^^ very excited to try and see what the whole Kylie Jenner fuss is all about hahah, I am also looking forward to buy Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk, it looks gorgeous on you!

  • I’m not getting on with Pillow Talk! The colour is perfect, but I find the texture too waxy and patchy. Much prefer my Lipstick Queen liners.

    • Waxy is right! I haven’t tried Lipstick Queen – I feel like they used to be stocked in Farmers here but aren’t anymore.

  • Jodi Butler

    Oh thank you for the honest review on the CT pencils! All I’ve seen are raves and while it definitely made me want to try them it also made me a bit wary. Good to know that they aren’t the holy grail’s so many are toting them to be 🙂

    • They are so raved about that I thought I was maybe missing something – but I just truly think they’re not as amazing as people make them out to be.

      • Jodi Butler

        I feel like a lot of the rave is maybe fall out from the rest of the brand and the packaging, etc. People WANT it to be amazing so they make it so in their minds? I dunno.

  • Arrabella Bolter

    Soar+Cosmo are my true MLBB colors, so they’re not that exciting? Nightmoth is the only other lip pencil I have, and it is fab but pretty similar to Train Bleu Id say. Spice looks great on you, and I don’t know if it’s just the new background or something else, but whatever you’re doing is working! You look especially gorgeous.

    • Arrabella Bolter

      It’s the haircut?! Love it, your fringe DOES look great!

    • Thank you! I really need Nightmoth – I mean, ‘need’ is a bit strong, but I don’t have a really dark lip liner, which is weird for someone who wears so much dark lipstick!

      • Arrabella Bolter

        But Nightmoth + red lipstick = the PERFECT burgundy which looks amazeballs

  • Elese

    YAAAAS I have been waiting for this post. Interesting that CT didn’t live up to the hype. I love my MAC liners, espesh the prolongwear ones <3

    • I haven’t got any prolongwear liners! Those will be next on my list