Everything You Need to Know About Makeup Pencils

Shannon Farrell
best makeup pencils

Photo: PeopleImages/Getty

Fall means that our schedules have suddenly gotten incredibly busy: not only is balancing a hectic work schedule with a social life enough of a challenege, we’re also trying to soak up as much of the nice weather as we can before the clouds roll in. Who has time to apply a full face of makeup when there’s this much going on?

If you’re insanely busy, thank your lucky stars that makeup sticks exist. While it used to just be eyeliners and lip liners in pencil form, now you can apply just about anything with a few swipes—foundation, concealer, bronzer, even eyeshadow—saving you serious time.

And the benefits go far beyond speed. “Pencils have wax in them so stay on longer,” says celebrity makeup artist Dina Racciatti from DKM Cosmetics, a makeup boutique in Hoboken, New Jersey. Plus, they offer precise, controlled application.

Jennifer Kapahi, a former product development executive at Revlon, loved the emerging trend so much that she co-founded her own line, tréStiQue that consists purely of pencils. “It was always my vision to create a full line of sticks, crayons and pencils because they are so easy to smudge, blend and apply on the go!” Once you’ve mastered application, you don’t even need a mirror—how’s that for easy?

To shorten your application time, give pencils a go with these easy do-it-yourself tips for every category.

Foundation Stick.
Not only are these foundation sticks foolproof (just swipe and, if needed, blend with a wet sponge), but they go on sheer look amazingly natural. It’s almost impossible to cake one of these on! And if you want more coverage, they’re easily buildable. “Layer in those areas and gently pat with a beauty blender verse smudging or blending,” says Kapahi.

Our Pick: Shiseido The Makeup Stick Foundation ($38.50, sephora.com) offers SPF 15 and a creamy finish. There’s perfect Fall skin for you.

Concealer Pencil.
The key with concealer is to use as little as possible and apply accurately—the pencil is perfect for both. Pencil form can also allow you to double it as a highlighter. “Using the tip of the crayon, apply in the inner eye corners almost up to your brow, then in the outer eye corners and under the lower lash line,” says Kapahi. “This opens the eye and creates a brighter look.”

Our Pick: Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick ($30, sephora.com) has an almost-sheer consistency that allows your natural complexion to show through.

Bronzer & Blush Sticks.
Contouring has never been easier than with bronzer sticks—and blush has never been creamier or more precise. Because both blush and bronzer can be very easy to overdue with powders, the manageable stick size allows control. “However, you will get finite lines if you don’t blend the product,” says Racciatti. “Use a sponge or your fingertips to make sure there’s no lines.”

Our Picks: Tarte The Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer ($24, sephora.com) contains vitamins C and E, brightening and moisturizing the skin as you contour. Tyra Cheek in a Stick Blush ($24, tyra.com) is so silky smooth you barely need to blend.

Eyeshadow Pencil.
Glossy lids are officially in. While creamy shadows can be difficult to apply (who knew our fingertips were so big?!), eyeshadow pencils create that same highly-pigmented finish accurately. However, don’t apply too much “or it will run if it’s very smooth,” says Racciatti. “Make sure you blend the edges out with a sponge.” This ensures the pigment blends with your natural complexion.

Our Pick: Mary Kay At Play Shadow & Liner ($13, marykay.com) is so smudge proof, it’ll last a full 12 hours without a touchup.

Brow Pencil.
Wax pencils with thin tips (emphasis on thin!) allow you to precisely draw individual hairs that blend into the brow. “Draw small strokes in the same direction of your brow hairs,” says Kapahi. “The trick is to make sure the brows start just above the inner eye corner and end at a direct angle to the outer eye corner.” Full, but natural.

Our Pick: tréStiQue Brow Pencil ($25, trestique.com) is formulated with an extruded lead that makes each line apply soft and understated. It even includes a brow gel with a two sided brush—the perfect on-the-go staple.

Lip Crayon.
If you haven’t jump on the lip crayon bandwagon, it’s high time you do. The shape allows you to follow the outline of your lips without a lip pencil for touchups. Just one product and you’re done. Racciatti recommends dabbing powder on the outer edges of your lips to ensure the crayons don’t bleed.

Our Pick: Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm ($8.99, revlon.com) is the easiest way to get matte lips without the drying.

More from Daily Makeover: How to Master Contouring (the Easy Way)