Lip Pencil Showdown! MAC vs. ModelCo vs. e.l.f.

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Okay, so I was curious when I got the ModelCo pencil in my Ipsy bag this month just how close it came to my beloved MAC Spice lip pencil. So I went out and grabbed another MAC pencil last week for the sake of comparison, and also, well… This is a MAC Spice pencil. I’ve already gone through two of these, so I’ll use it, no question. I love my brown/nude lip pencils. Just for fun, I’m tossing in an e.l.f. liner as well.

For those of you unfamiliar, Kylie Jenner made the MAC Spice pencil incredibly popular, and for a while there you had to commit murder to get your hands on one. But it really is a great shade, particularly for overdrawing the lips and making them look fuller, and it’s hands down my favorite lip pencil, so it’s always fun to see what I can come across that’s similar.

The Products


MAC Lip Pencil in “Spice”

Price $16.50. Link.

ModelCo LIP ENHANCER Illusion Lip Liner
Price $20. Link.

e.l.f. Lip Liner & Blending Brush in “Natural”e4cf40d8fa18396ca609ee40d8b1a68b

Price $3.00. Link.

You can probably tell from the picture above, but the MAC pencil has the most product in it. Does that make it the best bang for your buck? Not necessarily, though since the ModelCo pencil below it obviously contains less and costs more, I’d say it’s at least a better value than that. It’s hard for me to get a price per ounce on these, as the MAC pencil was the only one on which I could still find a weight, and the ModelCo pencil was sent to me by Ipsy, so I honestly can’t say whether or not it’s a full size. You can see of course that I’ve been using the ModelCo pencil, but I’ve not yet sharpened it. The e.l.f. pencil obviously has the least product in it. I can’t base that on the size of what I twisted out because I’ve used the thing so darn much, and I’m almost out of it, but I can at least compare the part of the pencil that doesn’t include the brush, and it’s significantly smaller than the other two. That said, it’s only $3, and it has a bonus lip brush.



They’re very much alike. In the picture above, I’ve swatched all three. The top color is the e.l.f. pencil, ModelCo is in the middle, and Mac is on the bottom. Seen here, they’re obviously similar shades, but you can definitely tell a difference between all three, so I wouldn’t call them dupes. MAC is the darkest with the most brown. ModelCo is the lightest with the most pink. Between e.l.f. and ModelCo, e.l.f. is the closest to the MAC pencil, and that’s not bad at all for a $3 pencil with a bonus lip brush. The MAC pencil, being the darkest, does give the most coverage and definition. The ModelCo is more sheer and, I have to hand it to them, looks more like your actual lips when you’re overdrawing them.


All three lasted a while on my lips, even through eating, though they do need some lip color over them for moisturizing, and when I’m going for a full lip look I will often go with a gloss on top of that. But for just wearing a pencil, they all went on creamy and were comfortable. I’d have to dock a few points to the ModelCo pencil for being the dryest of the three.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to say what I always do… Go with what works for you. If you want defined and full coverage and a darker color, go with the MAC. If you want sheer and more natural looking, go with the ModelCo. If you’re looking for a great color with a great price tag, go with the e.l.f. pencil. NONE of these would be bad options, though I’m inclined to go with the MAC simply because it’s like a warm, familiar blanket for me, and when I find a great color that works well, I stick with it.

Of the three, I think the ModelCo is the only one I personally wouldn’t buy again, mostly because of the price tag and the fact that e.l.f. delivers such a similar effect at a fraction of that price. Plus, I really do like that I have an extra nude lip pencil to toss into my bag and that it comes with a bonus travel lip pencil.

2 thoughts on “Lip Pencil Showdown! MAC vs. ModelCo vs. e.l.f.

  1. I really love MAC stuff but don’t have much of it because I usually shop at Sephora and they don’t carrry MAC. I need to visit their store out at the Summit again soon. I love going in there!


    1. Belk sells MAC, but I don’t know if the Trussville store sells it. I know they have it online, and they ship it to you for free if they don’t carry it. The MAC store at the Summit is right next door to Sephora, so it’s easy to find, and you can actually try before you buy there. I know Macy’s sells it, but it’s been so long since I’ve been in a Macy’s that I have no idea what’s at their counter.


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