MAC Unsung Heroes: The Studio Chromagraphic Pencils

Published in: Eyes, MAC Makeup, Makeup, Unsung Heroes

MAC Chromagraphic Pencil

The MAC Studio Chromagraphic Pencils ($16 each)

Chances are good that if you’ve rolled up to your favorite MAC counter lately (shout-out to the Corte Madera counter at Nordies, woo-hoo!), you probably passed the Studio Chromagraphic Pencils without bringing one home.

MAC Studio Finish Chromagraphic Pencils from the left: NC15/NW20, NW25/NC30, NC42/NW35

The MAC Studio Finish Chromagraphic Pencils (they aren’t duos) from the left in NC15/NW20, NW25/NC30, NC42/NW35

Honestly, I don’t blame you, because if I didn’t know about them, I’d probably skip ’em too. On paper, they appear quite boring.


Only they’re not. At all. They’re actually really handy. In a nutshell, they’re creamy, flesh-colored eyeliners…which does sound pretty lame, right?

But I keep one of these $16 wonders in my makeup bag at all times and always bring one with me on trips. I use them all the time, really, in so many different ways.

MAC Studio Finish Chromagraphic Pencils from the left: NC15/NW20, NW25/NC30, NC42/NW35

The MAC Studio Finish Chromagraphic Pencils from the left in NC15/NW20, NW25/NC30, NC42/NW35

They’re awesome along the water line, especially if you look a little tired, or you’ve been crying because your hormones are raging out of control, or you get super weepy when the vet says that your plus-size tabby is “a very special cat.” *sniffs.*

MAC Chromagraphic Pencil

Here I’m wearing the MAC Studio Chromagraphic Pencil in NW25/NC30 in several places, including my water lines, under my brows, in the inner corners, down the bridge of my nose and around my mouth.

My water lines get irritated and red whenever I’m exhausted or after I’ve been crying, and those are times when I like to apply a couple layers of Chromagraphic Pencil on them. Then I’ll load up my lashes with mascara and do a bright lip.

Boom! Suddenly I look less emo and less likely to have a spontaneous crying fit.

And they don’t just elevate water lines. They’re also great for lazy brow phases, which I go through from time to time. Like, if you haven’t plucked or waxed in a while, just draw a line with a Chromagraphic Pencil under your brows, and smudge it out with a 239 to instantly take your brows from tragic to triumphant.

No, really! The Chromagraphic Pencils help to hide any stray hairs so that your lower arch looks smoother and less choppy, also known as “less janky.” I used one pretty much daily a couple years back when I grew out my brows.

How about lip liner? Can you use ’em for that?

Why, yes. 🙂 Like, if you’re wearing an intense red or bright pink lipstick and you want to clean up the edges, just outline your lip around your natural lip line with a Chromographic after you apply your lipstick, and then blend out the edges with a brush (I like using a stiff concealer brush for this).


They even work as improv face highlighters! In these pics, I drew a line down the center of my nose and blended it in with a MAC 217. Then I worked my Chromagraphic Pencil into the same 217’s bristles by running it across the pencil tip, then buffed the product into the inner corners of my eyes.

Seriously, so bomb, and so versatile. They’re $16 each and come in just three shades — NC15/NW20, NW25/NC30 and NC42/NW35. The names are uninspiring, I know, and they make them sound like duos, but they’re individual liners.

Get on it, girl! These are awesome, and you can find them now at the MAC counter in the permanent collection and online.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


The MAC Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorite products from MAC’s permanent collection


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So far, 35 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Allison C says:

    I love flesh tone pencils, and I imagine that MAC’s are wonderful.
    Allison C recently posted … Michael Todd Soniclear Antimicrobial Cleansing System

    • Karen says:

      It is! Another good thing about it is it’s very creamy and non-drying. This time of year my waterlines go NUTS and this is one of a handful of pencils that I can wear.

  2. Simona says:

    Karen hello, excuse my English (I am Italian). I recently discovered your blog and wanted to say that I really like! For now I’m on the section enamels (my passion), and if I wanted to ask you what is your favorite top coat … if possible something that is in Europe, for example Seche Vite here in Italy is not seen. I am using Dior Abricot, great but a bit ‘expensive … Thank you and congratulations for your work 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Simona,

      Grazie! It’s very nice to meet you. Let’s see, if you access to OPI they have a great one. Not sure if you are near a Sephora, but if you are, the Formula X one is EXCELLENT. You just have to be sure to keep the lid tight because it seems to dry out fast. On the higher end, I like Givenchy’s (very shiny and sturdy). If you need any other recs let me know! These are the ones that I’ve used consistently and liked.

      • Simona says:

        Hello Karen! Thanks, you’re very kind. Yes fortunately in my town (Bologna), there are plenty of shops and I can find almost everything that is available in Europe, so next week I will go to Sephora and try what you have suggested. Thanks again, I’m really enjoying your site! You have a new followers from Europe 🙂

  3. Chris25 says:

    It’s nice that there’s more than one shade to choose from. I wish more companies would follow suit.
    Chris25 recently posted … Maybelline Lipsticks in Plum Perfect, Plum Paradise and Dazzling Plum

  4. Komal says:

    I love how flesh-toned lip pencils make my lip color pop! Currently I am using the NYX wonder pencil for that but would love to try these after I am done with it 🙂
    Komal recently posted … Are These 7 Habits Causing Your Skin to Breakout? Break the Breakout Cycle NOW!

  5. Kwmechelle says:

    I’ve wanted to try a flesh tone liner for a while to use along my lower lash line. I’m not sure if any of these three are NC50 brown girl friendly but I’m tempted to check them out. 🙂

  6. Debra says:

    Well, that was easy enough! NW25 was right there for me.

    I’ll bet this quiet little fleshie helps out during allergy season (as in early, as in now!) when the areas around the nostrils look over-rubbed and irritated (which they are).

    And those blue (not unhappy but bloody blue) sides of the bridge of the nose by the inside corner of the eyes.

    Tabs is a very special kitty. And he knows it!

    • Karen says:

      Oh I’m getting early allergies too! Boo. What are you allergic to? I’m allergic to pretty much all nature in the spring.

      Please give Bridget the Beagle and the barn kitties some lovin’ for me.

  7. Windie says:

    Ooh… I’m gonna have to get this as well. The things I learn from your blog!

  8. Agata says:

    I have never tried these pencils but I love how versatile they seem to be.
    Agata recently posted … How To Chase Away Winter Blues With Blue Makeup

  9. tirurit says:

    You know, reading your post I just had this struck by lightening moment: of course there were more uses than just the waterline!!!

    I was at the pro store last week and did not pick them up because the one I was looking for, the lightest, wasn’t there. Now I am kicking myself!

    So thank you for the rec, next time I am grabbing them all!
    tirurit recently posted … Kiko Luxurious collection Supreme Eyeshadows

  10. Ann says:

    Would these work as detailed concealer pencils? I had one by sephora years ago that was great at covering zits, but I don’t think they make it anymore…

  11. I STILL don’t have a flesh-colored eye pencil for my waterline! I might pick up one of these, thanks Karen.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … What’s on my nightstand (the crap edition)

  12. Dee says:

    I have more flesh tone/beigey tone/ corrector type eye pencils than I can actually use in a lifetime ( ok half my lifetime) but Im always drawn to them! What lipstick do you have on here Karen ? pretty!! I love the ben nye pencils that I bought for a similar purpose they are soooooo creamy and stay on like nobodys business but Im liking the really fine point on these. thanks for the recommendation!
    Dee recently posted … By the power of blogging!

  13. Erin says:

    I’m wishing the lightest one was just a little bit lighter!
    Erin recently posted … Penmara 2013 Sémillion The White Ribbon

  14. fancie says:

    I’ve been meaning to grab one of these for the longest. My eyes could use a little brightening these days
    fancie recently posted … More Maybelline Rebel Bloom Lipsticks!

  15. These flesh toned beog eye pencils are so verstalile.. I have been looking for one for water line but using them as highlighter.. Sounds interesting.. Will be grabbing one of these soon !!
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … Makeup Tips: How to Apply Makeup

  16. Kim says:

    Awesome tip about the eyebrows. Letting them grow can be so (visually) painful and I never would have thought to even out/mask the strays with a flesh colored pencil. You are always so full of good ideas! 🙂

  17. Sylirael says:

    I so badly want a good flesh toned matte eyeliner!! I wanna try the whole eye brightening thing…

    All the options I have at the moment are shimmery though…
    Sylirael recently posted … Power Lipstick for the 80’s Rogue: Getting Your Jem On with Too Faced Melted Fuchsia!

  18. Stefi says:

    Omg, you are SO right! I heard about these pencils and I was like meh, not another beige or fleshtoned eye pencil but now that you mention all of the things I could use this pencil for, now I’m obsessed to get one of these! Can’t wait until they are going to be available in Austria! Aaaahh! <3

  19. nai says:

    Another use for these was one suggested by one of the MAC artists at the Honolulu Pro Store – for those of us with naturally two-toned lips where it looks like we have permanent lipliner (but naturally). We can use these pencils as a lipliner (making sure to soften it and “blur” it towards the middle of our lips) so that sheerer or lighter lippies are more consistent in color all over our lips.

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