Eyeliners hold a unique position for any beauty enthusiast, possessing the power to enhance your look dramatically in a mere few strokes. Over time, we’ve constantly put our efforts into finding the best eyeliners in the market, testing numerous products to perfect every style, from the classic cat-eye to the glittery party-girl look. Each eyeliner is tried and tested not for its outward aesthetic alone but for its ease of application and longevity.
There’s no value in a perfect wing that crumbles and smears within an hour. In our quest for the best eyeliners, we’ve faced numerous disappointments – eyeliners that were dry, lacked pigment, or were simply difficult to apply. Yet, a swipe of a well-made eyeliner can significantly enhance your look, much like a vibrant lip color or a coat of mascara.
There is an abundance of methods to apply eye pencils, nonetheless, Rose Siard, a professional makeup artist based in Houston, swears by a particular technique. The moment you’ve outlined your eye, she recommends starting the smudging process immediately. She advises working on one eye at a time to ensure you have ample time for blending. The ease of this method largely depends on the type of pencil or eyeliner you select.
Hence, we put together and tested dozens of the most well-known eyeliners on the market. Based on their dry time, application, pigmentation, wear, and ease of removal, we present you with the top performers that have won our trust.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall eyeliner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
- Best Drugstore eyeliner: Maybelline Master Precise Eyeliner
- Best Cat Eye: NYX Epic Ink Liner
- Best Splurge eyeliner: Victoria Beckham Beauty Satin Kajal Liner
- Best Kohl eyeliner: MAC Cosmetics Eye Kohl
- Most Reliable eyeliner: Lancome Drama Liqui-Pencil
- Best Gel eyeliner: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
- Best Smudge-proof eyeliner: Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner
- Smoothest Glide: Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Gel Eyeliner
- Ultra Slim Eyeliner: Ultra Slim Eyeliner
Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
What We Like
- High pigmentation for bold looks
- Waterproof for all-day wear
- Long-lasting durability
- Precision applicator for versatile styles
- Easy to remove
- User-friendly packaging for effective application
The Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner is a smudge-proof, precision-marking eyeliner that stays put throughout the day. Its thin, marker-like tip is easy to use and ideal for creating a variety of looks. This highly-pigmented, waterproof formula ensures that your eye makeup lasts all day without fading or smearing. The eyeliner is available in a range of stunning shades to suit any style or occasion.
Eyestudio Master Precise All Day Liquid Eyeliner Makeup
What We Like
- Fine-tip applicator for precision
- One-swipe pigmentation for efficient application
- Quick-drying formula for less waiting time
- Smudge-free to keep your look clean
- Continuous flow to ensure smooth application
- Waterproof and smudge-resistant for long-lasting wear
- Ultra-thin tip for varied styles and looks
The Eyestudio Master Precise All Day Liquid Eyeliner by Maybelline is a highly pigmented eyeliner that delivers precise definition in one single stroke. It is a high-performing, affordable option among drugstore eyeliners. It is also suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. This eyeliner is highly recommended for its flawless application and excellent value.
Epic Ink Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
What We Like
- Waterproof formulation for smudge-free wear
- Provides precise application
- Features a slender and supple brush tip for versatile makeup styles
- Capable of creating thin lines to dramatic strokes
- Offers an intensely black color
- Dries quickly for convenience
- Long-lasting staying power for all-day wear
- Cruelty-free and PETA-certified product, promoting ethical consumerism
The Epic Ink Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a must-have in everyone’s makeup kit. Its waterproof formula ensures long-lasting wear, while its flexible brush tip delivers precise application for creating diverse eyeliner looks. Its easy removal using micellar water adds to its appeal, marking it as a fantastic and affordable choice for your everyday makeup necessities. And enhance your eye look with NYX Eyebrow Pomade, which is one of the best eyebrow pencils, offering exceptional quality and versatility for achieving flawless brows that perfectly complement your overall makeup.
Satin Kajal Liner
What We Like
- Exceptionally pigmented for vibrant, captivating eyes
- Smooth, blendable formula for seamless application
- Versatile shade range to suit different tastes and occasions
- Dual-ended design with a sponge-tip smudger for creating varied looks
- Allows for both bold and diffused eye makeup styles
- Endorsed by Victoria Beckham, adding credibility to the product
The Satin Kajal Liner by Victoria Beckham Beauty is a versatile eyeliner that offers a smooth and easy application. Enriched with a variety of nourishing ingredients, this liner is gentle on the eyes while delivering a rich, saturated color.
It is suggested to use an eyeshadow primer before applying it for those with oily eyelids. The liner is cruelty-free and comes in a variety of different shades.
What we like
- Highly recommended by professionals, signifying outstanding quality
- Easily blendable, enabling seamless application
- Highly pigmented, offering rich and vibrant color
- Versatile, can be used as both an eyeliner and a base for eye shadows
- Comes in a broad range of radiant colors, catering to diverse moods and styles
The MAC COSMETICS Eye Kohl is an ophthalmologist-tested eyeliner that comes in a variety of unexpected shades, including plum and light mint green. It is a soft-on pencil liner that lines, defines, and shades the eyes with rich color and a silky-smooth, matte/pearl finish. It’s perfect for a smoky eye look or dramatic, defined eyes.
Drama Liqui-Pencil Dramatic Eyeliner
What we like
- Long-lasting formula
- Smudge-proof performance
- Easy application process
- High-intensity, vivid colors
- Creates dramatic eye effects
- Creamy texture for smooth gliding
The Drama Liqui-Pencil Dramatic Eyeliner by Lancôme is a high-intensity, long-lasting eyeliner that provides a precise, professional finish. The creamy formula ensures a smooth application, while the rich, vibrant hues enhance the eyes for a bold and dramatic statement. It’s smudge-proof, delivering a look that stays put all day.
Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
What We Like
- Gel-based formula providing ease of application.
- Long-lasting, offering 8 hours of wear.
- Resilient against sweat and humidity, making it great for all-day use.
- The waterproof feature ensures it stays in place
Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is a long-lasting eyeliner that delivers the precision of a liquid liner with the ease of a gel-based formula. It’s designed to withstand everything from tears to inclement weather, making it an excellent choice for those living active lifestyles. The liner glides on smoothly and precisely, then quickly dries down to a long-wearing, water-resistant finish. Whether you are a makeup artist or a makeup enthusiast, this product is sure to become a staple in your beauty routine.
Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner
What We Like
- High-impact color for a striking look.
- Effortless application for user convenience.
- Waterproof and smudge-proof for reliable, long-lasting wear.
- Holds for up to 8 hours, assuring all-day perfection.
- Built-in sharpener design for precision in every application.
The Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner is a vital beauty tool for any makeup kit. It gives a high-impact color that remains intact all day long. With its innovative silicone-enriched formula and intense pigmentation, you can create sharp and waterproof lines that define your eyes beautifully. The product features a retractable tip and a detachable sharpener, adding to the ease of use and practicality.
Perfect Strokes Longwear Gel Eyeliner from Rare Beauty
What We Like
- Intense, long-lasting color
- Waterproof formula
- Innovative flex tip for precise application
- Suitable for beginners and professionals
- Vegan and cruelty-free product
Perfect Strokes Longwear Gel Eyeliner is a richly pigmented, waterproof eyeliner from Rare Beauty, designed for effortless application and all-day wear. Its unique flex tip and easy-glide formula provide precise lining to accentuate the eyes beautifully.
Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner
What We Like
- Creamy, long-lasting, and water-resistant finish
- Versatile range of stunning shades
- Effortless to use, allowing precision in application
- Suitable for both subtle, soft lines and smoky, dramatic effects
- Cruelty-free and vegan, aligning with Fenty Beauty’s ethical beauty standards
- Variety of finishes – matte, metallic, shimmery, and glittery
- Encourages experimentation with fun colors and playful designs
The Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner – Cuz I’m Black from Fenty Beauty is a high-intensity pencil eyeliner that delivers stunning color payoff. Its long-lasting, water-resistant formula is designed to stay put no matter what. Whether you want to achieve a soft, subtle line or a bold, dramatic look, this pencil eyeliner is your go-to choice. Plus, it’s formulated without parabens or phthalates, adhering to Fenty Beauty’s commitment to clean beauty.
How We Tested
We put each eyeliner through a thorough testing process in a variety of scenarios to ensure the quality of the products. During the testing process, we analyzed the product’s drying time, pigment intensity, staying power, smoothness of application, and applicator precision. We also took into consideration the product’s value for money, packaging, and range of colors offered.
To test the smudge-proof and water-resistant claims, we also wore them in a variety of environments, such as during exercise, humid weather, and days at work. We also noted how easy they were to remove at the end of the day, as we understand the importance of gentle and effortless removal to preserve the delicate eye area’s skin.
What to Look For in an Eyeliner
The type of eyeliner formula significantly influences the application process and the final look. Liquid liners like Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner are perfect for sharp, precise lines, while gel eyeliners like Melt Cosmetics Ultra Matte Gel Eyeliner are great for those who struggle with liquid liners. Pencil liners are versatile and suitable for creating various looks, and water-activated eyeliners cater to those who prefer creative, graphic eyeliner looks.
Eyeliner applicators can vary greatly even within the same type of formula. While some liquid eyeliners are ultra-fine for precision, some are made for bolder looks; some have brush tips, and others have felt tips.
The type of eyeliner can affect its ease of application, duration, and removal process. Waterproof and liquid eyeliners are known for their long-lasting nature, but they can be challenging to remove. Pencils and gels, however, are easier to remove.
While black and brown are the most common neutral tints for eyeliners, several manufacturers also offer dark jewel tones and vibrant hues that can improve the look of your makeup.
Ease of Removal
Considering the delicate nature of the skin around the eyes, it’s essential to choose eyeliners that are easy to remove to avoid unnecessary tugging and rubbing which may cause fine lines and wrinkles.
Dry Time and Finish
Eyeliners that dry quickly are less likely to become messy. A matte finish is recommended for a smoother application.
After conducting extensive testing and meticulous consideration, we can assert that each of these exceptional eyeliners excels in its unique way. They not only possess high-quality traits but also showcase remarkable features that truly set them apart in the vast sea of Drugstore makeup products available today.
These remarkable eyeliners have proven their worth in terms of longevity, pigmentation, ease of application, and overall value for money. They have all surpassed expectations, creating stunning and long-lasting looks that withstand various conditions. From humid summers to rainy days, these eyeliners remain steadfast, ensuring your eye makeup remains flawless throughout the day.
We fully recommend anyone seeking to step up their eye makeup skills to check out these amazing eyeliners. Each provides a distinctive experience that is customized to meet the needs and tastes of the individual. Select the one that speaks to you the most, then set out to use these amazing products to enhance your beauty regimen.