This eyeliner directory I proudly present for you has been 15 years in the making, all summarized right here in one place.
BEST LIQUID LINERS
Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner, Carbon Black, $19, (shop here)
Ullllllltra pigmented, ullllltra long lasting. This eyeliner is an Allure favorite, is the blackest black you’ll come across. The sturdy, no-nonsense tip feels like you’re applying your eyeliner with a sharpie marker, so it immediately feels familiar in your hand that will let you confidently jump in and freestyle a perfect wing.
Glossier Pro Tip brush point liquid eyeliner, $16, shop here
This one is what I currently use and I think it’s the best liquid formula I’ve ever come across. A beautiful fine-bristled tip makes a super clean finish and lets you really get in for any precise details. Another thing I noticed when I used this for the first time is that it doesn’t transfer onto your brow bone!!!!! I hate it when I have to close my eyes for a minute after applying liquid liner to avoid a mess. This stuff? It won’t budge. After years of using countless liquid eyeliners from both luxury and drugstore brands, Glossier’s Pro Tip easily has cut the line and currently holds a permanent number one spot in my makeup bag. You could sleep in it and wake up the next morning without a smudge (although I don’t recommend it, it’s just that good).
Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen, $22
One of the most reliable liquid eyeliners on the market to stay put when you go out… even if you’re out for the full 24 hours, you can confidently dance your pants off and leave it at home with confidence that it won’t smudge or require touchups every hour. This was a liquid liner I used for years before switching over to Glossier (mentioned above), and it’s a fantastic second option if I don’t have my usual go-to on me.
BEST PENCIL LINERS
Glossier Colorslide Technogel Eye Pencil, $15, shop here
A looooong wearing, waterproof gel-like formula in a pencil, this is that one pencil eyeliner that truly won’t budge that you’ll find yourself reaching for over and over again. They also didn’t include the color black which is a fun way to get you to experiment with different colors you wouldn’t have gone for otherwise. Apply and immediately blend the pigment-rich gel before it sets and dance all night long without worrying about a touch up. It blends out beautifully as a “matte finish” eye shadow hack and is a great baseline if you wanted to add glitter on top. My personal favorites are Pretty Penny (a metallic copper), Adult Swim (a rich indigo), Hardcore Velvet (a deep, rich teal), and Disaster Class (a dark wine/plum <— and also my favorite of all time).
Sephora Collection 12-hour Colorful Contour Eyeliner, $10 (shop here)
This collection of waterproof pencils are effortless to apply, and is particularly popular for its distribution of color in the waterline area of the eye. This is a top brand for a classic DEEP black eyeliner that won’t build up in the creases of your eye in the first 20 minutes of wearing it, for a stellar price (cheaper than some drugstore brands!). The slick formula is deeply pigmented and once it sets, it won’t budge. It comes in tons of colors and has three finishes: matte, shimmer, and glitter.
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil in “Perversion” $22 (shop here)
Another richly pigmented pencil that wears incredibly well in the waterline of the eye. Use to line your eyes, or blend it tightly along the lash line with a small brush if you’re not a fan of a harsh line.
Makeup Forever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner, $21 (shop here)
A long-wearing, waterproof eye pencil that pairs ultra-creamy glide with instant color intensity.
Maybelline New York TATTOO STUDIO SHARPENABLE GEL PENCIL LONGWEAR EYELINER MAKEUP in “Deep Onyx” $8 (Shop here)
The definition of a drug store jackpot. In it’s own words, this waterproof, long-wear liner was developed with a “36-hour tattoo tenacity” with the promise of zero smudging and zero fading. Personally having used this for years, I can attest for it’s impressive wear and I’m convinced that this specific formula is an exact drug store dupe of the Urban Decay’s 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil.
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof Eyeliner, $9 (shop here)
This waterproof liner promises smudge-proof perfection for 24 hours. The price is a steal, it comes in 15 different colors, and every single drugstore and grocery outlet carries it. Which is super convenient, in case there’s an emergency where you’re either too pressed for time to turn around and drive back home or if you’re traveling, there’s a 100% chance you can snag one of these babies at the nearest drug store to alleviate your eyeliner separation anxiety.
MARC JACOBS BEAUTY Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in “Blacquer 42”, $26 (Shop here)
Developed to deliver the luxury of a gel formula with the ease of a pencil. These liners are enriched with vitamin E and rosehip seed oil, making the smoothest application you’ve ever experienced with an eyeliner pencil. You’ll have a bit of time to smudge the edges with a small brush, before it sets for an all-day, waterproof, sweat proof, cry-proof look. For a pencil formula that glides so easily, it’s pretty impressive that this stuff won’t budge after it sets. This eyeliner in particular is incredibly pigmented, ensuring that your eyes will be getting all of the attention.
BEST GEL LINERS
MAC PRO LONGWEAR FLUIDLINE in “Blacktrack” Soft Black Matte, $19 (shop here)
A cult classic, a best-seller, a make up bag staple that’s been loved by many (that I’ve fallen back on for the last 14 or so years), even Beyoncé’s long-time makeup artist Sir John will attest to Mac’s gel pot eyeliner being the best go-to pick for creating a perfect winged cat eye that won’t budge. The formula is fool proof, and holds a permanent OG title.
Bobbi Brown LONG-WEAR GEL EYELINER in “Jet Black”, $27 (shop here)
This award-winning long-wearing formula has been around for over a decade and is still a true favorite. Bobbi brown’s gel liner pots were the first I ever purchased and used at the young age of 16, where spending $27 on eyeliner didn’t feel that much different from forking over $500. But it was money well spent, because they last so gosh-darn long. My rule of thumb is that if you can apply winged liner the old school way using a pot + a thin angled brush, then every other type of eyeliner will be a walk in the park. I still continue to use gel liners from the pot to this day 14 years later, with MAC being my go-to (and cheaper option), but Bobbi Brown is just as fantastic. Bobbi Brown’s long-wear gel formula has the precision of liquid liner with the ease of a gel-based formula—all with 8 hours (or more!!!) of waterproof and sweat- and humidity-resistant wear.
Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Push Up Liner Pen in “Beyond Black”, $24 (shop here)
This matte black gel formula is encapsulated in an innovative pen with a rubber application tip. Turn the tip of the “eraser” side of the pen, and with each click, a little bit of the product will emerge from it’s innovative rubber applicator tip, making a fool-proof application every single time. This formula claims to last 24 hours, and although I personally don’t like staying up for 24 hours straight to tell if the formula stays true to its words, the stay is pretty impressive and the application is a great starting point for younger people who are just entering the makeup game.