Drugstore eyeliner is the best idea when it comes to tiptoeing in the makeup world, trying to create that perfect flick for the first time without spending too much on an expensive option. There are so many good drugstore eyeliner options on the market to choose from that never actually lag behind those fancier finds.
Whether you are into drugstore liquid eyeliner or a gel one, whether you need something simple and easy to work with or are on the hunt for the best drugstore waterproof eyeliner, this list has got you covered!
Some drugstore eyeliners give you maximum flexibility to create a thin or thick line, while others are specifically made for one or the other. And not all formulas are created the same! This list is a collection of the best drugstore eyeliner options available at every price point for every makeup junkie. There’s something good for those starting out their makeup journey and others perfect for makeup masters, as well as a variety for those in-between.
1. Best Overall: NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner
Want the best drugstore eyeliner that can go on thin or thick depending on your outfit or mood? Then you’ll love the Epic Ink Liner by NYX. This liquid eyeliner is waterproof and will create a smooth line that will last all day but can turn runny if not shaken properly. It’s composed of a vegan and cruelty-free formula that has been approved by PETA and comes in black and brown. This is also the best drugstore liquid eyeliner, as it dries quickly, and the felt tip allows for a precise, smudge-free design. You can find this eyeliner at Ulta, and Amazon.
2. Best Gel: Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner
If you are more of a team gel liner, this is the best drugstore eyeliner for you. While this creamy liner might be noted as greasy for some, it is composed of waterproof and smudge-proof ingredients and comes in Charcoal, Eggplant, Blackest Black, and Brown. If you are trying to craft the perfect cat eye that will last for a long time, this intensely pigmented gel and brush combine for an easy-to-apply gel eyeliner. Pick this eyeliner up at Ulta, or Amazon today!
3. Best Waterproof: Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer
This is the best drugstore eyeliner if you would rather focus on your day ahead of you instead of sharpening a pencil. It twists up so you never have to worry about dragging out the sharpener, but includes a built-in one if you want to create a very defined line. Long-lasting and waterproof, this pencil eyeliner comes in 9 different fun colors, including Blue Steel, Copper Bling, Noir, and Purple Craze. If you want a more casual look perfect for an in-the-office day, this drugstore eyeliner will be the perfect one in your makeup kit. You can buy it on Amazon.
4. Best High-Pigment: Milani Stay Put 16HR Eyeliner
If you are looking for the best bang for your buck drugstore eyeliner, you have come to the right place. The Milani eyeliner is a favorite among beauty lovers both because it won’t break the bank and because its pigmentation is on point. It also features a built-in sharpener for that precise line, while the smudger can be used to create a more natural smoked-out look.
This is the best drugstore gel eyeliner that comes in eight dramatic shades, including Goal Digger Gold, Duchess Purple, Moss Boss Green, and Picante Red. It is composed of a formula that will last 16 hours straight but be wary that it might use up fast. Fall in love with this long-lasting, top gel liner that you can purchase at Ulta, or Amazon.
5. Best Longwear: Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner
Need a long-lasting drugstore eyeliner for long days at the office and longer, more fun nights partying? Look no further! This waterproof formula comes in a handful of neutral long-wearing colors such as Black, Black Violet, Brown, and Charcoal. Keep an eye out as you put it on, as it can be sensitive with how much will swipe on depending on how hard you press. It features a sharpener for a precise line, as well as a smudger for a less-opaque look. With a smudge-proof and waterproof formula, this is the best drugstore waterproof eyeliner around. Pick it up at Ulta, or Amazon today!
6. Best Mechanical Pencil: L’Oréal Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner
If “go bold or go home” is your motto, then this is the best drugstore eyeliner for you. It is a mechanical pencil liner that goes on smoothly and has a high pigmentation that will make your eyes pop beautifully. While it can get a bit smudgy, it comes in a handful of colors, including white, navy, and black. It offers up to 16 hours of smudge-proof wear, while the built-in smudger is perfect for romantic diffused lines. This drugstore eyeliner is great for those who love to make a bold impression. You can find it at Ulta, and Amazon.
7. Best Liquid: Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner
This drugstore eyeliner is top of the line for those of you who love the drama of the classic cat eye. With a precision felt tip 0.4 millimeters small, you can go as detailed and thin or as thick as you’d like with this liquid eyeliner. It comes in black, blue, and brown, and is great for those who wear contact lenses. It may take a moment for the liquid liner to dry, but once it does, it leaves you with a professional look with up to 12 hours of wear time. Find the best drugstore liquid eyeliner at Ulta, or Amazon!
8. Best Colorful: Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil
Want something more fun than just black or brown? If you’re going to take a walk on the bright and wild side of eyeliner, then pick up Essence in any of the 15 colors available. With colors like Berry, Rose Gold, Go Green, Turquoise, Pink, and more, there is a shade for every personality. While the color might not last very long, this drugstore eyeliner will leave you with a fantastic pop of color that will be perfect for any night on the town. This eye pencil can be found at Ulta, and Amazon.
9. Best Versatile: CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner
If you want an eyeliner as versatile as your wardrobe, look no further. The CoverGirl eyeliner will allow you to be as precise or as bold as you’d like your swipe to be, as well as features a smudger tip for easy blending. This multifaceted drugstore eyeliner is made of a cruelty-free formula and comes in a handful of colors. While it may not last very long and might flake off, this eyeliner is great for quick touch-ups. Pick it up from Ulta, or Amazon!
10. Best Matte: NYX Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Liner
Love the texture of a great matte eyeliner? You will adore the Matte Liquid Liner by NYX. This vegan and cruelty-free formula goes on easily and dries fast to last the entire day. This is the best drugstore liquid eyeliner in black, and while the applicator might not be the easiest to use – especially for beginners – it is waterproof, smudge-proof and looks great. This eyeliner is lovely for its look – it won’t leave your eyes looking shiny – as well as great for its price. Choose it today and grab one from Ulta, or Amazon!
11. Best for Beginners: L’Oréal Infallible Flash Cat Eye Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Beginners who are interested in mastering the classic wing, this is the best drugstore eyeliner you should get. It comes with a removable stencil to help create that perfect wing you are looking for. The formula is waterproof and comes in black and brown. However, as you swipe the eyeliner on, it has been known to skid a bit, so be careful and take your time as you put it on. After you successfully draw a wing, it will last all day and will not flake off. This drugstore eyeliner can be purchased from Ulta, or Amazon.
12. Best Precision Tip: Revlon ColorStay Skinny Liquid Liner
Love a simple and skinny line with your eyeliner? This is the best drugstore eyeliner with the thinnest tip at 0.1mm. This bold eyeliner comes in black, mahogany, and navy and will go on smoothly without smudging or smearing. It has been known to flake off or wash off easily, but can create a very defined line with strong pigmentation – so remember your primer. This drugstore eyeliner can help create a chic, defined look. Purchase it from Ulta, or Amazon!
13. Best Flexible Felt Tip: Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner
Perfect for both beginners and makeup experts, this drugstore eyeliner provides the ultimate control to create the line you desire. Not only does it have a super flexible felt tip for maximum control, but also it’s relatively shorter than other eyeliners, which makes it easier to hold and manipulate. While it may not last as long as other eyeliners, providing just 8 hours of wear time, this one will leave you with a sultry look in either black or brown. This top-rated liquid eyeliner can be purchased from Ulta, or Amazon.
14. Best Smudge-Proof: e.l.f. Cosmetics Expert Liquid Liner
If you’ve been experimenting with eyeliner for a while and have mastered both the perfect cat eye and tightlining, try this drugstore eyeliner out. It goes on smoothly with a precise point and is available in navy, black, charcoal, and brown. With a cruelty-free and vegan formula, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank or harming the environment. While it may take a bit longer to dry, it will not smudge or flake away. This top eyeliner will leave you with a professional look. Grab it from Ulta, or Amazon today!
15. Best Hypoallergenic: Almay Liquid Eyeliner
If you prefer a liquid eyeliner that has a separate brush instead of a screw top or attached felt tip, then this is the best drugstore eyeliner for you. It has an inkwell shape, and the brush is made of a foam material. It comes in a collection of colors like Black Pearl and Raisin Quartz, but fans have wished for more of the liquid in the container. With a flexible tip, the liquid will go on smoothly and stay put even if you have oily skin. It’s also hypoallergenic, great for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. Start experimenting with this drugstore eyeliner after you purchase it from Ulta, or Amazon.
16. Best TLC: Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash 2-in-1 Boosting Eyeliner & Serum
We love it when our eyelashes pop against our eyeliner. The Physicians Formula eyeliner goes on smoothly and defines, nourishes and conditions lashes as it traces your eye shape. The formula features a Japanese technology of being long-lasting, smudge-proof and water-resistant, available in Black, Deep Brown, and Ultra Black. This drugstore eyeliner has been known to flake off, but when it stays, it creates a great definition look that makes your eyes bold and beautiful. Try a new eyeliner today by buying this one at Ulta, or Amazon!
17. Best for Tightlining: Wet ‘n Wild MegaSlim Skinny Tip Eyeliner
And drumroll please: the best drugstore eyeliner for tighlining is this Wet ‘n Wild one. It is composed of a formula that will last all day, even if you sweat or have oily skin. Fans love the deep, dark pigment that goes on easily with a precise tip. While it has been known to dry out too fast, this drugstore eyeliner is the well-rounded micro-liner for all of your makeup needs. Grab this excellent product today from Ulta, or Amazon!
Photos via Ulta