Eyeliner pencil is one of the many forms of eyeliner, which is the easiest to use and is just perfect for both beginners and skilful makeup artists. Also known as kohl eyeliner or crayon eyeliner, eyeliner pencil glides on smoothly on your peepers to create a more dramatic, defined look for special occasions or to up your everyday no-makeup style with a simple cat-eye flick.
Whether you’re the type of woman who draws on a precise wing, wears a smoked out look or just tightlines, the last thing you want is for your eyeliner to smudge or be sweated off. We have rounded up the best eyeliner pencils that are long-lasting, pigmented and easy to use, not to mention life-proof, so you don’t have to worry about your perfect makeup look.
Best Eyeliner Pencils and Tips for Using One: Contents
- 19 Best Eyeliner Pencils to Buy Now
- Common Eyeliner Pencil Types and Tips for Choosing One
- How to Apply Pencil Eyeliner
- Pencil Eyeliner Makeup Hacks to Know
No matter you are new in the eyeliner game or are looking for that perfect eyeliner pencil to add to your makeup kit, these 19 options are the ones famous makeup artists swear by!
1. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Pencil
Urban Decay’s eyeliner pencil formula glides smoothly on the lid, never tugs and sets well on oily lids. Because the formula contains jojoba oil, vitamin E and cottonseed oil, this eyeliner pencil will never dry out and is perfect for tightlining, as it has ingredients that are beneficial to the eyelashes. These eyeliners are waterproof but if you work quickly during application they smudge like a dream.
We love using their bold colors on the lower lash line to give your eye look a pop of color. Urban Decay’s pencil eyeliner comes in a wide range of shades from jewel tones, glimmering metallic hues and classic neutrals. You can find them all online at Sephora.
2. Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner
This unique eyeliner pencil formula is a hybrid between a retractable eyeliner and a gel pot eyeliner, all encased in a crayon format. The product also comes with a built-in sharpener to keep the point extra sharp for a precise application. The range comes in a selection of colors from eye-brightening silvers to enchanting jewel colors and wearable blues. The 12-hour waterproof formula is soft, pigmented and incredibly long-lasting. Pick up this eyeliner pencil in your favorite shade at Sephora!
3. Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Eyeliner Pencil
Quickliner is an easy-to-use retractable eyeliner pencil with a built in-sponge for a precise application or a smudgy finish. This long-lasting eyeliner pencil is waterproof, won’t flake and doesn’t need to be sharpened. It’s perfect for the on-the-go woman. The crayon comes in 10 matte colors at Nordstrom that range from black to brown to blue and purple.
4. Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner
Stila’s Smudge Sticks are waterproof mechanical pencil eyeliners that glide onto the eye without tugging or smudging. The eye pencils don’t need to be sharpened and have a precise formula that makes it easy to create a smooth line. The pigmented formula is easy to smudge and can double as a cream eyeshadow base. This eyeliner pencil comes in lots of bright and bold colors from duo chromes to jewel-toned shimmers and everyday matte neutrals. You can find them all online at Sephora.
5. Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner
Julep’s gel-formula eyeliner pencil comes in a traditional pen form yet glides on smoothly without any tugging, for a smooth application. This has all the intense pigment of a gel eyeliner pencil yet this the ease of using pencil applicator. This eyeliner is ophthalmologist tested and will last for over 10 hours without flaking or smudging.
This eyeliner pencil sets within 30 seconds so if you want to smudge it you need to work quickly. The pencil comes in 22 colors at Nordstrom that cover disco glitters, jewel-toned metallic shades, bold mattes and the classic neutral tones.
6. NYX Professional Makeup Slim Eye Pencil
This slim eyeliner pencil is perfect for those of you on a budget. The waterproof formula is long-lasting, perfect for tightlining and resists bleeding. This creamy formula can also double as contour, an eyeshadow base and as an eyebrow pomade. The pencil comes in 31 shades at Ulta Beauty including bold blues, moss greens, gold shimmer and a host of flattering brown tones.
7. NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner
NARS’ pencil eyeliner promises a highly pigmented finish with very little effort. The long-wearing formula lasts for 12 hours on the waterline without smudging or flaking. This is a great choice of eyeliner pencil for people who wear contact lenses and struggle applying liner to the lash line. This eyeliner is available in a range of dramatic shades at Sephora, all of which are named after iconic roads like Madison Avenue (a steely grey), Abbey Road (an electric blue) and Via Appia (a warm brown).
8. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil
This eyeliner pencil applies creamy and smooth for a long-lasting look. It comes with a smudge sponge on the end of the pencil, making this a versatile product. In a single swipe, the tool’s spongy smudging tool can make your look immediately edgy and smoky. Once the liner sets, it won’t budge all day long. The range has a small yet wearable selection of 12 colors that includes pops of blue, jewel greens and bold chromes. Find them all at Nordstrom!
9. Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner
This award-winning eyeliner pencil is dual-ended with a waterproof black liquid formula on one end and a gel pencil on the other. The gel pencil is infused with Tarte’s iconic Amazonian clay and is wax-free, meaning it will slide on so you can easily create a smooth finish. The slick ultra-fine liquid eyeliner dries down to an easy-to-apply semi-matte and opaque black finish, perfect for creating a crisp cat eye.
This hybrid product is perfect for those who frequently travel or do their makeup on the go. Try tightlining the inner rims of your eyes with the gel liner before accentuating your lids with the liquid formula. But first get it online at Sephora!
10. MAC Cosmetics Technakohl Pencil Eyeliner
MAC’s retractable pencil eyeliner has a very soft and creamy formula that provides an intensely pigmented application. This pencil can be blended on application and dries to a long-wearing, smudge-free matte finish. This versatile eyeliner pencil has a small, precise end but can create a thicker line when applied at a flat angle. MAC’s pencil eyeliner comes in a wide selection of finishes and colors at Nordstrom, from bold golds to smoky blues and warm neutrals.
11. Dior Crayon Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil
This eyeliner pencil is one of the best quality formulas on the market. This waterproof liner is the perfect mix of a soft formula, long-wearing pigmentation and no flaking or smudging throughout the day. This pencil eyeliner comes with a sponge applicator on the end so you have the option to smudge it out. This intense eyeliner will wear perfectly all day or all night long. Their range of colors is limited but sticks to the classic black, blue and brown. You can get them all at Sephora.
12. Chanel Le Crayon Khol Intense Eye Pencil
Chanel’s classic pencil-type liner has a sharp point that allows you to draw on a precise fine line. This delicate eyeliner pencil has a formula that combines vegetable fats for a soft and easy-to-apply line and talc, which makes the product long-lasting. The delicate tip is extra soft so it can be used to tightline sensitive eyes. This intense pencil also comes with a sharpener. Available at Nordstrom, it comes in four classic shades – black, warm brown, grey and a brightening nude.
13. Lancôme Le Stylo Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner
Lancôme’s Le Stylo eyeliner pencil has a unique twist tip that never needs sharpening, meaning you will always have a clean and precise line with no skips or streaks. This waterproof formula promises to be emotion and weather-proof. The liner also has a sponge tip on the end that can create pigmented smoky effects. Le Stylo comes in 4 colors at Sephora, with limited edition seasonal colors frequently being released that include plums, electric blues, warm oranges and bright whites.
14. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil
This multi-award winning gel pot eyeliner is highly pigmented, long-wearing and delivers dramatic eye looks without smudging. This is a perfect gel eyeliner pencil for those who are new to this type of liner but want to step away from the traditional pencil liners. This gel eyeliner smoothly applies with a creamy, smooth finish that even beginners can master. It comes in 12 colors at Nordstrom, from rich greens and purple to intense blacks and shimmering greys.
15. bareMinerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner
bareMinerals’ mineral formula is creamy and soft, perfect for blending with the built-in ergonomically angled sponge for a long-wearing, smudge-proof look. This eyeliner is perfect for traveling or for the woman that likes to apply her makeup on the go, as it also comes with a built-in sharpener. This eyeliner pencil can be picked up at Sephora.
16. Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil
Also known as the Inner Eye Definer, this traditional eyeliner pencil is small and delicate with a soft formula, so it’s perfect for tightlining. Laura Mercier herself recommends using the “dot and wriggle” motion when applying the pencil, to fill out the lash line right at the root, as this will create the illusion of fuller lashes.
This soft pencil eyeliner is ideal for those who want to tightline or line the lower lashes but suffer from irritation, as this formula is designed especially to be used in these delicate areas. This kohl liner comes in 6 shades at Nordstrom that look amazing worn precisely or smoked out with a smudging sponge.
17. Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘n’ Kohl Eyeliner Pencil
This gel-like eyeliner pencil is a cult-favorite for influencers and beauty editors. This pencil is super pigmented but can be blended out to make a smoky eye, making it a super versatile product to keep in your makeup bag. One of the best eyeliner pencils, this long-wearing liner melts into the skin after one application and will stay on for up to 14 hours.
Aside from being a gorgeously pigmented eyeliner, the formula contains crushed pearl powder, which is known to stimulate collagen production and hydrate the skin. This will help smooth the surface of the skin, making application even easier. The Rock ‘n’ Kohl pencil comes in 6 colors at Sephora – brown, black, dark grey, plum, navy blue and a nude.
18. Benefit BADgal Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil
Benefit’s pencil formula is denser than many of its competitors’ but this allows for smooth application and a wider line with minimal tugging. The eyeliner pencil comes with a smudging sponge tip to create an edgy smoky eye. This liner works well on the lash line, as the waterproof formula doesn’t smear or fade throughout the day. You can get this liner online at Nordstrom.
19. Christian Louboutin Oeil Velours Velvet Eye Definer
Christian Louboutin introduces a range of opaquely pigmented eyeliner pencils that have a smooth and creamy consistency. These liners smudge well for 15-30 seconds before setting for a long-wearing, fade-free coverage. The liner comes in a luxe, weighted pencil to ease application and is packaged with a high quality sharpener.
This range of eyeliner colors is inspired by Indian dancers and their extravagant eye makeup, including a bold yellow, a deep teal, a cool purple, a warm brown and an intense black. You can find them all online at Sephora.
When choosing eyeliner pencil, there are lots of different options, not just in color and finish. The type of eyeliner you choose will affect the way it applies and the end results. Here is everything you need to know about the different types of eyeliner pencil and how to pick the right one for you:
• Gel- or Cream-Based Eyeliner Pencil: The formula of this eyeliner pencil is thicker with a richer color, making getting a sharp line much easier. The creamy consistency is incredibly easy to work with and allows you to be fully in control of your look.
• Liquid Eyeliner Pencil: This type is favored by girls who love creating clean lines that swoop or a dramatic wing. Pens with marker type tips are normally easier to use than brush tips. Liquid eyeliner pencil has a small thin applicator, meaning it’s easy to get thin precise lines but because of the thin liquid consistency they can be messy for starters.
• Powder-Based Eyeliner Pencil: This is the best for a less detailed and smokier look with a less intense color. It’s very easy to use – just trace it along your eyes and smudge it as much as you wish. Also known as kohl, powder-based pencil eyeliner can be great for a subtle look that just enhances your eyes without leaving too much color and for tightlining. Many people opt for using gel or liquid forms of eyeliner pencil for detail eyelid work and then the powder form for the waterline.
In addition, an eyeliner pencil can come in the traditional wood pencil form, when you need to sharpen the point every time you use it, or a mechanical, twist-up form, which features a built-in sharpener. While using the former you can get a super-sharp point for a precise cat-eye flick, the former creates more blunt tips than pointed, being an excellent choice for creating more blended, smoked out looks.
When choosing an eyeliner pencil you should also take into account the formula, as there are non-allergic options for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes, organic products, as well as special eye pencils with lash-lengthening properties.
The color of the eye pencil is another factor to consider. Traditional colors, such as black, brown or grey, are perfect for timeless, natural looks, while brighter shades like eye-popping blue, green, orange or purple are great for those expert makeup artists that like to experiment and create bolder looks.
Based on your choice of eyeliner color you can also make your eye color pop or blend in with your makeup look. For instance, purple eyeliner pencil will look amazing on brown eyes, plum will enhance green eyes, while grey tones flatter blue eyes. Greys and brown are more flattering colors on older eyes. In any case, when in doubt opt for a classic black color that is universally flattering.
It can be smoky and smudged or precise and sharp, but eyeliner is one of the trickiest steps of the makeup routine and one that can make or break a look. Here we show you how to apply pencil eyeliner.
• Make sure the skin around your eyes and your eyelids are clean, as this will lengthen the wear time of anything you apply to the eye area. Pick a room with good lighting and find a makeup mirror. Try and have some cotton pads or Q-tips ready.
• Some people prefer to do their eye makeup before their foundation just in case they make any mistakes – this is all down to personal preference.
• If you aren’t wearing an eye makeup look just apply a matte powder base eyeshadow, which will even out your skin tone and create an ideal canvas.
• Lightly hold the outer corner of your eye, this will assist in applying the pencil eyeliner evenly, but be careful to not tug at the skin.
• Place the pencil closely to your lash line and slowly draw a thin line from the outer corner of your eye. Place more pigment on the outer portion of your eye than on your inner corners, as this will make your eyes look brighter. The thickness of the line is all down to personal preference. The thinner the line is, the more natural it will look.
• To create a thinner line make sure your pencil is fully sharpened, and draw with the side of the point rather than the tip. This allows you to hold the pencil away from your face, making it easier to see yourself in the mirror.
• If you want to try a winged or cat-eye style you’ll need to create a thicker eyeliner line. Draw a 45-degree angled line up from the bottom of the eye’s outer edge. This line can be as long or as short as you wish.
• When placing eyeliner on the lash line get as close to the lash line without touching the eyes and gently draw the line from the outer corner to the inner corner. The liner on your lower lash should be much thinner – the most flattering size is one-third the thickness of the line on your upper lids. Of course, this is all down to preference, so make it as thick or thin, clean or smoky as you wish.
• Now you can apply the mascara. Mascara will help enhance your eyes and your eyeliner.
If you’re someone who spends hours trying to perfect that wing or struggles getting a straight line on the eyelid, here are some eyeliner pencil hacks that may help you prevent those easily avoidable mistakes.
• Extend the life of your eyeliner by setting it with an eyeshadow of the same color that will act as a primer.
• If you are struggling to get that perfect straight line, draw a rough line first and then use a Q-tip and petroleum jelly to sharpen it.
• Another hack for those who are struggling with executing that straight line is to line your eyes with little dots and then connect them for that perfect line.
• If you find your eyeliner pencil has a crumbly texture, pop it in the freezer for ten minutes before using it.
• Use tape to get a sharp wing. You can also use a spoon or a business card to help with precision.
• If you struggle with shaky hands, plant your elbow on a flat surface and then rest your pinky finger on your cheek as a stabilizer.
• Using a white or nude colored eyeliner pencil on the lower lash will give the illusion of wider and more awake eyes. Also a bold blue or green eyeliner pencil will add a modern pop of color.
• And just like everything else in life, practice makes perfect. Experiment with colors, shapes and thickness. It might not work but the joy of makeup is it can be wiped off, and you can start again.
Photos via @zavvora, @_joanh, @beautsoup, @thesaraengel