Makeup Products » Best Eyeliners

Best 10 Eyeliners for Pristine Looks

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Depending on your makeup routine, eyeliner can either be a must-have or a nice addition. Whether you love a classic line, dramatic wing, or highly stylized graphic liner, there’s a product out there that can help you create the perfect look without having to be a professional makeup artist. 

From true liquids to pens, gels, and kohl liners, there’s an option that can work for your skill set and makeup goals. Whether you’re trying to create a wing so sharp you can cut glass or need a creamy liner that you can smudge for a smoky eye, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to see which cult fave eyeliner should be in your makeup arsenal. 

Best eyeliners for pristine looks overview:

How we chose the best eyeliners for pristine looks

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including the type, shade, waterproof rating, and more, to create a short list of the top eyeliners for pristine looks. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best eyeliners for pristine looks for each category.

Our picks for the best eyeliners for pristine looks

Best overall
Urban Decay 24/7 Inks Liquid Eyeliner

What we love

  • Felt tip applicator for thick or thin lines
  • Smooth formula that won’t skip
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

Urban Decay has a cult following for a reason. While most people equate this brand with its Naked palettes, the makeup giant also has a serious fanbase for its eyeliners. Although the gels came first, the 24/7 Inks Liquid Eyeliner collection is a favorite for good reason. 

Along with having a commendable shade range that extends beyond basic hues like black and brown, it’s a felt tip liner that offers precision for not just lining along your lash line but for more stylized graphic looks. We also like the precision grip, which is great whether you’re a makeup newbie or an old pro. The vegan formula promises to glide on smoothly with no skipping. 

Whether you want to make an extended wing or a more dramatic look, you’ll appreciate the 24-hour wear time, budge-proof formula, and rich pigmentation that comes through no matter your skin tone.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 9 | Waterproof: Yes

Best budget
Essence Cosmetics Superfine Eyeliner Pen

What we love

  • Affordable for all beauties
  • Precision top felt liquid liner
  • Vegan, cruelty-free formula

What we don’t love

  • Only available in one color (black)

No matter what’s in your wallet, you should still be able to enjoy makeup without feeling like you’re missing out. Essence Cosmetics is a wallet-friendly brand that believes in bringing quality products to market that work for a variety of beauties, including those on a budget. The brand’s Superfine Eyeliner Pen is a felt-tip liquid liner with a precision tip at a price that anyone can afford. 

The vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free formula promises a smooth application that will give you an inky black finish every time you use it. However, just be aware that it’s only available in black.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 1 | Waterproof: Yes

Best drugstore
Wet ‘n Wild Megaliner Liquid Eyeliner

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Rich pigmentation
  • Long-lasting

What we don’t love

  • Not waterproof
  • Black is only available in-store

Many makeup lovers don’t have the luxury of living near an Ulta or Sephora. Likewise, not everyone is a fan of buying makeup online. If this sounds familiar, your local drugstore or big box retailer might be the primary place for makeup discovery. In that case, a trend-forward brand like Wet ‘n Wild is key.

While this is a budget-friendly makeup brand, don’t assume that means the company is releasing subpar products. From collabs with Hello Kitty to releases that can go head-to-head with premium brands, Wet ‘n Wild proves that price doesn’t necessarily determine quality. 

The Megaliner Liquid Liner is a true liquid liner — meaning it’s not a felt tip but a brush that you dip into a liquid pot. Be aware that if you’re not experienced in applying a true liquid, there will be a bit of a learning curve. However, the bold pigmentation, smooth application, and vegan formula more than make up for this. 

Likewise, this isn’t waterproof, but this liner can last throughout the day. Also note that although the website doesn’t show the classic black shade, it is available in-store.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 3 | Waterproof: No

Best micro-tip
Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Dual-Ended Liquid Liner

What we love

  • Dual-ended with shimmer shade
  • Precision micro tip for added control
  • Waterproof, budge-proof formula

What we don’t love

  • Expensive
  • Not a true matte black

If you’ve been hanging around the beauty community for a while, you know that Stila Cosmetics’ felt liner is a fan favorite and is often considered one of the top liquid liners. We took it a step further by nominating this dual-ended liner which comes in black, plus your choice of six shimmer shades. While both ends are precision felt tips, the shimmer side is a micro tip for enhanced control. 

This product works well when creating double-liner designs since you’ll get the semi-matte finish of the classic black liner paired with the shimmer shade. Stila’s formula is waterproof, transfer-proof, and long-wearing. This translates to an easy, skip-free application with a formula that dries down fast to reduce the risk of transfer — especially for those of you with hooded eyes or oily skin where this can be an issue.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 6 | Waterproof: Yes

Best budge-proof
SUVA Hydra Liner

What we love

  • Extensive shade range
  • Budge-proof formula
  • Vegan

What we don’t love

  • Requires additional application tools
  • May be a bit expensive for some

Let’s get the hard part out of the way first — these liners will present hurdles for makeup newbies. First, you need to have a precision angled liner or micro tip brush to apply them. Second, you’ll need to activate the liner with a liquid — either water or setting spray — to it on your face. 

That being said, SUVA has a cult following for a reason. Between the fun shade range the brand offers and the fact that these are budge-proof liners that are easy to use, it’s easy to see why makeup lovers are obsessed. We like that some of the included hues are shimmers and that they’re pressed powder cakes rather than liquids. This ensures they’re fairly easy to use — if you have the right tools for the job. Yet, you still get the opaque color payoff of a liquid, which speaks to the groundbreaking formula. 

While the brand does note that these products are smudge-proof and transfer resistant, they’re not waterproof. Additionally, although they’re not the most expensive offering in our guide, they might be a bit pricy for some beauties.

Type: Powder to liquid | Shades: 9 + 2 bundles | Waterproof: No

Best for beginners
Kaja Beauty Winkstamp

What we love

  • Stamps are perfect for beginners
  • Also comes with regular precision tip liner
  • Waterproof 8-hour wear formula

What we don’t love

  • Only available in 1 color

There’s no shame in admitting that sometimes applying a wing liner can feel like taking a master class in patience. Even pros sometimes struggle to get both wings to match perfectly. For those who regularly struggle with this, the Winkstamp liner from Kaja Beauty is the hack you never knew you needed. 

This liquid liner set has a regular, felt-tip liner for the classic line along your lash line. Then, when it’s time for a wing, you can breathe easier thanks to the stamp liner. We like that it’s labeled with a left and right stamp for easy use. Although it’s only available in black, this is great for anyone who’s just beginning to expand their makeup repertoire. 

Additionally, you can choose between cat eye and wing stamps when you’re buying this set. You’ll also like that this is a clean beauty pick that’s gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. Plus, this liner is waterproof, making it perfect for up to eight hours of wear.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 1 | Waterproof: Yes

Best tool
MAC Cosmetics Mixing Medium Eyeliner

What we love

  • Turns any product into an eyeliner
  • Doubles as a transfer-proof solution
  • Contains skin-friendly ingredients

What we don’t love

  • Requires additional tools for application
  • A bit pricey for some

There’s no need for you to point out the obvious: This is not an eyeliner. However, the MAC Cosmetics Mixing Medium Eyeliner will turn any pigment — including glitter — into an eyeliner if that’s what you want. This means that you can turn any eyeshadow or pigment in your makeup kit into a customized eyeliner. 

This can be especially ideal if you’re trying to create more stylized graphic liner effects where a traditional pencil might not give you the precision that you need. More importantly, we like that this tool has skin-friendly ingredients that help improve your skin’s look and feel. These include vitamins A, C, and E and even green tea extract. 

It’s safe to use around your eyes and is approved for all skin types. For us, it’s the enhanced versatility that this medium offers which makes it a must-have for anyone that wants to create unique looks — or just turn their favorite eyeshadow into a liner. Note that this can pull double-duty as a budge-proof solution if you have hooded or oily eyelids and struggle with product transfer.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 1 | Waterproof: No

Best gel
Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

What we love

  • Comes with brush applicator
  • Waterproof, transfer-proof formula
  • Wide availability

What we don’t love

  • Gel pots can have application learning curves

Traditional gel pot liners often get a bad reputation for being difficult to work with. While we acknowledge that needing additional tools to apply eyeliner can be a drawback, the Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner deserves a second look. 

This drugstore (read: easily accessible) pick is perfect for a variety of reasons. First, the formula is incredibly creamy — meaning that you won’t have to deal with dragging or skipping when you apply it to your lids. Additionally, this liner comes with a companion brush that’s perfect for making thick or thin lines. 

Although it’s only available in black and brown, it features a waterproof formula that’s long-lasting for up to 24 hours and sets instantly. This means that you won’t deal with smudging and transfer if you have hooded eyes or struggle with oily skin.

Type: Gel | Shades: 2 | Waterproof: Yes

Best colors
Pixi Beauty Endless Silky Eye Pen

What we love

  • Large shade range
  • Waterproof and budge-proof formula
  • Easy pencil application

What we don’t love

  • Marketing is misleading
  • Will need to sharpen periodically for precision application

If you like the idea of a gel liner but don’t want to deal with pots and brushes, the Pixi Beauty Endless Silky Eye Pen is the perfect compromise. While the brand markets this eyeliner as a pen, don’t be fooled — it’s a gel pencil. 

We love the massive shade range that features 23 vivid hues. Each “pen” offers a skip-free application with a waterproof and budge-proof formula that won’t transfer or smudge. Again, we have to stress this is not a pen. You’ll note that as you use these products, the tip will dull, and you’ll need to sharpen it if you’re attempting precision applications. 

However, we do like that you can use this for smoky eyes. To do so, you’ll need to smudge immediately after applying as the formula dries to a budge-proof finish fairly quickly.

Type: Gel | Shades: 23 | Waterproof: Yes

Best liquid
Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Liner

What we love

  • True liquid liner
  • Inky matte black on all skin tones
  • Waterproof and budge-proof

What we don’t love

  • Only comes in black
  • May be expensive for some

If you’re not intimidated by true liquid liners (not felt tips), we highly recommend you check out the Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Liner. While it’s a bit of a splurge for some budgets (hint: check the “Best drugstore” pick for a wallet-friendly dupe), it checks all the boxes for us. 

This waterproof formula offers a true, matte black finish that displays inky black on all skin tones. The liquid dries down quickly and won’t transfer either. The felt tip brush offers serious precision for thick or thin lines. This means that along with a simple classic line, you can use it to make wings, cat eyes, and more stylized graphic designs. 

The only real drawbacks for this pick are that it can be a bit pricy for some and that it only comes in black.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 1 | Waterproof: Yes

Liner that brings your look together

Good eyeliner can serve as the main event or can complement your look — whether you’re rocking more intense makeup or a simple “everyday” look. These days, budge-proof and waterproof formulas tend to be the norm, ensuring that you won’t fight transfer, fading, or smudging as the day progresses. 

If you’re looking for a cult fave that everyone loves, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Inks Liquid Eyeliner is a smart pick with nine colors to choose from. Meanwhile, Essence Cosmetics’ Superfine Eyeliner Pen is a worthy option if you’re working within a tight budget. 

How to pick the right eyeliners for pristine looks 

Eyeliner can seem like a straightforward purchase, but it’s actually not. First, you need to consider your skin type, the types of lines you like to create, your preferred color, and your skill set. 


The most common formulas you’ll discover when shopping for eyeliner are liquid, gel, and pencil. However, our guide also includes the SUVA Hydra Liners that feature a powder-to-liquid finish. Although we didn’t include true pencils, these are the most basic option and can be ideal for beginners. These days, true pencils have somewhat fallen out of favor because they tend to be the driest and most likely to cause skipping or dragging against your skin when you apply them. 

Gel is usually offered in pots, pencils, or retractable pencils. Gel works well because the formula is smoother, but you need to check for budge-proof formulas as the inherently creamy texture can encourage transferring or smudging. Opt for pencils if you’re uncomfortable using a brush to apply gel liner. Similarly, liquid liners can be offered in pots or as pens. Pens are ideal if you’re new to liquids, as they feature precision tips that allow you to make precise lines. Meanwhile, pots are best when you’ve mastered a steady hand. 


In most cases, your eyeliner applicator is either pencils, felt tips, or brushes. Pencils and felt tips tend to be the easiest both in terms of application and speed. Since they combine formula and application in one step, it’s easier for you to master and also reduces the time required to apply product. 

However, felt tips have become a hybrid applicator for traditional liquid eyeliners, such as with Anastasia Beverly Hills. Brushes are usually reserved for products like gel pots or if you’re using a hybrid product such as the SUVA Hydra Liners or MAC Cosmetics’ Mixing Medium Eyeliner to turn a traditional powder (pressed or loose) or glitter into a liner. 


As with other makeup products, eyeliner finishes can vary widely. The most common options tend to be matte, semi-matte, or shimmer. Matte is one of the most readily available finishes. Semi-matte essentially means that you might still see a slight shine or light reflection when you use that product. Shimmer incorporates metallic particles that reflect the light. 


What’s a good long-lasting eyeliner? 

A good long-lasting eyeliner should be budge-proof and set fairly quickly after you apply it. The Urban Decay 24/7 Inks Liquid Liners are a great option as they feature a waterproof formula and are designed for 24 hours of wear. 

What eyeliner do makeup artists use?

Ask 20 makeup artists (MUAs) this question, and you very well may receive 20 different answers. The better question is, what features do they look for in an eyeliner? Most MUAs will prioritize a waterproof, budge-proof, long-lasting formula with a smooth application that won’t skip or drag across the skin. Additionally, bold pigmentation that’s true across skin tones is also important. 

What’s the best eyeliner pencil that won’t smudge?

There are many brands that offer smudge-proof formulas. However, in our guide, we recommend Pixi Beauty’s Endless Silky Eye Pen since it’s a gel pencil with a smooth formula that’s budge-proof. Alternatively, you can look for any liner that promises a budge-proof or non-transfer formula.