Makeup Products » Best Eyeliners

21 Best Eyeliners of All Time for Every Makeup Need

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

Eyeliner is one of those makeup products that can do the heavy lifting without you having to go all out on a makeup look. The best eyeliner stays put all day, doesn’t feather or smear, and, more importantly – makes your eyes pop. The right eyeliner can be the only thing your eyes need and can help you look put together.

With so many finishes, textures, and methods of application, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But we’re highlighting the best eyeliners that you can rely on in your beauty arsenal.

In this article:

Our Picks of the Best Eyeliners

We are going to introduce you to our favorite products, crisscrossing the spectrum from luxury department store products to approachable drugstore eyeliners! Choose your favorite formula and dazzle the world with your gorgeous peepers!

Best Overall
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner
Marc Jacobs Beauty

If you dislike the experience of using a traditional pencil eyeliner but aren’t ready to graduate to a marker or liquid liner, then the Highliner from Marc Jacobs is the perfect compromise. First, you’ll love that there’s a wide range of finishes, which includes satin, glitter, shimmer, and matte.

As if that wasn’t enough, the shade range within this product is impressive. In total, you can choose from 43 different colors across those finishes. More importantly, this eyeliner is waterproof and long-lasting, meaning that it won’t slide or fade throughout the day. Another nice feature is that this eyeliner is packed with vitamin E and rosehip oil to help hydrate the delicate skin around your eye.

And we like that this is a beauty pick you can feel good about since it’s a cruelty-free product. Keep in mind that this is a gel pot liner turned into a crayon form, meaning that you’ll get the precision you need without needing a brush to apply it. Best of all, it comes with a built-in sharpener, so you never have to deal with a dull tip. However, because it’s a gel, you’ll get a rich, inky pigment that can be used to smudge for the perfect smokey eye or placed with precision for the boldest cat-eye. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features

  • Gel crayon liner with built-in sharpener
  • Available in 43 colors across four finishes
  • Waterproof and long-wear
  • Size: 0.01 oz.
  • Key Ingredients: Vitamin E and rosehip oil
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Crayon format makes application easier
  • Large shade and finish range
  • Built-in sharpener


  • Risk of drying out if you don’t close cap properly

Runner-Up for Best Overall
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil
Urban Decay

Ease of use is one of the most important factors that we considered when compiling our list for the best eyeliners. The 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil from Urban Decay is our runner-up for the Best Overall award because it ticks off quite a few boxes, especially being user-friendly, waterproof, and long-lasting.

Urban Decay is a trusted brand in the beauty world because they make effective products that hold their own in head-to-head competitions with other brands. This eyeliner features two finishes – matte and glitter. While there are only four colors in the glitter finish, you’ll get a commendable 30 matte shades. This gives you a total of 34 shades across the product category.

This cruelty-free formula promises to glide on easily, which makes it a gel formula. That means it won’t pull or tug at your skin as you apply it. And once it dries down, it’s there to stay until you remove it. We like that this gel eyeliner pencil is also hydrating, thanks to the inclusion of vitamin E, jojoba oil, and cottonseed oil. Buy it at Sephora or Nordstrom!

Key Features

  • Gel pencil formula
  • Available in 34 colors in matte and glitter finishes
  • Waterproof and long-lasting
  • Size: 0.04 oz.
  • Key Ingredients: Hydrating formula infused with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and cottonseed oil
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Large shade range within matte finish
  • Easy-to-use gel pencil format
  • Hydrating, long-lasting, waterproof formula


  • Limited color choices within glitter finish

Best Budget
NYX Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Liner
NYX Professional Makeup

Beauty doesn’t have to be expensive, and we’re always here for a brand that understands that makeup should be accessible while not compromising on quality. The NYX Matte Liquid Liner is an affordable solution for makeup mavens working on a budget.

As if that’s not enough, it’s generally accessible not just online but at most drugstores, making it a good buy for anyone who doesn’t work or live near the larger beauty retailers. First, we love that this is a true liquid liner, not a felt-tip liner. So, you will need to master the art of precision if you’re going to graduate to liquid formulas.

However, the vegan-friendly formulation makes it possible for more beauties to try it. We like that you’ll get a long-lasting formula that stays put with a precision applicator tip that allows you to easily create thick and thin lines with ease. And while this pick is only available in black with a matte finish, we like that it’s a true black that shows up rich and inky on all skin tones. It’s available at Ulta and Amazon.

Key Features

  • Liquid formula
  • Available in black
  • Long-lasting
  • Precision applicator tip
  • Size: 0.01 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Affordable
  • True color payoff on all skin tones
  • Long-lasting formulation


  • Only available in matte black

Best Drugstore
Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner

Once again, we can’t get enough of drugstore brands. Of course, we love makeup lines that are exclusively at beauty retailers, but we also understand that a lot of people don’t have access to those stores and may not feel comfortable buying makeup online. So, Maybelline’s Master Precise Eyeliner is one of the best for people that are ready to graduate from traditional pencils but might not want to fully embrace a true liquid eyeliner. Although this product is promoted as a liquid, it’s a felt liner, which is a hybrid eyeliner product.

This is a felt-tip liner, which is like the best of both worlds. You’ll get a pencil-like shape that is easier for you to control. Additionally, depending on how you hold the felt liner, you can create thick and thin lines with ease – with thin lines being as precise as 0.4 millimeters. But best of all, you get the rich color payoff that’s associated with liquid liners.

This Maybelline version comes in two finishes with four colors between them. For the satin finish, you’ll get black, forest brown, and cobalt blue. But the matte finish is only available in black.

You’ll like that you can get up to 12 hours of wear with this felt-tip liner. Best of all, it offers a waterproof formula so that your eyeliner won’t budge or fade throughout the day. And as is common with reputable eyeliners, this pick is ophthalmologist-tested and fragrance-free. Buy it on Ulta or Amazon!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner formula
  • Available in three colors and two finishes
  • Precision tip
  • Waterproof and long-lasting with up to 12 hours of wear
  • Size: 0.034 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Bold color payoff and easy to apply
  • Available in satin and matte finishes
  • Up to 12 hours of wear


  • Cruelty-free claims are murky

Best Waterproof
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

This eyeliner is a fan favorite amongst the beauty community, and it’s easy to see why. Again, we have to clarify that this isn’t a true liquid liner since it’s a felt-tip liner. But it’s a solid choice for people seeking a waterproof liquid liner in a felt-tip format.

As compared to some of the other eyeliner brands, this pick only comes with a choice of six hues within a matte finish. What makes this pick so awesome is that it’s fairly goof-proof, even for eyeliner newbies. It features a quick-drying formula that’s budge-proof as well.

As is common with felt-tip liners, you can easily create thick and thin lines dependent upon how you hold the pen. Another key feature that makes this a standout product is the fact that this is a cruelty-free eyeliner. Buy it at Nordstrom or Sephora!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip formula
  • Available in 6 colors in matte finish
  • Waterproof and long-wear
  • Size: 0.016 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Easy-to-use format ideal for beginners
  • Waterproof and budge-proof
  • Cruelty-free formula


  • May take a while to dry down

Best Gel
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
Bobbi Brown

There are quite a few upsides to using gel eyeliner as opposed to other formulations. In particular, they usually feature an easy-glide application that doesn’t drag or pull on your skin. Additionally, they tend to offer a truer color payoff that’s consistent across skin tones.

We nominated the Bobbi Brown Eyeliner as one of our best eyeliners because it’s a waterproof gel liner that offers a rich inky black finish. However, this is a pot gel liner, meaning that you’ll need a liner brush to properly apply it. But you’ll like that this eyeliner dries down quickly and won’t fade throughout the day. Additionally, it offers a budge-proof matte finish that won’t fade or smudge. Buy it at Nordstrom or Sephora!

Key Features

  • Gel liner formula
  • Available in 4 colors
  • Waterproof and long-wear
  • Size: 0.1 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Fast-drying formula
  • Waterproof and long-wear formula
  • Consistent color payoff


  • Pot packaging requires using a separate brush to apply

Best Liquid
Pat McGrath Labs PERMA PRECISION Liquid Eyeliner
Pat McGrath Labs

Felt-tip liners are a popular product category for eyeliners because they’re incredibly easy to use. The Pat McGrath Labs Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner is one of the best because it features a rich inky finish with a precision tip.

As with other products from this amazing brand with a cult following, the Pat McGrath Labs eyeliner offers serious color payoff and a handling experience that both beginners and makeup pros will love. As with most felt-tip liners, this pick offers the ability to create thick and thin lines that are true and long-lasting for up to 24 hours.

You’ll like that this felt-tip liner offers a matte finish and is waterproof – making it perfect for watching rom-coms, weddings, and days when allergies strike. While the formula is fast-drying, you’ll appreciate that the felt tip doesn’t drag against your skin or cause skipping, which can mar your perfect cat-eye. Shop for it at Sephora!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner formula
  • Inky black matte finish
  • Waterproof and long-wear with 24 hours of wear
  • Size: 0.41 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Easy-to-use felt-tip design
  • Fast-drying formula with 24 hours of wear
  • Rich inky finish on all skin tones


  • Only available in black

Best Pencil
Makeup By Mario Master Pigment Pro Eyeliner Pencil
Makeup By Mario

Hybrid eyeliners are always a smart choice as you’ll get the best of both worlds. And a gel pencil eyeliner is the perfect example of this. While gel pots can be cumbersome since it requires using an applicator brush, a gel pencil gives you that easy precision that you crave. And even though pencils can often lack color payoff or drag against the skin, a gel texture excels in those departments.

This is one of the best eyeliners for people who prefer gel pencils. As is common, this gel pencil features a sharpener end, so you can always work with precision. While this only offers five shades in a matte finish, you’ll love the bold color payoff and long-wearing formula that promises to last throughout the day. Other key benefits you’ll appreciate are that it is vegan-friendly, as well as cruelty- and gluten-free. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features

  • Gel pencil formula with built-in sharpener
  • Available in 5 colors in matte finish
  • Size: 0.03 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Easy-to-use dual-ended gel pencil
  • Budge-proof and fast-setting
  • Matte finish


  • Not waterproof
  • Limited color range

Best Colored
Dior Diorshow On Stage Eyeliner

A common complaint with felt-tip liners is that sometimes the color payoff can be underwhelming. This means that blacks aren’t as true as they could be and, depending on your skin tone, can even appear as gray. But the Dior Diorshow On Stage Eyeliner is a nice inky felt-tip liner that lives up to the hype.

We like that this eyeliner is available in two finishes – matte and satin. While it doesn’t have the wide shade range featured in some of our other picks for best eyeliners, the fact that the color payoff is true more than makes up for that drawback.

More importantly, this is a waterproof formula that promises to give you 24 hours of wear without fading or smudging. As is common with felt-tip liners, you’ll get a precision application and the ability to create lines in a range of widths, depending on how you hold the brush. Shop for it at Nordstrom or Sephora!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner
  • Available in 6 colors in matte and satin finishes
  • Waterproof and long-wear formula
  • Size: 0.01 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • 24-hour long-wear formula
  • Easy application
  • True color payoff


  • Small shade range

Best Luxury
Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen
Tom Ford

There are plenty of luxury brands that are known for their eyeliners, but we’re nominating Tom Ford’s Eye Defining Pen as one of the best in our roundup because it’s a luxury pick that more than substantiates why it’s a contender.

This is a dual-ended felt-tip liner, which is definitely a unique feature when compared to the majority of the other selections on our list. Because of this, the Tom Ford liner is probably one of the most goof-proof options in our guide. You have a fine tip on one end and a thicker tip on the other end.

So, if you struggle to create different widths with a traditional felt-tip liner, the Tom Ford version makes this task significantly easier. And you’ll also like that this pick is fragrance-free and free from SLS, sulfates, and parabens. Buy it at Nordstrom or Sephora.

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner
  • Dual-end design
  • Available in black
  • Fragrance-free
  • Size: 0.03 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Makes creating thick and thin lines easier
  • Fragrance-free makes perfect for sensitive eyes
  • Free from parabens, SLS, and sulfates


  • Expensive
  • Not waterproof, not long wear
  • May tend to smudge

Glossier Pro Tip

Eyeliner is one of those beauty products that can be intimidating if you’re not used to using it. But the Glossier Pro Tip is designed to be ultra-user-friendly. This is a felt-tip liner that features a brush that promises to hug your lash line. And that translates to fewer mistakes and more perfect lines with every application.

This pick is designed to be long-wearing with a wear time of up to 12 hours while also offering a waterproof, smudge-proof formula that is also sweatproof. And that makes it perfect to use even on those busy days. You’ll also get a buildable formula that allows you to create an opacity you want.

We like that this eyeliner features an internal ball shaker that helps ensure the liquid formula flows smoothly through the felt-tip brush. And the small size makes it easy to take on the road. You can feel good about your beauty pick since this eyeliner is both vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. Buy it at Glossier!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner
  • Available in black
  • Waterproof and long-wear formula
  • Budge-proof
  • Size: 0.01 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Unique brush tip that hugs lash line
  • Waterproof
  • Long-wear formula for up to 12 hours


  • Buildable formula may lead to thin pigmentation with a single application

Best Stamp Eyeliner
Kaja Wink Stamp Wing Eyeliner Stamp & Pen

There’s nothing easier than stamps. And this mantra holds true for eyeliners too. If you’re looking for something that can speed up your makeup routine, the best eyeliner for the job is the Kaja Wink Stamp Wing Eyeliner Stamp and Pen. Kaja has made a name for themselves by creating unique makeup that’s just as fun to apply as it is to wear.

This dual set eyeliner features a more traditional felt-tip liner with a precision point applicator and a stamp pen that relies on the same formula. This pick is long-wearing and waterproof, which makes it perfect for special events or long days.

What’s interesting is that the stamp is double-ended, meaning that there’s a side specifically designed for both your left and right eye to ensure a perfect wing every time. And that means you can focus on other things. But you’ll also like that this pick is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and made without the use of parabens or phthalates. Buy it on Sephora!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner set
  • Includes liner and stamp
  • Available in black
  • Waterproof and long-wearing formula
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Dual brush set
  • Stamp features two ends for right and left eye
  • Vegan-friendly, sulfate- and phthalate-free


  • Only available in black

Best Shade Range
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner
Fenty Beauty

A brand that made waves with a massive foundation shade range as part of their launch would understandably perform the same flex with other product categories. We’re nominating the Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner as our best eyeliner for color choices.

First, we love that there are four finishes available – matte, glitter, shimmer, and metallic. And across all of those finishes, you’ll get 20 different shades. Thanks to all the pastel hues, you can create some interesting makeup looks with these eyeliners.

You’ll also appreciate that this liner has a creamy formula that makes application easier. Additionally, it’s also long-lasting with a water-resistant format that won’t budge. And you can breathe easier, as this is a cruelty-free beauty product. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features

  • Twist-up gel formula
  • Available in 20 colors across four finishes
  • Water-resistant and long-lasting
  • Size: 0.01 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Wide color range, including pastels
  • Four finishes
  • Smooth and creamy application


  • May not be ideal for people with sensitive skin

Best Clean
ILIA Clean Line Liquid Eyeliner

If you want to know that there’s nothing dirty lurking in your eyeliner, then clean beauty brands are going to need to be on your shortlist. This is a felt-tip liner that’s alcohol- and fragrance-free. This is important, as alcohol can be incredibly drying as an ingredient and, for some people, may be irritating to their eyes. As if that’s not enough, this pick is also gluten-free.

We like that this is another long-lasting formula that promises not to smudge or fade throughout the day. It’s also free of carbon. While it’s only available in a matte black finish, you’ll love the precision that you get with every wear. And since it’s a clean beauty product, it is also cruelty-free. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner
  • Available in matte black
  • Gluten-, alcohol-, and fragrance-free
  • Long-wear formula
  • Size: 0.01 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Free from harsh ingredients that can cause skin irritation or are bad for the family
  • Long-wear formula that’s smudge- and fade-proof
  • Free from carbon


  • Not vegan
  • Only available in matte black

Best Long-Wear
KVD Beauty Tattoo Eyeliner
KVD Beauty

Kat Von D is another tried and true beauty brand with a serious cult following. While many people know this brand for their Shade and Light Palettes, their Tattoo Eyeliner has a dedicated fan base and is on our list for one of the best picks with staying power.

Their Tattoo Eyeliner features a satin finish – which does have a slight shine to it – but is also available in standard and travel size. That makes it perfect for vacations, so you’re always giving them smize. This pick is available in two colors, black and brown. But one of the main reasons why it has such a fan following is because of the precision lines it can create, whether thick or thin.

For beauties concerned about their impact on the planet, they’ll love that it is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. It also offers a long-lasting, waterproof formula. We like that it offers true color payoff on all skin tones, proving why it deserves to be a fan favorite. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features:

  • Felt-tip liner
  • Available in two colors in satin finish
  • Waterproof and long-lasting
  • Size: 0.019 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Precision applicator
  • Bold color payoff
  • Available in two sizes


  • Limited color options

Best for Sensitive Eyes
Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense Eyeliner Pencil

At least once in your life, you’ll try an eyeliner that doesn’t agree with you. Maybe it has a scent that irritates your nose, or worse still, it contains ingredients that irritate your eyes. If this sounds familiar, then you have sensitive eyes.

The Clinique Quickliner is a great choice for people with sensitive eyes and people who wear contacts. But it can also pull double duty as the must-have pencil if you love a good smokey eye. It’s free of common irritants, such as parabens and mineral oil. It’s also oil- and fragrance-free.

More importantly, this is a dual-ended eyeliner with a smudge brush on the other end, perfect for creating a more dramatic effect. Choose from 10 transfer-resistant colors. What we like is that this is a twist-up pencil with a creamy glide formula that easily applies and doesn’t pull at your lids. However, it’s not retractable and can dry out if you leave the tip exposed for extended periods. Shop for it at Nordstrom or Sephora!

Key Features

  • Twist-up cream pencil formula
  • Dual-ended with smudge brush
  • Available in 10 colors
  • Oil- and fragrance-free
  • Size: 0.012 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Transfer-proof bold color payoff
  • Safe for people with sensitive eyes or who wear contacts
  • Ideal for creating smokey eyes


  • Has potential to dry out
  • Not retractable

Best Mechanical Pencil
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner
L’Oréal Paris

Mechanical pencil eyeliners can be a great compromise for people who aren’t sold on gel eyeliners but want something with a silkier texture than a traditional pencil liner. The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner is one of the best options that fall under the traditional pencil category.

We like that this pick features a built-in sharpener, so you never have to worry about working with a dull tip. This smudge-proof eyeliner is designed to offer up to 16 hours of wear on a single application. And with six bold hues, you’ll get a true color payoff on all skin tones.

There’s also a built-in smudger, so you can create a variety of looks to suit your mood. Along with being budge-proof, this color is also fade-proof, so your look will stay strong throughout the day. Shop for it at Amazon or Ulta!

Key Features

  • Mechanical pencil eyeliner
  • Available in 6 colors
  • Smudge-proof, fade-proof
  • Waterproof and long-lasting up to 16 hours
  • Size: 0.008 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Silky texture for easy application
  • True color payoff
  • Built-in sharpener and smudger
  • Budget-friendly


  • Limited shade range

Best Matte
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner
Rare Beauty

Have you ever had an eyeliner with packaging as pretty as it is effective? The Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner is perfect for people that detest when an eyeliner looks shiny. The matte finish gives a rich deep black finish that you’ll love.

This felt-tip liner is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. More importantly, you’ll love that this pick features a true black that appears bold on all skin tones. The waterproof formula is also long-lasting and free from harsh ingredients. We’re impressed by the fact that the liner tip features 1,000 vegan-friendly bristles, giving you perfect coverage every time that’s also guilt-free.

The Rare Beauty liner promises to give you perfect strokes every time. Note that you do need to shake the pen before use to ensure even distribution of product. This formula won’t smudge, feather, or streak. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features

  • Felt-tip liner
  • Matte black finish
  • Waterproof and long-lasting
  • Free from harsh ingredients
  • Size: 0.03 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Rich color payoff on all skin tones
  • Full coverage
  • Vegan-bristle applicator brush


  • Only available in black

Best Precision Liner
Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner

While felt-tip liners tend to be the fan-favorite these days, there’s still a place for pencil eyeliners. While a true pencil isn’t quite in favor anymore, retractable pencils haven’t lost an audience. This is one of the best eyeliners for people that prefer pencils but don’t want to sacrifice precision.

This liner is available in 14 colors, which are commendable for this type of eyeliner. People with sensitive eyes will appreciate that this pick is also ophthalmologist-tested and approved for not only sensitive eyes but also people that wear contacts.

The retractable pencil features a smooth formula that won’t drag on your lids. And the waterproof formula resists not only humidity and direct moisture but also oil, making it ideal for people with oily skin. There’s also a built-in sharpener, so you can always create precise lines. Shop for it at Chanel or Nordstrom!

Key Features

  • Retractable pencil eyeliner
  • Available in 14 colors in silky finish
  • Waterproof and long-wear formula
  • Size: 0.01 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Waterproof formula also resists humidity and oil
  • Retractable pencil with built-in sharpener
  • Safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers


  • Color may fade prematurely
  • A bit pricey

Best Retractable
Lancôme Artliner Precision Point Liquid Eyeliner

For people that throw their noses up at traditional felt-tip liners because they’re hybrids and not true liquid liners, you’re going to like the Lancôme Artliner. This is one of the best eyeliners that act as a bridge between true liquids and felt-tip liners. That’s because this isn’t a traditional felt-tip pen.

This pick features a retractable felt tip that you dip into the lid, which is a pot of liquid liner. So, if you struggle with the traditional brush applicators you find with liquid liners, you might prefer the felt applicator, which tends to absorb the product more and potentially provide more control.

The long-wear formula promises not to smudge or fade. And the formula is also free from parabens, SLS, mineral oils, formaldehyde, and phthalates. It’s also ideal for people with oily skin. Shop for it at Nordstrom or Sephora!

Key Features

  • Liquid liner formula with a felt-tip applicator
  • Available in 6 colors
  • Budge-proof, fade-proof and long-lasting
  • Size: 0.04 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: No


  • Free from harsh ingredients
  • Hybrid approach to liquid liners
  • Great for oily skin


  • Getting full opacity may be difficult
  • Not waterproof

Best Hybrid Formula
Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eyeliner Pencil
Charlotte Tilbury

Pencil eyeliners are a classic choice for a reason – because no matter what beauty trends arise, they’ll always be a go-to option. This one is our best pick for a hybrid choice that combines the rich pigmentation of kohl with the easy application method of a classic pencil design.

This waterproof formula goes on like a liquid but has the benefit of being kohl so that you can smudge it if you prefer with a brush. We like the interesting shade range, which includes the light peachy shade Eye Cheat for Bigger, Brighter Eyes

Another nice feature is the long-lasting nature of this eyeliner for up to 14 hours. You’ll also love that this eyeliner contains crushed pearl powder, a natural source of collagen, which aids in improving the appearance of your skin over time by infusing your eyelids with hydration. It also works to smooth fine lines, and this all translates to better eyeliner applications. Shop for it at Nordstrom or Sephora!

Key Features

  • Hybrid liquid-kohl formula
  • Pencil application
  • Available in 6 colors
  • Infused with crushed pearl for collagen boost
  • Waterproof and long-wearing for 14 hours
  • Size: 0.04 oz.
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Kohl formula for dramatic smudging
  • Hydrating


  • Lacks a built-in sharpener
  • Precise thin lines may be difficult

What to Look for in the Perfect Eyeliner for You?

With so many eyeliner options – and colors – it’s obvious that you’ve got a serious task ahead of you as you pick the right one for the job. While we’re big fans of having many eyeliners on hand, there’s ultimately going to be one or two that you consider your “go-to’s” if you wear makeup regularly. So, what should you consider as you shop for the perfect liner?


As you’ve seen from our round-up, there are three common eyeliner formulas available when it comes to eyeliner. The main options are pencil, gel, and liquid. Each has benefits and drawbacks, depending on your goals and experience level.

Pencil Eyeliner

Pencil eyeliner is a classic choice and is often the first experience many people have with applying this beauty category. They’re also usually the most affordable option – especially at drugstores. Pencils can come in a variety of formulations and designs. The traditional classic pencils feature an eye-safe color lead core and a cap to cover the exposed portion between uses.

You need to periodically sharpen pencils to maintain a sharper edge if you want to create precise lines. While they’re the best starter pick for beginners, a classic pencil eyeliner usually lacks rich pigments and tends to fade throughout the day. Additionally, classic pencil liners can often drag against your skin, which can make applications more difficult.

Retractable or mechanical pencils are a modern twist on pencils that tend to feature a creamier formula that’s less likely to pull against your skin, skip, or create more errors. And you can also find pencil hybrids such as gel and kohl pencils. But this is a very different formulation than a traditional pencil.

What to Look for in the Perfect Eyeliner for You?

Gel Eyeliner

Gel eyeliner has a creamy texture, typically offers bold color payoff that lasts, and can often be found in a wide array of colors. Gel liners can be purchased either in pots or as a hybrid pencil or retractable format. If you pick a pot gel liner, you’ll also need a makeup brush – usually an angled eye brush – to properly apply it.

While easier than applying liquid liners, applying a gel liner does come with a learning curve. Depending on the brand and formulation, you can find gel liners that are waterproof and budge-proof. The only true drawback to a gel liner is that they risk drying out if you don’t close the pot tightly or replace the cap on a pencil.

Liquid Liners

Of all the liner formulas, liquid liners have the steepest learning curve. You can usually find these in the classic format with a brush applicator that you dip into a pot containing the liquid liner or a felt-tip pen where the liquid formula is encased around the felt applicator to create a continuous application.

Of the two designs, using a brush that you dip into an applicator is significantly harder than using a felt-tip liner. The felt tip can be easier for people – especially if they like the versatility of creating thick or thin lines without having to use multiple brushes to achieve that result. However, liquid liners – regardless of application method – tend to offer fewer color choices than pencils and gel liners.


If you’re trying to decide which is the best eyeliner for your needs, think about which application method is easiest for you to manage. As we mentioned, you can opt for pencils, pens, pots, and traditional liquid liners. Each has its own merits. But key factors to consider include:

  • Experience level: Traditional liquid liners that require dipping a brush into a pot require far more experience than a felt-tip liner or even a gel pencil.
  • Time: If you’re trying to shop for an eyeliner that you can quickly apply, pencils tend to be the easiest to use when you’re short on time.
How to Choose the Best Eyeliner for You?

Makeup Goals

Do you plan on simply lining your eyes, or are you hoping to create a wing, flick, or cat-eye? Maybe you want to tightline your waterline? Not all eyeliners are ideal for every makeup trick. For example, whereas pencils can pretty much achieve all of the above, liquid liners – even the felt-tip pen versions – usually aren’t recommended for tightlining.


In a world where the only makeup rule is that there are no rules, you don’t necessarily need to follow the rigid guidelines of only picking an eyeliner shade that complements your eyes. In this scenario, the sky’s the limit, and no one can tell you what to do!

But if you’re going for a classic look, the best eyeliner is one that’s suited for the color of your eyes. According to conventional wisdom, consider picking these colors:

  • Brown Eyes: If you have brown eyes, opt for a brown shade that’s slightly lighter than your eye color. But you don’t have to be limited to brown. You can also play with color by adopting a bold cobalt blue, midnight blue, or even an amber shade. Have fun and even play with purples and grays.
  • Blue Eyes: Opt for gold or rust-hued shades to make your eyes pop. This also includes copper and even terra cotta hues. Or, for something bolder, try a navy shade.
  • Green Eyes: Pick a hue with red hints in it to bring out the green in your eyes. If this sounds overwhelming, there are levels to this. Rather than going for a Christmas shade red, try amethyst, garnet, or even mahogany. And if those colors are a bit too far out of your comfort zone, keep it safe by starting with a black line and then accenting that by adding a colorful hue above it.
  • Hazel Eyes: Your light eyes can play with a variety of colors. But the frontrunners for people with hazel eyes include gold, plum, and olive. And you can also have fun with a rich, warm brown hue.

Photos via Instagram, Sephora, Nordstrom