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12 Best Gel Eyeliners for 2023

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

All types of eyeliner are available today, from liquids to powders to gels and more. Some liners are waterproof, while others come in every color of the rainbow. Even when you narrow it down to gel eyeliners, you’ll find endless product options out there. 

After careful research, we’ve narrowed down the best gel eyeliners. You’ll finally be able to nail your signature look without worrying about your liner running, smudging, or transferring. 

Best gel eyeliner overview:

Our picks for the best gel eyeliner

1
Best overall
Stila Smudge Pot
$20

What we love

  • Works as liner or shadow
  • Versatile
  • Buildable intensity

What we don’t love

  • Comes in only 1 color
  • Applicator not included

Stila is a household name in the beauty world, and the brand’s gel eyeliner pot is a classic. Though it only comes in black, you can choose how dramatic you want to go with this versatile eyeliner pick. It’s also smudgeable, meaning you can apply a less precise line to obtain a coveted smokey eye look. 

The texture is smooth and creamy, so you can also use this gel eyeliner as an eyeshadow — saving you valuable real estate in your makeup bag. It’s also designed to stay right where you put it, so no worries about it running mid-date.

Shades: 1 | Type: Pot

2
Best budget
Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner
$9.69

What we love

  • 8 shades available
  • Easy-to-use
  • Affordable

What we don’t love

  • Not ideal for winged liner
  • Oily skin may require touch-ups

It’s a breeze to find Revlon products at your local drugstore, including this gel eyeliner pencil. This waterproof gel eyeliner pick will stay on for as long as 24 hours. 

It may not last quite as long on oily skin, but it’s still a solid option when you need your liner to stay in place for those long and hectic days. The eight shade choices make it easy to switch up your look with a vibrant swipe of liner when you want a girls’ night out vibe or a more professional work style.

Shades: 8 | Type: Pencil

3
Best long-wear
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
$32

What we love

  • Precise lines
  • Classic shades
  • Waterproof

What we don’t love

  • Not smudgeable
  • Expensive
  • Brush sold separately

This gel eyeliner pot is a waterproof option that even stands up to sweat and humidity, a must for summertime (or for your next hot yoga session). It comes in five neutral tones, and you can count on it to dramatize your look with its bold lines.

Though you’ll need your own brush to apply it, the formula is designed to go on smoothly and give you a precise, crisp line. Note that this isn’t smudgeable, so once it’s on, it’s on.

Shades: 5 | Type: Pot

4
Best shimmery
Kylie Cosmetics Shimmery Gel Eyeliner Pencil
$15

What we love

  • Fragrance-free
  • Waterproof
  • Vegan

What we don’t love

  • Comes in 1 shade

Sometimes, you just need a hint of shimmer to brighten your day. This cruelty-free, vegan gel eyeliner pencil comes in a beautiful medium grey with a touch of sparkle. It’s a waterproof formula that lasts up to 12 hours, even on your lash line. 


The brand promises a one-swipe application, so you can probably get an intense line with just one pass — no fuss, no muss.

Shades: 1 | Type: Pencil

5
Best for sensitive skin
Esqido The Smudge-Free Eyeliner
$17.95

What we love

  • No parabens or formaldehyde
  • Built-in sharpener
  • Not tested on animals

What we love

  • Needs setting time
  • Best for dry skin

Those with sensitive skin should test out this pencil, which is made with gentle ingredients and comes with a built-in sharpener. (No more hunting down a separate one!) It comes in four shades, including a beautiful navy blue for something out of the ordinary. 

Note that this may not work as well on oily skin as it does on dry skin. It also needs some time to fully set since it smudges fairly easily at first. Once it’s in place, though, it’s resistant to both smudging and water.

Shades: 4 | Type: Pencil

6
Best gel eyeliner pot
MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline Eyeliner
$19

What we love

  • Classic pot style
  • Modern shades
  • Waterproof

What we don’t love

  • Applicator not included
  • Dries quickly

Gel eyeliner in a pot is a bit of a classic, and MAC’s Pro Longwear is one of the best. Although you’ll need a brush or other applicator, this is a stay-put gel option that will give you a precise line. 

You can expect it to last up to 16 hours without smudging. In fact, the formula dries pretty quickly, so you won’t have much time to correct any mistakes. However, a stay-put formula means you can basically set it and forget it, which is ideal for a late night out or when you’re in a rush in the morning.

Shades: 5 | Type: Pot

7
Best pencil
Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Eye Liner
$30

What we love

  • Includes smudger
  • Cruelty free
  • Easy-to-apply

What we don’t love

  • Pricey

Not all gel eyeliners can be smudged, but this one can. It goes on smoothly and includes a smudger to help you achieve that perfect smokey eye. 

The pencil is waterproof, so once you’re satisfied, it’ll stay on for hours. Of the three shades, the Arabian Nights option (a dark blue) brings in a hint of shimmer and shine. 

Shades: 3 | Type: Pencil

8
Best mechanical pencil
Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner
$20

What we love

  • No sharpener needed
  • Thin lines
  • Waterproof

What we don’t love

  • Only contains 17-20 applications
  • High price for a small container

When you want a thinner line, reach for this cruelty-free gel eyeliner pencil from Hourglass. It’s mechanical, so there’s no need for a sharpener. The ophthalmologist-tested eyeliner is also waterproof, so you know it’ll last.

However, the pencil is on the smaller side, with a max of about 20 applications. So, if you’re not someone who reaches for gel eyeliner for an everyday look, this one’s for you.

Shades: 5 | Type: Pencil

9
Best vegan
KVD Tattoo Pencil Liner
$29

What we love

  • Waterproof
  • Transfer-resistant
  • Self-sharpening

What we don’t love

  • Not as easy to apply
  • Dries fast

This versatile eyeliner is the gel pencil version modeled after the brand’s beloved liquid eyeliner that’s a customer fan-favorite. We love that it’s waterproof and comes in 10 shades, including the classic Trooper Black or a more vibrant pick like Azurite Blue.

Although it’s transfer-proof, it may be best for more advanced makeup mavens since it dries quickly. You’ll have to apply with a steady hand for best results.

Shades: 10 | Type: Pencil

10
Best hypoallergenic
Neutrogena Intense Gel Eyeliner
$7.99

What we love

  • Smudgeable
  • Self-sharpening
  • Hypoallergenic

What we don’t love

  • Not waterproof

People with sensitivities to makeup or skincare products may want to give Neutrogena’s eyeliner a shot. It’s hypoallergenic and tested by dermatologists. 

It’s not waterproof, so it may not last quite as long as some other gel eyeliner favorites. However, it’s water-resistant, and you can smudge it if you prefer a smokier look rather than a crisp line. You also won’t need to worry about rummaging in your makeup drawer when it gets dull since it’s self-sharpening.

Shades: 3 | Type: Pencil

11
Best vibrant colors
MAC Colour Excess Gel Pencil Eye Liner
$23

What we love

  • Expansive shade range
  • Waterproof
  • Long-lasting on lids

What we don’t love

  • Doesn’t last as long on the waterline

Looking for something more vibrant? MAC’s lineup of gel pencils has you covered with 18 different eye-popping shades, including yellows, soft blues, and even lilac. 

These waterproof liners last 24 hours (or even longer) on the lids, though they’ll last only about 12 hours on your waterline. The product won’t transfer or smudge, so once you line your eyes with one of these beautiful shades, you’ll be set for the day (and night!).

Shades: 18 | Type: Pencil

12
Best liquid
Beth Bender Beauty Eye to Eye Liquid Liner
$22

What we love

  • Liquid formula
  • Rich pigments
  • Includes applicator

What we don’t love

  • Mostly non-traditional shades
  • Expensive

If you prefer a liquid liner but want the staying power of gel, give this a try. This option from Beth Bender Beauty has an applicator in the cap, so it’s easy to swipe on. It goes on like a typical liquid liner, but as it dries, it turns to a gel.

Though the brand makes a classic black, the other shades, such as a bright turquoise or pink, are more modern — the perfect excuse to try something fun and fresh for date night.

Shades: 5 | Type: Liquid

13
Best 2-in-1
Tarte Double Take Eyeliner
$33

What we love

  • Double-ended pencil
  • Classic shades
  • Full and travel sizes available

What we don’t love

  • Lasts only up to 12 hours

New to gel liner? This 2-in-1 vegan gel and liquid liner pen is the perfect way test it out. You can even choose a travel-size option if you want to try it before springing for the full size. 

We love that this Tarte liner offers two great ways to apply eyeliner: Use the liquid liner when you want a matte finish and the gel side for a defined, precise line. For even more drama, use both the liquid and gel liner in black.

Shades: 2 | Type: Pencil

The best gel eyeliner

Out of all the unique options out there, our pick for the best overall gel eyeliner is the Stila Smudge Pot. It’s versatile enough to use as both an eyeliner and eyeshadow. Plus, you can customize the intensity of your liner. It’s even smudgeable to help you nail the perfect smokey eye.

How to pick the right gel eyeliner for you

Your skin type comes into play when choosing the best gel eyeliner. Here are a few things to consider about your skin type when picking your new go-to liner:

Skin Types

  • Oily. People with oily skin might need to take a few extra steps to set their gel eyeliner, like setting it with a powder or doing additional touch-ups for all-day wear.
  • Dry. Sometimes, people with dry skin experience sensitivity to makeup. In that case, choose a gel eyeliner pot or pen that’s made for sensitive skin.
  • Blemishes. Gel eyeliner typically provides a dramatic look, which could play up any imperfections. Opt for a slightly smudged liner rather than crisp lines if you want to downplay any problematic areas.

FAQs

How do you stop gel eyeliner from transferring?

Dust a bit of your powder along your eyeliner to set it. If you find your gel eyeliner transferring or smudging often, you may want to skip applying the liner along your waterline. 

How do I keep my eyeliner from slipping off?

There are a few things you can try to keep your gel eyeliner from slipping off. First, be sure you’ve recently cleansed your face before applying eyeliner. Next, ensure you’re using a primer to keep things in place. You can also trace over your gel eyeliner with a powdered shadow of the same color to help it stay put. If you wear eyeshadow with your liner, try applying the shadow first to help soak up any oil on your skin. 

What’s the best eyeliner for staying put?

Ultimately, the best gel eyeliner for you will be something you’re comfortable using. We like the Stila smudge pot for its versatility.