My introduction to liquid eyeliners was a result of pure tween-age curiosity. Youtube's earliest generation of talented beauty vloggers, inspired countless trips to my nearest drug store and beauty retailer in search of the countless products included in their hauls and tutorials (I watched Michelle Phan and Bethany Mota's videos religiously). To this day, when it comes to liquid eyeliner, I'm still complimented on the sharpness of my wings, the steadiness of my hand, and the confidence behind the application.
I know a good liquid eyeliner when I see it, and I'm more than happy to give anyone interested the inside scoop on what to keep an eye out for.I'll also be the first to argue that choosing the right liquid eyeliner for the job is the result of trail and error. With the help of thousands of glowing reviews and my first-hand accounts, I've identified the 16 liquid eyeliners that check all the boxes. Keep reading to find the liquid eyeliner that's truly worth the investment; delivering picture-perfect results every time.
The 411 On Liquid Eyeliners
I'm a firm believer that selecting and using the right liquid eyeliner can either make or completely decimate your finished makeup look. Realistically, there's not one 'right' way to wear or use it, but isn't it a good idea to understand the products you're considering using before they make it on your skin? In the case of liquid eyeliner, there are two main factors that ultimately determine their impact: formulas and applicators. Most of the products you'll see below feature a flexible, easy-to-control tip that distributes color evenly and smoothly onto the skin (with no uncomfortable tugging).
The best liquid eyeliners on the market will withstand the test of time and look as good a full day into wearing them as they did when first applied while (with no re-application required), yet easy to remove when the time comes. When I'm on the hunt for a liquid eyeliner, I keep any eye out for nourishing ingredients that hydrates the skin; making for a smooth finish and surface for future liquid eyeliner applications.
To make your selection process that much easier, I've also categorized them based on their best qualities supplemented by honest pros and cons. Ready to see which ones made the list? Read on!
Best Overall: Dior Diorshow On Stage Eyeliner
I'm kicking things of with my favorite luxury eyeliner by Dior. It uses an ultra-flexible tip to create sleek, precise lines that allows you to adjust the thickness based on the pressure applied. It also comes in a versatile palette of hues in matte, satin, and pearly finishes.
Customer review: "Love this eyeliner. It goes on smoothly and I can easily control the thickness of the line. The main reason I love it is because it stays put—even after a long 10-hour day. Other liners would bleed, crack, and wear off—not this one."
Pro: Formula ensures up to 24 hours of wear
Best For Beginners
An eyeliner offering instant and long-lasting pigment that goes on smoothly without tugging on the skin? Sign me up. Physician Formula's gel-like eyeliner pencil glides onto the skin with ease and allows time to smudge, shape, and correct before it sets; making this the best pick for beginners.
Customer review: "I love a brown liquid liner to define my lash line without looking as bold as black and this is the one!! The tip is so fine and doesn’t get dry as you’re using it. You can go over the same line without it crumbling; it does smudge or budge but it’s still easy to remove at the end of the day."
Pro: Applies smoothly
Con: Limited shade availability
Best Shade Selection
I recently re-discovered all that Kiko Cosmetics' line has to offer, and I'm loving what I've found so far. Their Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner, for example, is offered in 18 shades over three finishes (shimmer, matte, and glitter) for your perfect color match.
Customer review: "This stuff is amazing! I've been using it for years now and it never lets me down. I suffer from greasy skin and find other eyeliners end up bleeding at some point in the day, but this always stays put, even in the rain. Easy to remove too with a good eye makeup remover. I swear by it."
Pro: Water and polymer-based formula
Con: Reapplication needed for all-day wear
Best Black Shade
You haven't experienced a true black eyeliner until you get your hands on Stila's. Its easily-glide, quick-dry formula stays in place with no smudging or running; going on smoothly with an eye-catching and long-lasting pigmented finish. I've been using this gem for years and don't think I'll be giving it up anytime soon.
Customer review: "Okay, so I have tried so many liquid eye liners. I’ve been using this for a while now and it’s the very best and my favorite. The tip is firmer than other eyeliners which helps with control. But still flexible enough to get the look you want. It doesn’t run and doesn’t itch my sensitive eyes. I won’t buy any other eyeliner from now on."
Pro: Precise application made easy with felt tip
Con: Not ideal for oily lids
Best White Shade
Need a quick and easy way to brighten they eyes on a time-crunch? Use a creamy, white liquid eyeliner like this Make Up For Ever liquid eyeliner in the color 'Matte Snow,' to bring some light to the ideas without breaking a sweat.
Customer review: "The Make Up Forever aqua resist eyeliner is a great waterproof eyeliner. I The liquid eyeliner in white helped my deep set eyes pop! It stayed on all day even sweating through exercise class! I felt the thin brush made application easy and it dries quickly. Will purchase in future in additional shades!"
Pro: Dries to a long-wearing finish
Con: Tip can be challenging to control
Best To Wear While On-The-Go
You can trust this rich black liner by MAC Cosmetics goes on effortlessly to create defined eye makeup looks with a single swipe of its brush. Its long-lasting formula is transfer-resistant and waterproof so you can go all day without worrying about reapplication.
Customer review: "I've tried it all… the felt pens, the pans of thick paste-like liner, the brush applied liner and the one by MAC is hands down the best. Just swipe the excess off the brush and swipe. Dries quickly, stays on all day and comes off with face wash. This is my new, easy liquid liner!"
Pro: Stays put all day without bleeding
Con: Challenging removal
Best Transfer-Proof Option
Don't let it's small size fool you; this one packs a punch. The Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner delivers elegant precision for the ultimate eye look using a waterproof formulation that lasts for up to 24 hours without smudging, budging, or feathering. Keep it in your bag for on the go makeup moments.
Customer review: "I love the precision of the pen tip and how bold the black color remains once it has dried on the skin. I have brown skin and some liners dry dull on my skin tone, but this one manages to make a statement with one easy stroke of the pen."
Pro: Completely transfer-proof
Con: Quick-drying formula with fall out
Best Long-Wearing Eyeliner
Epic is right! Nyx's Professional Makeup's aptly named eyeliner creates long-wearing precise lines using a flexible brush that's gives its user complete control over the finished look with a satin, smooth finish. Its fuss-free, smudge-proof formula is resistant to sweat, humidity, precipitation, and tears.
Customer review: "It basically fits all of the requirements I would want in my perfect eyeliner. It's affordable, extremely black, opaque, easy to use, waterproof, stays on for a long time, and the tip is quite thin so you can get wings as sharp as a sword. I also usually have to use makeup remover and concealer to clean up my lines, but I barely need to do any maintenance with this. My cat eyes have been turning out so clean and beautiful."
Pro: Offers crisp, buildable lines
Con: Susceptible to bleeding over time
Best For Crisp Cat Eyes
Over the last five years, I've sworn by Fenty's foundation, contour sticks, and lip glosses. Right now, I'm all about their liquid eyeliner. Here's the scoop: the Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner offers crisp, hyper-saturated color using a long-wearing, water-resistant formula and an innovative flex tip.
Customer review: "I am not really good with liquid eyeliner, so I am not sure why I bought this but when I got home and used it... it worked. It was easy to use and the liner stays filled with the makeup that it applies nicely from all angles that you could hold the pen. It doesn't dry out and the completed look is very vivid. This is a new favorite for me!"
Pro: Features a flexible tip for precise application
Con: Not transfer-proof without setting powder
Best Drugstore Option
Looking for big product payoff without a big budget? We've got your back. Alamay's Conditioning Liquid Eyeliner is crafted with an ultra-fine tip for precise lines without tugging on the skin. Its formula is even enriched with a lash-conditioning complex to nourish and hydrate the lashes with every application.
Customer review: "This is the first time trying this product and I’m very happy. I used it on the waterline of my eyes and it never smudged, even when it was on for more than 10 hours. I was afraid it would smudge after a few hours like other products I’ve used before, but it never did. Definitely would buy this again. It also glides on easily when applied."
Pro: Smudge-proof, long-lasting formula
Best For Bold, Graphic Looks
Speaking of innovative eyeliners, have you met Maybelline's bestselling Hyper Easy Liquid Pen? With intense color that lasts for up to 24 hours with no smudging or fading, this liquid eyeliner can be used to create everything from sleek wings to eye-catching, bold designs with a flick of the wrist.
Customer review: "This is my new favorite liquid eyeliner... I've tried so many brands (many higher-end) but this one is by far the easiest to use and the best. It doesn't tug or skip when used properly and resists running when my eyes water. My eyelids are slightly 'crepey' and have fine lines and slight wrinkles which tend to mess me up when using liquid eyeliner on my top lid, but this one actually works well for me."
Pro: Ophthalmologist-tested; suitable for sensitive eyes
Con: Pen is difficult to control during application
Best For Sensitive Eyes
Ilia's clean, carbon-black-free, liquid formula offers precise definition with all-day, smudge-free wear without causing any discomfort to the eyes. It's also extremely buildable, giving the ability to go as bold or as natural-looking with their eyeliner as your like.
Customer review: "This is a good clean eyeliner, did not iritatte my eyes (other eyeliners do). The color is solid and easy to apply in cat eye style with the thin felt tip. Make sure your eyelid is dry and not oily before applying, that helps it stay longer through the day."
Pro: Uses a clean, carbon-black-free formula
Con: Fades with all day wear
Best For Work Outs
This award-winning, waterproof liquid eyeliner delivers bold pigment with a precise brush tip that hugs the lash line for smooth application. Long-wearing and smudge-proof, KVD Beauty's Tattoo Liner is a must-have for work outs (it's never budged during one of my lengthy, sweat-inducing pilates classes).
Customer review: "The title says it all! This weekend I went to the lake & decided to test just how waterproof this product really is. I was not disappointed! After many hours in the sun, being splashed while tubing, and jumping in the water multiple times, my eyeliner stayed perfect."
Pro: Does not pull the skin
Con: Moderate flaking
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