The 11 best eyeliners your makeup kit shouldn’t be without
We’ve found one for every type of liner lover
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / October 18 2018
There’s a lot of fun to be hand with a good eyeliner. The looks you can create - dramatic, subtle, smoky or flicked - and the tricks you can play - wider-looking eyes, perhaps?! - are just some of the things we love about this product. But finding the best eyeliner isn’t easy. It needs to fit a pretty strict set of criteria. Maybe you’re looking for one that is easily smudged for a smoky eye look. Or you need it to dry instantly so you can nail that sharp, precise line. Then there’s thin vs thick, liquid vs pencil… We all have our own idea of what makes a good eyeliner, although we're sure can all agree it should always be budge-proof and long-lasting. Those are our non-negotiables.
What’s your favourite formula?
One of the first decisions you need to make when hunting for an eyeliner is the type of formula you like best. These are your options:
Pencil eyeliners - simple to use, pencil eyeliners are great for getting in between each of your lashes for a full lash effect. They can also be smudged for a sultry, smoky finish. They’re a good choice for beginners, or anyone who doesn’t necessarily want a super sharp finish.
Liquid eyeliners - pencils used to be the norm, but now, liquid liners are everywhere. Reach for this eyeliner type if you love a winged liner look, a super fine line or an inky finish. Practice makes perfect, but it’s so worth it once you nail the technique.
Gel eyeliners - Best suited to a thicker eyeliner look, their creamy formula makes them easy to work with. And they tend to have the most hard-wearing finishes.
As for which one is most popular, there’s a clear winner in the list below!
Since there are literally thousands of eyeliners to choose from, we entrusted the opinions of our Beauty Crew team and SUPERcrew members who shared their reviews for the best eyeliner they've ever used.
#11 / Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner
The brush on this eyeliner is nice. Its flexible tip just glides like a dream over your lash line. Plus, once this liner goes on, it ain’t moving from day to night. You can also grab it in brown, which gives you a more natural look.
The review: “This is a cult favourite. Very pigmented, smooth and easy to draw, doesn't smudge or give me panda eyes.” Sophie, SUPERcrew member
#10 / Eye of Horus Liquid Define Liner
An eyeliner that makes easy work of a winged liner look, it boasts a precise felt tip that beginners will love just as much as those with steady hands. The formula dries instantly and is totally budge-proof, and also happens to be paraben-free, cruelty-free and vegan.
The review: “Eye of Horus liquid and pencil - Both have fabulous pigment. After application with pencil, one has to quickly work with the colour as it sets so fast. Nothing can rub it around. Metal liquid ones are like real metal foil. Plus they set incredibly well. Tip of the liner is great for precision work.” Jovanka, SUPERcrew member
#9 / Clarins Graphik Ink Liner
The carbon black pigment is as black as they come in this formula, and the felt tip draws on easily for precision minus the effort. And yep, it’s long-lasting and smudge-proof, too.
The review: “I'm currently loving the Clarins Graphik Ink Liner, which is a felt tip liner that feels sturdier and makes the transition to liquid liner from my preferred pencil liner much easier. The shape of the felt tip is tapered towards the end, so technically you could just stamp your liner on - and the even, really deep black pigmentation makes that stamping on actually feasible. It is possible to achieve a sharp-ish line, although working in tandem with a concealer results in a sharper line.” Bhavna, SUPERcrew member
#8 / Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner
Let’s start with the 16 hours of budge-proof wear you get out of this pharmacy buy - it will see you through an entire day. It’s waterproof, but not a pain to remove at the end of the day, and it makes creating a winged liner a cinch. What our SUPERcrew member Georgia loves the most about this eyeliner is that it can produce both elegant lines and a thicker, edgier look in the one product. Bargain!
The review: “Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner is a tried and tested favourite of mine that I’ve been using for many years now. It has a deeply pigmented, matte black finish and stays on like nothing else. My eyes can be quite watery at times so I love that this doesn’t smudge easily. The wand tip is also the perfect size and shape for creating winged eyeliner looks.” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
#7 / Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil
Quick-setting and water-resistant with a creamy texture that glides on easily, the colour of this liner remains vibrant for as long as it lasts, which is a good long while.
The review: “Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil is definitely my favourite as it gives me long-wearing bold colour, and has a soft texture that glides on easily and smoothly without causing irritation. It has a smudge tip applicator on the other end to create a quick smokey eye look. My favourite thing is that it sets quickly and doesn't smudge all day long.” Dina, SUPERcrew member
#6 / Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner
Love a pencil and a liquid eyeliner equally? This double-sided eyeliner means you don’t have to pick favourites. The twist-up pencil end goes on creamy and gets right in between to lashes for a volumised effect. The liquid liner pen nails a crisp, sharp line every time.
The review: “The only eyeliner that I’m loyal to is Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner and I have tried all the most popular brands as I wear eyeliner every day. I love this eyeliner because it comes with a felt liquid end on one side and a pencil on the other. The felt side gives you a perfect winged shape line every time as it’s so easy to apply. It has an intense shade of black that never flakes or smudges. The pencil side is perfect for tight lining.” Aneta, SUPERcrew member
#5 / NYX Professional Makeup Slide On Pencil
This is the best eyeliner pencil for anyone who likes to dabble in coloured eyeliner - because it’s got 12 stunning shades to choose from (black included). This eyeliner goes on soft and creamy, but once it’s on, it won’t smudge. And it’s cheap!
The review: “NYX in all colours. Creamy soft formula that slides on without tugging, stays put all day even on my waterline and is easily removed with a swipe of micellar water. The best thing? The price. I've used way more expensive ones that haven't been anywhere near as good.” Anne, SUPERcrew member
#4 / Lancôme Grandiose Liner
There is so much to love about this eyeliner. The pigment is rich, matte and it’s not going to transfer, fade or budge. And the thing that really sets it apart is its bendable, pivotable wand. No need to contort your wrist at uncomfortable angles - it helps you get in nice and close to the lash line for the perfect coverage.
The review: “As someone who has double eyelids, it can be tricky to find a liquid eyeliner that doesn’t budge a couple of hours after applying it. Lancôme’s Grandiose Eyeliner is my absolute go-to, especially if I know my makeup needs to look fresh from day to night. The formula sets within seconds of applying (so you’ve got to be quick!), and doesn’t flake, even when it’s humid or wet outside.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#3 / Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil
The colour pigment is intense, but because of its soft formula, it creates a beautiful lived-in look. It comes in ALL the colours and finishes, and is waterproof, long-lasting and enriched with jojoba for a nice little nourishing bonus.
The review: “I like my eyeliner smoky, not sharp - this eyeliner gets it just right for me. Its creamy formula and forgiving tip means I can draw along my lash line and the effect is instantly just the way I like it. No need to smudge it or worry about getting my line perfect (which is a good thing, because I don’t have the most steady of hands!).” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
#2 / Rimmel London Glam' Eyes Professional Liquid Liner
At just $11.95, this is the best liquid eyeliner on a budget. It’s all about super fine lines with a single stroke. Got sensitive eyes? This one’s dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.
The review: “This has been my go-to for years. I’ve tried a bunch of other eyeliners in the past and I always go back to this one! The fine brush makes application precise and easy, while the formula is extremely long-lasting, meaning no smudgy panda eyes at the end of the night. Oh – and it’s super affordable!” Erin Docherty, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Beauty Writer
#1 / Maybelline New York Master Precise Curvitude Liquid Eyeliner
It’s the best waterproof eyeliner, the fine tip draws on an ultra-sharp line, and the way it’s designed with a curved tip means you can get up close to your lash line with ease. What else? It’s affordable and great for sensitive eyes. We are big fans.
The review: “This has a curve built into it so it is so easy to apply and get the exact line you want. Smudgeproof and a deep black hue.” Milan, SUPERcrew member
Anyone with hooded eyes will know that applying eyeliner can be a nightmare. But not with this genius hack! FOr those wanting to master your eyeliner application even more, these top tips from Reddit will up your game.
What’s your favourite eyeliner? Share your review with us below!
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.