The Best Eyeliners to Add to Your Makeup Collection
When it comes to eyeliner, there are a handful of things you probably look for before purchasing a new product. Is the color super pigmented? Does it offer long-lasting wear? Is the formula smudge-proof? It's good to think about all of these factors, plus so much more, as you sift through the many options available on the market. In terms of formula, there are also a few different types out there, from pencil to gel and liquid — each one can give you a completely different effect.
Read on to learn more about the different types out there. Then, shop product recommendations for the best eyeliners, according to our editors.
Liquid eyeliner is perfect for those looking to get a sharp, precise eyeliner look. It usually comes in the form of a marker or pen with a felt tip. It's great for achieving different eyeliner styles, such as bat-wing eyeliner or LED eyeliner, because of how thin and precise the tip is.
Gel eyeliner is a semisolid formula that typically comes housed in a small jar with a screw-on cap; however, some do come in a pencil. It's usually applied with an angled eye-makeup brush. Gel eyeliner is great if you're looking to apply your makeup in just one swipe because the color goes on extremely pigmented and smooth.
Pencil eyeliner is perfect for those looking to get a soft makeup look. They come in the most versatile sizes and colors, with everything from a muted, soft brown to a vibrant blue or purple. Pencil eyeliner can also be smudged easily, which makes it ideal for creating a smoky-eyed look. If you're a beginner, it's a great introductory product to the category and is easy to learn with. It can be removed easily without too much trouble, and it's forgiving when it comes to application.
Kohl eyeliner is a black powder that is used to darken eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyelids. Modern kohl eyeliner comes in different forms, such as pencil. Kohl eyeliner pencils are typically made with more oil, which makes applying it easy and snag-free. It's perfect for a smoky eye, or it would be great in the waterline because of the deep color.
Ahead, POPSUGAR editors are sharing the best eyeliners on the market that you should consider adding to your makeup collection.
— Additional reporting by Jessica Harrington
Best Reviewed Eyeliner:
NYX Professional Makeup Epic Wear Ink Liner ($8, originally $10)
For the price of a fancy Starbucks drink, you can buy this quality eyeliner from NYX Professional Makeup. The slender brush tip allows you to effortlessly draw on a wing in no time. But don't just take our word for it, just look at the 70,000+ reviews it has on Amazon. With a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, you know you won't be disappointed. For more info, read our full NYX Professional Makeup Epic Wear Ink Liner review.
Editor Quote: "This eyeliner comes in a variety of colors, allowing you to really get creative. In the past, I have used thicker, marker-like eyeliners that would smudge all over my hands. This one doesn't smear when you apply it, making it super fast and easy to use." — Lilian Gonzalez, associate fitness producer
Best Eyeliner Pen:
If you're not a frequent user of liquid eyeliner, it can be a daunting product to apply, but this new option from Half Magic makes it a lot easier thanks to the unique felt tip. Shaped like a paddle, you can draw on your lash line or flick it out to a wing with ease. It offers 12 hours of wear and is smudge-proof. It's also a 2023 POPSUGAR Beauty Awards winner.
Best Precision Eyeliner:
Revlon's ColorStay Micro Easy Precision Liquid Liner is ideal for creating the sharpest wing, getting close to your lash line, and even graphic liner. The formulation is highly pigmented and with a long-lasting, 24-hour wear and comes in three colors. The felt tip applicator is designed for easy control with a micro tip so tiny, you'll be able to use it for beauty marks and freckles, too. This eyeliner creates a more natural definition to your eye.
Best Eyeliner For a Smoky Eye:
This gel eyeliner can be used in a variety of ways, but it really shines when it comes to a smoky eye. Thanks to the dual-smudger on the opposite end, you can blend the color out to create a sultry eye-makeup look. The formula offers 36 hours of wear and comes in six shades. For more info, read our full L'Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner Pencil review.
Best Brown Eyeliner:
If brown eyeliner is more your speed, Charlotte Tilbury has a great option. This pencil has a creamy formula that offers ultra-saturated pigment. You can smudge it for a smoky eye before it dries or use it to create a sharp wing.
Best Colored Eyeliner:
If you want a fun eyeliner to add a pop of color to your look, try Glossier's creamy pencils. From lilac to bright yellow and navy blue, there are 10 shades in total to play with and all show up beautifully on all skin tones.
Best Travel-Friendly Eyeliner:
DIBS Beauty One Liner ($16)
Don't get us wrong: eyeliner is naturally one of the easiest products to pack because of how tiny it is, but the DIBS Beauty One Liner takes it a step further. Not only is it super compact, meaning you can slip it into a micro purse, but it comes with a connector end so you can attach it to another liner (eye or lip) from the same brand to create a custom one-in-one product. It's also a 2023 POPSUGAR Beauty Awards winner.
Editor Quote: "Eyeliner pencils have come a long way, and Dibs Beauty One Liner ($16) is the perfect example. It's silky, so it doesn't tug, and it can be smudged for a smoky look or layered for a major cat-eye. It won't transfer or smear once it sets, but it's not impossible to remove. Oh, and the best part? You can combine your two favorite colors to create a custom double-ended pencil. I'll take four." — Dawn Davis, executive director, Vox Media
Best Matte Liquid Liner:
This Rare Beauty liner features a nonclumpy formula that applies so smoothly and is super easy to build. For more info, read our complete review of the Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner.
Editor Quote: "The first thing I noticed (and appreciated) about the product was how smooth the application was. It seemed almost like the pen was gliding over my eye without me even having to any work. With a few other eyeliner pens I've previously used, one major problem that I've had is not being able to easily build the color after first swiping it onto my lids because of how clumpy the formula would dry. Trying to go back over a wing and add more color would prove difficult since the tip of the pen would snag on the ink that was already there, but thankfully, I didn't have this problem with the Rare Beauty liner. The tip of the pen itself is also pretty firm, which makes creating a wing with a supersharp tip a lot easier than with other products." — Danielle Jackson, former assistant editor
Best Kajal Eyeliner:
The South Asian-inspired Underlined Kajal Eyeliner has a smooth texture and an aloe-vera-infused formula that helps the product glide onto the eyes with minimal tugging. Once applied, it gives you a dry finish that truly won't budge no matter the situation. For more info, read our full Kulfi Beauty Underlined Kajal Eyeliner review.
Editor Quote: "I love that the eyeliners are infused with aloe vera and vitamin E, helping the product to glide on easily without tugging excessively at my lids. The texture is almost like a gel liner, where it's soft enough to pick up using an angled brush. Once it sets, the formula will dry down and settle to offer a smudge-proof, waterproof, long-lasting wear." — Anvita Reddy, assistant editor, Commerce
Best Eyeliner For Wings:
In one swipe, this liquid eyeliner will go on as an opaque, ultra-dark line that won't fade throughout the day. It comes in two shades, black and brown, and has a felt tip that promises a 24-hour matte finish.
Best Liquid Eyeliner:
The long handle of this eyeliner makes it easy to grip, allowing even winged-liner novices to perfect that cat eye. It comes in four shades: two matte finishes and two metallics.
Best Eyeliner Pencil:
Few liners are as pigmented as Urban Decay's 24/7 Eyeliner Pencil. It doesn't budge, smudge, or fade. It's available in 16 shades, ranging from black to shimmery purple. You'll find that the formula glides on to skin, making application a breeze. You can manipulate the pigment with a brush or your fingers to create a smoky effect before it dries down.
Best Waterline Eyeliner:
You won't believe how dark and creamy the black shade of this Rimmel liner goes on. It's ideal for the waterline when you're eager for a super-dark eye look.
Best Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner:
Cat-eye devotees have long favored this liquid eyeliner for its long-lasting formula. You could go swimming in it and it wouldn't smear. The precise felt tip makes getting a sharp wing easy.
Best Gel Pencil Eyeliner:
This Laura Geller Pencil Liner slides onto your eyes as smoothly as butter and comes in 10 vivid, no-fade shades like blue, black, and brown, meaning you can use it for subtle everyday makeup looks and special events.
Best Drugstore Eyeliner:
CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Liquid Liner ($7, originally $9)
Even the most intense workout class is no match for this waterproof drugstore liner. Although it feels lightweight, this formula is heavy-duty. It comes in three shades and is highly reviewed by shoppers.
Best Fine-Tip Pencil Eyeliner:
Precisely defining your eyes is easy with the superfine tip of this pencil eyeliner. It's available in black, brown, and charcoal, so you can use it for all of your makeup moods. The mechanical applicator means you never need to remember a sharpener — it'll always be fresh.
Best Eyeliner Marker:
Once you try the smooth, beautiful formula of this felt-tip liner, you may never go back to your ex-formula again. The felt marker makes it easy to control your hand for the perfect line. Whether you just want to line your top lashes or create a sharp wing, this will be your go-to.
Best Eyeliner Pot:
Few options glide on smoother than a gel liner, and this MAC formula is truly the best. Simply dip your brush into the pot, and sweep across your lash line for a fast look. It's so pigmented you'll only need one coat.
Best Double-Sided Eyeliner:
You'll get two products in one with this Tarte product. One side is an excellent liquid liner and the other is a pencil formula. Both sides are waterproof and offer great color, no matter what look you're creating.