Really, someone should've seen the return of lower lash liner coming. Unlike grungy eyeshadow or girly lip gloss, ink-black liner penciled right onto your waterline was one of the only '90s-turned-early-2000s trends that hadn't returned to the spotlight — well, until New York Fashion Week's Fall/Winter 2021 season. And it makes sense. With digital lookbooks and online videos serving as the key vehicle for connecting new collections to editors and fans alike, makeup artists can use liner to enhance eyes and elevate the drama, even while wearing a mask or through a screen.
Waterline eyeliner has always been about just that: drama. Remember how it felt to try out emo makeup the first time, or at the very least see it on someone else? (It's alive and well on TikTok, by the way.) However, don't think fashion's liner revival is all sad music and rushed lyrics. At Ulla Johnson's oh-so luxe Fall/Winter 2021 show, the eye-amplifying technique was juxtaposed with gold-toned fabrics and accessories, strappy heels, and flowing skirts. A bit more grown up and put together than rock-show bystander style.
The same goes for Victoria Beckham's Fall/Winter 2021 collection — though the heavy bangs do feel nostalgic — and Prabal Gurung Fall/Winter 2021, where liner was flicked into a party-ready wing. A twist, if you've only ever lined your waterline to accent mascara or define your eyes.
Unsurprisingly, Rebecca Minkoff's Spring/Summer 2021 collection took a more classic punk-rock approach, and styled the liner with denim, Western fringe, and glossy leather. The dark liner also had a thicker, more lived-in look, which mirrored the liner applied to the top lids. A true '90s move.
And it might go without saying, but New York Fashion Week is a great time to be a designer beauty brand. Victoria Beckham Beauty just launched Satin Kajal Liner in Ash ($26), noting on its Instagram account that the dark matte gray eyeliner is "straight from the #VBAW21 presentation." Note that color, too — if you aren't ready to bring back jet-black lower lash liner, then a smoky gray or another matte shade could help ease you back into the style.
Then again, you might as well take the plunge and go with a deep and dramatic black. Shop some of the best eye pencils for your lower lash line, ahead.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.