The Ultimate Eyeliner Guide

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Cat-eye, graphic, smoky—the list of looks you can create with eyeliner is seemingly endless, as is the array of products you can use to achieve them. But even a simple sweep of pencil for subtle definition adds major polish. The takeaway? A good liner is a must-have in your beauty bag. To help you decipher which formula is best for you, we’ve compiled the definitive guide. Line it up!

Imaxtree

Eyeliner 101

Good for: Eyeliner novices who want subtle definition during the day. This is the best option for the bottom lash as it looks the most natural.

Tip: To fake fullness, tightline your upper lash. For added drama, apply to your lower waterline as well. Avoid lining only the lower lash—doing so can create the illusion of droopy eyes.

24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

$20

Urban Decay

Crayon Waterproof Eyeliner

$29

Dior

PhotoReady Eye Pencil

$9

Revlon

Good for: Cat-eye aficionados—the calligraphy-inspired brush creates a precise line while the flexible hairs allow easy control.

Tip: Use our Scotch tape hack to create the perfect symmetrical winged eye.

Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner

$20

Eyeko

Tattoo Liner

$19

Kat Von D

Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen

$20

Clinique

Good for: Sexy, smoky eyes—the inky, ultra-pigmented crayon glides on and blends easily with the help of a smudging brush.

Tip: Avoid getting pigment all over your face by applying eyelid primer first, then rimming the bottom lash line and outer corners of the eyes. Layer on a lightweight concealer and set with translucent powder. This will create a barrier for the color to stay put.

Dramatically Intensifying Kajal Gel Eyeliner

$9

Sonia Kashuk

Kajal D’Orient Eye Liner

$28

Laura Mercier

Khol Me Kajal Eyeliner

$41

Guerlain

Good for: A polished, matte upper lash line that can be dialed up or dialed down thanks to the felt-tip pen applicator.

Tip: Don't use this to line the bottom rim—the liquid can smudge and look harsh.

Eyeliner Stylo

$27

NARS

Ink Liner

$23

Make Up For Ever

Punker Rock On Waterproof Liquid Liner

$22

Ardency Inn

Good for: A thick, dramatic, long-lasting cat eye.

Tip: Spritz the gel pot or eyeliner brush with a makeup spray before use for a creamier consistency that makes for easy, buildable application.

Gel Eyeliner

$9

NYX

Fluidline Gel Eyeliner

$17

MAC

Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

$26

Bobbi Brown

Good for: The illusion of thicker fringe—it fills the gaps between the roots of your lashes with color.

Tip: Start from the outer corner and stamp the liner in between your lashes as closely as possible. Apply before mascara so you can see exactly where the gaps are.

3-Dot Liner Eyeliner

$27

Clarins

Triple Tip Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

$2

e.l.f.

3-Way Lash Lining Tool

$22

Too Faced