The 30 Best Eyeliners Of All Time, From Luxury Buys To Drugstore Finds
Finding a good eyeliner is like dating: There are plenty of options out there, but not all are cut out for the long run. Some of us are guilty of grabbing the first one to catch our eyes while perusing the aisles of Target, but at some point — probably mid-spin class, when we notice those alarming, racoon-like circles in the mirror—we must ask ourselves, are we really living our best eyeliner lives? Ahead, the 30 best eyeliners of all time.
Despite their many similarities, no two liners are the same. Some are designed for sharp lines while others were made for smudging. A few classics come only in black whereas others cover nearly every color of the rainbow. There's waterproof and non-waterproof, powders and pencils, gels and liquids... the list could continue.
Half the people surveyed in a 2020 Good Housekeeping report said they use a traditional eyeliner pencil rather than newfangled gel pots and powders. All agreed, however, that longevity was key.
Whether you like a dramatic look or a razor-sharp wing, you want it to keep its place. These fan-favorite liners are budge-proof (some also smudge-proof), ultra-precise, and pigmented.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
KVD Vegan Beauty Tattoo Eyeliner
With Kat Von D being the ultimate cat-eye queen, it's only appropriate that the former makeup mogul would make one of the best eyeliners ever. She is no longer the face of KVD Vegan Beauty, of course, but the liquid liner she created has earned a place in the eyeliner history books, amassing nearly 500,000 loves on Sephora.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil
Urban Decay's best-selling liner is an ultra-creamy waterproof eye pencil that contains hydrating vitamin E and conditioning jojoba oil, so your lids will never have to suffer for a smoky eye again. It comes in matte, metallic, and satin finishes.
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
As its name suggests, Stila's cult-favorite pen does, indeed, stay all day. The waterproof liquid liner has more than 5,000 perfect reviews on Amazon because it refuses to budge or fade — even through cardio and the New York City Subway during summer — and with two different sizes (original and micro), it's wildly easy to use.
Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner
This is one of Sephora's in-house items that actually lives up to the caliber of luxe brands far beyond its price point. Its retractable design, equipped with a built-in sharpener and smudger, is convenient, and its contents mild enough for even the most sensitive eyes.
Ulta Beauty Automatic Eyeliner
Again, not a snazzy brand name, but who needs the label anyway when this self-sharpening liner glides on like a pro? It comes in 18 colors — Raisin, Olive, Teal, Moss, etc. — and metallic, matte, and glitter finishes.
NYX Professional Makeup Slim Eye Pencil
LORAC Front of the Line PRO Liquid Eyeliner
Worthy of the red carpet (Kristen Cavallari and Awkwafina wore it to awards shows this year), LORAC's longwear liquid liner is set apart by a flexible brush tip that makes for the most controlled wing possible.
Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense Eyeliner Pencil
If rich pigment is a priority, then this twist-and-glide pencil is worth trying. Living up to the intensity of its name, Clinique's Quickliner is pure drama, and it comes in more colors than the average blacks and browns, too.
Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner
If it's enough for Meghan Markle's waterline, you know it must be good. Her perpetually perfect eye makeup is proof that this Chanel wonder can withstand the elements with as much grace as the former royal herself.
Lancôme Artliner Precision Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner
A flexible-yet-durable felt tip allows for optimal precision and once it's on, the color refuses to crack, fade, or smudge. Lancôme's Artliner comes in brown and black (plus a few other colors), and in finishes metallic and satin.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
For the cat-eye masters who've been working on a steady hand for years, a gel liner might just be the key to color intensity. The beauty of this product is that you can go full-on dramatic and smoldery or as subtle as Kate Middleton. This is the liner the duchess reportedly used on her wedding day.
MAC Cosmetics Liquidlast 24-Hour Waterproof Liner
If you were to, hypothetically speaking, wake up with last night's makeup still on your face, you'd find a wing as sharp as it was 24 hours prior with this everlasting MAC Cosmetics liner.
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Eyeliner
Any product that bears the Pillow Talk name is destined to acquire a cult following. This pencil adheres to the neutral palette Charlotte Tilbury's best-selling collection is known for with its universally loved dark berry color.
Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner
Speaking of color, Julep's waterproof gel pencil comes in more than 20 shades, among them shimmery copper, matte violet, blackberry, amethyst, nude, navy, forest green, and sunset gold.
CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner
If there's one celebrity who consistently pushes the boundaries of eyeliner (into avant-garde geometrics and unorthodox colors), it's Lucy Boynton. Yet, even she has used this $5 pencil for a Twiggy-like spider lashes look.
Alima Pure Natural Definition Eye Pencil
Eyes are perhaps the most sensitive parts of our faces while also being the feature that seeks the most attention from beauty products. Jojoba, macadamia seed, and meadowfoam seed oil is the key recipe for extra-fussy eyes.
Rimmel Kohl Kajal Waterproof Eye Liner
Another drugstore gem, this super-soft kohl liner is perfection for a beginner. It glides on smoothly and is smudge-, heat-, and sweat-proof. What's more, it costs less than $5.
Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner Longwearing With Rich, Intense Color
Equipped with a built-in smudger and pull-out sharpener, this intensely pigmented pencil lasts for up to 16 hours without fading or smearing.
Maybelline Lasting Drama Light Eyeliner
Maybelline's lightened-up Lasting Drama liner is designed to illuminate eyes rather than darken them as a smoky eye normally would.
e.l.f. Cosmetics Eyeliner Pen
The perfect introduction to non-pencil products, this liquid liner features an easy-to-use felt applicator. The thickness of the line depends on the firmness of your touch. You won't have to spend a fortune on it, either.
L'Oréal Paris Infallible Flash Cat Eyeliner
Drawing the perfect wings doesn't come without hours of laborious, mostly frustrating practice. For those of us who just don't have the patience (ehem), there's this ingenious stencil. Oh, and it comes with an eyeliner pen attached.
Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel 77
Available in a range of sparkling shimmers and bold mattes (mustard, lilac, sky blue, and burgundy), the beloved Inglot pot provides whatever color you may fancy in the highest intensity.
HAUS LABORATORIES Liquid Eye-Lie-Ner
Lady Gaga's Eye-Lie-Ner promises to recreate the singer's signature extremist wing. Its jet-black matte liquid is applied by a flexible felt tip and doesn't feather, tug, or flake for 24 hours after it's set.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon
When it comes to colorful eyeliner, Marc Jacobs Beauty's Highliner Gel Eye Crayon is the holy grail. It comes in a whopping 30-some hues — peach, pearly pink, sage, and teal included — and three finishes: shimmer, matte, and satin. This is a gel formula that comes in a convenient crayon.
Hourglass Cosmetics 1.5 MM Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Watery eyes and workouts are no match for this longwear liner. The super-fine tip allows for the kind of precision you'd never get by applying gel formulas with a brush.
Pat McGrath Labs Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner
An inky pigment that holds in humidity and can withstand sweaty dance floors and gym sessions (even marathons, in some cases), Pat McGrath Labs' Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner is the be-all, end-all of eyeliners. "The only way this stuff could be better is if it applied itself," one Sephora reviewer wrote.
Givenchy Khol Couture Waterproof Retractable Eyeliner
When you're working with a vibrant shade like cobalt blue, some drugstore eyeliners wind up looking as cheap as they are. Givenchy's Khol Couture pencil has a way of making blue/green/purple cat-eyes look, well, expensive.
Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner
For those who just can't choose between a pencil and a liquid, this double-sided wonder has both. One side is smooth-gliding Amazonian clay and the other is an inky liquid. Wear one at a time or both at once for a dramatic effect.
Maybelline Curvitude Liner
The unique design of this eyeliner pen makes maneuvering a breeze. You shouldn't have any problem creating fine lines with its angled tip, perfect for getting between lashes and other hard-to-reach places.
Glossier Pro-Tip Eyeliner
Glossier's liquid liner goes on with a brush tip to give you the precision of a professional job, but with the ease of a traditional pen. And as a bonus, its dense pigment has 12-hour lasting power.