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15 of the Best Eyeliner Pencils to Add to Your Makeup Bag ASAP

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There's a special place in our hearts for every type of eyeliner. The crisp, dramatic lines of liquid eyeliner are perfect for fierce cat eyes and bold winged tips. Super smudgeable gel pencils are ideal for sultry smoky eyes. And precise micro-tipped liners have tightlining on lock.

But if you want one eyeliner that can handle all of these tasks and then some, you might consider turning to an old favorite: pencil liner. This OG eye makeup product is the versatile workhorse every makeup kit needs. It's a beginner-friendly classic beloved by both beauty newbies and expert makeup artists alike.

Whether you're after a waterproof eyeliner pencil or something perfect for a soft, natural look, we've put together a selection of the 15 best eyeliner pencils for every look and skill level. Read on to discover your new beauty BFF.

SMASHBOX COSMETICS Always On Gel Liner in Fishnet


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Best Longwear Eyeliner Pencil

When you need a pencil that you can trust to hold strong through a tear-jerking film or long-awaited friend reunion, reach for this longwear liner. With a super blendable feel, a rich black hue, and a 24-hour wear time, it ticks off just about every major eyeliner must-have.

"Very creamy," one Ipster writes. "Glides on SO easily! Perfect for the waterline or for smudging."

VASANTI COSMETICS Kajal Waterline Eyeliner in Intense Black

VASANTI COSMETICS Kajal Waterline Eyeliner

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Best Kohl Pencil Eyeliner

Anything liquid eyeliner can do, this velvety kohl eyeliner can do just as well. In fact, this pencil is specially designed to be applied along the waterline. Smudge this creamy formula for a smoky effect or let it set for some sleek tightlining. It's also vegan, free of harsh chemicals, and dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, making it a great choice for contact lens wearers or those with sensitive eyes as well.

Ipster rmyers8691 writes, "It’s hard finding an eyeliner that will stay on my waterline all day. This one stays and goes on easy."

ILLAMASQUA Colouring Pencil Eye Crayon in Honour

ILLAMASQUA Colouring Pencil

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Minimal Makeup Looks

If you like to rock that no-makeup makeup look, this soft brown pencil is the perfect way to keep things looking as natural as possible. Just a few swipes of this creamy formula is all it takes to define and illuminate the eyes. It's also extremely blendable and can even be buffed out across the entire lid to act as a neutral eyeshadow. Pro tip: use one of Ipsters' favorite eyeshadow brushes for easy, effortless blending.

"I love how smoothly and evenly this liner went on," writes Ipster alkovacs29. "The pencil is quite soft too, so application isn’t irritating. Could see this for everyday wear."

WANDER BEAUTY Skyliner Automatic Gel Eyeliner in Jet Black

WANDER BEAUTY Skyliner Automatic Gel Eyeliner

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Dry Skin

This long-wearing gel formula is made with ingredients like olive oil and jojoba oil to both nourish lids and allow for super smooth application. It's a great pick for anyone who tends to have dry lids. The formula is also quite smudgeable before it dries, making it a good go-to for creating a smoky effect. Just be sure to work quickly as it does dry fast. But once it sets you can expect your line to stay in place all day long.

"This is a great bold eyeliner and has such a buttery smooth texture," writes one Ipster. "It goes on very smoothly."

CIATÉ LONDON Wonderwand Gel-Kohl Hybrid Liner in Black

CIATÉ LONDON Wonderwand Gel-Kohl Hybrid Liner

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Smoky Eyes

On the lookout for something with supreme blendability? Give this hybrid liner a try. The formula's combination of both gel and kohl means it's highly pigmented, has impressive staying power, and can create just about any type of makeup look. However, we love it best for smudgy, smoky eyes. The built-in blending brush is perfect for softly smudging those sharp lines.

For Ipster MissMary150, this has become a new daily essential. She writes, "I use this EVERY SINGLE DAY. Seriously best eyeliner I have ever used!" 

DOUCCE Ultra Precision Eyeliner in Black

DOUCCE Ultra Precision Eyeliner

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Tightlining

If you usually apply your liner along your upper and lower waterline, it's important to find a pencil that can distribute pigment without a touch of tugging. This ultra-creamy, super fine-tipped gel pencil is just right for this often-finicky application area. With a semi-matte finish, you can count on a soft, subtle effect every time.

"This is my favorite new eyeliner! It’s so versatile and easy to use," says Ipster moser_missy.

THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner in Lauren (Matte Black)

THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner

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Best Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner

If you're going to sport a waterproof eyeliner for hours on end, it's a good idea to make sure the formula will also nourish your skin while you wear it. Like most products from THRIVE CAUSEMETICS, this eyeliner formula is packed with good-for-you ingredients like shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. It's a clean, vegan waterproof formula you can feel good about wearing for hours on end.

"I ADORE this eyeliner," one Ipster says. "I usually go with liquid liner but this stays on all day, I usually apply it to a brush and draw my cat eye with it!! It does not smudge or come off at all. 10/10."

URBAN DECAY 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion

URBAN DECAY 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Every Type of Makeup Look

Whether you're just getting started with eyeliner or you like to keep your makeup bag as clutter-free as possible, this smudge-proof eyeliner pencil can handle any look you throw its way. Use it for delicate cat eyes, precise lines, tightlining, or to create unique graphic lines. With a 24 hour wear time, you can put in the effort knowing that your look won't budge until makeup remover comes into play.

One Ipster gave this eyeliner pencil a rave review, writing, "This product is by far the best eyeliner I have ever tried. Without a doubt, hands down, I have never tried anything better. This is now the only eyeliner I usually wear. I would recommend this to anyone, especially those who are not professionals when it comes to applying eyeliner, this will be your new favorite!"

LORAC COSMETICS Front Of The Line PRO Eye Pencil

LORAC COSMETICS Front Of The Line PRO Eye Pencil

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Sensitive Eyes

This pencil is ready to deliver all of the drama without any of the irritation. If a lot of eyeliners and shadows tend to leave you with itchy eyes or a teary lash line, know that this gentle formula is ophthalmologist-tested and made for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes. But don't think that just because it’s sensitive skin-approved it lacks intensity. The richly pigmented formula is still designed to create all types of liner looks.

"Absolutely love it! Glides on so smoothly," one Ipster writes. "This eyeliner is a must in my makeup bag," adds another Ipster.

TRÈSTIQUE Eye Pencil in Santorini Black Sand


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Best Pencil Eyeliner With a Built-In Sharpener

Sometimes, convenience is king. If you're often on the go or (let's be real) just prone to losing things, it can be helpful to have an eyeliner pencil that comes with a built-in pencil sharpener. This one features not only that but a built-in smudger as well. With both tools always on tap, you can effortlessly flow between crisp lines and smudged smokey eye looks.

"This is one of the best eyeliners I've used," writes Ipster monikaskirko. "It is soft enough to glide on easily and firm enough to not break apart. This is my favorite."

FENTY BEAUTY Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Cuz I'm Black

FENTY BEAUTY Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Beginners

If your first foray into eyeliner is via a pencil liner, Rihanna knows what you need. This black eyeliner from her beauty brand FENTY features a unique triangular shape that makes it super easy to hold and control for perfect precision every time. Even if you're an eyeliner expert, this is still a solid pick. With high pigment payoff, creamy texture, and a water-resistant formula it has everything you need to execute a long list of eye looks.

This liner is so good, it convinced a liquid liner loyalist to make the switch. They write: "I always have used a liquid eyeliner but this is one of my favorites. I use it every day!"

BEAUTY FOR REAL I-LINE 24-7 Eyeliner in Black Magic


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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Mature Skin

Because the skin around the eyes is so delicate, you always want to make sure your go-to eyeliner never tugs or pulls the skin as you glide it across the lid. This is especially important for those with mature skin, which may have already lost some of its elasticity. We love this insanely pigmented pencil liner because of how glideable it is. Absolutely no tugging is needed here to create rich, vibrant lines.

"Love the coverage and the fact that it doesn't run," says one Ipster. Another adds, "Used it all up STAT."

IL MAKIAGE Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Hero

IL MAKIAGE Long-Wear Eye Pencil

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Brown Eyes

For an extra-tailored approach to your eye makeup, reach for a color that will accentuate your unique eye color. This can be a great way to provide maximum impact with just a touch of product — perfect for days when you only have five minutes to throw a look together. For those with brown eyes, try using pencil eyeliner featuring a dark blue hue like this one. The rich blue tones can bright out the light flecks in brown eyes, deepening the color and even making the eyes look bigger.

THEBALM COSMETICS Mr. Write (NOW) Eyeliner Pencil in Scott B. Bordeaux

THEBALM COSMETICS Mr. Write (NOW) Eyeliner Pencil

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Green Eyes

Looking for something that will really make those green eyes glow? Add a bit of color theory to your everyday makeup look to make it stand out. This soft, retractable pencil is the color of rich red wine, a shade that sits directly opposite green on the color wheel. When red and green are paired together each emphasizes the other, creating a noticeable boost to your eye makeup without having to layer on the product.

"Glides on so nice and adds a nice glam touch," one Ipster says. Another was pleasantly surprised by this unexpected shade. They write, "Not a shade I would normally wear but I love the color after figuring out how to use it."

SISTAR COSMETICS Ultimate Define Gel Eyeliner in Bright Bronze

SISTAR COSMETICS Ultimate Define Gel Eyeliner

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Best Pencil Eyeliner for Blue Eyes

Ready for a bold moment? Temporarily ditch black and brown pencils for this glowing gold eyeliner, a shade that will look particularly striking against those baby blues (another magical effect you can thank color theory for).

One easy idea for how to wear this shimmer-packed liner: Use its built-in smudging tool to create a super simple illuminated smoky eye. Or try pairing the liner with a similar shade of gold or a glittery champagne eyeshadow.

"I had never worn a metallic eyeliner until I got this one," says Ipster categluys. "It's beautiful! Looks angelic and fun with brown mascara and a big dramatic wing."

Ready to discover even more of the best eye makeup products for you? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated July 24, 2023 12:00 AM