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The 16 Best Liquid Eyeliners of All Time

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When it comes to makeup, perfectly lined lids are the stuff our beauty dreams are made of. From exaggerated flicks and perfectly even wings to glamorous cat eyes and crazy-cool graphic liner looks, the trick to rocking flawless eyeliner is more than just practice and a steady hand: Using the right liquid eyeliner is everything. We know, we know, liquid liner can be super daunting for both newbies and even pros too (check out all our tips here). But here’s a secret: Pair the right pigmented formula with a really good applicator brush, and you’ve already won half the battle.

Currently imagining yourself flailing in a tub of liquid eyeliner? Don’t sweat it. We’ve sifted through loads of liquid eyeliner options to cherry-pick the best ones available right now, including some tried-and-true faves from Ipsters like you.

1. Best for Precise Lines:

STILA Stay All Day® Dual-Ended Waterproof Liquid Liner

STILA Stay All Day® Dual-Ended Waterproof Liquid Liner
Courtesy of STILA

This upgrade to STILA’s original cult-favorite liquid eyeliner features not one but two applicators (one thick and one ultra-fine) to help you create everything from seamless, ultra-tight lines to dramatic, bold strokes. This baby glides on smooth, delivers rich pigment and won’t budge or smudge until you’re ready to wipe it off.

2. Best Vegan Formula:

KVD VEGAN BEAUTY Tattoo Liner 

KVD VEGAN BEAUTY Tattoo Liner
Courtesy of KVD VEGAN BEAUTY

Insanely pigmented, waterproof, smudge-proof, and 100% vegan? This feel-good liquid liner checks all the boxes. It’s got a super-fine brush applicator that serves up serious control (helpful for all of us who get the eyeliner shakes), and it’s buildable so you can amp up your look without any caking or clumping.

“Now I know why everyone raves about this brand for eyeliner. It's fantastic, goes on easy and gives a precise dark line. Love it,” says Ipster swayhooray.

3. Best Colorful Liquid Liner:

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Epic Wear Liquid Liner in Lilac

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Epic Wear Liquid Liner in Lilac
Courtesy of NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP

Craving some color play? This ultra-pigmented formula delivers stunning pops of color that dry down to a stay-put matte finish that’s bold, bright, and anything but boring. Line your lids with one shade, or swipe them all on to create a ridiculously cool rainbow effect (you can even use it on your body to draw creative designs—festival szn, here we come).

4. Best Drugstore Buy:

L’ORÉAL PARIS Liquid Dip Eyeliner

L’ORÉAL PARIS Liquid Dip Eyeliner
Courtesy of L’ORÉAL PARIS

If you’re a liquid liner newbie, consider this the perfect training tool for expert looking application. Its applicator features a shorter stem, allowing you to get closer to your lids as you line for more precision and control. Plus it’s smudge-proof, transfer-proof, and easy on sensitive eyes. Oh, and that rich, matte-black finish? Obsessed.

5. Best Cat-Eye Creator:

EYEKO Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner

EYEKO Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner
Courtesy of EYEKO

This carbon-black eyeliner is as soft as a gel eyeliner and as smooth as a calligraphy pen (clutch for creating everything from the perfect cat eye to effortless, even wings). It's made with WIDELASH™, a tripeptide blend proven to add length and volume to your lashes with just 15 days of use. "Super easy to apply, always bold," said Ipster @mjstardom. "The brush tip is sharp and way better than any felt tip eyeliner."

6. Best Long-Lasting Liquid Liner:

TOO FACED Better Than Sex 24 Hour Liquid Eyeliner

TOO FACED Better Than Sex 24 Hour Liquid Eyeliner
Courtesy of TOO FACED

Looking to turn your bedroom eyes up a notch? Grab this eyeliner companion to one of our favorite mascaras of all time. The fine tip dual-fiber brush delivers tons of pigment with just one swipe for sassy feline flicks and bold graphic wings that last all day and night. No flakes and no fading—unlike that Bumble date who never texted you back. (Hey, it's called "Better Than Sex" for a reason!)

7. Best Applicator for All Eye Shapes:

FENTY BEAUTY Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner

FENTY BEAUTY Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner
Courtesy of FENTY BEAUTY

Leave it up to RiRi to launch a liner that keeps all eyes in mind. This ultra-pigmented liner features a flex felt tip and an easy-to-hold triangle shape that makes lining lids of all shapes easy breezy. It’s got gorgeous color payoff, a quick drying time, and it dries to a stunning satin finish. Basically, it’s the liquid liner of our dreams.

8. Best for Dramatic Wings:

CHARLOTTE TILBURY The Feline Flick 

CHARLOTTE TILBURY The Feline Flick
Courtesy of CHARLOTTE TILBURY

The ultra-thin applicator in this longwear, matte, and waterproof liquid liner makes creating flawless wings easier than ever. It’s all thanks to its super precise (and feather-soft) fiber tip that delivers seamless pigment with serious control.

9. Best for Oily Lids:

ARACELI BEAUTY Ojos Perfectos Liquid Eyeliner in Night/Noche

ARACELI BEAUTY Ojos Perfectos Liquid Eyeliner in Night/Noche

Feel free to laugh until you cry, or pop this on before a sweat sesh—this long-lasting matte formula won’t fade, smear, or smudge. The precise felt tip glides over your lids smoothly (no tugging) and deposits richly pigmented color evenly.

“The product is so easy to apply and long-lasting. I love it more because it doesn't [smudge], and it doesn't irritate the eye,” says Ipster reno_lovers.

10. Best for Sensitive Eyes:

M·A·C COSMETICS Brush Stroke 24 Hour Liner

M·A·C COSMETICS Brush Stroke 24 Hour Liner
Courtesy of M·A·C COSMETICS

This liquid eyeliner from the master makeup artists at M•A•C is ophthalmologist-tested and safe for those who wear contact lenses (meaning there'll be no black smudges blurring your vision here). Use the point of the tapered pen for a thin line with one sweep, or use the flat side for a wider stroke. It's smudge-proof and ultra-pigmented, but it washes off easily with just a little warm water to keep sensitive eyes comfy.

11. Best for On-the-Go Application:

L.O.C.K. COLOR L.O.C.K. It Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

L.O.C.K. COLOR L.O.C.K. It Waterproof Eyeliner Pen
Courtesy of L.O.C.K. COLOR

Looking for a liner that’ll survive all the elements? This baby prides itself in being “Triple-Proof,” meaning it’s waterproof, oil-proof,and smudge-proof to outlast all your fall activities. Even better, this formula has serious staying power, so it comes off easily with no harsh scrubbing needed.

12. Best Buildable Liquid Liner:

GLOSSIER Pro Tip Liquid Eyeliner

GLOSSIER Pro Tip Liquid Eyeliner
Courtesy of GLOSSIER

Whether you want to create soft, fairy-like flicks or a quirky come-hither cat eye, this long-lasting liner has got you covered. It’s all thanks to its flexible fiber brush tip that lets you get suuuper close to your lashes for smooth, seamless lines.

13 . Best Multitasking Liquid Eyeliner:

ILLAMASQUA Precision Ink

ILLAMASQUA Precision Ink
Courtesy of ILLAMASQUA

We're still trying to find a thing this waterproof eyeliner pen can't do. Eyeliner, check. Body art, check. Nail art, check (seriously, just seal it with your favorite clear top coat). With a tapered sponge tip, you've got total control over your designs and can draw them anywhere, from head to toe.

“Can't say enough good things about this liner. The felt applicator allows for great precision and even without a primer on my lids this stuff stays put! Seriously one of my all time favs!,” says Ipster jmorgan421.

14. Best for Fuss-Free Application:

KALEIDO COSMETICS Obsidian Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

KALEIDO COSMETICS Obsidian Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Courtesy of KALEIDO COSMETICS

Calling all eyeliner aficionados! If you’ve ever had streaky liners that crease, melt, and transfer on you, it’s officially time to put those beauty woes behind you. This liner is impressively waterproof and smudge-proof while it delivers the blackest of black pigment.

“The applicator size is perfect. It goes on smoothly and stays firm, making it easy to apply,” Ipster aamannamedduh says.

15. Best for All Liner Looks:

DOUCCE Fierce and Fine Graphic Pen

DOUCCE Fierce and Fine Graphic Pen

This super inky formula is perfect for creating pretty much any liner look you crave. And it covers all the bases—it’s waterproof, it comes with a comfy felt-tip applicator, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free.

“Goes on smooth and lasts all day. Great product!” one Ipster says.

16. Best for Hooded Eyes: 

MELLOW COSMETICS Liquid Precision Pen Eyeliner

MELLOW COSMETICS Liquid Precision Pen Eyeliner
Courtesy of MELLOW COSMETICS

MELLOW COSMETICS is all about helping you achieve that low-effort, easy-going glam. The brand’s super-black liquid eyeliner swipes on fast, giving you thin lines or bold wings that last for hours (and won’t transfer or crease if you’ve got hooded eyelids). "Went on super smooth and was easy to apply," one Ipster said. "Stayed on all day, even through [an] outside concert in Texas summer!" As an added bonus, the whole brand is cruelty-free, paraben-free, and vegan.

Want in on the best makeup for all your beauty looks ? 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
Runa Rhattacharya
Runa Bhattacharya
Runa is an NYC-based writer and Registered Nurse with over 8 years of experience covering beauty and wellness. She’s worked for publications like SELF, Cosmopolitan, and more. She’s passionate about beauty, science, and two careers that she loves!
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Article Last Updated July 24, 2023 12:00 AM