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18 Waterproof Eyeliners That Won’t Smudge, Budge, or Fade

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No one wants to spend time creating masterfully precise eyeliner looks only to have them smudge, smear, and run 10 minutes after you walk out the door. If you tend to have trouble keeping this eye-defining beauty product looking fresh throughout the day, a waterproof eyeliner may be just what you need. 

Whether you're using a liquid eyeliner to create a graphic winged line or a pencil eyeliner to subtly tightline the eyes, a great waterproof formula will keep any type of eyeliner flawlessly locked in place all day—and even into the night. 

With thousands of waterproof formulas to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the best options. Thankfully, we've done the hard work for you. Below are 18 of the best waterproof eyeliners you can use to create any and all types of eye makeup looks. Read on to discover which of these Ipster-approved formulas will make for a great new addition to your makeup bag!

JONTEBLU Felt Tip Eyeliner Pencil
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JONTEBLU Felt Tip Eyeliner Pencil

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Best Liquid Liner for Beginners:

New to using a liquid liner? This formula is a great option for newbies. The firm, precision-tip applicator makes it easy to create all types of eyeliner looks, whether you want to master the perfect cat eye or simply apply a quick eye-defining border across the upper lash line. Of course, this formula also has some serious staying power. This is one you'll only be able to remove with makeup remover. 

"Best felt tip eyeliner I have tried hands down," says Ipster jenanigans999. "I'm looking into buying a full-sized one—super stoked!"

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

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Most Versatile Waterproof Eyeliner:

When a waterproof eye pencil has 24/7 in its name, it's got a lot to live up to. This formula makes good on its promise by perfectly preserving delicate cat eyes, precise lines, and dozens of other creative eyeliner looks for hours. If you like to switch up your liner style and want a super versatile waterproof liner, this is a great pick. 

"Goes on smooth and has a bold look, love it," one Ipster writes. Another adds, "Great eyeliner. Does not come off of your waterline throughout the day. Amazing pigmentation—would recommend!"

KALEIDO COSMETICS Obsidian Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
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KALEIDO COSMETICS Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

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Best for Super Saturated Lines:

When you put in the work to create the perfect winged line, the last thing you want is for your liquid liner to smudge or run. This formula won't do either. The super pigmented, ultra-black formula is totally waterproof and smudge-proof. Expect those vibrant, precise lines to look freshly applied for hours on end. 

"It goes on so smooth and stays on all day without smudging," writes Ipster adunn0922. "Love this product!"

SMASHBOX COSMETICS Always On Gel Liner
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SMASHBOX COSMETICS Always On Gel Liner

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Best for Smoky Eye Looks:

This waterproof gel eyeliner is the perfect happy medium between an advanced liquid liner and a traditional crayon or pencil eyeliner. Before this formula dries down to stay locked in place for a full 24 hours, it's wonderfully blendable, allowing for super smooth, tug-free application and easy smudging—perfect for if you're trying to create a smoky eye. 

"Love this eyeliner," says Ipster Danigirl1982. "Goes on smooth and feels great—no tugging."

EYEKO Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner
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EYEKO Black Magic liquid eyeliner

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Best Waterproof Eyeliner with Lash-Boosting Benefits:

This waterproof liquid liner is one of the easiest ever to apply—just one swipe of this calligraphy-inspired brush tip gives you a pigment-packed, smudge-proof line. This formula is also fortified with WIDELASH™, a tripeptide boost that helps to promote lash growth for up to three times more length and volume in just 15 days. Use this consistently and you just might be able to skip the mascara. 

"The best eyeliner I own," writes Ipster v1v1martinezmunoz. "It does not dry out like most have and you use very little so it lasts a long time. I am in love with this eyeliner."

TARTE Sex Kitten Eyeliner
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TARTE™ Sex Kitten Eyeliner

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Best for Tightlining:

If you're looking for a liner to help you create barely-there lines, try using this waterproof gel liner that's specifically designed to be applied to the upper and/or lower waterline. This liner's delicate, super-fine tip makes it easy to subtly define the eyes while the waterproof formula ensures that it doesn't smudge or smear. It's a total win-win. 

"One of my absolute favorite products ever received in an Ipsy bag," says Ipster nadiadpauletich. "I used it for 12-hour dance competitions and it didn’t even budge. Absolutely amazing!!!"

L.O.C.K. COLOR Lock It Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner
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L.O.C.K. COLOR LOCK IT Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner

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Best Shimmery Waterproof Eyeliner:

Looking to switch it up from the classic matte shades? This waterproof pencil features a hint of bronze shimmer. Swipe it on to instantly define and illuminate your eyes. Use it for sweet and simple lines or try smudging it out just a touch for a radiant smoky eye. 

"Love the color," says Ipster bliedtke92. "It's nice to have a softer color for days when I don't want an intense line since I have fair skin. The little bit of metallic makes it prettier. I love it on my lower lash line alone and will sometimes layer it on top of a darker shade on my upper lash line."

SKONE COSMETICS Insanely Intense Tattooed Eyeliner
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SKONE COSMETICS Insanely Intense Mini Tattooed Eyeliner

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Best for Watery Eyes:

If your eyes tend to water so much that even some waterproof eyeliners can't hold up, you're gonna need something with serious smudge-proof potential. Enter: this liner that basically falls one step short of getting your liner tattooed on. The jet-black felt tip makes it easy to create all different types of makeup looks, and the waterproof formula will really stay securely locked in place until makeup remover comes into play.

"No matter how much I accidentally rubbed it, it never came off," says Ipster marshaydavis21.

KATHERINE COSMETICS Retractable Mini Eyeliner
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KATHERINE COSMETICS Retractable Mini Eyeliner

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Best Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner:

If you prefer the natural-looking lines that pencil liners create but hate having to constantly sharpen them, try this handy crayon that comes with a twist-up applicator. The retractable design is perfect for using it on the go, or for anyone who's committed to a five-minute makeup routine.

"Beautiful shade, lasts for 8+ hours in the waterline," one Ipster writes.

THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner
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THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner

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Most Nourishing Waterproof Eyeliner:

If you're going to sport a waterproof eyeliner for hours on end, you'll want 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. This is a clean, vegan waterproof formula you can feel good about applying daily. 

"I ADORE this eyeliner. I usually go with a liquid liner but this stays on all day," says Ipster vivian_tejada. "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."

IT COSMETICS No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner
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IT COSMETICS No-Tug Waterproof Mini Gel Eyeliner

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Best Waterproof 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 the skin as you glide it across the lid. While it's always a good idea to use a no-tug formula, looking for a super smooth liner can be especially helpful for those with mature skin who may have lost some elasticity around their eye area. This waterproof gel pencil is made to be totally tug-free along the lash line, making it great for anyone who wants a super gentle application and long-lasting results (aka all of us!). 

"This little gel eyeliner is AMAZING," writes Ipster ladybug_001. "Stays put and no transfer on to my eyelids. Applies smoothly—great to have gel in a pencil format!"

IL MAKIAGE Inkliner in Black
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IL MAKIAGE Inkliner

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Best Waterproof Eyeliner for Creating a Long-Lasting Cat Eye:

If your daily go-to liner style is a classic cat eye, try this ultra-pigmented, flexible liquid liner. The ergonomic pen feels natural to hold and it also features a fine-tipped point that allows for easy and precise application of thin, winged lines. Count on this waterproof formula to hold strong for up to 14 hours. 

"Love liquid eyeliner, this one works great and stays put," says Ipster twmelton6.

DOUCCE Ultra Precision Eyeliner
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DOUCCE Ultra Precision Eyeliner

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Best for Thin Lines:

Whether you want to tightline along your waterline or simply create delicate definition across the lash line, this jet-black gel pencil's precision tip makes it easy to keep your lines thin. With a smooth, tug-free application and semi-matte finish, this creamy black liner will quickly become a daily essential for all types of eye makeup looks.

Ipster marinadgo83 loved how easy this line was to apply. She writes, "I absolutely LOVE it! It glides on so smooth, like butter! I highly recommend this product!"

Best Eye-Opening Eyeliner:

One makeup artist-approved trick to make your eyes look bigger is to use a white or silver liner along the lash line or in the inner corners of the eyes. Swiping this illuminating shade brings light to the eye area as opposed to adding shadow (vis-à-vis a dark black liner). There are a few ways you can use this less common eyeliner shade: Swipe it along the upper and lower lash lines just like you would any other liner, apply it as the lower line in a stacked liner look, or pop a bit of this in the inner corners of the eye for a boost of brightness that won't budge. 

"I absolutely loved this! It was smooth and the color was gorgeous," says Ipster sgibbons27.

CIATÉ LONDON Fierce Flicks Eyeliner
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CIATÉ LONDON Fierce Flicks Eyeliner

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Best for Unsteady Hands:

If you tend to have a shaky hand when using liquid liner, this formula's short tip allows for a premium amount of control. No wavy lines or major mistakes will be happening here. Instead, this waterproof liner offers a key combination of smooth application, super pigmented lines, and a totally smudge-proof formula. 

"Lasts all day and has a precise tip," says Ipster emiller9211. "Still not dried out 4 months later and I use it all the time."

SMASHBOX COSMETICS Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner
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SMASHBOX COSMETICS Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner

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Best for Five-Minute Makeup Routines:

No time to sharpen your eyeliner before each use? No worries. This innovative liner from SMASHBOX comes with a built-in sharpener that self-sharpens every time you twist the cap on and off—meaning every time you apply, you'll open it to reveal a perfectly sharp tip that can quickly create crisp, fully waterproof lines. 

"I love this liner," says Ipster bradysmom2003. "Always sharp! Smooth! And lasts all day!"

PIXI BEAUTY Endless Silky Eye Pen in RoseGlow
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PIXI BEAUTY Endless Silky Eye Pen

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Best for Subtle Lines:

If you tend to gravitate toward no-makeup makeup type of looks, you'll love the soft rosy brown shade of this waterproof pencil. While it will still define your eyes, it doesn't create the dramatic contrast that jet black liners do. The gentle effect is perfect for giving your eyes an invisible, illuminating boost that lasts all day. 

"This eyeliner will last allllll day long and half the night," says Ipster linrunyan89. "It also isn’t prone to smearing from sweat or eye rubbing! It’s super creamy and it’s also very easy to blend out if you use it on your top lash line."

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Article Last Updated May 7, 2021 12:00 AM