One of my biggest challenges this year was finding a liquid eyeliner that won’t smudge or run. Nope, this wasn’t for myself – two of my best friends got married this year, one month apart, and they both asked me to do their makeup.
A liquid eyeliner pen is a gorgeous tool, perfect for creating a delicate eyeliner wing for any bride, though it can also add some serious intensity on top of a heavier eyeshadow look. The problem was finding one that would look great from the early morning photoshoot until the exuberant dancing at the end of the night.
Incidentally, both of my friends were planning on wearing contacts on their respective wedding days, which is not something they normally do. Because of this, they needed a liquid eyeliner pen that could withstand both tears and eye drops. So, I went on a mission, and here are my discoveries.
This article features my list of the best liquid eyeliners you can find online right now! Then I explain exactly what liquid eyeliners are and why they are such a special makeup product. I compare them to other types of eyeliners, like gel and pencil eyeliner, as well.
To make sure you are able to get the sharpest wing, I added the most thorough and comprehensive tutorial possible. Once the night ends, getting liquid eyeliner off can be tough, but I have a special trick up my sleeves for getting it to come off completely and without irritating the eyes – that’s in here too. If that’s not enough, I also added some must-know tips and tricks for using liquid eyeliner flawlessly.
Your Liquid Eyeliner Guide: Contents
21 Best Liquid Eyeliners to Buy
From eyeliner pots to pens, these are the best liquid eyeliners that promise to stay put throughout the day.
1. Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner
This is the eyeliner that defied all odds at the first wedding. Rihanna’s first eyeliner offering is an easy-to-use liquid eyeliner pen with a felt tip that glides on easily and is super easy to control. The ink is dark black and fairly reflective, and I assure you that it does not move even through an onslaught of eye drops. It does require a few seconds to set, so don’t blink too soon after applying it. Buy it at Sephora!
2. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
While Kat herself might be under a lot of heat right now for her anti-vax beliefs, I can’t deny the fact that her brand released what might have been the best liquid eyeliner on the market at the time. This liquid eyeliner also went through grueling tests – it held well through a dip in a jacuzzi and an excursion into the sauna. It also has a slightly reflective finish and a wonderful felt-tip pen that makes creating a sharp wing as easy as can be. It’s available at Sephora in both brown and black.
3. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
This liquid eyeliner has been around for a while, and it deserves the respect it garners. The formula is quite similar to the KVD Tattoo Eyeliner, as is the performance. It’s a remarkably waterproof and opaque offering that also has that slightly reflective sheen and wonderful felt-tip pen. It comes in sleek, minimalist packaging and is available in 12 shades at Nordstrom.
4. Illamasqua Illustrator Pen Truest Black
Illamasqua doesn’t get enough credit, even though it’s by far one of the most sophisticated makeup brands around. This liquid eyeliner pen is gorgeous, with an ultra-fine tip and super saturated color. It gives an intense, slightly reflective line that will stay in place all day long. The packaging is clean and minimalistic, which makes it extra classy to use. Get it from Net-a-Porter!
5. NYX Matte Liquid Liner
Sometimes that reflective finish of even the best liquid eyeliner just doesn’t work with a particular look or aesthetic, which is why this matte eyeliner from NYX is so useful. Instead of a pen it comes in the form of a little tube with a very thin brush attached to the applicator.
Some folks prefer the one applicator style over the other, but it is undeniable that these tiny brushes are the best when you need a super thin line. This formula is long-lasting, waterproof and non-smudging, with the biggest complaint about it being that it just won’t come off! You can buy it at Ulta.
6. Lancôme Artliner Precision Point Liquid Eyeliner
This liquid eyeliner pen is a classic with a massive fanbase. The packaging is simple yet sleek, which is great for anyone who likes keeping their makeup bag looking simple and elegant. It is a pen liquid eyeliner with a felt tip, so it is as easy to use as can be, and the formula is quite water-resistant. Pick up your favorites of the 8 colors it comes in at Nordstrom, which include both a shiny black and a matte black!
7. Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner
This worthy contender for the title of the best liquid eyeliner is a two-in-one from Tarte. One end has a liquid eyeliner pen, with a very fine felt tip that gives an extra precise application. The formula is quite thin and liquidy, so it’s easy to build up although those with a lot of fine lines might find that it’ll bleed before it sets.
If you have dry or sensitive skin and you find that most eyeliners drag too much on your eye, then this would be a good choice. The other end is a fabulous pencil eyeliner that can be used in conjunction with the liquid or alone. Find it at Sephora in matte black or matte brown!
8. MAC Cosmetics Liquidlast Liner
If you’re not sold on this felt-tip pen business then this might be the best liquid eyeliner for you. This is a product for those of you who are extremely confident about their eyelining skills. It comes with a super slim brush applicator that creates the sharpest wing, and has a super pigmented and waterproof formula that is difficult to remove. There is not much room for error or correction with this liquid eyeliner, but you’ll be happy to know that once it’s on it will not move. It is sold at Nordstrom in 7 shades with different finishes.
9. Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc’er Liquid Eyeliner
This is one of the most water- and oil-resistant liquid eyeliner pens on this list, so if you find everything smudges, then try this one! Seriously, you might even find the removal process with it a little bit difficult. The color is opaque and only slightly shiny, and the felt-tip brush is a little stiff and works best for those who like a thicker, more dramatic line. You can buy it online from Net-a-Porter in black or brown.
10. IseHAN Kiss Me Heroine Make Smooth Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
This waterproof liquid eyeliner has a cult following. Before it was easily available online, Asian beauty fans were finding all kinds of creatives ways to order it all the way from Japan because it was just that good. This liquid eyeliner goes on opaque and black, with a slightly reflective finish. It is comparable to the Stila and KVD liquid eyeliners but at a fraction of the cost. Order it from YesStyle!
11. Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner
And now for something completely different! If you’re the glitter-happy type then this would be the best liquid eyeliner to try. These liquid liners are comprised of superfine glitter embedded in a clear, smudge-proof base. You can wear these alone or over an opaque eyeliner, and you can even use the flatter side of their skinny brush to get a thicker layer on. They are super versatile, so it’s basically mandatory to get creative with them. They are available in 10 fun colors at Sephora.
12. Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen
The name for this liquid eyeliner pen is perfect because it really is so easy to use. This might be the most beginner-friendly option on this list, because the felt tip pen is extremely flexible and forgiving. The formula is quite resistant to smudging, but it’s otherwise easy to remove so you can easily fix mistakes – assuming you make any, which is not likely. Pick it up at Nordstrom!
13. Charlotte Tilbury The Feline Flick Liquid Eye Pen
This liquid eyeliner pen is unique in that its formula is a bit more like that of a gel. It goes on matte and opaque, and you can get a great-looking line with one swipe since the brush is super precise. The pen itself has a pretty cool shape that even includes a little finger cushion. While the formula is water-resistant, it’s not insanely waterproof so you shouldn’t have to struggle too much when taking it off at night. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!
14. Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash 2-in-1 Boosting Eyeliner & Serum
We gotta admit this liquid eyeliner is polarizing. While some don’t really like it, those who do are absolutely obsessed with it. It has a slightly drier formula than some of the other liners on this list, so it sets very quickly and it doesn’t tend to bleed.
It is not waterproof and is actually fairly easy to remove, so while it’s not the most long-lasting option on this list it actually wears away slowly and evenly, which some folks appreciate. If you’re new to liquid eyeliners, and you need something that is easy to work with and easy to remove if you make mistakes, then this is a great choice. Find in three shades at Ulta!
15. Dior Diorshow On Stage Liquid Eyeliner
The Diorshow liquid eyeliner is a step above the rest, with a price that reflects that fact. The color range here is the most substantial, with 12 shades available in both matte and satin finishes, and some truly unique colors like green, pink, white, and rust in addition to the traditional ones like black and purple. This formula is waterproof, and the tip allows really precise control. It can be purchased at Sephora.