Why is it so hard to find a good eyeliner pencil? The worst ones either leave no pigment at all or have such a hard tip that you feel like you’re jabbing yourself in the eye each time you apply. The mediocre ones last a few hours, but fade or smudge. I mean, really makeup gods, why do you have to make it so hard to find an eyeliner that works?
If you feel my pain, then this article’s for you. Here’s a list of editor-curated, reader-approved, tried-and-tested eyeliner pencils.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Liner
What we love: lots of pigment, great price tag
Makeup forums are full of love for this budget eyeliner pencil. It’s highly pigmented, and you can build it up to get the look you want. “I swipe it once and blend it out for just soft definition in the daytime. Then if I want to go out after work, I just whip this out of my makeup bag and add two more layers — voila, ready for a date or dancing,” says one beauty review.
Maybelline New York Eyestudio Master Gel Pencil
What we love: best drugstore eyeliner pencil
Maybelline’s one of our fave brands for high quality, super affordable and readily-available makeup. Aside from their mascara, this eyeliner pencil always makes it into beauty editors’ top 10 lists. Its very precise microtip lets you draw a wicked cat-eye or kitten flick, or go really close to the lashline. And, the twistable pen means you never have to sharpen it or worry that it’ll break in your makeup kit.
Bobbi Brown Long-wear Waterproof Eyeliner
What we love: best waterproof eyeliner
Makeup addicts have tested this baby through tearjerker movies, swimming at the beach, gym class or just sweltering hot summer days. And they swear it’s \ budge-proof! The secret lies in the formula: it uses pure colour with just the teeniest amount of waxes. You get a rich, pigmented line that won’t break down in water. Love, love, love!
Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl Eyeliner Pencil
What we love: Soft formula that stays on the whole day
Celebrity makeup artist Lilly Keys always uses this on her clients, which include Dua Lipa and Charlii XCX. “The formula is really soft with deep pigment to give it a rich finish,” she says. “I swear, it feels like the pencil just glides onto the bottom lash line.”
Smashbox Always on Gel Eyeliner
What we love: the intensity of gel liner, but in an eyepencil
In the battle between gel eyeliner vs pencil, gel will always be more pigmented and long-lasting. But it’s often sold in pots (not easy to carry around!) and needs a brush. This is the next best thing. It lasts the whole day, doesn’t smudge, and it’s really easy to work with too. You can apply precise line, or quickly smudge it out with your fingers or a brush if you want a smoky look.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eyeliner
What we love: wide variety of shades
This gel eyeliner comes in 20 colours and 4 finishes: matte, satin, shimmer and glitter. If you’re tired of basic black and brown, give this a try. The gel formula will show up a lot better than many other pencils. (Read more about the best coloured eyeliners.)
LÓreal Paris Self-Advancing Eyeliner Pencil
What we love: best eyeliner pencil for sensitive eyes
This pencil is both dermatologist-tested and opthalmologist-tested. It also has a very pigmented, creamy formula so you don’t have to press hard to get a good line. We also like that it’s self-advancing, because soft pencils tend to break when they’re sharpened.
MAC Kohl Eyeliner Pencil
What we love: the blackest black pigment
Celebrity makeup artist Daniel Avilan loves the rich pigment and creamy formula. “You can create a classic liner look with it or a smudgy Kate Moss morning-after rock-star look.” You will need eye primer for it to last the whole day, but your eyes will be runway -ready in one swipe.
Himalaya Kajal Eyeliner Pencil
What we love: natural eyeliner made the traditional way
This is one of the most popular eyeliners in Amazon. It uses traditional ingredients like almond oil and castor oil, and even has damask rosk and triphala. People love its all natural formula, and how the ingredients also have cooling and nourishing effects, which are meant to prevent eyestrain and prevent ageing.
While the formula isn’t smudge proof, Amazon reviews say that it doesn’t irritate sensitive eyes and skin, and they use it on their babies and kids.