If you’re looking for the perfect cat eye makeup, these are the best liquid eyeliners for a crisp, smooth line.
Trying to find the perfect liquid eyeliner is something I have been doing for…oh gosh, at least a decade and a half. My journey to finding a liner that offers the deepest, richest color payoff that lasts all day, has the perfect applicator, and doesn’t irritate the delicate eyelid skin has been fraught with disappointment. In order to save folks from the same tedious task, we asked our readers to tell us the best eyeliner ever, and the results were so helpful!
Last week, we went over the best eyeliner pencils, but now it’s time to talk about the most frustrating eye makeup component of all: liquid eyeliner. Namely, the best ones that you should be trying out. If you’ve got the “cat-eye” or the “extreme cat-eye” personality types we discussed a couple of months ago, then you probably should pick these buys up ASAP.
1. e.l.f. Studio Precision Liquid Eyeliner
I’m such a huge fan of e.l.f.; their products are high-quality and incredibly low in price. Our reader Kelly Bee agrees:
“Believe it or not, but ELF makes a pretty incredible liquid eyeliner pen. I dismissed it because it’s only $2, but it’s really easy, precise, and blacker than my heart. I bought it because it was super broke and I didn’t feel okay justifying the Kat Von D liner, but this has not disappointed!”
Good to hear! (I personally hated Kat Von D’s liner anyway, so I think you made the right choice, Kelly!)
2. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Got oily lids? Maddie has got a recommendation for you:
“I swear by my Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner. I have pretty oily eyelids and have always had issues with eyeliner transferring under my eyes, but the Stila one stays put!! And it dries instantly. I have tried other liquid eyeliners that can take a second to set, and that drives me crazy because I always end up getting it everywhere!”
If you’ve had trouble finding the perfect liquid liner because you often wind up getting it all underneath your eyes and in the crease, give Stay All Day a go!
3. NYX Gel Liner And Smudger
Our lovely reader Little Bird cited this as one of her favorites:
“I’m using NYX Gel Liner and Smudger right now in dark brown. It’s super pigmented, smooth, matte, and long-lasting.”
She also posted a gorgeous photo of herself wearing this pick, so check it out!
4. Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner
Even though #5 is what I declared my favorite ever in the initial post on this subject, I also use Maybelline Line Stiletto a lot. It’s easily my favorite drugstore buy for liquid eyeliner. And commenter Moliss seems to love it as much as I do!
“I was trying every liquid eyeliner in the drugstore leading up to my wedding since I was doing my own makeup and wanted to perfect using liquid eyeliner. I love this one! I buy 3-4 at a time because I have a paranoia that they will discontinue it and I won’t have any. Basically, I hoard it.”
I hear that, girl. It’s hard not to hoard when you never know if something will be taken off the shelves. Hopefully, Maybelline will never, ever do that because they’ll read this post and be persuaded forever. <3
5. Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Like I said, this is one of my favorite pieces of makeup on the planet. It’s unbelievably beautiful and effective and dark, and guhhhh just try it if you like thin, crisp lines that can be easily built up.
6. Lancome Artliner
This is the only eyeliner our contributing editor Liz will use, so know it is simply amazing.
7. Eyeko Alexa Chung Lash Enhancing Eye Do Eyeliner
Commenter Kirsten showed us a beautiful photo of her eye makeup (and A+ brows) to illustrate just how great this product is, adding this explanation:
“I’ve been using Eyeko’s Alexa Chung Lash Enhancing Eye Do Eyeliner & I am seriously in love with it. I tend to have oily eyelids, and this lasts throughout the workday through the evening. It’s more a marker, and it’s great for a cat eye.”
If you don’t love the way that super flexible brushes feel or function, definitely give this one a go–a marker-type of tool could be just what you need to get the look you want.
8. L’Oreal Studio Secrets Liquid Eyeliner
This classic product is a favorite of Amanda Duncil’s, who likes it because it “has a brush tip and works better than the felt tips I’ve used (doesn’t try out/get gunky).” I personally prefer brush tips and strongly recommend this one, too!
Now for a “supercat” eyeliner, an amazing product under $5, and the liquid liner one editor swears is the “greatest thing that’s ever happened” to her!
9. Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Ink Pen Eyeliner
Gurl editor Caitlin Corsetti says this is the “greatest thing that has ever happened” to her, explaining:
“It’s liquid, but it’s a marker. It’s way cheaper than high-end marker liners and works a million times better.”
If you’re searching for a liquid liner in marker form, try out this inexpensive yet beloved version ASAP.
10. Soap & Glory Supercat Carbon Black Extreme Eyeliner Pen
Our reader Jen recommends this one! To be honest, anything with the word “supercat” in the name and you know I am down. Also, am I the only one who didn’t know Soap & Glory made makeup? Because now I want to try all of it.
11. Hard Candy Walk The Line Eye Liner
Reader Desirae sang the praises of this drugstore buy:
“Hard Candy makes incredible eyeliner! Stays on FOREVER and it never smudges or runs down my eye, plus it has a nice finish, sort of matte/minimal shine. Very nice and very inexpensive. I’ve had it for over a year (which is wrong to do, I know), but it hasn’t dried out, and I still have a ton of product left!”
And at a price point less than $5, how can you not try it out at least once?
12. Physician’s Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum
I’ve loved Physician’s Formula for their face products for a long time, but I never really thought about their eye makeup much until our wonderful intern Sara Steinfeld told us about it:
“I really like Physician’s Formula Eye Booster; it has this sort of paintbrush/marker tip combo kind of applicator that makes it really easy to apply and I’ve never had any problems with it smudging or anything!”
If the brand’s other products are any indication, then I’m sure this is one seriously amazing liner.
13. Urban Decay Super-Saturated Ultra Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner
Obsessed with a cream liner but don’t love how slippery and gloopy it can get? Sara Lorine has a great pick for you:
“The best matte gel I’ve ever used is UD’s Super-Saturated Ultra Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner. It is just freaking amazing. Dark as heck and stays put forever.”
I’ve always been more partial towards liquid eyeliner and not so much gel (though I included the latter in this list because I know lots of folks group them together), but I’ve heard only amazing things about this product. Plus, Urban Decay makes my personal fave liquid (#5!), so I can only imagine that this one is just as amazing.
14. Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner
Gurl writer and Accidental Virgin columnist Ashley Reese recommended this product, which is the third Maybelline pick on this list. An easy-to-use brush makes this an inexpensive buy with a high payoff.
15. Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Liner
I’ve only heard amazing things about this product, including kind words from Jessica, who says:
“I really like Benefit They’re Real because it’s more like a marker and is super easy to hold and use.”
If you’ve had trouble with difficult applicators in the past, definitely try this one before you give up on liquids forever!
16. Cynthia Rowley Beauty Liquid Liner
Ever since I got this in a Birchbox, I have been so into it. The line it delivers is shockingly precise, and it lasts for quite a while.
17. Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner Pen
Our awesome writer Heather recommended this lovely product from one of our favorite brands because she prefers “liquid liners with a stiff marker tip, and this allows you to easily create a cat-eye.”
Got any other picks to add? Tell us in the comments!