The Best Liquid Eyeliners

Eyeliner is an incredibly popular makeup item and most of us wear at least a little whenever we wear makeup. Liquid eyeliner, in particular, is popular for its precise, defined application. You can use it for both thin, barely-visible lines and bold, thick lines. It’s also the go-to for applying winged eyeliner.

We reviewed dozens of liquid eyeliners to identify the best of the best. We looked at different styles of liquid liners, both waterproof and not, with a variety of applicator types to find the most long-lasting and smudge-proof options out there.

Best Liquid Eyeliners Overall
Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner
Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner creates a precise line with a glossy finish.

Our top pick, and the clear winner, is Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner. This liner has a thin, flexible brush applicator that’s great for creating thin lines and sharp wings. It also has a glossy finish that stands out from the more commonplace matte and satin finishes that most liquid liners have.

The 5 Top-Rated Liquid Eyeliners

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Liquid Eyeliner OverallNyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner4.6
Best Long-Lasting Liquid EyelinerEyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
4.6
Best Budget Liquid EyelinerMilani Stay Put Matte 17HR Liquid Eyeliner
4.5
Best Matte Liquid EyelinerNyx Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Eyeliner
4.6
Best Liquid Eyeliner PenEyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner4.5

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Liquid Eyeliner Overall: Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner

Our top pick is Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner. This eyeliner has a glossy finish stands out from other liquid eyeliners, which tend to have matte or satin finishes. It’s a bold pigmented black. In fact, it’s one of the darkest blacks of all of the liquid eyeliners, and eyeliners in general, that we’ve tried.

The brush is thin and flexible for perfect, precise application. It’s great for drawing thin lines and achieving a super sharp wing tip. You can get a thicker line by holding the brush at an angle, using more pressure, and building up the line with multiple strokes. The thin brush is also great for correcting mistakes as you build the line up since it doesn’t apply too much product at once. The thickness of the applicator handle makes it easier to control and keep steady. All of that combines to make it easy to apply this liquid eyeliner perfectly the first time.

And that’s great because once this liquid eyeliner goes on, it’s not moving. It has a flexible formula that helps it stand up to long wear without smudging. At the same time, it’s quite comfortable and doesn’t at all feel heavy. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner Key Features:

  • Glossy finish
  • Long-lasting formula
  • Smudge-proof
  • Thin brush
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Best Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeliner: Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeliner
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
Get the longest-lasting eyeliner look with Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner.

Eyeko takes eye makeup seriously. In fact, it’s all they do.  You can see that dedication in products like Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner, our top pick for long-lasting liquid eyeliner. It’s great for daily wear since it lasts all day and is perfect for basic looks like a cat eye.

Eyeko says that this liquid eyeliner’s color lasts for up to 9 hours, while the formula is still smudge-proof for up to 11 hours, even with fading. Many users, however, have reported it lasting a few hours longer. The felt tip allows for easy, single-stroke application of thin to medium lines, even for beginners. The pen-style application also makes it easy for beginners to apply. The felt tip’s sharp point is perfect for creating wings. The liner itself is a dark, deeply pigmented black and has a satin finish.

The formula contains conditioning sodium hyaluronate and Laminaria ochroleuca (algae) extract, so it nourishes your sensitive, delicate eyelid skin while you wear it. It’s also vegan and paraben-free and was not tested on animals.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner Key Features:

  • Long-lasting formula
  • Satin finish
  • Felt tip applicator
  • Conditioning sodium hyaluronate and algae extract
  • Vegan, paraben-free, and not tested on animals

Best Budget Liquid Eyeliner: Milani Stay Put Matte 17HR Liquid Eyeliner

Best Budget Liquid Eyeliner
Milani Stay Put Matte 17HR Liquid Eyeliner
Get high-end looks on a low budget with Milani Stay Put Matte 17HR Liquid Eyeliner.

On a limited budget? That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with smudgy eyeliners with barely-there color that fades within a couple of hours of application. With Milani Stay Put Matte 17HR Liquid Eyeliner, you can get luxury level makeup looks without the luxury price tag.

This liquid eyeliner is deeply pigmented and has a matte finish. It’s available in four colors: Black Matte, Coffee Matte (dark brown), Safari Matte (dark kelly green), and Midnight Matte (royal blue). The formula is water-resistant, so it stands up to sweat and humidity. It’s also long-wearing, lasting for up to 17 hours.  The formula is smudge-proof and dries quickly, so once it’s applied, you don’t have to sit there and try not to move your eyes while you wait for it to set. This liquid eyeliner has a thin felt tip applicator that balances precision with ease of use.

It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

Milani Stay Put Matte 17HR Liquid Eyeliner Key Features:

  • Matte finish
  • Available in four colors
  • Water-resistant and smudge-proof
  • Quick-drying and long-lasting
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Best Matte Liquid Eyeliner: Nyx Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Eyeliner

Best Matte Liquid Eyeliner
Nyx Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Eyeliner
Nyx Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Eyeliner is perfect for classic, matte black eyeliner looks.

Our favorite matte liquid eyeliner is another pick from Nyx. Nyx Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Eyeliner is similar to our top pick, but with a matte finish instead of a glossy one.

It has the same thin precision brush as our top pick, great for drawing thin lines or building up to thick ones. The formula is thin for smooth application but dries quickly so you don’t risk ruining your results why you wait for it to dry. This liquid eyeliner is perfect for tightlining, a classic cat eye, bold and graphic looks, or anything in between. While some liquid liners get streaky if you apply multiple layers or build up your lines, this one doesn’t, even if the previously applied liner has already dried. It’s super long-lasting, with reviewers reporting that it only starts fading after 10 or so hours of wear. It’s also smudge-proof, but not waterproof.

It’s one of Nyx’s best selling products and it has almost 1,900 five star reviews on Amazon. It’s also one of Nyx’s Pro Picks, meaning that it’s recommended by professional makeup artists as well as regular users. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan.

Nyx Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Eyeliner Key Features:

  • Matte finish
  • Long-lasting formula
  • Smudge-proof
  • Thin brush
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Best Liquid Eyeliner Pen: Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner

Best Liquid Eyeliner Pen
Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner
Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner is a great option for liquid eyeliner beginners.

Rounding out our top five is another Eyeko liquid eyeliner, this time in pen form. Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner is a thick eyeliner pen, designed to be easy to grip. Eyeliner pens are pretty user friendly to begin with, but the thickness of this one helps you get a firm, steady hold for perfect application the first time. It’s a great choice for people who are new to liquid eyeliner or who are intimidated by inkpot style liquid liners.

The thick felt tip allows for smooth application and bold, thick lines. However, it also tapers down to a sharp tip for more detail work and pointed wings. It’s perfect for bold, dramatic looks or a vintage cat eye. The liquid eyeliner is a very dark carbon black with a matte finish.

The formula is smudge-proof and long-lasting. The color won’t fade for 10 hours and the eyeliner won’t smudge for 11 hours. It contains conditioning algae extract to nourish as you wear it. It’s also vegan and was not tested on animals.

Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner Key Features:

  • Long-lasting formula
  • Matte finish
  • Thick eyeliner pen that’s great for beginners
  • Conditioning algae extract
  • Vegan and not tested on animals

Who Should Buy a Liquid Eyeliner

Eyeliner is a great way to complete a makeup look. It draws attention to the eye and can emphasize your eyeshadow or natural eyes. Dark eyeliner can make your lashes can build on the effects of your mascara or false eyelashes to make your lashes look darker and thicker. When applied in certain ways, eyeliner can even help you create the illusion of a different eye shape.

Liquid eyeliner, in particular, is great for long-lasting eye makeup looks, because once dried, it’s very resistant to smudging and tends to last a long time. In addition, liquid eyeliner creates more defined lines than gel or pencil liners. The precise applicators of liquid eyeliner make it ideal for drawing thin lines and working in detail. For this reason, liquid eyeliner is the standard for winged eyeliner, as well as more complex looks. However, it’s highly versatile and can be used for virtually any eyeliner look.

Best Liquid Eyeliners Overall
Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner
Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner creates a precise line with a glossy finish.

Important Features to Consider

Liquid eyeliner should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a liquid eyeliner:

  • Style of liquid eyeliner. Beginners often find liquid eyeliner pens easier to hold, and therefore apply, than liquid eyeliner that uses a brush. In addition, the thicker the part that you hold is, the steadier your grip will be.
  • Applicator style. You also need to consider the applicator style. Flexible applicator tips help you move the eyeliner across your lid smoothly, while hard tips allow for more controlled, precise application. Applicators with thick tips make it easy to apply a bold line that’s symmetrical across both eyes. On the other hand, a fine tip is essential for precise work and sharp wings. Fine tips are also great for correcting mistakes.
  • Lasting power. Applying your liquid eyeliner perfectly is something of an accomplishment, so it obviously needs to last as long as possible. Choose a long-lasting formula to ensure your eyeliner doesn’t fade by lunch.
  • Smudge-proof. Of course, you don’t want your eyeliner to stay all day if it’s just going to turn into a smudgy mess. Many liquid eyeliners have a smudge-proof formula to make sure you never look like an exhausted raccoon.
  • Waterproof. Waterproof eyeliner will stand up to rain, tears, sweat, humidity, and more. And because the eye area tends to be moist anyway, waterproof eyeliner tends to last longer in general.
  • Color. Black is a classic eyeliner color and brown is also popular for a softer look. However, liquid eyeliners are available in all colors of the rainbow.  You can bring out the color of your eyes by using eyeliner in the same color or a complementary color. White eyeliner can make your eyes look bigger and brighter. Or you can just use a color that compliments the overall eye makeup look that you’re going for.
  • Finish. Just like colors, eye makeup comes in a variety of finishes. Popular finishes are glossy, satin, and matte, but there are also shimmery, glittery, and even metallic finish eyeliners available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is liquid eyeliner better? 

All types of eyeliner have their own strengths and weaknesses. Liquid eyeliner is great for creating defined lines. It can be used to create thin, barely noticeable lines for a natural look or bold lines for a more dramatic one. It’s hard to smudge, which makes it great for daily use, but it also means that a gel or pencil is better suited for soft or blended eyeshadow look.

How do you apply liquid eyeliner for beginners? 

Start by resting your elbow on a flat, hard surface in front of your makeup mirror, such as the bathroom counter. This will help keep your hand steady. Before you start to apply, tilt your head back slightly so your lids lower slightly, giving you more room to work with. If you’re applying wings, start with them to make it easier to blend them to the rest of your liner. Apply one, then the other.

Once your wings are on, you can apply along your lash line. You can start wherever along the lash line that you’d like. The inner corner and the midpoint of the lash line are both popular choices. Use short, light strokes to apply the line. You can always go back over with a heavier hand to make the line darker or bolder, but it’s much more difficult to make a thick line thinner without having to take it all off and start again.

Does gel or liquid eyeliner last longer?

Gel and liquid eyeliners both tend to be long-wearing. Which is more so varies from product to product. One gel eyeliner may last longer than a particular liquid eyeliner and shorter than a different liquid eyeliner. Similarly, a particular liquid eyeliner may last longer than some gels and shorter than other gels.

What is easier to apply liquid eyeliner or pencil?

Most people consider pencil eyeliner easier to apply in general because it’s more forgiving to imperfections in the drawing of your line than liquid eyeliner is. On the other hand, it’s virtually impossible to get a sharp, defined wing with a pencil eyeliner. For the easiest wing, use a pen-style liquid eyeliner for the wing itself, then use a pencil to apply your liner along the lash line.

Other Liquid Eyeliners We Reviewed

Best Liquid Eyeliners Overall
Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner
Nyx Professional Makeup Vinyl Liquid Liner creates a precise line with a glossy finish.

We looked at 20 other liquid eyeliners. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best liquid eyeliners list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your makeup kit. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeliner

Covergirl Get In Line Liquid Eyeliner

Covergirl Get In Line Liquid Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner is available in eight different colors, including amber, brown, gray, teal, and four different black finishes.

Key Features:

  • Lasts for up to 24 hours
  • Ultra-fine tipped applicator
  • Ergonomic handle

Cost: $7

L’Oreal Paris Lineur Intense Brush Tip Liquid Eyeliner

L'Oreal Paris Lineur Intense Brush Tip Liquid Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner delivers intense color that’s long-lasting, smudge-proof, and won’t fade.

Key Features:

  • Precision brush tip
  • Clump-resistant
  • Ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-tested

Cost: $8

Lovoir The Flick Stick Winged Eyeliner Stamp

Lovoir The Flick Stick Winged Eyeliner Stamp

Get the easiest winged eyeliner of your life with this two-in-one eyeliner pen and wing stamp set.

Key Features:

  • Available in three wing sizes
  • Get perfectly symmetrical wings in seconds
  • Waterproof, smudge-proof, and long-lasting
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cost: $15

Milani Eye Tech Perfection Liquid Eyeliner

Milani Eye Tech Perfection Liquid Eyeliner

The ergonomic shape of this eyeliner tube is designed to make perfect liquid liner application easy.

Key Features:

  • Ergonomic shape
  • Felt brush tip
  • Smudge-free, water-resistant, and long-lasting

Cost: $5

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen

Whether you want a dramatic or minimalist look, this liquid eyeliner won’t fade for up to 16 hours.

Key Features:

  • Flow-through pen
  • Smooth, mess-free application
  • Tapered felt tip

Cost: $8

Revlon Colorstay Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

Revlon Colorstay Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

This inkpot-style liquid eyeliner is available in two tip sizes and in black and brown in each size.

Key Features:

  • All-day wear
  • Ophthalmologist-tested
  • Doesn’t fade, transfer, or smudge

Cost: $6

Rimmel Exaggerate Felt Tip Eye Liner

Rimmel Exaggerate Felt Tip Eye Liner

This liquid eyeliner delivers deeply pigmented color that won’t run, flake, smear, or smudge for up to 16 hours.

Key Features:

  • Dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested
  • Precise felt tip applicator
  • Smooth application

Cost: $6

Matte Liquid Eyeliner

Cleof Eyeliner Stamp

Cleof Eyeliner Stamp

Here’s another option for just stamping on your eyeliner wings, this time with a matte finish.

Key Features:

  • Three wing sizes
  • Completely vegan
  • Long-lasting, smudge-proof, and waterproof

Cost: $10

HAUS LABORATORIES Eye Armor Kit

HAUS LABORATORIES Eye Armor Kit

If stamps aren’t your thing, this liquid eyeliner kit instead provides stickers for perfect, easy to apply wings.

Key Features:

  • Wingtip stickers in two sizes and a Liquid Eye-Lie-Ner pen
  • Matte black finish
  • Long-lasting

Cost: $35

HAUS LABORATORIES Liquid Eye-Lie-Ner

HAUS LABORATORIES Liquid Eye-Lie-Ner

If you don’t want the wing stickers, you can also get just the Liquid Eye-Lie-Ner Pen

Key Features:

  • Matte black finish
  • Long-lasting
  • Available in black and brown

Cost: $20

theBalm Schwing Liquid Eyeliner

theBalm Schwing Liquid Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner has a thin, tapered applicator, but has a non-clumping, buildable formula that allows you to build up to thicker lines.

Key Features:

  • Smudge and flake-proof
  • Quick-drying
  • Matte black finish

Cost: $17

Smudge-Proof Liquid Eyeliner

Black Radiance Bold and Sexy Liquid Eyeliner

Black Radiance Bold and Sexy Liquid Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner pen has two felt tip ends, one tapered and one angled, for a variety of eyeliner looks.

Key Features:

  • Easily apply thick or thin lines
  • Fast drying and smudge-resistant
  • Dark, bold black

Cost: $5

Honest Beauty Liquid Eyeliner

Honest Beauty Liquid Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner is not only cruelty-free and vegan, but it’s also made without carbon, parabens, silicones, petrochemicals, and polyethylene glycol.

Key Features:

  • Flexible precision felt tip
  • Hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist tested
  • Stays put for up to 8 hours

Cost: $10

LA PURE Waterproof Eyeliner Stamp

LA PURE Waterproof Eyeliner Stamp

These eyeliner stamps are smudge-proof and waterproof for long-lasting wear.

Key Features:

  • Available in two wing sizes
  • Waterproof, smudge-proof, and long-lasting
  • Get perfectly matched wings in seconds

Cost: $12

Neutrogena Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Neutrogena Precision Liquid Eyeliner

This gentle, hypoallergenic liquid eyeliner is made with honey and coconut.

Key Features:

  • Water-resistant and smudge-proof
  • Deep Jet Black pigment
  • Precise felt tip applicator

Cost: $7

New York Color Liquid Eyeliner

New York Color Liquid Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner is fast drying and smudge-resistant for a perfect application that stays that way.

Key Features:

  • Deep, dark black pigment
  • Precision applicator
  • Fast drying

Cost: $15

Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Waterproof Precision Liquid Eyeliner

L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Precision Liquid Waterproof Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner is waterproof enough to stand up to swimming and sweat for up to 16 hours.

Key Features:

  • Fragrance-free and safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers
  • Smooth application
  • Ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-tested.

Cost: $8

Maybelline Hyper Easy Eyeliner

Maybelline Hyper Easy Eyeliner

This liquid eyeliner is designed to allow you a firm, steady grip, and not to skip or slide for super easy application.

Key Features:

  • Rich, dark black color
  • Waterproof and smudge-proof
  • Lasts up to 24 hours

Cost: $6

Nyx Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner

Nyx Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner

This felt-tipped waterproof liquid eyeliner pen makes it easy to apply perfect eyeliner that lasts all day.

Key Features:

  • Matte finish
  • Precision application
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cost: $6

stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

This waterproof liquid eyeliner pen has a cult following and is popular among beauty bloggers and influencers.

Key Features:

  • Smooth application without skipping or pulling
  • Quick-drying
  • Long-lasting wear that won’t smudge or run

Cost: $22

Products You May Be Interested In: