The 12 Best Gel Eyeliners, According to Beauty Experts

Pigmented liners that glide on with ease.

Isabelle Mathers (R) seen backstage wearing gel eyeliner at the Philipp Plein fashion show on February 22, 2020 in Milan, Italy.
(Image credit: Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)

Let’s be real: Eyeliner might just be the hardest makeup product. If your hand has ever trembled while holding an eyeliner pencil or if you’ve ruined a sharp line with a twitch, then you know what I mean. But don’t let that deter you from the MVP beauty product. The best eyeliners can define your eye shape and make your eyes pop. Meanwhile, liquid eyeliners are amazing at graphic shapes and creating sharp lines. But if you’re a tad intimidated by liquid formulas, might we suggest gel eyeliner, which can do all of the above? 

The benefits of gel eyeliners are nearly endless. They feel smooth and silky on the lid and glide on seamlessly, making just about any liner look a breeze. I’m personally a huge fan of gel liners’ magical staying powers—they legitimately last all damn day. Another huge draw? Their versatility. You can let the product dry down into any shape you want or you can smudge it out into a sultry smokey eye. And whether you prefer to use a brush or retractable pencil, you’ve got options with gel liner. 

If you’re still not convinced, try one of the best gel eyeliners for yourself. We pored over customer reviews, tried some liners ourselves, and consulted celebrity makeup artist Ashlee Glazer to bring you this list of the best of the best. These liners have top-notch pigmentation, silky smooth texture, and long-wear formulas.

What to Look For in a Gel Eyeliner

So, you’ve decided to try your hand at gel eyeliner. Before you go rushing off to the makeup aisle, there are some key things to consider before making your purchase. First, you’ll want to decide on the type of applicator. Gel eyeliners typically come in either a pot (in which case you’ll need a brush), a pencil, or a retractable pencil. It’s really up to your preference and skill level, but we’d recommend having a steady hand if you want to go the pot-and-brush route. 

After landing on an applicator, you’ll want to consider texture and color says, Glazer. “I look for the smoothest glide and the richest pigment,” she says, so look for keywords like “creamy,” “smooth,” and “pigmented” in the product’s description. To ensure your liner stays put, you’ll also want to look for long-wear formulas, or you may even want to consider a waterproof pick. Just make sure you have a great makeup remover on hand.

The Best Gel Eyeliners