Have you done a makeup audit lately? If you can't remember the last time it happened, now's probably the time. We've been known to hoard, too, but there's a chance some of your makeup is dry, almost empty, or just plain expired. But when we do clean house, there's one makeup product we always end up needing a restock for: a solid black eyeliner. It's the backbone of most of our favorite looks, and we run through them like crazy. In fact, it's the one product that tends to *disappear* from the Marie Claire beauty closet most often.
That said, we can be a little picky when it comes to finding a formula that really gets the job done. After testing so many, we know a good liner when we see one: it's got to be inky, pigmented, and last as long as the rest of our look does. There are a ton of options, and all of them are best suited for specific purposes. We love a creamy pencil for a sexy, smudgy look, and we tend to reach for a pot for a knife-sharp wing. And we're downright obsessed with liquid liners, because they're so versatile, and can create a vintage cat-eye or even an avant-garde floating liner. So, in an effort to streamline your audit, we've curated a list of the best of the best, from felt-tip MVPs to classic pencils. Read on for your perfect fit.
Perhaps it was just me, but I remember being 13 and trying to smudge my eyeliner out *just right* in the hopes of impressing my school's resident skater boy. Not much has changed—it can still be tough to achieve that perfect smudginess—but this dual-ended pencil has a sponge tip to distribute the pigment on the other side perfectly.
It's been a makeup artist and editor favorite for years, and we don't see that ever changing. It's inky black, glides on like a dream, and it doesn't budge once it's on. There's actually one in my purse right now. You know, in case there's a liner emergency.
If you're an angled brush fan, you're going to want an all-star formula for dipping. This pot contains a slick gel formula that glides on easily but won't budge after it sets, even if you sweat.
Its name isn't just marketing—this formula has been a backstage staple at photoshoots and Fashion Week since it's release. We totally get it: its pigment is deep and dark as it gets, and the pen makes it perfect for drawing lines, wings, and even avant-garde shapes.
Sometimes, there's nothing chicer than a subtle tightline. This fine pencil is perfect for loading pigment right onto your waterline for sexy yet near imperceptible definition. And it's waterproof, so it'll stay put.
There's nothing worse that a pencil that drags—it can irritate your lids, and it's just plain annoying not to get great color payoff on the first try. That never happens with Charlotte's pencil, though. The pearl powder-infused pigment glides on in just one swipe, and whether you you smudge it out or leave it be, it'll last for uptimes to 14 hours once it sets.
It's tough to get black pigment right in natural liner formulas, but Ilia pulls it off. The felt tip makes it easy to draw on a perfect wing, and it won't require ten strokes to achieve true inkiness.
Another standby we're obsessed with! The felt tip somehow never dries out, and the fluid flows out in a perfect inky stream to create a flawless cat eye, every single time.
Great liner doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. NYX's drugstore champ is the perfect option to keep stashed in your purse to switch your look up on-the-go.
If you want a pencil that's truly black—we're talking deep space, black hole-levels of onyx—this pencil is unrivaled. It'll last all night, and it'll stay inky for just as long.
The chamomile extract and vitamin E in this creamy formula make this one of the most comfy pencils on this list, and it looks as good as it feels. The sponge on its tip makes it easy to smudge it out along the lash line, or turn it into a chic, subtle wing.
You know that icky feeling when your liner goes crusty hours into wearing it? That never happens with wander's pencil thanks to nourishing jojoba seed oil and olive fruit oil.