The 14 Best Waterproof Eyeliners, Tested by Editors and Makeup Pros

Smudge-proof and life-proof—sweat, humidity, and tears don't stand a chance.

Model Bella Hadid is seen wearing eyeliner backstage ahead of the Alberta Ferretti show during Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/19 on February 21, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
(Image credit: Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)

Between meetings, errands, play dates, happy hours, and sweat sessions at the gym, life can get pretty hectic. You need a great eyeliner that works just as hard as you do and can stand up against all of life's chaos. Enter: the best waterproof eyeliners. 

If you’re prone to watery eyes, have hooded lids, or touch your face too much (stop that), waterproof formulas are going to be your best bet. Felt tip markers and paintbrush liners are typically a go-to for sharp eyeliner looks, but liquid eyeliners can bleed if the right one isn’t used. And don’t even get us started on the disaster that is using an eyeliner pencil on the waterline, only to end up with accidental raccoon eyes.  

To avoid these beauty disasters, you need an always-there, never-smear eyeliner, a.k.a. the picks on this list. The below list of editor- and makeup artist-approved waterproof liners, which boast various textures and price points, promise to outlast sweat, tears, oil, and humidity. And just to confirm: As with waterproof mascaras, we're not talking about the waterproof formulas that suck the moisture from your lids and then require a sander to buff off. The picks on this list boast silky, easy-to-wear formulas and feel like normal eyeliner, except, well, better. 

What to Look For in Waterproof Eyeliner

While it may seem obvious, the first thing you will want to look for when shopping for a waterproof eyeliner is the keyword "waterproof" on the product's packaging. Some products may claim they are "water-resistant," but "waterproof" means that liner really isn't going anywhere. "Long-wearing" or "long-lasting" are other keywords you should look out for.

Waterproof liners come in every formula, from pencil and gel to liquid, so you'll have to choose the right formula for you. Really, it all boils down to preference and skill level. 

  • Pencil liners tend to be more user-friendly, since they're easier to hold.
  • Liquid liners require a steady hand to get sharp, precise lines.
  • For pro makeup artist Dani Parkes, gel eyeliners are the way to go. "When I purchase waterproof liners, I look to buy gel pot eyeliners as I find those to be the easiest to apply," she says. "The formula of the gel is also best for creating and smudging the wing so it goes into the direction you want it to go in."  

You may also want to consider how a liner dries down or its "finish," as this can have an effect on the desired outcome of your liner look. For example, pro makeup artist Isabel Rosado says, "Personally, I love a satin or matte texture finish in a liner. I am not a big fan of shiny or 'patent leather' finish."  

Best Waterproof Eyeliners

Meet the Experts

Portrait of Dani Parkes, pro makeup artist
Dani Parkes

Self-taught makeup artist Dani Parkes, also known as Faces by Danii, started doing makeup at the age of 8. At 18 years old she moved to New York knowing no one and started to build her network. Dani is passionate about all things makeup. Her goal is to highlight and extenuate the natural features on one's face, rather than completely changing the way they look. She creates new ideas and draws inspiration from a lot of artists based in the UK and Europe. Their effortless glam and technique is what has shaped Dani’s makeup style. She continues to grow as an artist and hopes to continue to build her network of clients. Dani has glammed up some of your favorite influencers and celebrities including Natalie Noel, Lea Michelle, Emily Lind, and Lauren Wolfe. 

Portrait of Isabel Y Rosado
Isabel Y Rosado

Isabel is a pro makeup artist born and based in New York City. She's worked with brands and publications such as Yves Saint Laurent, Hill House, Moda Operandi, Teen Vogue, Elle Mexico, Glossier, Levi's, Office Magazine, and more. Her work has graced the red carpet with the likes of Sarah Hoover, Michelle Hellman, and Mollie Acquavella. Isabel is also a member of the Latinx Creatives Collective. 

Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she specializes in crafting shopping stories—from sales content to buying guides that span every vertical on the site. She also oversees holiday coverage with an emphasis on gifting guides as well as Power Pick, our monthly column on the items that power the lives of MC’s editors. She also tackled shopping content as Marie Claire's Editorial Fellow prior to her role as Associate Commerce Editor.

She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.