Too often, eyeliners are like failed relationships. It's all blissful smooth sailing—until it's not. In retrospect, you know things shouldn't have gone past the honeymoon stage, which in makeup terms is the first hour of wear.
While shelling out for a pricey liner seems like a logical way to avoid cracks, smudging, melting, and all the other symptoms of a subpar liner, unicorn formulas do exist...beyond the department store counter, too. In fact, you could walk into any drugstore and find a solid, long-lasting liner—we've done the legwork. From felt-tip pens to gel pots, here are the under-$10 we swear by.
Love us a twist-up pencil, but what really sells us on this liner is the cream-to-powder formula, which stays in place all day whether you're tracing graphic lines or smudging it for a smoked-out effect. And the price—is this real life?!
Nyx Retractable Eyeliner, $4.50; ulta.com.
A godsend for beginners, this fine-tipped marker will make drawing on your cat eyes feel like less of a burden than ever before. Going on softer as opposed to super-pigmented, it's perfect for sultry bedroom eyes.
Physicians Formula Eye Definer Felt-Tip Eye Marker, $7.99; ulta.com.
If you've got a steady hand, the world is your oyster with this liquid formula. It glides on easy ensuring razor-sharp lines with zero dragging. But its biggest bragging right is no doubt it's staying power. Wear it on its own or layered over a cream formula for extra impact.
Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner, $7.99; ulta.com.
If you're a gel devotee, this pot will be your ride or die. The creamy formula smooths on easily, and will go hours on end without fading or smudging. But just note, it's BYOB. (AKA bring your own brush).
Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Liner, $8.99; target.com.
Another retractable favorite, this waterproof formula is truly budge-proof, plus comes with its own smudging tool for smoky eyes and a sharpener for a bespoke tip every time.
Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Definer, $4.49; target.com.