best drugstore eyeliner

15 Choices of the Best Drugstore Eyeliner for Amazing Eyes

Sometimes most of our makeup budget is dedicated to the high-quality foundation, powder, and brushes, while leaving just a little left over to cover the rest of the items in our makeup kit. Thankfully, some excellent drugstore brands will still help you achieve a high-end look without breaking the bank. Even better, you can even get the best drugstore eyeliner from the best brands! 

Ready to find out which product of drugstore eyeliner is best for you? Great! Our detailed guide below will discuss the best drugstore eyeliner brands. Since we know you want to know more, we’ll also provide you with plenty of shopping tips that will help you choose the right one to achieve the desired look.

Things to Consider

In order to narrow down the options, here are a few things that you should keep in mind as you shop for the best drugstore eyeliner:

Color Options

Black is undoubtedly the most popular color of eyeliner in the world. However, there are actually so many other eyeliner with various colors to choose from. We believe that some of the colors can help you in achieving some of your creative and unique looks. Therefore, if black is the only color that you own, we highly encourage you to branch out and find a new color that will help enhance your eye makeup. You might find that the best drugstore eyeliner for you is not a black liner. We’ve included some in our table below, so be sure to check them out!


Liquid pen, pencil or gel/cream? We’ll be discussing the differences between all types of eyeliners below, so make sure you stick with us!

Waterproof or Non-waterproof?

Decide if waterproof formula or a regular formula will work best for your needs. While they are quite useful (your eye artwork stays where you put it), it can also be difficult to remove and not everyone loves to use them.

Types of Eyeliner

We have mentioned about the types of eyeliners above, and now we wanted to provide you with a few details about each of them. The following info and facts will help you to have better understanding about the differences between the three types, plus the different looks that you can achieve.


Those of you who are going for a softer look will surely enjoy having some decent pencil eyeliners in your makeup bag. They aren’t extremely pigmented, and they can easily be smudged. If you ask us, it’s a great tool for drawing on the waterline.

You have two options with pencils. The first option is the self-sharpening kind of pencils, which is the kind that sharpen themselves as you twist them up. The second one is the manual type, which means that you need to sharpen them on your own, manually.

Self-sharpening pencils have a more rounded tip, while those that you sharpen manually will allow you to create a more precise tip. However, we personally prefer the latter, but automatic pencils don’t create the mess.

If you need to manually sharpen the pencil, then better make sure that the pencil will fit your sharpener. Some pencils come in custom sizes and require a special sharpener. But here, you will find a list of products that come in standard size, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.


In you want to draw sharp, and precise lines like the infamous cat eye, for example, then a liquid eyeliner pen is very ideal for the purpose.

On thing to note, you need to be extra careful as you choose a liquid eyeliner, because some of the liquids come with a very narrow brush tip. Others might look like a pointed pencil tip.

Brushes are more flexible especially because it allows you to achieve very small and precise details. However, if you’re a heavy-handed artist, these might not be the best option for you. Those with a pointed tip are sturdier and they still allow the same precision as the brushes, but just remember that they might be slightly thicker than a brush tip.


Gel eyeliners are kind of a mixture between the liquid and the pencil eyeliners.

You need to apply them using a brush, which is usually comes as part of the gel. However, based on experience, it’s always better to purchase a higher quality brush separately. After all, the brush will always make a huge difference in the quality of the application, so brush does matter!

Some gel eyeliners give you a matte finish while others offer gloss finish. Usually, both provide bold colors. On the positive side, this kind of eyeliner usually lasts the longest out of all of the other two options. Moreover, gel eyeliners will let you achieve both softer and more precise looks.

You can also find powder eyeliners, which can be used wet or dry and applied with a precision eyeliner brush, but the drugstore eyeliners’ brands don’t really have any quality choices in this category.

The best drugstore eyeliner, based on our research and tests, are liquid pens, pencils and gels.


Drugstore brands are usually fairly priced, and when it comes to eyeliners, you can expect to spend around $5-10.

If you use gel liners and you’re looking for decent brushes that won’t break the bank, e.l.f. has some great options.

You can find a set of three (which includes the small smudge brush, the angled eyeliner brush and the small angled brush) for less than $10!

best drugstore eyeliner

Here is a close-up look at the individual brushes:

best drugstore eyeliner

Angled eyeliner brush.

best drugstore eyeliner

small angled brush.

best drugstore eyeliner

small smudge brush.

Best 15 Drugstore Eyeliner Reviews

Probably the first thing you’ll notice about this pencil is how thick it is. Most pencils are thin (and provide you with equally thin lines that you need to build on if you do want more volume), but this pencil will provide you with a thick line in one swipe. As the product description states, it is “kajal-inspired,” which means that they’ve tried to imitate it in a safer way. Since it comes with the custom sharpener, we’d say this is definitely one of the best drugstore eyeliner pencils out there!

L’Oréal tops our list again with this excellent gel lacquer. Plus, the brush that comes with the eyeliner is actually good. This definitely allows you to achieve precise lines and it definitely earns the 24-hour claim on the label (once you put it on, it stays there). In addition, there are 5 colors available that you can try for your daily look.

Physician’s Formula’s shimmer strips provide you with options, which is always a good thing in the makeup world! This is the Nude set (it also comes in Smoky), which we like for achieving more neutral looks. Things we love about it:

  • It doesn’t run.
  • Easy to blend.
  • Long lasting.
  • Applies smoothly.

In short, this is great item for everyday looks, especially when you want to add definition and make your eyelashes look thicker.

Remember when we told you about the liquid liners with brush tips? This is one of those eyeliners! The tip is very thin, making it the ideal choice for those of you who want extremely precise and sharp lines. Moreover, you’ll also need to remember that the brush tip is flexible, so you’ll need to use a lighter hand when applying.

These gel eyeliners from Maybelline are awesome for many possible reasons. The formula contains a high concentration of pigment, they’re smudge proof and waterproof, and they definitely last once you apply them. In addition, they also don’t use any oil in their formula, which is great for those of you with particularly oily lids. There are 4 gel colors that you can choose based on the occasion you want to come. 

Let’s define the precise eye look with this Neutrogena nourishing eyeliner. As one of the most recommended drugstore eyeliners, it offers a creamy and soft formula that is comfortable for your daily wear. Moreover, there is no need to sharpen the liner since there is a built in sharpener for this eyeliner. Not to mention the olive oil and shea butter that will give a smooth after wear.

Although the shape looks like pencil, the formula for this eyeliner is definitely a gel. That’s why you don’t have a doubt about its smoothness and softness once you apply it to your eyelid. This liner has an intense color and there are six colors available, all of which will enhance your daily look from day to night.

No worry about the smudge since this eyeliner has a smudge-proof formula. Therefore, it is the most suitable one for a go-to eyeliner. The color is pigmented, so you do not have to swipe the liner multiple times. Also, this eyeliner pencil doesn’t require any sharpener.

Rimmel is still never fails to invent the best and most recommended product for us, and it includes this one. This eyeliner from Rimmel will last up to 10 hours. Therefore, you do not need to have any touch up outside after the first swipe. In addition, the exaggerated liner is also waterproof and features an intense color for maximum result. Also for a price under US$10, you can get two pieces of it. Isn’t it hard to resist?

The next product comes as one of the most recommended drugstore eyeliners, which offers an ultra fine tip to create an ultra precise line on your eyelid. The liquid liner is suitable for the beginner as well. Moreover, the black color can also match all of the themes of your makeup perfectly. It is lightweight, long lasting, and most importantly, the ultra fine bristle brush won’t hurt your eyes.

A wide range of colors to beautify your eye look is available in Sephora. The intense and luminous color can be seen once you swipe it on your eyelid. Without a doubt, this product will create a classic, eyecat, or even a dramatic look, making it a highly recommended drugstore eyeliner. Moreover, it will also last for up to 12 hours. So, having a full day with your stunning look with this one? Why not!

Talking about drugstore beauty products without including Cover Girl’s product to the list is truly a mistake. Therefore, we must say that you need to have this eyeliner pencil as part of  your daily makeup step. It is not only easy to blend after you apply it, because the waterproof formula will also sweep away your worry that your makeup will be faded. 

The ultra precise brush tip will definitely create the immersive look for your eye makeup. The design is just like a spidol, that’s why we can say that it’s definitely a recommended ready-to-go eyeliner. Yet the formula is liquid, so that it is easy to apply. Furthermore, you can put it inside your pencil case or in the pouch. Plus, the intense color will also turn your eyelid into a different level. 

The ultra precise brush tip will unquestionably create the immersive look for your eye makeup. The design is just like a spidol, that’s why it is a ready to go eyeliner. Yet the formula is liquid, so that it is easy to apply. You can put it inside your pencil case or in the pouch. The intense color will turn your eyelid into a different level. 

Raise your hands if you need 24 hours eyeliner to enhance your look and stay fabulous from day to night. Your answer is definitely REVLON eyeliner! It stays put for up to 24 hours for bold, smudge-proof looks that will stay with you all day. Also, it includes built-in sharpener to get sharp, precise lines and also built-in smudger to blend and soften color.

Precision brush tip liquid eyeliner and easy-to-use removable wing stencil are some of the features that you can enjoy from L’Oreal Paris Infallible liquid eyeliner. The pen design will make it easier for you to create wings on your eyelid in a flash. That’s why it is a recommended item for the beginner, especially for those who want to get an eye cat look with ease.

The liquid eyeliner with the pen shape is possibly the easiest eyeliner to apply. Because you just hold the eyeliner just like you hold the pen and apply it on your eyelid. Unlike the liquid liner with bristle brush, the ultra fine tip on pen eyeliner will avoid failure even if you are a beginner in the world of makeups. You can try Wet n Wild or Revlon as your first trial, because the intense color from these two liners are strong and will not make you swipe multiple times. 

The best cheap waterproof eyeliner award goes to Rimmel London. It is not only water resistant and cheap, but for that price, you can actually get two eyeliner pencils. So, do you really want to miss this chance? Because we are not. 

For the beginner, liquid eyeliner is better than gel. You do not have to blend the eyeliner after you apply it. So that you can have precise wings and final look instantly. Also, the gel one usually comes with separate brush, it is hard for the beginner to measure how much amount you should apply to the eyelid for the first time you do your own makeup. 

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