best drugstore eyeliner

15 Undeniable Drugstore Eyeliners You Will Repeat Order

Sometimes the majority of our makeup budget is dedicated to the high-quality foundation, powder, and brushes, leaving just a little left over to cover the rest of the items in our kit.

Thankfully, some excellent drugstore brands will still help you achieve a high-end look without breaking the bank.

Ready to see which ones they are?

Great! Our detailed guide below will discuss the best drugstore eyeliner brands and we’ll provide you with plenty of shopping tips that will help you choose the right one the looks you want to achieve.

Things to Consider

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


Black is the popular eyeliner color in the world, but there are so many other wonderful colors to choose from and some of them can help you achieve some very creative looks. If black is the only color you own, we encourage you to branch out and find a new color that will help enhance your eyes. We’ve included some in our table, so be sure to check them out!


Liquid pen, pencil or gel/cream? We’ll be discussing the differences between them below, so make sure you read them!


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 be difficult to remove and not everyone likes using them.

Types of Eyeliner

We mentioned these above and wanted to provide you with a few details about each one in order to help you understand the differences between them and the different looks they allow you to achieve.


Those of you who are going for a softer look will enjoy having some decent pencils in your makeup bag. They aren’t extremely pigmented and they can easily be smudged (great for drawing on the waterline).

You have two options with pencils: self-sharpening (the kind that sharpen themselves as you twist them up) or manual (you sharpen them).

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

If you need to manually sharpen the pencil, then make sure that the pencil will fit the sharpener you have. Some pencils come in custom sizes and require a special sharpener, but these will come packaged with the size you need so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.


For drawing sharp, precision lines (the infamous cat eye, for example) a liquid eyeliner pen is ideal.

You have to be careful as you choose because some of the liquids come with a very narrow brush tip while others look like a pointed pencil tip.

Brushes are more flexible and allow you to achieve very small, precise details, but 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.


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

You need to apply them with a brush, which is usually included with the gel, but from experience, it’s better to purchase a higher quality brush separately. The brush makes a huge difference in the quality of the application!

Some provide you with a matte finish and others with a gloss finish, both providing bold color. They last the longest out of all of the options and you can achieve both softer and more precise looks with them.

You can also find powder eyeliners, which can be used wet or dry and applied with a precision eyeliner brush, but the drugstore 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 and the brush that it comes with 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). 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.

This is great for everyday looks 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, sharp lines. 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 reasons. The formula contains a high concentration of pigment, they’re smudge proof and waterproof and they definitely last once you apply them. 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 Neutrogena nourishing eyeliner. Creamy and soft formula that is comfortable for your dailywear. There is no need to sharpen the liner since there is a built in sharpener for this eyeliner. Olive oil and shea butter give a smooth after wear.

Although the shape looks like pencil, the formula for this eyeliner is 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 to 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 still never fails to invent the product. This eyeliner will last up to 10 hours. So that you do not need to touch up outside after the first swipe. The exaggerated liner is waterproof and has an intense color. Also for a price under US$10, you can get two pieces of it. Isn’t it hard to resist?

An ultra fine tipped to create an ultra precise line on your eyelid. The liquid liner is suitable for the beginner as well. Moreover, the black color can match all of the themes of your makeup. It is lightweight, long lasting, and 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. Create a classic, eyecat, or dramatic look with this contour pencil eyeliner. It will last for up to 12 hours. A day long with your stunning look? Why not!

Talking about drugstore beauty products without including Cover Girl’s product to the list is a mistake. You can have this eyeliner pencil for your daily makeup step. It is easy to blend after you apply it and the waterproof formula will sweep away your worry that your makeup will be faded. 

The ultra precise brush tip will 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. 

The ultra precise brush tip will 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 for one day. Your answer is REVLON eyeliner! It stays put for up to 24 hours for bold, smudge-proof looks that stay with you all day. Also, it includes built-in sharpener to get sharp, precise lines and built-in smudger to blend and soften color.

Precision brush tip liquid eyeliner and easy-to-use removable wing stencil you can enjoy with 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 who wants to get an eye cat look with ease.

The liquid eyeliner with the pen shape is 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. 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 goes to Rimmel London. It is not only water resistant and cheap, but for that price, you can get two eyeliner pencils. 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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