Cat eyes, wings, or just a little something to highlight your beautiful peepers? Whatever your reason for wearing eyeliner, it goes without saying that only the best liquid eyeliner will give you the effect and long-lasting wear you desire.
Liquid eyeliner brands are plentiful, so which brands are worth considering when it comes down to the nitty-gritty?
Our makeup experts share a list of their 10 favorite liquid liners and provide you with some helpful shopping tips in this guide, so read on to see which brands made the cut in the ultimate showdown.
Top 10 Liquid Eyeliners Ultimate Chart
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Liquid Eyeliner?
Each type of eyeliner (gel, pencil or liquid) will work best in certain conditions but may not do so well for other jobs. Take pencil eyeliners, for instance; they are the perfect tool for doing smoky eyes but having to sharpen them constantly can become somewhat irritating.
It’s the same with liquid eyeliners; they too have their upsides and downsides. Even the best liquid eyeliner will have some characteristics which you will have to consider carefully before deciding to use it.
- Delicate Details – Liquid eyeliners do a marvelous job when a delicate, precise and bold look is needed.
- Varying Designs – They make perfect flicks and swoops (with practice).
- Artistic – They can really help you to bring your inner creativity to the fore.
- Range of Applicators – Liquid eyeliners come with different forms of applicators to suit your skill level. (More on this later.)
- Messy – Using liquid eyeliner can be pretty messy job, especially for beginners.
- Can be Intimidating – The level of skill required to perfect liquid eyeliner use might be a turn-off to some persons.
Which is the Best Liquid Eyeliner for Your Skills?
There are four basic types of applicators, including the pen, the sponge tip, the brush and the pot.
- The Pen – The tip of the pen-type eyeliner looks pretty much like a felt tip marker. This type of applicator is a real breeze for most people to use, so newbies to liquid eyeliner use or anyone with less than steady hands should love it.
- The Sponge Tip – This eyeliner will give you bolder, cleaner lines so you’ll look more “made-up” than if you used a pen eyeliner. The tips come in varying lengths, a fact you can take advantage of as you use shorter sponge tips to build your confidence before progressing to longer ones.
The sponge tip is a great way to transition into the two more professional applicators we’ll look at next.
- The Brush – If you have naturally steady hands or you’ve put in the time and practice with the pen and sponge tip type applicators, then the brush is for you. The long bristles may tend to splay out at first, but that’s okay. Building skill with the brush requires quite a bit of trial and error.
Once you have mastered the brush, however, you will be able to complete more intricate and artistic designs with your liquid eyeliner.
- The Pot – This type of applicator brings to mind fancy calligraphy done with a quill and ink. It is definitely for the experts – not necessarily a professional, mind you, but certainly someone who has had loads of practice and neurosurgeon-like steady hands (think: Doctor Strange’s hands before the accident).
How Can You Easily Remove Water-Proof Liquid Eyeliner?
While water-proof liquid eyeliners will give you both the precision and durability you crave, a possible downside is that they can be notoriously hard to remove. Here are a few quick steps guaranteed to make removal of water-proof liquid eyeliner a frustration-free breeze.
- Step One – Soak a cotton pad in a makeup remover that is specifically made for removing eye makeup. Avoid using a cotton ball, if you can, as this might cause bits of fiber to get into your eye.
- Step Two – Close your eye and begin to dissolve the eyeliner by gently wiping across the top eyelid. Wipe two or three times with one side of the pad, then turn it over and wipe again for another two or three times. Repeat with a clean, soaked pad if necessary.
- Step Three – Repeat Steps One and Two for the top lid of the other eye.
- Step Four – Now it’s time to clean the eyeliner from the bottom lids. Do this by soaking a Q-tip in the eyeliner remover and wiping it carefully across the eyeliner on one lid. Repeat with more clean, soaked Q-tips, if necessary. Avoid getting the remover in your eye.
- Step Five – Repeat Step Four for the bottom lid of the other eye.
Once all of the eyeliner is gone from both eyes, you can continue with your regular face cleansing routine.
Top 5 Best Liquid Eyeliner Reviews
The AsaVea liquid eyeliner is tops on our list for some really good reasons. We found it to be the best liquid eyeliner when you really need your eye design to stay put ALL day. It’s both waterproof and smudge-proof and can stand up to not just water but also sweat and tears.
The thin felt tip applicator pen is ideal for grasping and maneuvering around your eyes. That makes drawing lines really easy and filling in a drawn design even easier. The spring cap seals tight and stays put so the AsaVea liquid eyeliner won’t be dried out the next time you come to use it.
We like that a little warm water and some eye makeup cleanser wipes it clean away without any fuss. There is no need for prolonged, and possibly irritating, scrubbing to get the product off. You get a risk free, money back guarantee with the AsaVea, which speaks to the confidence the manufacturers have in it.
Right off the bat, we were wowed by the color – extreme black! The New York Color eyeliner gives you the rich, deep black you need to perfect certain designs. It has a tapered natural brush applicator which is made to ensure those designs go on smoothly and evenly, no matter how intricate they are.
There is also need to sit and wait for this eyeliner to dry. We found it to be fast drying to the blackest-black matte finish. So, you can apply it and be quickly on your way to tackle whatever else life has in store.
You can use the New York Color eyeliner with confidence around your eye since it is ophthalmologist tested and said to be safe for contact lens wearers. This eyeliner fits nicely in your hand, and the brush applicator is thin. We think both of those points will allow even beginners to work with the New York Color and get pretty good results.
You can set your inner artist free with the Absolute New York Nano eyeliner. Its ultra-fine felt tip is built for precision and detail. It allows you to draw lines of different weight and thickness to add depth and character to your eye designs.
The Nano goes on smooth and stays where you put it, so there is no danger of your entire eye turning black with it (we have all been there!) The richness of the color means a single swipe is usually sufficient, making the small pen last several months even with regular use.
The intensely black water-proof formula is resistant to smudging, and we discovered that it holds up very nicely right through a busy day (or night). Although the more expert of eyeliner users will be quite pleased with the Absolute New York eyeliner, people with unsteady hands should still give it a try since it goes on so smoothly.
The black Docolor eyeliner comes with a fine-tipped brush applicator which takes all the effort out of getting your eyeliner to look professionally done. The eyeliner is thin and feels very much like gripping a pencil in your fist. The tip is ultra-thin at just 0.4 mm. It makes applying the eyeliner a lot like writing (something we all know how to do!)
The bristles of the brush are soft, and we found they do not have the tendency splay out with repeated use like inferior brushes might do. The Docolor eyeliner brush responds well to the amount of pressure you apply. You can easily make thin strokes or thicker ones with just a slight change in the pressure applied.
Docolor’s formula is smooth and water-proof, so it goes on evenly and stays where you put it. When you are ready to take it off, a little warm water is all that is required.
Rounding out our top five of the best liquid eyeliners you can buy is the theBalm Schwing, and, while we do love the name, the eyeliner itself is what we love.
It is packaged in a pot, but the felt tip applicator is so very fine that you can confidently apply it to your eyes or someone else’s.
The Schwing dries to a matte black finish, giving you a high level of opaque coverage without the gray-looking shininess that some eyeliners tend to give. While it isn’t water-proof, we did find that it is long-lasting, making it a good choice for anyone wanting to avoid water-proof eyeliner for whatever reason.
A possible downside with the Schwing is that it tends to smudge first, then wipe away as you try to remove it. That’s certainly NOT a deal breaker since we find the theBalm Schwing (still loving the name!) gets high marks in so many other categories.