6 Best Liquid Eyeliners, According To Beauty Experts

Using eyeliner to accentuate the eyes dates back centuries, with the Egyptians using materials like charcoal and malachite to line their eyes for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. The liquid eyeliner we recognize today was invented by the founder of the cosmetics company Maybelline in the 1950s, with liquid liners taking off in the ’60s during the Mod fashion era. Thankfully, formulations have improved since then, but perfecting the liquid liner can take time and a steady hand. If you’re just starting, you may want to have plenty of makeup wipes nearby to fix any mistakes. Some liquid liners are easier to use and last longer than others. After sifting through numerous options, we’ve done the hard work and condensed the selection to showcase the best liquid eyeliners on the market.

Ready to discover new beauty secrets? Check out our list below of the best liquid eyeliners according to the consensus from nine expert reviews. Is there a great liner missing? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

Female hands holding makeup bag with cosmetic beauty products
Makeup bag (© photoguns – stock.adobe.com)

The List: Best Liquid Eyeliners, Per Beauty Gurus

1. NYX Matte Liquid Liner

NYX Matte Liquid Liner
NYX Matte Liquid Liner

This drugstore liquid liner is the real deal! Praised by makeup professionals and beauty publications alike, the NYX Matte Liquid Liner is a popular choice for its versatility and impressive performance.

Celebrity makeup artist Scott Osbourne, Junior highlights the liner’s user-friendliness in Elle magazine, stating that it’s suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to professionals. The thin brush is specifically designed for creating precise lines, allowing for both dramatic wings and subtle definition.

The Cut emphasizes the liner’s long-lasting wear and intense black color, noting that it dries quickly and stays put throughout the day, regardless of the circumstances. They even mention the positively rated pen version available on Amazon for added convenience.

For those with oily skin, Cosmopolitan says this NYX liner is for you. They commend the formula’s ability to dry down to a matte finish that stays put for extended wear, keeping your eyeliner looking fresh throughout the day and night.

2. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner is a favorite among makeup enthusiasts of all skill levels, consistently praised for its precision, user-friendliness, and impressive staying power. Cosmopolitan highlights the liner’s ultra-fine tip, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced users. They also emphasize its quick-drying formula that resists smudging, ensuring a flawless look throughout the day.

Stuck in a torrential storm? This eyeliner won’t budge! Byrdie commends the liner’s smooth glide and thin marker-like tip, offering exceptional control for creating precise lines or a bolder, dramatic look. They acknowledge that this user-friendly design is particularly beneficial for those new to liquid eyeliner application or those with less steady hands.

InStyle magazine echoes these sentiments, calling the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner a makeup artist favorite. They emphasize the fine, firm tip for consistent precision lines and its impressive long-lasting wear, ensuring your eyeliner stays put all day long.

3. Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner
Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Pat McGrath’s liquid liner takes the effort out of achieving a sharp and dramatic eye look, according to Cosmopolitan. The key lies in its brush tip, described as “firm yet flexible,” which effortlessly hugs your lash line and delivers an inky-velvet finish that stays put all day.

Well + Good acknowledges the liner’s user-friendly design, particularly the flexible tip that allows for smooth application and creation of different line thicknesses. However, they recommend using a setting powder or primer, especially for oily lids, to maximize the liner’s waterproof properties and prevent transfer.

4. KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner

KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner
KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner

Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner consistently earns praise for its impressive staying power and user-friendly design. This cult-favorite liner is also 100% vegan. Forbes loves the liner’s exceptional longevity, living up to its “tattoo” namesake by staying put even on oily lids. Its ultra-fine tapered brush tip allows for versatility in creating various looks, from classic cat eyes to bold graphic designs. Additionally, the formula glides on smoothly without dragging or pulling on the delicate skin around your eyes.

The New York Post echoes the user-friendliness and long-lasting qualities of the KVD Tattoo Liner. They emphasize its ease of application, long-lasting wear, and vegan-friendly formula. While acknowledging that the pigmentation may fade slightly over time, they still consider it a “holy grail” product due to its overall performance.

5. Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner

Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner

Rare Beauty’s Perfect Strokes Eyeliner is quickly gaining recognition for its impressive qualities, even garnering the title of “best liner on the market” by the New York Post. They commend its smooth application, bold pigmentation, and ergonomic grip, making it suitable for users of all experience levels.

Well + Good likes the smooth, opaque matte finish that is truly waterproof. They also mention positive user reviews from Sephora shoppers with hooded lids, highlighting the formula’s budge-proof capabilities.

6. Ilia Clean Line Liquid Eyeliner

Ilia Clean Line Liquid Eyeliner
Ilia Clean Line Liquid Eyeliner

Ilia’s Clean Line Eyeliner caters to both beginners and experienced makeup enthusiasts seeking a user-friendly and high-performing product. The New York Post highlights several key features, including its beginner-friendliness, buildable pigmentation for customizable intensity, and clean formula free of alcohol, fragrances, gluten, and cruelty-free. This makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin or ethical concerns.

Well + Good further emphasizes the user-friendliness by mentioning the easy removal formula, making touch-ups a breeze. This aspect, combined with the smooth application, makes it a dream choice for beginners.

The inky felt tip glides effortlessly for precise lines and a flawless finish that stays put all day without smudging or transferring. Additionally, the smaller tip allows for creating sharp and defined cat-eye looks (The Cut).

Tips for applying liquid eyeliner:

Liquid eyeliner is darker and richer than a pencil. Because of this, a stroke of this eyeliner goes a long way, delivering bold, look-at-me lines, which is perfect if you’re trying to create a dramatic look. The thought of applying liquid liner can be intimidating, but if you follow a few tips below, you’ll be a pro in no time!

  • Always let it dry for at least 30 seconds.
  • An eye primer can help hold the liner in place.
  • Seal the liner with eye shadow powder.
  • Apply before mascara.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 

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About the Author

Amy Chodroff

Amy Chodroff is a recovering Morning Radio Show Host and award-winning broadcaster who recently retired from DFW’s Morning News on KLIF in Dallas. Fondly known as the “Chief Googler” by her friends, it was a seamless transition for StudyFinds to enlist her expertise for their “Best of the Best” franchise. Amy has an innate curiosity and a penchant for thorough research before any purchase and she’s constantly on the hunt for top-notch products. Outside of her digital explorations, Amy loves to explore the world with her husband and is the proud mother of two adult daughters. You can also find Amy on the pickleball court, perfecting her dink and drop shots.

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