If there's one thing we've learned from our lengthy experience with eye makeup, it's that not all liners are created equal. We called on a few experts—a celebrity makeup artist, a DIY beauty guru, and the director at one of our favorite L.A. beauty lounges—to help us separate the contenders from the true champs. Find out which formulas came out on top.
If want to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn, use liquid eyeliner to create a super chic wing. "Avoid kohl pencils at all costs," notes Emma Willis, Director of Artistry at L.A.'s Blushington. "It will not give you the sharp, precise line that you want.” For a wing novice, Willis recommends stila's stay all day waterproof liquid eye liner in intense black for its thin felt tip pen applicator.
DIY expert, makeup artist, and beauty blogger extraordinaire Erica Davidson loves gel liner for her everyday look. "Using a brush helps me get a straighter line, and formulas like Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink stays put and is super dark," she says. To avoid looking overly made up during daytime hours, Davidson recommends replacing black liner with charcoal grey, dark brown, navy, or plum.
For a brilliantly bold eye, celebrity makeup artist Jenn Streicher uses stila's Kajal Eye Liner in Onyx to get stars like Emily Blunt, Claire Danes, and Bar Rafaeli red carpet ready. "It glides across the eye effortlessly and leaves a rich, deep, dark color that can easily be smudged to the start of a perfect smoky eye," she says. To achieve a truly smoke-show effect, Streicher recommends using a pencil that can easily blend with the touch of a finger. Noir’s Kohl eyeliner is a fantastic alternative that glides on like a dream.
"I love a colorful eye," says Davidson. "It's modern, fun, and is an easy update on a classic." For a bright eye, she likes highly pigmented formulas like Make Up For Ever's Aqua Liner. "It’s a gel-like formula that's easy to apply and dries to a matte finish. I avoid glittery or super shimmery liquids because it tends to settle in the creases of your lid." Eyeko's Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Turquoise is another favorite, for its vivid, fade-proof formula. If you're not quite ready to go super bright, PIXI's Lid Last Shadow Pen in Peach Pavé is a lovely bronze pigment that stands out without making too much of a statement.
—By Natalie Alcala
Our other liner loves.
These liners are gorgeously wearable and come in a variety of rich shades that make eyes pop.
Noir’s stay-put black eyeliner combines the ease of a pencil with the drama of a liquid liner.
This chubby blue pencil glides on like a thick liner, but smudges to create a velvety shadow.
A winning combo of wearable pearlescent shades and an easy-to-use applicator.
Mix neutrals with a pop of bright liner for fresh, wearable style.
Eyebrow expert Sania Vucetaj’s list of everything you need to keep your arches in tip-top shape.
Give your usual smoky eye an update with fun spring shades—we have looks for day, night, and everything in between.