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Top 5 Best Liquid Eyeliners | 2017 Reviews

May 3, 2016
Best Eye Liner Pencil Buying Guide

Top 5 Best Liquid Eyeliners | 2017 Reviews

The one ability which separates makeup ninjas from the rest of us is the uncanny knack of being able to quickly and expertly apply eyeliner whether they’re in line at the supermarket, boarding an airplane, or (ssshhhh!) driving down the highway.

Gel, shadow, liquid, pencil – there are different techniques to be learned for each, and it’s commonly accepted that properly applying liquid eyeliner is the toughest of all to master – even if you have a hand steady enough to dominate games of Jenga with your kids. It’s worth the effort, though, for several reasons.

Once you’ve become proficient at applying liquid eyeliner you can choose from a greater assortment of products and colors, you don’t have to worry about the clumping that’s always a problem with powders or the smudging that comes with using a pencil, you can apply cleanly defined, dramatic lines difficult to accomplish with other products, and you can go waterproof. It usually lasts longer and is easier to take off, too.

Half the battle is learning to apply liquid eyeliner. The other half is choosing the right product for your purposes with an applicator that gives you the maximum amount of control. You can spend a ton of money trying out lots of different products, or you can take the short cut: using our list of the top 5 best liquid eyeliners. We suggest using our list.

You can also check out our comprehensive Best Liquid Eyeliner Buying Guide here.​

Quick Comparison Table

Charlotte Tilbury’s Feline Flick Quick Fine Line Shodo Pen

tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Long Wear Eyeliner

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

CoverGirl Intensify Me! Liquid Liner

Dior Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Charlotte Tilbury’s The Feline Flick Quick Fine Line Shodo Pen
tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Longwear Eyeliner
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
LotFancy Automatic Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
Slight Touch Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

$$$

$$$

$$$

$$$

$$$

0.034 ounces

0.034 ounces

0.058 ounces

0.03 ounces

0.04 ounces

No parabens

No parabens

No parabens

No parabens

No parabens

Charlotte Tilbury’s The Feline Flick Quick Fine Line Shodo Pen

Charlotte Tilbury’s The Feline Flick Quick Fine Line Shodo Pen

When you make a product as good as this one, you can indulge yourself by giving it the longest name imaginable so we’ll allow Charlotte Tilbury the benefit of the doubt. This isn’t the easiest product in the world to find, but it’s worth the search. And it only comes in one color, but you’ll only need the jet black of the Shodo Pen to make you grateful you memorized the name and managed to find it.

The first thing you notice with this eyeliner is how easy it is to apply. The pen was supposedly designed with inspiration from the ancient art of Shodo calligraphy, the Japanese style of brush writing you’ve probably seen in a thousand movies and TV shows. The name Feline Flick seems more appropriate to us, though, because the slim brush allows you to apply extremely fine lines of the eyeliner, even if your hands shake a bit when doing the application, thanks to the ergonomically-designed rubber handle on the pen. It can make thicker lines as well, if you tilt the pen slightly.

The liner starts out glossy when you apply it, but when it dries after a few seconds it has a strong matte finish and isn’t going anywhere; the company says it will last 14 hours and we totally believe it. This product doesn’t feather, smudge or fade over a long day, yet it comes off easily without needing to scrub or use a special makeup remover. The bold black color is striking, and works perfectly either for simple looks or an amazing cat eye – perhaps the very best use for this terrific eyeliner.

As we mentioned, the Shodo Pen is only available in intense black (and it’s really black throughout the entire day) so if you like to play around with colors, this isn’t the liquid eyeliner for you. However, every lady needs a reliable black eyeliner in her collection, and “reliable” is understanding the case. The Charlotte Tilbury Pen is close to what we would label an “essential,” albeit a rather pricey essential at $30.

Details of the Charlotte Tilbury’s The Feline Flick Quick Fine Line Shodo Pen

Size

0.034 ounces

Parabens

No

tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Longwear Eyeliner

tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Longwear Eyeliner

Yes, this is another eyeliner with a crazy, long name, but it’s also crazy good at a better price than the Shodo Pen, $20 for the same sized pen. It has most of the same advantages as well; the pen is easy to use and the liner is easy to apply, gliding on and staying put. And one more similarity: it also comes in just one color, black – although they define this color as “triple black” and that’s a bit of marketing overkill, since the color is a very attractive, intense matte black but not as dark as the Shodo.

The grip isn’t quite as comfortable as on the Charlotte Tilbury pen but it’s close, and the applicator is almost as thin. You can smoothly apply a thin, crisp line of eyeliner (even with slightly-shaky hands) and then adjust the angle of the pen’s flexible tip a bit to widen the line for a bolder look. The pen doesn’t pull or skip, and the liner dries quickly and doesn’t smudge, flake or fade over hours of wear.

One plus for the tarte eyeliner is that it includes a vitamin B derivative (provitamin B5) which acts as a skin moisturizer. It’s not going to make eyeliner feel any different, of course, but it’s a good idea. You won’t have to deal with skin irritation, in any event.

So, we hear you ask, what makes this product #2 instead of #1? Not much, to be honest. It won’t last quite as long on your eyes, the color isn’t quite as black, it dried out a bit more quickly, and the pen is not quite as comfortable to use as the Shodo. But don’t take any of those are negatives, since they’re simply comparisons with an amazing product. All of those differences are really nit-picking, and we’d be more than happy with the Lights, Camera, Lashes eyeliner as our go-to black.

Details of the tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Longwear Eyeliner

Size

0.034 ounces

Parabens

No

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Those of you who’ve been waiting for an option to go crazy with colored eyeliners probably won’t be surprised that Urban Decay has you covered. Their 24/7 (who wears their eyeliner 24 hours a day, anyway?) Liquid Eyeliner comes in eight rainbow shades, and is a pretty good product at a terrific price. Maybe they’re clearing out this line, or maybe they’re just feeling generous, but the list price of $19 has been cut to $6 so you might want to stock up.

This product has a fine brush tip for application which can be maneuvered to create either thin or thick, bold lines. The liquid is a little “more liquid” than we’d like, so you have to be careful that the liner doesn’t run as you apply it and you have to be sure to shake the applicator vigorously before using it. However, the eyeliner glides on relatively easily, and once it has set it truly is going to stay on for the full day without smudging or flaking. It really is waterproof (unlike some of the so-called waterproof products which really aren’t) so to get it off you’re going to need something strong like an oil-based makeup remover. Ah, the price we pay for beauty.

We’ve made you wait long enough to learn about the color options for the Urban Decay 24/7. There are eight in all: black, silver, brown, purple, blue, aqua, gold and a pinkish-red (we’ve left out the “cool” Urban Decay names like “Sabbath” and “Retrograde,” but you get the idea) and all are highly-pigmented to present exactly the stunning or shocking look you might want. All of the stores that carry UD products will tell you that their bright color options sell out quickly, so if you see one that catches your fancy, you should be sure to act quickly.

There are no “icky” ingredients in the Urban Decay eyeliner, and no matter which color you choose it will stay on all day without running. If you can catch the sale prices for this eyeliner, it’s well worth the impulse purchase.

Details of the Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Size

0.058 ounces

Parabens

No

CoverGirl Intensify Me! Liquid Liner

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

This drugstore eyeliner has a weird-looking applicator; “drugstore” and “weird” are two adjectives which, when taken together, sound like a prescription (no pun intended) for disaster. Au contraire – this is really a nice product, with one potential issue we’ll address in this review.

The most distinctive feature of the Intensify Me! Liner is a “paddle” tip which has a skinny side and a wide side. The skinny side allows you to draw a straight line with the liner, and the rounded, wide side lets you create thick and more dramatic looks; it could be a little challenging for beginners to get the hang of the applicator initially, but once you get used to it you’ll realize that it’s a useful tool and a good idea, something you don’t see often in a world of me-too cosmetics design. The downside that we found is that control of the application for intricate work isn’t as strong as with the products rated more highly on our list; for example, doing the wings on a cat eye can be difficult to get just right.

The eyeliner goes on easily and smoothly without smearing or tugging, although there is a tendency for the thicker lines to become feathered if you’re not careful. The product sets quickly and will last for the better part of a workday, if not longer, without flaking or fading. This CoverGirl liner only comes in one color, intense black, and it’s a heavily-pigmented shade which is striking when applied.

The problem we referred to earlier is that the pen can dry out pretty quickly if you’re not careful to make sure the tip is completely attached when you’re finished using it – and it’s easy to make that mistake. Other than that, it’s a nice, inexpensive eyeliner with no “red flag” ingredients and no added fragrance. For about $8, you can’t really go wrong.

Details of the CoverGirl Intensify Me! Liquid Liner

Size

0.03 ounces

Parabens

No

Dior Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

This eyeliner has a terrific pedigree, as you can tell from the brand name. It has a wonderful pen applicator which lets you do contouring easily and perfectly. It comes in two colors, black and brown. Then why is it all the way down here, at #5 on our list of top 5 best liquid eyeliners? Take a look at the price tag: $41 for 0.04 ounces, and you’ll understand. We love this product, but the way most of us go through eyeliner, it’s far from a bargain.

Now, let’s take a look at the positives of the Dior liquid eyeliner. There’s a click-action applicator, and it has a soft, fine-tip brush which is perfect for razor-thin lines and close detailing. It gets a bit trickier to make thicker lines, because you have to push harder to make the brush hairs fan out to create the thickness you might require to make a dramatic appearance. It’s much easier to do the detail work, to be honest. Unlike with some competitors, the liquid doesn’t stick to the sides of the pen and give you a runny, washed out application; you simply turn the well-designed dispenser a couple of notches to fill the brush and you’re ready to go.

The Dior eyeliner goes on smoothly and easily, dries in seconds, and stays in place for the entire workday or a night out on the town without worries that it will smudge or flake. It comes off easily too, which probably gives you a clue that it’s not waterproof. That’s not an important factor for most women, though, and we really do love the ease of use of the applicator. Chanel sells a similar one, but we like the Dior much better.

As mentioned, there are two colors available, black and brown; the black isn’t the intense black of some of our other featured products on this list but it’s still “black enough,” and the brown is quite attractive. If you have trouble handling a normal liquid eyeliner applicator, you might want to lay down the bucks to give this one a try and see if it’s your speed.

Details of the Dior Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Size

0.04 ounces

Parabens

No



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