Best eyeliner Featured Image

Best eyeliner: Our pick of the best liquid, gel, pencil and powder eyeliners

23rd May 2024 | Author: Elly Rewcastle

We’ve handpicked what we consider to be the best eyeliner for every budget, skill level and need – from gel to pencil, powder and liquid

Choosing the best eyeliner is not simply a case of picking a brand or a colour. Do you need a gel, pencil, powder or liquid eyeliner? Do you need a fine applicator or one that’s thicker? Then there’s the matter of how to apply eyeliner once you’ve found the best one.

To help you choose, and to hopefully help you feel a little less overwhelmed, we’ve handpicked our favourite liners for every budget, skill level and need below.

We’ve tried to cover all the different types but will be adding to this page as we test more eyeliners so bookmark this page for future reference.

Alternatively, there are “cheat” products that can help you get that perfect winged eyeliner, but they’re generally more expensive than buying an eyeliner. It depends on whether you value your money or your time!

FURTHER READING: Get the perfect winged eyeliner with this “cheat”

Best eyeliner

  1. Editor’s Pick: Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner – £30
  2. Bargain Buy: Soap & Glory Supercat Liquid Eyeliner Pen – £7.99
  3. Luxury Buy: Guerlain Liquid Eyeliner£36
  4. Best pencil eyeliner: Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal liner – £30
  5. Best liquid eyeliner: Rimmel Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner£5.99
  6. Best gel eyeliner: Inglot AMC eyeliner gel – £16
  7. Best felt tip eyeliner: Benefit Roller Liner Eyeliner – £22.50
  8. Best eyeliner for hooded eyes: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on eye pencil£16


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1. Editor’s Pick: Pat McGrath Perma Precision 

£26 | BUY NOW

Why we love it: If you’re after the best eyeliner that offers the benefits of a liquid eyeliner with the ease-of-use of a felt tip, we highly rate the Perma Precision eyeliner from Pat McGrath Labs.  It’s got a short nib meaning it works more like a brush than a pen and it’s the blackest black eyeliner we’ve used. It doesn’t dry out quickly and lasts for ages, too.

Pat McGrath is a world-renowned makeup artist and, while her collection is far from cheap, the quality and staying power of every product we’ve ever used makes them worth the investment.


2. Bargain Buy: Soap & Glory Supercat 

£7.99 | BUY NOW

Why we love it: Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, Soap & Glory’s Supercat eyeliner is up there with the best eyeliners on the market, despite coming in at just £7.99.

It’s not the cheapest product in this list – that title goes to Rimmel – but we chose the Supercat Liquid Eyeliner Pen for our Bargain Buy because its felt tip nib makes it much easier to apply. You can also opt for skinny and precise, or a chunky and dramatic version, whatever matches your look, making this liner more versatile.

Buy now from Boots

3. Luxury Buy: Guerlain Liquid Eyeliner

£36 | BUY NOW

Best eyeliner GuerlainGuerlain

Why we love it: The price you’re paying for this eyeliner most definitely goes towards its gorgeous packaging. It’s so beautiful that it would make the perfect centrepiece of any dressing table.

Guerlain describes its eyeliner as being “akin to a calligrapher’s tool,” and its super long brush helps you create a super fine line. This does make it a little harder to apply, but the formula has a gorgeous shine to it and a little goes a long way meaning this eyeliner will last a while.


4. Victoria Beckham eyeliner: Best pencil eyeliner

£30 | BUY NOW

Victoria Beckham eyeliner Victoria Beckham

Why we love it: The Victoria Beckham eyeliner has become a cult favourite and for very good reason, it glides on like no eyeliner we’ve ever used and it lasts all day. What’s more, you can get it in a wide range of colours from black and white, to blues greens and reds. You can also get the Satin Kajal liner in a matte finish, or with an added bit of shimmer.

The downside is that it’s expensive but you need very little skill to master this pencil, and it lasts ages.

Due to the fact it glides on so easily, and stays put, this would make the Victoria Beckham eyeliner a good contender for the best eyeliner for mature skin, as well as hooded eyes.


5. Rimmel Exaggerate: Best liquid eyeliner

£5.99 | BUY NOW


Why we love it: If you’re after the best eyeliner that has a lot of pigment, stays place and makes a killer wing, look to a dip liquid eyeliner. We’re huge fans of Rimmel’s Exaggerate as it’s one of the blackest we’ve ever tried (behind Pat McGrath’s Perma Pen); it’s waterproof and lasts all day. It’s also incredibly cheap – although comes in a small pot so you may find you get through this eyeliner quickly.

If you need a bit of guidance, pop a bit of tape on the corner of your eye and draw along and up, this way your wing will be super sharp. Given both the liquid nature of this formula, and its pigment, we recommend you keep your eye closed for a few seconds after applying this to avoid any smudging of transference.

The only issue we’ve had with the eyeliner is that it tends to gather around the opening to the pot, which can create very small lumps of eyeliner. To get round this, apply a light line on the back of your hand first to remove these lumps and you’re good to go.


6. Inglot AMC Gel

£14 | BUY NOW

Why we love it: One of the more versatile types of eyeliner, gel eyeliner is up there with the easiest to use and can perform the benefits of a pencil with the precision of a liquid liner. Applied with a small brush, it can create the sharpest and most dramatic eye looks, and is perfect for editorial makeup, but can also be blended out for a more smokey look.

We love using Inglot’s AMC gel pot because the black is highly pigmented, so much so it rarely needs touching up, but it also comes in so many different colours that if you’re after a bright blue or a gorgeous gold, you’re covered. We apply a fierce wing with this, using a tiny angled brush (check out our makeup brushes guide to discover which brush is best for this) and add in a couple of drops of Inglot’s Duraline for a wet-look, black eyeliner that isn’t going anywhere.


7. Benefit Roller Liner

£22.50 | BUY NOW

Why we love it: For the best control over your eyeliner, look to a felt tip. They’re just like a pen, obviously, meaning you can get a really good grip, making sure there are no wobbly lines. The downfall of these pens is that, like regular felt tips, they do dry out quickly if you leave the top off.

Benefit’s Roller Liner gives a solid, black line at first asking, which means you’re not left trying to patch it up. This one doesn’t drag on the skin, meaning it’s good for the delicate area around your eyes as well and when paired with the fantastic Roller Lash mascara (the best Benefit mascara we’ve ever used) it creates a bold, beautiful look on a relative budget.


8. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil: Best eyeliner for hooded eyes

£20 | BUY NOW

Why we love it: If you’re after a liner that is less dramatic and precise, without sacrificing too much on pigment and staying power, we recommend Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On pencil eyeliner. Pencils are ideal for applying to both your waterline and along your upper lashes.

Its soft formula also means you can blend this eyeliner out to create, or add to, a soft smokey look.

This creamy formula also means, as the name suggests, that the colour glides on reducing the chances of you snagging the skin and creating smudges. It’s also waterproof and comes in a staggering 50 shades from neon, to matte, shimmer and beyond.

All of this combines to make it the best eyeliner for hooded eyes because it doesn’t smudge or transfer onto your eyelid but it also means you can get tight to the lash line where space on the lid is limited.


What eyeliner do I need?

The liner many people default to is a black, thin, liquid liner, which also happens to be the most difficult to apply. This is because you need an extremely steady hand and patience when using liquid eyeliner, let alone when the brush is thin and fiddly.

If you’re a beginner, we recommend you start with a pencil eyeliner. It may not give you the sharp edges or the vibrancy of colour that liquid eyeliners do but it’s much more forgiving.

If you’re after sharper edges but don’t feel confident with a liquid eyeliner yet, felt tip eyeliners are a great place to start for both pigment and ease-of-use.

For buildable colour, or if you want to use a makeup brush to apply your liner rather than a built-in pen, gel eyeliner is the way to go.

You can also buy powder eyeliners that are softer and can be blended more easily.

Or you can sack off eyeliners completely and just use eyeshadow and a thin makeup brush to create a solid line of colour.

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