Liquid Eyeliner will NEVER go out of style. Nothing makes eyes look bigger, brighter and more lifted than a flick of the black stuff
When you think of beauty icons through the ages, the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss and Marianne Faithful, they all have one thing in common (besides being impossibly cool and demonstrating swoon-worthy fringes). They all mastered the art of applying the best liquid eyeliner.
Modern muses, including Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Alexa Chung, also attest to the enduring pull of perfectly placed, feline-esque liner. When it’s done properly, a little winged liner can make your eyes appear larger and more lifted, plus make your lashes look thicker and darker. And what’s not to love about that?
When it comes to liquid eyeliner there are two types of women in this world; The first can apply liquid eyeliner like a ninja. Her hand is as steady as a board in the back of a taxi. She can flick her wand with precision, without a mirror. She is flawless.
Then there’s the other type of woman. She can barely hold an eyeliner pen without getting ink on her mouth, in her hair, or all over her face. Actually, anywhere but her eyes. Sadly, this is the camp a lot of us fall into.
What we have learnt over the years of blindly drawing over our face in an effort to look perfect coquettish, is this: despite cack-handedness everyone can wear eyeliner. If your eyes are hooded you’ll need to keep the colour quite close to your lashes and make sure you look dead-ahead into a mirror when plotting the end of your wing. Very rounded-up eyes benefit from a more rigid, bolder, wing. And almond eyes, well, you hit the genetic jackpot. Any liner looks good on you.
How to choose the best liquid eyeliner for you
The next step is to know your poison. Clearly there are plenty of options when it comes to eyeliner; kohl, liquid, gel etc. Take this quiz on Powder to find the perfect one.
The pros will often use either an angled or very fine-tipped brush to apply the liner to the roots of the lashes, but we’ve found that the novice is far better suited to a liquid liner brush. Nine-times-out-of-ten you’ll find it in a felt-tip applicator, which makes life a whole lot easier.
But, there is one rule, one single rule that applies. No matter your eye shape and regardless of what type of product you’re using; you absolutely must tight-line your upper waterline. No, it’s not very comfortable. And yes, you will look like an idiot while you try to fill in your waterline without blinking. But, it’s totally essential if you’re to avoid that unsightly strip of exposed flesh.
With that out of the way, here’s our edit of the very best liquid eyeliner on the market that more than justify spending a few pennies.
‘Tattoo’ isn’t just a great nod to this liner’s creator, but a name that it lives up to well. The finest felt tip creates elegant, thin lines or bold, thick flicks with ease, and is waterproof, meaning it won’t budge whatever the weather.
Technically this is a gel liner, but it has the precision of a liquid eyeliner thanks to its pen tip, which promises a perfect flick, every time. While not totally foolproof – if you slip, you are still going to make a mistake – application is smooth, as the pen is easy to hold and the gel formula glides on effortlessly. Benefit mean it when they say this eyeliner won’t ‘smudge, budge or dry out’ – even in water, your new-look 60s flick won’t disappear.
Rather than building colour, this eyeliner is applied in one go, guiding the pen applicator across the eyelid from corner to corner. Great news for when you are short on time and need to create your favourite look in seconds.
Firstly, can we just appreciate this packaging? The rose gold is just beautiful. Rosie for Autograph make-up was inevitable; after Rosie’s insanely successful lingerie line and her fragrance, make-up was the next sure step.
This is a woman who knows her liner and so it was a given that her own liquid liner would be pretty impressive. The formula is intensely black, glossy and long-wearing. It’s a firm favourite.
This gem from Yves Saint Laurent is a old favourite and while we might flirt with a new liner, or try something new out on a whim, we’ll always come back to this. It’s as reliable as Swiss watch. It’s water resistant, it doesn’t flake and there are four shades; two shades of blue, a mossy green and inky black.
Eyeliner-pro Alexa Chung had her hand in the making of this liner. It’s super inky and precise but that’s not all; the inky formula contains a trio of peptides that condition the roots of your lashes and promote extra growth. What a winner.
If you struggle to create a perfect feline flick every time, a foolproof felt tip nip will help. The Bobbi Brown Ink Liner – with a felt tip-style pen – is seriously easy to apply and a good bet for first time users.
Start at the inner corner and sketch out in feathery strokes along the eye line, rather than just drawing a heavy black line across the eyelid with no control. This will help you to achieve the best look for your eye shape.
Unlike some liquid eyeliners, the Ink Liner won’t flake or crumble, so you can touch-up your make-up throughout the day without worrying about losing the original line.
The Max Factor Masterpiece Glide & Define Liquid Eye Liner has earned its place amongst our favourite liquid eyeliners for good reason. The thin nib allows you to build up your liner as you see fit and ‘glide and define’ hits the nail on the head as it’s almost impossible to make a mistake.
Designed to dispense just the right amount of liquid, shake to saturate the nib and then draw on in small sweeps to create your desired look. Great for regular touch-ups, this liquid eyeliner can be built up for a more intense look as you go from day to night.
Rimmel’s Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner is one of the best budget liners on the market. The felt tip-style pen means application is easy and, once dry, has real staying power. We love the pen and ink style packaging, which mean you can easily control the amount of product you want on the tip.
Build slowly from the inner corner to the outside of the eye and flick up towards the end of the eyebrow for the perfect feline flick. Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner still draws over even the most highly pigmented eyeshadows for a dramatic look.
The soft foam tip on the Lancôme Artliner 24HR genly bends to an angle for foolproof precision every time. The soft tip is also kind to eyes and allows you to get seriously close to the lash line, without making sensitive eyes sore.
We love the strong black pigment of Noir, which gives great definition, with or without an eye-widening flick. Play around with thickness, pressing lighter or harder to achieve different looks. So simple, we can even use this when time is short in the morning.
Shop now: Lancôme Artliner for £23 from fabled.com
If you aren’t one for subtlety and like high drama, this is the liquid eyeliner for you. You won’t be able to draw a thin line with the L’Oréal Paris Super Liner Blackbuster Intense, but you will find a super-slick, heavy flick easy to create.
The nib is super soft and won’t drag your eyelid, even though the colour is bold and dark and the liquid heavy and quick drying. Thanks to the firm applicator, you can get really close to the lashes, without worrying about getting the product in your eyes – a must for getting a flawless finish with no gaps.
For an eyeliner that really stays put once it’s on, try the Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge Liquid Eyeliner. We love any make-up product that means we don’t have to keep whipping out a mirror for regular checks – and this is our number one for durability.
The super-fine nib means you can wear your eyeliner however you choose: get in close to the lash line for a natural look, or build up high for statement eyes that scream look at me. Invest in an oil-based remover to take this off at the end of the day.
Channel the ultimate D&G woman with the Intense Liquid Eyeliner. In a range of shades, from Earthy Brown to Bronze, you can create a look to suit your mood. Embody the brand’s glamorous Italian woman in Black Intense or bring out your inner rock chick with Baroque Silver.
The ultra thin nib also makes light work of a subtle feathery line that can be built as you go – and believe us when we say this has real staying power. A one-stop product to recreate the Dolce Vita look at home.