Just like pizza, eyeliner is one product in your makeup bag that doesn't have to be expensive to necessarily be good. In fact, most of the time the experience isn't worth the hype—or the price.
Yes, there's a time and place when you'd want a fancy designer eyeliner, but most days you don't want to splurge on restocking your expensive liner. Its drugstore counterpart will work just as well—and you'll have money left over for a late-night slice.
Whether you're looking for the best drugstore gel, liquid, felt tip, or waterproof eyeliner, we're here to help. We've sourced and tested all of the options at the drugstore to narrow down what eyeliners are the best of the best for drawing every type of line from cat eyes to tightlines.
Here, we've broken down the best drugstore eyeliners for every need.
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Best for Senstive Eyes: Burt's Bees Nourishing Eyeliner Pencil
When your skin is just as sensitive as you are, wearing eye makeup can be a struggle, but it's not impossible. Lining your eyes without any side effects by using Burt's Bees' gentle pencil. It's formulated with nourishing ingredients like mango and jojoba and meadow seed oils instead of parabens, dyes, and synthetic fragrances—all known irritants.
Best for Beginners: Maybelline New York Curvitude Liner
Can you pull a muscle applying eyeliner? Any liner-newbie will answer "yes." Skip the arm aerobics and use Maybelline's bendable liner. You can adjust it to the right or left so that you can easily glide it along your lash line at the right angle.
Best Liquid Eyeliner: Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner
When you want to wear a classic cat eye, you're going to need a solid liquid eyeliner. That's where Revlon's ColorStay Liquid Eyeliner comes in. The formula is super pigmented and glides smooth so that you can effortlessly draw on a slim or graphic line. But, this liner's main selling point? It stays smudge-free for up to 16 hours. (Yes, really.)
Best Slim Eyeliner: Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Skinny Eyeliner
When you just want subtle definition along your lash line, reach for a pencil with an ultra-fine tip to draw on a thin line. Maybelline's precise pencil has a gel-like formula that goes smoothly so it only takes one fluid motion to get your liner on.
Best Felt Tip Eyeliner: L'Oreal Paris Infallible Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner
Applying eyeliner is one situation where it's ok to be a total control freak. A liquid liner with a felt tip will bend and move with you as you draw it on. This makes nailing that clean, sharp cat eye almost foolproof. We love L'Oreal's pen because the small tip is perfect for starting off thin, and then building on the line for a bolder finish.
Best Pencil Eyeliner: NYX Professional Makeup Eyeliner Pencil
When in doubt, stick with a classic pencil. NYX's kohl liner isn't chalky, and when warmed up, you can smudge for an edgy, lived-in look
Best Gel Eyeliner: e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner
Sure, just looking at e.l.f.'s brush and pot duo may give you flashbacks of your high school art class, but using a gel liner is one painting assignment you can actually ace. The angled brush helps you create lines that are defined and precise. As for the actual gel liner, this one is our fave because even though it's creamy, it's locked into place once you've applied it.
Best Waterproof Eyeliner: Essence Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil
Unless you're Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong (who now has his own eyeliner), you probably don't want your eyeliner to smudge. Essence's gel pencil maybe less than $5 but it's sweat- and tear-proof. You know what that means: watch as many episodes of Grey's Anatomy before you drag yourself off your couch and go out with your friends on Saturday night.