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Black eyeliners are the LBDs of the makeup world—they’re simple, versatile, and can easily take you from day to night. But like LBDs, there are a lot of them out there, and it can be confusing to figure out which ones will make you look svelte and Charlize Theron–esque and which ones, well, won’t. Thus, we took it upon ourselves to ask the utmost experts on the matter: makeup artists. Ahead, you’ll find the top black eyeliners that industry pros use and swear by—some you’ll recognize and some that are a wondrous new discovery.
Keep scrolling for the best black eyeliners, according to makeup artists.
Best Overall: Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner in 10 Ebene
“The black is deep and rich in color with a creamy, silicone-enriched waterproof finish. The liner twists up when you need it and twists back down so it won’t dry out. It’s perfect for a smudgy, smoky eye that won’t budge. For a sharp, precise application, use the built-in sharpener at the end of the liner. Genius!” - Nicole Walmsley
Best for Smoky Eyes: Elizabeth Arden Precision Glide Eye Liner in Black Velvet
“I created this pencil so that it could be used in a multitude of ways. My most important factor is that it has lasting power. It can be used in the waterline as a traditional eyeliner, and it has an angled smudge tip at the other end of the pencil. It makes it possible to smudge the line for a smoky look or to have a subtle effect when desired.” - Rebecca Restrepo
Best for Waterline: Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eye Liner in Black
“The intensity of the pigment is hands down one of the deepest and richest blacks out there. It super soft so it’s easy on the eyes, especially when going into the waterline.” - Sage Maitri
Read more reviews and shop for the best eyeliners for the waterline.
Best Pencil: Xtreme Lashes GlideLiner Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Xtreme Black
“It’s one of the most carbon black pencils I have found, and it feels and goes on almost like a gel or cream liner. It’s super easy to use and works well with an angled brush as well! It also stays on extremely well and is water-resistant.” - Michael Anthony
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best eyeliner pencils.
Best Waterproof: Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel in 77 Black
“The intense black pigment is amazing and it is smudge-proof, crease-proof, and waterproof. I love using it on clients for red carpet and press days because I know it will last! I’ve come home from work after washing my hands several times and realized I had black eyeliner still there. You have to use eye-makeup remover to clean it off.” - Julie Harris
See more reviews of our favorite waterproof eyeliners available for purchase.
Best Long-Wear: Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto
Scali’s praise: “This pencil is great for dense, black, budge-proof lines.” We love it for its 12-hour wear time with no smearing or caking.
Check out our roundup of the best drugstore eyeliners.
Best Versatile: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack
“This is my favorite black eyeliner because it’s multipurpose. You can create a soft line by feathering it, or create a clean kitten flick or wing." - Fabiola