The Best Eyeliners Makeup Artists Swear By (All Under $10)

gif of 3 different drugstore eyeliners


Bruno Gori/Getty Images. Graphic by Cristina Cianci

Eyeliner is what we would call a makeup kit staple, and owning one never feels like enough. One for your at-home makeup bag, one for your travel makeup bag, one for your car—why not? They take up little to no space, and in a pinch, the right eyeliner can take your look from day to night with just the flick of a wrist. Since it’s a product prone to multiples, we often like to purchase ours at the drugstore. (What can we say? We love a good bargain) Fun fact: Makeup artists do too. We polled nine of the industry’s most in-demand makeup artists, and they all came back with glowing reviews for the drugstore liners they count on to stay put through red carpets, photo shoots, and more. Turns out just $10 or less is enough to procure you an inky liner that won’t let you down. Excuse us while we stock up on all of these recommendations. Our wings have never been evener.

Scroll through for the best drugstore eyeliners, all approved by the industry’s top pros.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Liner $4

“I love a good creamy formula when it comes to liner, but don’t always love the longevity of them. This liner gives you both. Creamy, easy, smooth application along with a waterproof formula that lasts all day. They’re also highly pigmented and you can blend and smudge with ease!” — Desirae Cherman

Eyestudio Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil
Maybelline New York Eyestudio Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil $6

“I love Master Precise Skinny Gel eyeliner. The formulation is like silk with a ton of pigment and stays put as long as you want it to!” — Erin Ayanian Monroe

“I’m super impressed with this liner, and I would say that it definitely gives the department store versions a real run for their money. It’s so fine that you can create a cat eye with it, and it layers really beautifully. It doesn’t move around when you’re trying to really deposit the product. For smoky eyes, I think it’s all about getting that lash line completely saturated in color, and this liner lets me reach all the little areas in between lashes that can be almost impossible to get with other pencils.” — Andre Sarmiento

Milani Liquid Eye Pencil $5

“Milani Liquid Eye Pencil is a drugstore staple in my makeup kit. This gel-based pencil covers all requirements that matter most to me when determining the quality and use of an eyeliner: application, pigment, and staying power. Its ultra-smooth application is easy on the delicate areas of the eyelids and makes it easy to blend if I choose to smudge it out. The pigment is so rich, I can create a smoky eye with it fast or a bold, sexy cat-eye look. Its staying power goes the distance like a champion. I absolutely love it.” — Roxy

Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner $10

“These are great for a smudgy rock-and-roll feeling or to layer under your shadow for an easy smoky eye. Draw directly on using as a pencil and smudge with your finger for a darker messier smoke or apply with a liner or cream shadow brush for a more subtle, precise look. Both brown and black are a must-have.” — Adam Breuchaud

Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner
Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner $6

“For the ultimate cat eye, this is my go-to every time. It’s a super-rich black that has the most precise fine point for getting the shape exactly how you want. One trick I love to do if you are wanting a more natural look but still want a super defined lash line is to take the Ink Pen and dot in between your lashes to fill the spaces where skin shows.” — Desirae Cherman

Liquid Eyeliner
Almay Liquid Eyeliner $5

“This eyeliner is great because it has a super-smooth, inky formula to create the perfect cat eye that won’t ever smudge or bleed. I love this product for red carpet because I know the liner will be flawless all day and night!” — Tinna Empera

Unstoppable Eyeliner
Maybelline New York Unstoppable Eyeliner $6

“It’s super long-lasting, smudge-proof, and waterproof. I like that it’s in self-sharpening packaging, so it’s always the perfect point.” — Kindra Mann

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