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Nailing your eyeliner look is hard enough as it is. We get it, it’s not the simplest of tasks, especially when you want a precise cat eye or other difficult-to-master result. Luckily, finding the best formulas is less complicated than ever, which makes mastering and wearing eyeliner simpler than ever. The best part: they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Instead, look to your local drugstore for the newest and easiest-to-use versions.
Whether you prefer a pen, brush tip, or waterproof liner, there’s an affordable one for you. Stock up on a few of these trusty favorites—trying your hand with different formulas, shades, and applicators will help you find the one that best suits your needs. And with such bargain prices, you can’t go wrong! Get ready to start swiping and you’ll see that the possibilities are endless.
Read on to learn more about the best drugstore eyeliners you can buy now.
Best Overall: Jordana INCOLOR Fabuliner Liquid Eyeliner, Black
With so many liquid eyeliners on the market, it’s not as easy as you’d think to find one that doesn’t budge, has an easy-to-apply applicator, and dispenses an ultra-black formula. Basically, you want one that won’t make you late if you’re feeling a cat eye or subtle flick that day. Thankfully, budget brand Jordana came through with its super wallet-friendly pen-style liquid liner that provides a full-proof flick or a subtle-line with ease.
This felt-tip pen liner gives pricier liners a run for their money thanks to its long-wearing, jet-black formula that literally never drags or skips when you apply it. It also is long-lasting so you don’t have to worry about it smudging or flaking off during high temps or if you tend to get a little oily during the day. When applying, its best to pull your lid slightly taught to ensure you get a super precise line—regardless if you’re after a dramatic wing, a feline flick, or want to amp-up the look of your lashline.
Best Waterproof: Wet n Wild Megaliner H2O Proof Liquid Eyeliner
The last thing you want after you’ve perfected a cat eye—or any eyeliner look for that matter—is for it to smudge. This soft, felt-tip brush makes it easy to maneuver. The satin finish formula, though it’s waterproof, does have a little dry time to it for you to get it right. If you apply and realize that it’s a little off, rework it and then let it set. If you find yourself reaching for an oil-based remover to correct your handiwork, though, be sure to wipe it clean with water and follow with a primer or a dab of concealer so that you’re working with a clean slate. Any trace of oil that’s left behind can mess with the application and then you’ll really have some trouble.
Best for Beginners: Revlon ColorStay Exactify Liquid Liner
If your first thought is, “this looks like a mini pizza cutter,” you’re right. Though the roller tipped liner may appear difficult to use, it’s actually one of the most foolproof applicators out there. The perfect amount of product is loaded on the wheel when you pull it out of the tube, so you won’t have to worry about having too much or too little. And once you place it at the base of your lashes on your lid, it’s almost as if it’s locked into a track, making it impossible to draw anything other than a straight line. Simply roll it back and forth to build intensity. You can easily create a flicked look by just dragging the wheel outwards at an angle and lifting once you reach the point where you want it to stop.
Best Brown: COVERGIRL Get In Line Liquid Eyeliner
Brown eyeliner is underrated and often overlooked because black makes such a statement. Less intense than its ebony counterpart, a rich cocoa hue defines eyes and works for both day and night. This one in particular leaves behind a matte line when swiped on lids and has a contour-grip handle that makes it easier to hold and draw the perfect line. Spice things up with a brown liquid liner on top and black on the lash line. This will amp up the intensity of your lashes, but still appear natural because there’s no harsh black line rimming your lids.
Best for Thin Lines: NYX Professional Makeup Super Skinny Eye Marker
Most similar to a calligraphy marker, the fine felt tip creates a smooth, thin line that won’t feather. Create a barely there mark and build it up to your desired width or leave as is. It’s long-lasting and smudge-proof, but won’t cause you to tug or pull when it comes time for removal. This is great for daytime looks or if you’re a no-makeup-makeup gal. For an ethereal vibe, dot a metallic liner above the thin black line—it’ll act like a halo and make your peepers appear wide open.
Best for Wings: Maybelline Curvitude Liner
The curved tip pen can be used to create a feline flick, either small or more dramatic. Hold the pen with the tip at 45 degrees, angled out from each outer corner and lay it down almost like a stamp. Then connect it to the line started from the inner corner that runs along the rest of the lid. Sometimes it’s smart to get the wings first before drawing the rest of the line. And remember, similarly to eyebrows, winged eyeliner lines can be sisters or even cousins instead of identical twins. Because let’s face it, perfection is overrated.
Best Lash-Boosting: Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner
What could be better than an eyeliner that also encourages lash growth? This Amazon Choice rated product taps a Japanese formula that provides long lasting liner packed with lash boosting peptides. Reports claim that after 2 weeks 75% of women saw longer, fuller and more enhanced lashes. It also comes in brown, black and ultra black so even if you want to switch up the hue you’re wearing, you can still reap the lash growth benefits.
Best for Sensitive Eyes: Almay Liquid Eyeliner
Tested by dermatologists and labeled as hypoallergenic, this inky formula gives you everything you want in a liquid eyeliner formula without any of the irritation. The built in brush allows you to get a precise amount of liquid to create your smudge-proof line. It also promises 16 hours of wear without any irritation. If you find yourself to have reactive eyes or are just prone to allergies in general, try a patch test with this on the back of your hand and see how you do after a few hours of wear. If there’s no reaction, give it a try on eyes.
Best for Graphic Lines: L'Oréal Paris Infallible The Blackbuster Liquid Eyeliner
The hot off the runway look this year was all about graphic eye makeup. If you’re after a style that’s a little more daring than your classic lash hugging liner, go for a look where the line is drawn in the crease, almost hovering over the rest of the bare lid. A chunkier line is bold and doesn’t call for much additional makeup other than a solid base of foundation and lots of dramatic flutter on your eyelashes. Dare to go even further? Create a double line either with a thinner liner or a colored one for contrast.
This drugstore eyeliner from L'Oréal Paris helps you achieve a show-stopping look thanks to its thick marker-like tip. Users say the tapered sponge applicator brush compares to higher end eyeliners and makes applying eyeliner easier than ever.
Best for Monolids: L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt-Tip Liquid Eyeliner
If you were blessed with gorgeous monolids, you know the struggle is all too real when it comes to finding an eyeliner that doesn’t transfer or smear off seconds after applying. It’s best to choose a waterproof or smudge-proof formula, that way you’re not checking your stunning feline flick in the mirror every few minutes. That’s where this liner from L’Oréal comes in.
The effort-free liquid liner features a super-fine felt tip that allows for the utmost precision when drawing a cat eye or tracing a fine line across your upper lids. But what makes this formula perfect for those with monolids is its 8-hour long-wearing, super long-lasting formula that won’t flake or smudge from the time you apply it until you want to take it off at the end of the night. Plus, it is fragrance-free and ophthalmologist-tested so it is suitable for even the most sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
Best Bold Color: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Paints Eyeliner
Colored eyeliner can totally transform your eyes in one single stroke. Adding a hue that complements your eye color can be an easy trick to add a pop of color to your makeup look without doing full eyeshadow or rocking a bold lip. But it can be tricky to find colors that are saturated enough to appear on fair to deep complexions, that’s why we took the searching out of the equation for you and swatched until we found this stunning eyeliner range from L’Oréal.
These fun, colorful liners that don’t’ break the bank come in a wide range of rich jewel tones in blue and purple hues that complement all eye colors and skin tones. Not only are the colors utterly beautiful, but the actual formula itself is smooth and applies with ultra ease. The felt-tip works for all eye shapes and skin tones. To apply, run the 0.1 mm felt tip along your upper lash line as close as possible starting at the inner corners. You can even combine colors to create an ombré effect.