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We all want bigger, brighter eyes. The secret to getting them is lining the waterline, but anyone who's ever tried to do so knows it's no easy feat. The waterline, aside from being super thin, is a wet and sensitive area, so not any old eyeliner will do.
It’s important to avoid a pencil that requires rubbing, tugging, or drawing a line over and over again to get it just right. Instead, use a fine one that will glide right on seamlessly. You also want a formula that’s not going to smudge or flake, well, for obvious reasons.
These are the best eyeliners for the waterline, since they bring on high pigment, won’t budge, and apply seamlessly.
Best Overall: Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil
Urban Decay already stole our hearts—and lids—with their 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, and this is basically the amped-up version designed for your waterline. The super creamy, demi-matte eye pencil stays in place as soon as its set so that it won’t rub off on your eyes. Seriously, this thing doesn’t budge. It glides right on, making it easy to apply to this super-sensitive area. It’s available in classic black, as well as navy, brown and nude.
Best Budget: Essence Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil
For such an affordable price, this pencil packs a punch. True to its name, it really lasts—we’re talking from day into night. The waterproof formula gives it its smudge-proof staying power. The packed-in pigment means it has an impressive color payoff, and the smooth texture goes right onto lids. It comes in six shades, including unexpected hues like Black Midnight Sky, a deep blue, Rockin’ Taupe, and Nightime in the Jungle, a rich brown.
Best Splurge: NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner
When lining your inner rim, you want a pencil that’s as fluid as possible, since the quicker and smoother the job, the less irritation to the area. The worst thing is a pencil that makes you draw on that line over and over again until you get the color you want or one that skips and drags.
Enter NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner. Made to last for 12 hours without caking or smearing, it looks fresh all day—and night. Plus, the pencil itself is no fuss. It has a retractable applicator and a built-in sharpener. It comes in six shades, each named after the most famous streets in the world, including Via Appia, a copper brown, and Rue Saint-Honor, a deep royal blue.
Best Drugstore Option: Milani Stay Put Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil
This waterproof gel pencil is on the soft side, making it easier to apply and blend, though it sets quickly and won’t budge all day. The creamy texture is great for creating a smudged, smoky eye vibe that’s ideal for after dark. It comes in five shades, including Keep on Sapphire, a fun, flattering electric blue that will really make peepers pop.
See more top picks of the best drugstore eyeliners.
Best Waterproof: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner
This formula is infused with antioxidant vitamins C and E, volatile silicones and modern wax oil combinations to make it comfortable for all-day wear. It's also waterproof, which means you really will get all-day wear out of it.
The extra moisture it brings is especially helpful to the waterline area. Since it’s a mechanical pencil, that means there is no sharpening needed. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it comes in a whopping 14 shades, ranging from an array of blacks to unique hues like amethyst, olive, and jade.
See more reviews of our favorite waterproof eyeliners that won't budge (until you want it to, that is).
Best Long-Wear: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil
After racking up awards for its staying power, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil has earned its title. The rich formula has an extra-pointy tip to make getting into that tight waterline much easier. A gel liner, it glides right on and stays there for 12 hours. Since it’s super pigmented, the color is intense and high definition.
For more options, check out our reviews of the best gel eyeliners on the market today.
Best Pencil: Pat McGrath Permagel Ultra Eye Pencil
If you’re looking for intensity, you’ve found it with the incredibly pigmented Pat McGrath Permagel Ultra Eye Pencil. It goes on smoothly and precisely; it’s practically foolproof, and it is beloved by beauty mavens for staying put. The soft pencil is enriched with silicone to help it glide right on, leaving a velvety look. Just like the rest of Pat McGrath’s line, the shades are editorially-minded, with three shades with a matte finish and two with a shimmer finish.
Take a peek at some of the other best eyeliner pencils you can buy.
Best Kajal: Shiseido Kajal InkArtist Shadow, Liner, Brow
The ultimate multitasker, this kajal pencil can be used in four ways: as an eyeliner, kajal, eyeshadow, and brow filler. Essentially, it’s a one-stop-shop for your eyes. But it's the formula itself that will surely win you over. It’s tear-proof, which is crucial for the inner rim, as well as smudge-proof, crease-proof, and waterproof.
Packed with pigment, the color delivers a punch and goes on seamlessly. It has a graduated point and a built-in smudger to help you create a stunning smoky eye that lasts for 12 hours and feels weightless the entire time. It is available in eight shades, ranging from black to teal to pink to hunter green.