The 16 Best Gel Eyeliners of 2023

Our best overall pick is KVD Super Pomade Eye Pigment

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Best Gel Eyeliners

Byrdie / David Hattan

Truth be told, liquid eyeliner has never been my forteè. Regardless of how I place my hand, the mirror, or the eyeliner that I use, I just can’t get the perfect line that I’m striving for. Until I started using gel eyeliners. I know what you’re thinking, a gel eyeliner—why not just use a pencil? Unlike liquid or pencil liners, gel eyeliners are easy to apply in a seamless line, cat-eye, or wing, and won’t slide off easily. 

Final Verdict

With its 12 highly-pigmented shades, versatile wear, and water-proof formula, KVD Super Pomade Eye Pigment is our overall favorite. If you’re looking for a gel eyeliner that’s truly worth splurging, try the Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner. It’s a revolutionary formula, long-lasting definition, and ability to perfectly define your gaze with the help of a thin brush makes it well worth the price. For more affordable options, try Lóreal’s Paris Infallible Lacquer Liner 24H, which stays put and is pigment-rich. 

Using silicone-based compounds to create pigmented color, gel eyeliners arrive in a wide range of colors—literally any you can imagine—and in simple-to-use brushes, retractable applicators, and self-sharpening pencils. And, if that weren’t enough to convince you, they also don’t smudge or move at all. 

We conducted hours of research on the best gel eyeliners, consulting with two celebrity makeup artists to narrow down our list of top-rated products. After considering dozens of formulas, evaluating them on their ingredients and ease of application, we landed on the following best in show.

Best Overall

KVD Vegan Beauty Super Pomade Vegan Eyeliner

KVD Super Pomade Eye Pigment

Sephora

What We Like
  • Intense pigment

  • Great for intentional smearing and smudging

  • Long lasting

  • Fun shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to remove

From the creamy, multi-use formula to the expansive range of rich hues, Kat Von D’s pomade is a true winner. It’s described by the brand as a “one pot wonder”, which makes sense seeing as it works just as well as a shadow or brow pigment, as it does an eyeliner. Not to mention, like many other products in KVD’s collection, the pigment is intensely rich and long lasting.

Price at time of publish: $23

Type: Gel | Shades: 17 | Free of: Oil, alcohol| Size: 0.18 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Lacquer Liner 24H

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Lacquer Liner 24H

Amazon

What We Like
  • Glides on easily

  • Intense color payoff

  • High-shine finish

What We Don't Like
  • Can smudge over time

Created with a unique lacquer finish, this gel eyeliner will last you all day and night seamlessly. Don’t be fooled by the price; its smooth-gliding brush, easy-to-use consistency, and mistake-proof application are just some of the reasons why it’s just as spectacular as its more expensive counterparts.

Price at time of publish: $9

Type: Gel | Shades: 1 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.08 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Long Lasting Liner

Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Eye Pencil

4.2
Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Eye Pencil

Pat McGrath

What We Like
  • Range includes fun shades

  • Glides on easily

  • Pigmented, dimensional shades

What We Don't Like
  • Can smear

Everything that Pat McGrath creates is nothing short of perfection and this eyeliner is no exception. The soft, waterproof eyeliner ensures long-lasting definition and a perfectly defined gaze with just a quick swipe. And, the revolutionary formula is available in select colors in both classic and bold shades—such as Xtreme Black to Blitz Blue.

Price at time of publish: $29

Type: Pencil | Shades: 6 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.04 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Waterproof

Too Faced Killer Line 36 Hour Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

too-faced-killer-liner-36-hour-waterproof-gel-eyeliner

Ulta

What We Like
  • Extensive shade range

  • Comfortable to wear

  • Smudge-proof

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging could be improved

Leave smudging of any kind behind with this liner that lasts 36 hours. Water-proof and ultra-smooth, creating killer sharp lines requires little to no effort. And, there is no shortage of colors—eleven to be exact.

Price at time of publish: $23

Type: Pencil | Shades: 20 | Size: 0.04 oz | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Shade Range

Haus Labs Optic Intensity Eco Eyeliner

Haus Labs Optic Intensity Eco Eyeliner

Sephora

What We Like
  • Creamy, smooth texture

  • Smudge-proof

  • Range includes fun shades

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to sharpen

From metallic silvers to burnt terracotta to rose gold, Haus Labs has every shade you could imagine (and more). Color-packed and creamy, this eyeliner applies like an absolute dream and is transfer-proof, water-proof, and long-wearing. These eyeliners are SO incredible that they lasted me through a dip in the pool and a hot summer day with zero smudges whatsoever.

Price at time of publish: $22

Type: Pencil | Shades: 20 | Size: 0.04 oz | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Pencil

ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starr Point Made 24-Hour Gel Eye Pencil

ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starr Point Made 24-Hour Gel Eye Pencil

Sephora

What We Like
  • Smooth and easy to smudge on purpose

  • Glides on easily

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to sharpen

This ultra-pigmented eyeliner combines both silky and smudgy textures so crafting any eyeliner look is unchallenging. Its two colors—Bodacious Black and Busty Brown—look fabulous on any skin tone and it glides on beautifully. The best part? It lasts for 24 hours with zero budging at all.

Price at time of publish: $19

Type: Pencil | Shades: 2 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.04 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Duo

Tarte Double Take Eyeliner

Tarte Double Take Eyeliner

Target

What We Like
  • Great value

  • Creates versatile looks

  • Intense color payoff

What We Don't Like
  • Fades over time

If you’re looking to dip your toes into gel eyeliner, but still want to keep trying your hand at liquid liner then Tarte’s Double Take Eyeliner is your best bet. Its two sides—one gel and one liquid—can be used separately or together to construct an impeccable winged eyeliner. And, both formulas are made with a soft-flex tip, so evenly saturated color is always deposited.

Price at time of publish: $25

Type: Pencil/liquid | Shades: 3 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.02 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Gel Pot

Morphe Gel Liner

Morphe Gel Liner

Morphe

What We Like
  • Glides on easily

  • Long-wearing

  • Intense color payoff

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to remove

We’ve all been there; a bad breakup, a sad movie, or our best friend’s wedding with eyeliner that we spent endless time doing completely ruined. While we can’t prevent the tears from flowing, we can prevent the eyeliner from moving—and that’s exactly what this eyeliner will do. I promise you, it will stay completely flawless whether they are happy or sad tears. And, it’s incredibly creamy, long-wearing, and in some truly beautiful colors.

Price at time of publish: $10

Type: Gel | Shades: 2 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.08 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

4.8
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multiuse

  • Long-wearing

  • Best for value

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Though it’s a bit steep in price, once you incorporate Bobbi Brown’s gel pomade into your makeup collection, it will be hard to let it go.  And when paired with an angled liner brush (used while damp), you’ll be able to achieve thin and precise lines every time.

Price at time of publish: $27

Type: Gel | Shades: 4 | Free of: Oil, alcohol | Size: 0.1oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Mechanical Liner

Hourglass Cosmetics 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner

5
hourglass-cosmetics-15mm-mechanical-gel-eye-liner

Sephora

What We Like
  • Has a fine tip

  • Value size available

  • Glides on easily

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

Housed inside a 1.5MM mechanical pencil is the thinnest gel eyeliner I’ve ever seen. Don’t be fooled by its size; its application is done with complete ease and accuracy—and you’ll end up with the most precise eyeliner line you’ve ever laid your eyes on. If that wasn’t enough—its formula is cruelty-free.

Price at time of publish: $21

Type: Pencil | Shades: 5 | Free of: Oil, alcohol | Size: 0.02 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Waterline

Smashbox Always On Gel Eye Liner

Smashbox

Ulta 

What We Like
  • Comfortable to wear

  • Intense color payoff

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • Only one shade

Smashbox’s gel liner is a favorite of pros and makeup artists everywhere—and for a good reason. Its super-saturated pencil is long-wearing, waterproof, and applies to the waterline without moving. To apply to your waterline, use shorter strokes to deposit even amounts of color.

Price at time of publish: $23

Type: Pencil | Shades: 1 | Free of: Alcohol, parabens | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Beginners

ILIA Clean Line Gel Eyeliner

ILIA Clean Gel Eyeliner

Sephora

What We Like
  • Glides on easily

  • Works well in the waterline

  • Blends easily

What We Don't Like
  • Not the best value

Hands down, if you’re a beginner, ILIA’s easy-to-use crayon is for you. Water-resistant formula aside, this eyeliner boasts budge-proof wear and blends like an absolute dream. Plus, its formula is formulated without any bad-for-you ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and more.

Price at time of publish: $26

Type: Pencil | Shades: 2 | Free of: Alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.01 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Oily Skin

Melt Cosmetics Ultra Matte Gel Eyeliner

5
melt-cosmetics-ultra-matte-gel-eyeliner

Sephora

One of the main takeaways of Melt’s gel liner is that despite having a bold matte finish when applied, the formula itself remains creamy and smooth, even after opening. This makes it easy to blend and smudge, intentionally of course, when you want a smokey eye look. And those with oily skin don’t have to worry about creasing as the day goes on. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Type: Gel | Shades: 2 | Free of: Oil, Alcohol | Size: 0.88 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Blending

Stila Smudge Pot

Stila Smudge Pot

Stila

What We Like
  • Multipurpose product

  •  Blends easily

  • Creamy, smooth texture

What We Don’t Like
  • Only one shade

Smooth and silky, Stila’s formula stays on all day and is easy-breezy to apply. What we love most about this eyeliner—aside from its incredible long-lasting formula—is the fact that you can use it as both an eyeliner and eyeshadow. Watch out: you may find yourself using it every day.

Price at time of publish: $20

Type: Gel | Shades: 2 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.14 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Sensitive Eyes

Neutrogena Intense Gel Eyeliner

Neutrogena Intense Gel Eyeliner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Has Vitamin E

  • Waterproof

  • Precise applicator

What We Don't Like
  • Limited shades

Neutrogena is known for its sensitive-skin friendly formulas, so it makes sense that their intense gel liner is easy on the eyes. Infused with antioxidant-rich Vitamin E for nourishment, it’s water resistant and features a precise applicator, ensuring your lines are clean. 

Price at time of publish: $8

Type: Pencil | Shades: 3 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.4 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Clean Formula

Milk Makeup Infinity Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

Milk Makeup Infinity Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

Sephora

What We Like
  • Creamy

  • Tug-free application

  • Nourishing ingredients

  • Vegan

What We Don’t Like
  • Twist-up packaging could be better

Cult brand, Milk Makeup has a long lasting pencil liner that’s as nourishing as it is easy to use. Infused with rich ingredients like, Aloe Vera extract and avocado oil, the Infinity eyeliner is well suited for most, if not all, skin types. What we love most are the soothing properties. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Type: Pencil | Shades: 3 | Free of: Oil, alcohol, parabens | Size: 0.12 oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is KVD Super Pomade Eye Pigment, for its incredible formula that blends easily, allowing you to stay close to the lashline. If you’re looking for a gel eyeliner that’s truly worth splurging, try the Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner. It’s a revolutionary formula, that offers long-lasting definition, and defines your gaze with the help of a thin brush that make it well worth the price. 

Meet the Expert

  • Yanni Peña is a celebrity makeup artist based in New York City.
  • Gilbert Soliz is a makeup artist with a celebrity clientele in Los Angeles.

What to Look for in a Gel Eyeliner

Formula

The key is finding an eyeliner with a creamy, yet smooth formula that will glide on to your lid and hold in place for the remainder of the day. Even better if it’s infused with antioxidant rich ingredients that won’t damage your lash line, but instead, nourish while maintaining the look.

Color

Certain eyeliner colors compliment certain eyes. “Choosing a color that compliments your eye color will motivate you to wear it more often than not,” says makeup artist, Gilbert Soliz. And, it’ll also make your eyes pop.

Longevity

When choosing an eyeliner, opt for one with a long-wearing formula. “You want the gel eyeliner to have long-wear attributes so there’s no smearing or smudging around the eyes,” explains Soliz.  

FAQ
  • What is the best brush to use for gel eyeliner?

    “I use pointed brushes in various thickness and lengths,” makeup artist Yanni Peña offers. “You can find these at your nearest art supply store.”

  • What is the best way to apply gel liners?

    For clean lines, Peña says take a pointed or a regular q-tip soaked in micellar water and wipe away the corners/smudgy areas of your liner. 

  • How do you make your eyeliner stay all day?

    The key to ensuring your liner lasts for the duration of the day, according to Peña, is prepping your lids with a good primer. “I like using the MAC pro-long wear paint pots because of its 24hr staying power,” he adds. “But also invest in a good eyeliner that checks all the boxes and is waterproof, crease proof, and smudge proof.”

Why Trust Byrdie

Shelby Ying Hyde is a Byrdie contributor with bylines in NYLON, Teen Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, The Zoe Report, and more. She is a market editor with a specialty in fashion and beauty. 

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