The 10 Best Waterproof Eyeliners of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

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Waterproof Eyeliner Test

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Waterproof eyeliners are great in theory. After all, who doesn’t want their precision-applied lined look to last as long as possible? The problem is, all too often, these supposedly smudge-proof eyeliners don’t live up to their claims—either smearing with sweat or fully fading away when met with water. Not to mention, if a waterproof eyeliner does stay put in both scenarios, there’s a strong chance that they’ll be just as steadfast when it’s time to come off, which is why waterproof eyeliners regularly get a bad rap for being difficult to remove. 

Byrdie Tested & Approved

The Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! 24-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner was easily our favorite to use and earned its spot as our best overall pick, thanks to its smooth-gliding formula that lasts all night and comes off easily. However, we also found long-lasting results with the more budget-friendly e.l.f. Cosmetics Intense H2O Proof Eyeliner Pen.

With all of this in mind, we thought it was high time to set out in search of the best waterproof eyeliners the market has to offer. Rather than relying solely on reviews, however, we put in the leg (er, eye) work and put 19 popular waterproof eyeliners to the test. We spent upwards of 190 hours witnessing these liners at work—at rest, at play, and through full 60-minute Orangetheory workouts (yes, we showed up to sweat with statement lids). As you might have guessed, some fared better than others. Intrigued?

Keep reading to learn which waterproof eyeliners are worth making room for in your makeup routine.

Best Overall: Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! 24-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner

4.8
Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! 24-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner

Ulta

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Pigment
    4/5
  • Water Resistance
    5/5
  • Overall Wear
    5/5
  • Removal
    5/5
What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • Glides on smoothly

  • Weightless feel

  • Easy to remove

What We Don’t Like
  • Could be more pigmented

  • Fades slightly when touched

Who else recommends it? Harper's Bazaar also picked the Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! 24-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner.

This creamy eyeliner is the perfect waterproof option for everything from coating the waterline to creating a dramatic cat eye. The easy-to-apply crayon format glides on smoothly, so you don’t have to aggressively pull at your lid to create a straight line. Once on, it feels weightless, making it a particularly comfortable liner option. The one caveat? Even in the black shade, this liner is not 100% opaque, so keep in mind that it will require a second layer to get a bold, jet-black finish.

What makes this option stand out amongst other crayon liners on the market is that it truly doesn’t budge when mixed with sweat or splashed with water. It stays put, yet it’s workable enough to touch up with micellar water should you want to create even sharper lines. If you prefer a more smudged end look, it also boasts a built-in sponge for blending it out immediately after application. 

Fast forward to the end of our five-hour wear test, and we were delighted to find that, despite its long-lasting nature, it was easy to fully remove with Glow Recipe’s Papaya Sorbet Smoothing Enzyme Cleansing Balm & Makeup Remover. Fresh out of the shower, there wasn’t a trace of the liner left behind.

Formula and Type: Waterproof crayon eyeliner | Color Range: 4 | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Easy to Remove: Yes

Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! 24-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Intense H2O Proof Eyeliner Pen

4.7
e.l.f. Cosmetics Intense H2O Proof Eyeliner Pen

Ulta

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Pigment
    4.3/5
  • Water Resistance
    5/5
  • Overall Wear
    4.5/5
  • Removal
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Long-lasting wear

  • Opaque

  • Easy to apply

What We Don’t Like
  • Takes slightly longer to dry

  • Difficult to remove

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to add a high-quality waterproof eyeliner to your makeup kit. Your proof? This e.l.f. Cosmetics Intense H2O Proof Eyeliner Pen, which costs just $6 and outperforms many of the other liners we tried. It’s highly pigmented, built to last throughout the day, and comfortable throughout the entire duration of wear. It does take a touch longer to dry than other formulas, but not so long that you risk smudging it onto your upper lids before it sets. The one downside? It’s particularly difficult to remove. Rather than coming off entirely in one fell swoop, one of our testers found that it took quite a bit more rubbing to get rid of it completely.

Formula and Type: Waterproof liquid eyeliner pen | Color Range: 1 | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: Yes

e.l.f. Cosmetics Intense H2O Proof Eyeliner Pen

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

What Our Editors Say

"As much as I love e.l.f. Cosmetics, I had some not-so-great experiences with the brand's liners in the past. This product has completely changed my outlook—it has since become my go-to eyeliner." —Eden Stuart, Associate Editor

Best Gel: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

4.8
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Pigment
    4/5
  • Water Resistance
    5/5
  • Overall Wear
    5/5
  • Removal
    5/5
What We Like
  • Doesn’t clump up on the brush

  • Glides on smoothly

  • Dries quickly

  • Doesn’t budge from sweat or water splashes

What We Don’t Like
  • Could be more pigmented

  • Doesn’t come with an application brush

Many people assume that gel pot eyeliners are reserved for professional makeup artists and those with super steady hands. While this liner category typically does require a bit more precision, the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner boasts such a smooth application, even newbies can create a gorgeous lined look. Unlike many gel pot liners, this cult-favorite formula won’t clump up on your liner brush (though it’s worth noting the liner doesn’t come with a brush, so you’ll have to purchase your own). It glides on beautifully and dries down quickly, making the application process much more seamless.

One thing to note is that since this liner applies a bit lighter (which lends to its anti-clumping prowess), it’s slightly less pigmented than it seems in the pot. Still, it’s easy to layer, and doing so doesn’t result in a caked-on finish, so it’s not a major deterrent. As for removal, it came off easily—and entirely—with the Glow Recipe Cleansing Balm, a major plus.

Formula and Type: Waterproof gel pot eyeliner | Color Range: 4 | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: Yes

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

What Our Testers Say

“This is the only gel pot eyeliner I've tried that I’ve actually wholeheartedly liked. I'd be inclined to try the other colors.” —Rebecca Norris, Product Tester

Best Pen: Fenty Beauty Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner in Cuz I'm Black

4.7
Fenty Beauty

Fenty Beauty

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Pigment
    5/5
  • Water Resistance
    5/5
  • Overall Wear
    4.5/5
  • Removal
    5/5
What We Like
  • Ample control to create sharp wings

  • Glides on smoothly

  • Easy to remove

  • Cap fits on the end

What We Don’t Like
  • Fades very slightly by end of day

  • Felt slightly dry after a few hours

Many people find that liquid eyeliner pens are the easiest option for creating fluid strokes ending in perfectly sharp wingtips—and with Fenty Beauty’s Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner, you can do just that. The free-flowing, fast-drying formula ensures an even line of opaque pigment that won’t drip, smudge, or smear during the application process. And, since it glides on so smoothly, it doesn’t require any pulling or tugging to evenly line your lids.

Once applied, this liner lives up to its name: It doesn’t budge—not when met with a sweaty HIIT class or when splashed post-workout. Still, it’s easy to remove when a cleanser is introduced. One tester evaluated it with Glow Recipe’s Cleansing Balm while another used a makeup wipe, both fully removing every trace of pigment with ease.

Something to call out is that while it feels weightless upon application, after a few hours of wear, it does dry out a bit—but not so much that it cracks or feels uncomfortable. Beyond its formula, this waterproof liner is particularly convenient since the cap fits onto the end of the pen, so you don’t have to worry about it rolling off any surfaces (and potentially falling off your vanity or down your sink). 

Formula and Type: Waterproof liquid eyeliner pen | Color Range: 2 | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: Yes

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

What Our Testers Say

"With this eyeliner, my eyes looked greener than ever before! I loved how they looked and how it held the whole day!" —Alice Sungurov, Editorial Commerce Producer

Best for Oily Lids: COVERGIRL Exhibitionist Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner

4.7
COVERGIRL Exhibitionist Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Pigment
    4.8/5
  • Water Resistance
    4.8/5
  • Overall Wear
    4.5/5
  • Removal
    4.3/5
What We Like
  • Richly pigmented

  • Long-lasting wear

  • Weightless feel

  • Easy to remove

What We Don’t Like
  • Inflexible tip

  • Cap doesn’t fit on the end

Beloved by hundreds of shoppers for its luxe-quality formula, COVERGIRL’s Exhibitionist Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner is a fantastic drugstore option for those hoping for sharp, dark lines that last. The inky formula is highly pigmented and dries almost immediately. Once dry, it won’t budge from sweat or normal blinking friction—however, it does slightly fade when directly splashed with water, but not so much to nix it from our list of faves. One not so fab callout, though: Since it’s formulated with PEGs and BHT, it’s not Byrdie Clean. Still, it performs so well that you might find that to be an acceptable price to pay for an affordable long-lasting-but-easy-to-remove waterproof eyeliner.

Formula and Type: Waterproof liquid eyeliner pen | Color Range: 2 | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: Yes

COVERGIRL Exhibitionist Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

What Our Editors Say

"COVERGIRL has made most of my favorite eyeliner formulas (my everyday go-to since 2016 has been the Outlast Active Get In Line Liner), and this makes it onto my list. It's very pigmented and glides on to create smooth, sharp lines. It lasts all day on my oily lids, but is still easy to remove with a water-based cleanser." —Jesa Maria Calaor, Editor

Best Pencil: Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil

5
Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil

Sephora

What We Like
  • Extensive color range

  • Stays put when splashed

  • Cap fits on the end

  • Easy to touch up edged with micellar water

What We Don’t Like
  • Not super crisp upon application

  • Not opaque

  • Inconsistent wear based on color

If you prefer a pencil eyeliner above all other formulas, the Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil is the way to go. Despite being a pencil, it’s creamy and applies easily without any serious tugging, which is what makes it one of our favorites of the bunch. We also love that the formula is available in a variety of neutral shades, ranging from black and brown to copper and navy. However, it’s worth noting that the pigmentation level depends on the color chosen; where the black shade is opaque in a single swipe, the purple option requires multiple layers for substantial color payoff.

Another con of this otherwise great waterproof eyeliner is that, while it stays put in the face of sweat and splashes of water, it will smudge if you accidentally rub your eye or blink furiously. If you generally keep your hands away from your face, it remains a comfortable, long-lasting option worth perusing. Just keep in mind that, although it’s easy to remove, it often leaves a slight trace of color along your lash line, so you might need to follow up your regular makeup remover with an additional swipe of micellar water.

Formula and Type: Waterproof pencil eyeliner | Color Range: 8 shades, 3 finishes | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Easy to Remove: Yes

Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL™ Longwear Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

What Our Editors Say

"I honestly never thought I would regularly use an eye pencil (over a liquid pen or gel pot), but this one has converted me." —Eden Stuart, Associate Editor

Best for Sharp Wingtips: One/Size by Patrick Starrr Point Made Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen

4.5
One/Size by Patrick Starrr Point Made Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen

Sephora

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Pigment
    4.8/5
  • Water Resistance
    4/5
  • Overall Wear
    4/5
  • Removal
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Highly pigmented

  • Creates crisp lines

  • Dries quickly

What We Don’t Like
  • Only one color available

  • Fades after a few hours

  • Smudges if touched

This top-rated liquid eyeliner pen is a dream for creating wingtips. It delivers opaque color in a single swipe, and thanks to its sharp tip, it makes creating equally-as-sharp wings a breeze. However, we wouldn’t say it entirely lives up to its claims: It fades and slightly cracks during sweaty workouts and smears when splashed with water (or simply touched). But considering how easy it makes it to create even, opaque cat eyes, we’re still big fans—we’ll just be sure to apply eye makeup primer before going in with this liner next time. 

Formula and Type: Waterproof liquid eyeliner pen | Color Range: 1 | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: Yes

One/Size by Patrick Starrr Point Made Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

What Our Editors Say

"This liner's formula and tip made it easy to create a sharp, pigmented cat eye." —Jesa Maria Calaor, Editor

Best for Dark Black Lines: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

5
Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Stila

Our Ratings
  • Pigment
    4.5/5
  • Overall Wear
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Glides on smoothly

  • Richly pigmented

  • Sharp tip makes wingtips a breeze

  • Dries quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Fades after a few hours

  • Requires a double cleanse to fully remove

An editor and consumer favorite, Stila's Stay All Day formula is, by far, one of our favorites. It glides on smoothly, dries quickly, and won't smudge or run, no matter what you do. That's right: You can sweat, cry, and dance your heart out, and it won't budge.

Reviewers rave that it lasts well on oily lids, watery eyes, and even stays put through a red-eye flight. The fine felt tip is perfect for precise application, but, unlike many other liquid liners, it can also be used to create thicker, more dramatic shapes. It also has the distinction of coming in 11 different shades, including a deep blue, vibrant green, and crisp white, to name a few—rare for a liquid formula.

Formula and Type: Waterproof liquid eyeliner pen | Color Range: 6 | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: No

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

Byrdie / Ashley Rebecca

What Our Testers Say

“With a high pigment deposit in just one application along with no smudging or smearing, this eyeliner will last through anything.” — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester

Best for Color Lovers: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

4.4
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Pigment
    3/5
  • Water Resistance
    5/5
  • Overall Wear
    4/5
  • Removal
    5/5
What We Like
  • Creamy formula

  • Tons of colors to choose from

  • Comfortable to wear

  • Easy to remove

What We Don't Like
  • Smudges throughout the day

  • Inconsistent pigment depending on color

Whether Euphoria has you daydreaming about creative eye makeup looks or you’re simply a big fan of color, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil is a great option. The formula comes in an impressive 34 different shades, including matte and glitter finishes. While the level of pigment opacity varies from color to color, no matter which hue you choose, you can expect a very creamy application (which, admittedly, can make drawing on crisp lines more of a challenge). Luckily, a couple of layers and a touchup with micellar water can easily address both of those concerns. Speaking of micellar water, this liner stays put through sweat and water (though not with physical touches), but it’s easy to remove with cleansing balm and micellar water alike.

Formula and Type: Waterproof eyeliner pencil | Color Range: 34 shades, 2 finishes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: Yes

Best for Beginners: Haus Labs Micro-Tip Eye-Lin-Ner

4.3
Haus Labs Micro-Tip Eye-Lin-Ner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Pigment
    4.3/5
  • Water Resistance
    4/5
  • Overall Wear
    4/5
  • Removal
    4.8/5
What We Like
  • Tiny tip prevents over-applying

  • Works great for small wingtips

  • Glides on smoothly

  • Easy to remove

What We Don’t Like
  • Only one shade

  • Requires multiple strokes for even application

If you love the idea of wingtips but are just beginning to break ground on creating dramatic eye makeup looks, you need an eyeliner that provides the most precision possible—and trust us; this is it. The Haus Labs Micro-Tip Eye-Lie-Ner features the teeniest, tiniest tip that, yes, requires multiple strokes to coat the entire lash line, but also makes creating small wings (as well as bigger, bolder designs) easier than ever. Once it’s applied and dried (which doesn’t take long at all), it’s built to last. You can expect very minimal fading through sweat, rain, and shower splashes—but once met with a cleansing balm, however, it rinses right away.  

Formula and Type: Waterproof liquid eyeliner pen | Color Range: 1 | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Easy to Remove: Yes

Final Verdict

While we dubbed the Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! 24-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner the Best Overall of the 19 liners we tested, it was just about tied with the two runners-up. Benefit’s option is our top pick for a crayon liner, while Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner took the crown for waterproof gel pot eyeliners (and gel eyeliners in general) and Fenty Beauty’s Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner reigned supreme in the waterproof liquid eyeliner category. All three offer beautiful pigment, seamless application, long-lasting wear, and easy removal, making them the clear winners in our book.

Final Verdict

  • Katie Jane Hughes is a celebrity and editorial makeup artist with clients among the likes of Ashley Graham, Kerry Washington, Anna Kendrick, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and more.
  • Tony Tulve is a New York City-based professional makeup artist represented by Honey Artists.


How We Tested Waterproof Liners

The author of this piece, Byrdie contributor Rebecca Norris, spent four weeks researching waterproof eyeliners and sorting through reviews to determine the most popular options the market has to offer. Once she selected the top 19 for review, each eyeliner was assigned two testers who spent five hours putting its formula to the test. In total, the testers spent a combined 190 hours evaluating these products, taking into account everything from packaging and size to the ingredients, opacity, wear, and ease of removal.

Each waterproof eyeliner was rated on a scale of one through five for comfort, pigment, water resistance, overall wear, and removal. At the end of the testing period, Norris evaluated the responses to determine the winners and detailed the pros and cons of each based on the testers’ experiences. All testing was conducted in the homes of the testers.

Waterproof Eyeliners Test

Byrdie / Eden Stuart

Other Options We Tested

Maybelline Hyper Easy Waterproof Liquid Liner

Although this popular waterproof eyeliner stayed mostly intact after a workout and when splashed with water, it took notably longer to dry, which made the application process a bit more stressful. What’s more, it’s not cruelty-free and it’s particularly difficult to remove (it required cleansing balm and four micellar-soaked cotton rounds to fully dissolve). 

Maybelline Hyper Easy Waterproof Liquid Liner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Considering the price, you'd think that this waterproof liquid eyeliner would be the holy grail. Sadly, we didn't find that to be the case. While it delivered perfectly opaque pigment in a single swipe, it's not Byrdie Clean (it contains BHT) and it's notably difficult to remove. Additionally, we found that it cracked a bit during sweaty workouts, though it stayed mostly intact otherwise.

Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

UOMA Beauty Afro.Dis.Iac Liquid Eyeliner

As much as we wanted to love this popular jet-black liquid eyeliner pen, it simply didn’t meet our expectations. Yes, it was pigmented; however, it dried so fast that it made touching up the edges nearly impossible. And when we applied additional layers in an attempt to perfect our cat eyes, we found that it made the overall look and feel of the liner look a bit uneven, despite how smoothly it initially applies. 

UOMA Beauty Afro.Dis.Iac Liquid Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Sephora Collection Ultimate Gel Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

Although sweat and water didn’t directly cause this creamy, comfortable waterproof eyeliner to smudge, friction from blinking did. We noticed that although it held up somewhat well throughout the day, it did budge—contrary to its description. What’s more, while it didn’t seem incredibly difficult to remove (it came off with little rubbing and cleansing balm and micellar water), it left embedded pigment all along the base of the lash line. In fact, when one tester thought she removed it all, she woke up with smudged raccoon eyes from the residual liner. 

Sephora Collection Ultimate Gel Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Gel Eye Liner Pencil

A drugstore cult-favorite, we were hoping for a high-quality, long-lasting gel eyeliner but were met with a creamy kajal-inspired product that fades with wear. Thanks to its creamy nature, it’s super pigmented, making any lined look appear that much more dramatic—but not necessarily in the best way. With even the slightest pressure, it was impossible to trace a fine line with this smudge-friendly liner. That said, once applied and dried, one tester did find that it didn’t smear or drip during sweaty workouts. Still, it’s not our top tier.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Gel Eye Liner Pencil

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

NYX Epic Ink Vegan Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

This affordable liquid eyeliner holds up pretty well throughout the day and offers decently strong pigmentation in one coat. That said, for a fully opaque finish, a second swipe is necessary. What we didn’t love about this liner was its inconsistency. At times it would deliver too much ink; at others, it’d seem nearly dried out—neither of which are ideal for creating a fluid lid line.

NYX Epic Ink Vegan Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Too Faced Killer Liner Total Control 36-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner

This waterproof crayon eyeliner glides on smoothly thanks to its creamy formula. While it does deliver pigment, the amount depends on the shade you choose, with the lighter shades applying notably sheerer. The formula stays put once on and doesn’t require dry time or touch-ups, a plus, but it’s quite difficult to remove fully. The color seeps into your lash line, requiring multiple cleanses and some rubbing to fully dissolve. Moreover, since it’s not a classic pencil (it’s encased in a harder shell), it’s difficult to sharpen to create crisper lines. 

Too Faced Killer Liner Total Control 36-Hour Waterproof Eyeliner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Makeup Forever Aqua Resist Color Pencil

This pencil eyeliner, which comes in 10 neutral colors, made us swoon with the level of pigment it delivers and the fact that it doesn’t move when met with sweat or water. Unfortunately, if it was touched even slightly, it’d smear like mad. What’s more, we don’t see these pencils lasting long in a kit, as the tip almost entirely flattens from lining a single lid.

Makeup Forever Aqua Resist Color Pencil

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

Wet N Wild H20 Proof Liquid Liner

If it weren’t for how difficult this liquid eyeliner was to remove, it likely would have made our top tier. It’s very pigmented and stays put during wear—even when sweat is in the mix. However, it’s a very wet formula that takes a bit longer to dry, and in the process, it tends to feather out slightly. But that’s not what turned us off entirely from the product—it was how difficult it is to remove. It didn’t budge with a cleansing balm or micellar water. After trying both methods, our tester pulled out Almay Biodegradable Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads, which finally did the trick. At that point, her lids looked flushed from all the rubbing. 

Wet N Wild H20 Proof Liquid Liner

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline Eye Liner and Brow Gel

This gel pot eyeliner is beloved by makeup artists and beauty lovers for its versatile use and five-shade range; however, we couldn’t get past how messy it is to apply. Since it’s so, so creamy, it quickly gets caked onto your angled liner brush (even with hardly any pressure), making it far too easy to over-apply it. Thankfully, it is easy to touch up with micellar water, but it’s too long of a process to be considered a great daily option. Plus, it doesn’t come with an angled brush, so you’ll have to buy one if you don’t already have one.

MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline Eye Liner and Brow Gel

Byrdie / Rebecca Norris

What to Look For in a Waterproof Eyeliner

The Type of Formula

Waterproof eyeliners come in a variety of formulas, including pencils, crayons, liquid pens, liquid pots, and gel pots. While the type you choose depends on your personal preference and skill, generally speaking, makeup artists say that pencils and crayons are the easiest to apply and touch up, while liquid pens and pots require a bit more skill.

That’s why makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes recommends creating a winged eyeliner look by first sketching out the shape with a pencil. “The general trick is, hold the pencil in line with your nose and the corner of your eye, and then angle it toward the eyebrow,” she says. “So [from] the tail of your brow, to the corner of your eye, to the corner of your nose, that is the direction in which your eyeliner should go.”

How Long It Takes to Dry

In short, the longer it takes for your waterproof eyeliner to dry, the more of a chance you have to accidentally mess it up. That’s why we specifically took note of the formulas that dried the fastest, as they’re ultimately the easiest to apply with the littlest amount of stress.

The Finish

In addition to wanting a quick-drying formula, makeup artist Tony Tulve recommends looking for a waterproof eyeliner with a nearly-matte to fully-matte finish. “This allows for a smoother application either as a liner or a quick shadow in a split,” he says. That’s not to say that glitter and metallic liners don’t have a place, but rather that they’re best reserved for special occasions when you have a bit more time to pay toward their application.

Ease of Removal

The skin surrounding the eyes is the most sensitive and prone to premature aging on the entire body. Plus, our eyes are how we see; the less aggressive physical contact we can have with them, the better. That way, there’s less of a chance of repeatedly pulling and creating wrinkles and less of a chance of getting something in your eye that could cause discomfort or irritation. 

FAQ
  • What should I do if I get a waterproof eyeliner in my eye?

    Anytime you get anything in your eye, you should promptly flush it out with water. If your eye still feels irritated or looks inflamed after doing so, call your physician for directions on the next steps.

  • What should I do if I get a waterproof eyeliner on my eyelid?

    So long as it’s an easy-to-remove waterproof eyeliner (like the ones in our top tier), a quick swipe of micellar water will do the trick. Simply dip a cotton swab into micellar water and swipe it across the liner error. If you’re traveling or prefer fewer steps, you can use Alleyoop’s Tip-Off Liquid Filled Makeup Removing Swabs, in which you just have to crack off the tip, let the other tip fill with liquid, and swipe accordingly.

  • What cleansers work best for removing waterproof eyeliner?

    Based on our research, we found that makeup-melting cleansing balms and micellar water worked the best for removing waterproof eyeliner. As convenient as makeup wipes may seem, they typically require more rubbing to remove, so they’re best avoided. Whatever cleanser you choose, just make sure it’s safe for your eyes.

Why Trust Byrdie

Rebecca Norris has been a contributing beauty writer for Byrdie for over three years and has been working within the beauty field for over eight years. She’s in the know on all the latest and greatest eyeliner formulas and used her knowledge to hand-select the top options the market has to offer across a variety of formulas and finishes, which she then tested first-hand to provide expert input on the category. Rather than being based on brand preference alone, each eyeliner was rated on a standardized scale to conclude the best waterproof eyeliners of 2022.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. The 17 waterproof eyeliners you can trust. Harper's Bazaar. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/makeup/g22108105/best-waterproof-eyeliner

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