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Applying liquid eyeliner is a difficult skill for anyone, makeup professionals included. There is so much precision that goes into getting the perfect winged look or cat’s eye, and having a subpar formula or applicator to start with is just setting you up for failure. Once you decide to go with liquid eyeliner over a pencil, there are a variety of options to suit your preferences—some with brushes, some with felt tips, and some with unique gel formulas. To find the perfect product to fit your budget and beauty needs, look no further. Below are eight of the best eyeliners available, all under $25.
Best Overall Liquid Eyeliner: STILA Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
There’s a reason this liquid eyeliner has racked up more than six thousand five-star reviews on Sephora.com. Instead of a typical brush applicator, this product features a super thin marker-like tip that makes it incredibly easy to draw precise lines and curves, even for beginners.
The felt tip gives you the flexibility to play with your lines—light pressure will give you a discreet thin line, while applying with more pressure will give you a thicker, bolder look. Twelve color options in a variety of blues, greens, and gray tones let you play with any look or choose the color that best brings out your eyes, while always relying on this consistent product. At a price point of around $22 it’s one of the more expensive liners on this list, but the slight splurge is worth it for all-day-and-night coverage.
Best Drugstore Liquid Eyeliner: Maybelline Makeup Gel Eye Liner
If you’re looking for a high-quality liner at a drugstore price, turn to this Maybelline gel liner. With more than 1,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, you are sure to be getting an excellent liner for less than $8. The gel is formula is made with innovative Ink technology that keeps the pigment saturated throughout the day. The waterproof and smudge-proof formula ensures that your look will stay in place without the need for touchups and reapplications.
Winner of the Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2013, this liner features a super-thin .4 millimeter felt tip to make precision lines that will give you the best shape and control possible as you apply. The combination of a low price point and easy application also is great for beginners who are playing with their look for the first time, and don’t want to commit to a more expensive liquid eyeliner.
Best Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Docolor Liquid Eyeliner Gel Black
One of the most important qualities in a liquid eyeliner is that one application will stay in place all day and remain smudge and fade resistant against humidity, sweat, and tears. For that all-day hold, turn to this long-lasting waterproof liner from Docolor. The feather tip is only 0.1mm, so it can draw much finer strokes than some of the thicker felt tips. At under $8 it remains incredibly budget-friendly, while having comparable quality to Stila, which is almost triple the price. The true black color is perfect to wear every day.
Best White Liquid Eyeliner: STILA Stay All Day Eye Liner, White
When you’re looking to switch up your look with a bold shade of white liner, turn to this Snow shade of the reliable Stila All Day formula. Unlike most white eye pencils and liquid liners, this liner won’t appear translucent or fade quickly. The thin felt tip makes application incredibly easy, even for makeup newbies. With a price point of $15, it’s almost double some of the other liners on this list, but finding a quality white eyeliner is far less common than finding a reliable black shade. If white liner isn’t quite your look, the Stila All Day formula is also available in 11 other bold colors.
Best Liquid Eyeliner for Beginners: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Liquid Eyeliner
It’s daunting when you’re at the store trying to purchase your first eyeliner. Liquid takes more precision and practice, but pencil products don’t typically give you as much saturation or definition. The perfect compromise for beginners is this easy-to-apply felt tip liquid liner from L'Oréal Paris.
At under $10, this formula is perfect for playing around with different application styles and looks without worrying about wasting expensive cosmetics. The smudge-proof formula lasts up to 12 hours, which is perfect for everyday wear. The top-rated formula is also available in black, brown, and grey, so you can find the best shade to bring out your eyes.
Best Liquid Eyeliner from Walmart: COVERGIRL Intensify Me Liquid Eyeliner
If you’re looking for a true bang-for-your-buck product, try this dual-thickness eyeliner from CoverGirl. This product retails for less than $7 and is available at Walmart stores, while still giving you the precision and intensity that you look for in a pricier liner.
This eyeliner’s biggest distinction is its paddle-shaped applicator, which has earned it more than 600 five-star reviews on Walmart.com. The unique paddle gives you two different size strokes to choose from, flat or thin, to easily achieve whatever style you’re going for. The quick-dry formula ensures that you won’t smudge while you work on the rest of your look. And best yet, you won’t need to buy a fancy face wash to take this liner off at the end of the night, just some regular soap and water should make removal as easy as application was.
Best Liquid Eyeliner from L'Oreal: L'Oréal Paris Lineur Intense
L'Oréal has an entire lineup of amazing eyeliner products, but brand devotees know that their Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner is not only one of their least expensive options, but one of their best. The marker tip gives you the flexibility of switching between a thin line and a bolder line instantaneously.
This product is also Ophthalmologist-tested, making it perfect for people with sensitive eyes and those that wear contact lenses because it won’t irritate, even after daily wear. Three neutral shades, Black Mica, Carbon Black, and Earthen Rock Brown, make it super easy to find a shade that will make your eyes stand out.
Best Liquid Eyeliner from Sephora: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
Out of the dozens of eyeliners available in the rows of cosmetics at Sephora, this top-rated liner from Kat Von D has beat out dozens of competitors for its 8,000 five-star reviews for a reason. “Every now and then I try a new liner just to see what's out there; Dior, MUFE, Lancome, Stila, etc. Anything liquid with a felt tip, but I always, ALWAYS come back to this one,” one reviewer raved. And she’s not the only reviewer that switched products and ended up coming back to Kat Von D. And at a price point of just $20, you don’t have to break the bank to craft the perfect cat eye.
Unlike other eyeliners, this formula is high-pigment, and fade-, melt-, crack-, and run-resistant. In addition to the top of the line formula, the Tattoo liner has a high-quality applicator brush that won’t fray, unlike similar liners at this price point. The best part: the Tattoo liner is free of animal-derived ingredients and never tests on animals, so you can feel great about the cosmetics company that you’re supporting.