The 5 Best Cheap Eyeliners

Whether you’re going for a subtle boost to your eye makeup routine or you’re hoping to rock a glamorous cat eye that will leave you feeling like the pop star du jour, the best cheap eyeliner can help you do the impossible: achieve the long-lasting, smudge-proof look of your dreams without messing up your budget.

But like most beauty products, eyeliner isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of item. When it comes to rocking eyeliner, choosing the right eyeliner formula can make all the difference, but first you need to know what you’re looking for.

Pencil Eyeliner

Pencil eyeliner is great for beginners because it’s typically easier to manage than liquid liner, and it’s more forgiving if you make mistakes during application. It’s also much more versatile than liquid eyeliner since you can apply it to both your upper lid and inner waterline (the area where your eyelids meet when you close your eyes) without having to worry too much about smudges.

Liquid & Gel Eyeliner

Liquid and gel liners are fantastic if you're going for a more dramatic look, because they can provide precise lines of super-rich and intense color once you get the hang of them. And because gel liners typically pair the stability of an eyeliner pencil with the pigmentation of a liquid eyeliner, they’re often a pro-favorite. In fact, makeup artist Carl Ray — who’s A-list clientele has included former First Lady, Michelle Obama — told Allure that he opts for gel liner because it’s easy to apply and very long-lasting. The only downsides to liquid and gel eyeliner is the fact that neither are ideal for waterlining, and most gel eyeliner comes in a small pot and requires a special eyeliner brush to apply.

Eyeliners For Waterlining

If waterlining is super important to you, you should know that Kohl and Kajal eyeliners with creamy formulas and smooth, rounded tips are ideal when it comes to choosing the most waterline-friendly eyeliner. The main factors to consider here are how long they wear, level of pigmentation, and how easily the eyeliner will glide across your waterline — because you shouldn’t have to aggressively rub product on the most sensitive part of your inherently sensitive eyelids. The key is to find a liner that goes on gently.

Whatever look you’re going for, and whichever eyeliner formula you decide on, options abound these days. With all the eyeliners available today, you can take your pick of budget-friendly products that range from waterproof to cruelty-free to contact lens-approved.

Take a look at the best cheap eyeliners below. All of them are under $14 and highly rated on Amazon.