It's time to upgrade that stubby little eye pencil you've been using for (probably) too long. For your best glide ever, you're going to need one of the
best eyeliners for your waterline: They’re super pigmented for maximum drama, creamy enough to apply in one fell swoop, and don’t crumble, transfer, or smudge into or under your eyeballs (unless you want them to). Most importantly, the ideal waterline eyeliner glides on smoothly so you can avoid pulling, tugging, or otherwise overworking the area unduly.
You can't go wrong with any of the six eyeliners listed ahead, but some have features that make them especially well-suited to those with more particular needs, like an
extra-gentle formula for sensitive eyes, a retractable design for people who can't be bothered with sharpeners, and a smudgy kajal pencil that makes it easy to nail the effortless-but-dramatic look. They're all available on Amazon, most of them come in several shades, and they're sold at a variety of price points to suit any budget.
Scroll on to shop some of the
best eye pencils that won't budge from your waterline — and after that, pick up one of these best-selling mascaras to match. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
If you don’t want to sacrifice your hard-earned cash in pursuit of the perfectly lined waterline or tightline, this
NYX eyeliner is for you. It stays on for hours, it feels nice and comfy, and its smooth formula and intense pigmentation belies its $4 price tag. The retractable tube and perfectly pointed (but not scary pointed) tip give you lots of precision, too.
Want the option to go a little smoky sometimes? Then try this
stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner. The creamy formula gives you a few seconds of workability, so you can smudge, smoke, or smear it out before it sets for good. This gets bonus points for its waterproof formulation, twist-up design, and range of sophisticated shades, which are listed below.
The Best "Clean" Eyeliner
Natural Khôl Eyeliner from celebrity makeup artist Jillian Dempsey is the rare makeup product made almost entirely of naturally derived ingredients without sacrificing quality. Plant-based emollients like avocado oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter give this pencil its smooth glide and some natural water resistance, and it’s free of preservatives that can irritate sensitive eyes. This also comes with a handy smudger for when you’re trying to channel Dempsey client Kristen Stewart (circa The Runaways, ideally). Editor's note: Check out more natural eyeliners, here.
Kajal pencils are often identifiable for their thick, short stems, bullet-like shapes, rich formulas, and extreme pigmentation, so this isn't the best choice for anyone who prefers a muted look. Altogether, though, that makes for the ideal waterline pencil: You get a lot of payoff for almost no effort, and the short handle gives you maximum control. This
kajal-inspired pencil from L’Oreal is the best modern-drugstore version of this ancient cosmetic. And don’t be scared off by its super-pointed tip — kajal pencils are designed to be applied long-edge-ways.
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: If you didn’t sleep last night, or for many nights preceding that night, line your waterline with a neutral eye pencil. It really does make you look more awake! That trick calls for a buttery liner so as not to exacerbate any redness you have going on already, plus a neutral shade that's neither bright white nor sparkly. This
LORAC eye pencil in Nude fits those bills. Just one stroke is all you need to brighten up your eyes and keep them that way all day long: One reviewer dubbed its staying power “bulletproof.”
Who says your waterline must be a color that exists in nature? (Not me. I would never say that.) These
WUNDER2 Super-Stay Liners come in about a million (read: 21) punchy shades with matte, glittery, or metallic finishes. If you’re new to the bright-waterline space, try the Metallic Turquoise shade pictured above. It’s surprisingly wearable, and it looks gorgeous on every skin tone and eye color.