Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Eyeliner Pencil

Last updated on July 5, 2022

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Eyeliner Pencils

View All Recommendations
Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Matte Mechanical Eyeliner Pencil

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Matte Mechanical Eyeliner Pencil

This pencil goes on creamy and dries fast for a look that can last all day without a touchup. It's especially well-suited for the waterline since it's so hard to smudge. Depending on how you use it, it can administer subtle highlights or a thick line that's ready for the spotlight.

Overall Take

Good Staying PowerUse these thick lines for a look that lasts.

 Runner Up

COVERGIRL Perfect Blend Plush Blender Tip Eyeliner Pencil


Perfect Blend Plush Blender Tip Eyeliner Pencil

These no-nonsense pencils can be used for a variety of looks. The tip draws a nice, clean line that can be blended easily thanks to the plush "eraser" end. Once it's on, you can expect it to stay smudge free rain or shine.

Overall Take

Naturally Water ResistantThese classic pencils come with a handy blending tip.

 We Also Like

Rimmel Exaggerate Self-Sharpening Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil


Exaggerate Self-Sharpening Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

You can expect consistent performance from this pencil thanks to the self-sharpening tip. If you do need to tweak the size, there is even a sharpener included. Once applied, the lines are highly resistant to moisture.

Overall Take

Tips Stays SharpPrecision is a big highlight for this pencil.

 Strong Contender

REVLON ColorStay Ultra-Fine Tip 24 Hour Eyeliner Pencil


ColorStay Ultra-Fine Tip 24 Hour Eyeliner Pencil

These pencils resist all kinds of moisture from light rain to an oily complexion. Even though the feel isn't too dry, it has surprising staying power on a variety of skin types. It's not prone to smearing and the retractable tips help preserve the pencil.

Overall Take

Oily Skin FriendlyThese smear-free pencils are built to last.

Buying Guide

Nothing brings out your eyes like a little eyeliner, and there are a number of ways to put it on. Makeup professionals keep an arsenal of gels, creams and liquids on hand, but for sheer accuracy you can’t beat the old reliable eyeliner pencil.

For the uninitiated, an eyeliner pencil is just that: A pencil that (ideally) draws a nice neat line of makeup on the outer rim of the eye. They can be made up of a variety of different ingredients, but by volume an eyeliner pencil contains mostly waxes or gums that help the line stick and a pigment to provide the coloring. The devil is in the details though, and not all pencils are created equal.

Finding the right color eyeliner will usually be a lot easier than finding one with the right feel. Most eyeliner pencils put down a line that’s resistant to moisture, but beginners might want to start with a non-waterproof variety. You might have to reapply more frequently, but it will be a lot easier to correct your mistakes. That “wetter” pencil will also be easier to blend in if you’re going for the coveted “cat eye” look.

Once you’re a little more confident with your makeup skills, you can find a waterproof pencil with a little more staying power. That’s not to say you want something that feels too dry. The trick is to find something that goes on smoothly and doesn’t flake off or run, but that you can also blend easily if you need to. Many pencils come with a felt tip on the other end that you can use for precision smudging. If your eyeliner isn’t giving you a dark enough shade, you can even use some liquid liner and layer it over the pencil.

Finding the right shade of eyeliner can be tough, but there are a few basic fashion guidelines that will help. Almost everyone has a few reliable eyeliner pencils in basic black, and for the most part that’s a go-to color — but it doesn’t have to be. If you have especially pale skin, black may just give you “tired eyes,” so go with a brown or grey pencil instead. Browns can also work well on those with a medium skin tone, while those with darker skin can look good in silver, blue or a variety of other colors.

If you’re going for a night out and want colors outside the spectrum of black and brown, choose something that complements your eyes. Brown eyeliner is always a safe bet with brown eyes, but dark blues or greens can make the right eye shape pop. Blue eyes usually love a little gold or bronze around the edges, and hazel eyes play well with a range of other hues. Try purple, green or gold until you find your style.

What to Look For

It’s great when you’re able to apply eyeliner properly, but knowing how to take it off is just as important. Make sure that at the end of the night, you wipe it off thoroughly with a cotton swab dipped in oil or micellar water. Otherwise, you’re risking some seriously irritated eyes on the morning.

Overnight eyeliner can be especially damaging if you’ve painted the inner surface of the eyelid, also known as the waterline. In fact, many health experts recommend you go easy on this area of the eye or leave it alone entirely. The waterline contains glands which can get stopped up over time by thick, waxy liner.

More to Explore

Eyeliner was most likely invented in ancient Egypt, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the heavily-accented eyes on all those hieroglyphic figures. As with most early forms of makeup, that beauty had a price. Back then, their eyeliner was made with lead salts, which were likely to cause cataracts in anyone who used them long enough.

From our partners