(This post has been updated in 2020) If you have ever scrolled my blog or my Instagram, you realize pretty quickly that I have “a thing” for a swoop, cat eye, winged-eye, whatever you want to call it! It’s my go-to eye makeup look.
Granted, this isn’t the easiest of looks to pull off and definitely isn’t something you want to try when you’re in a hurry! But when done well and with precision, it can look super fierce.
And my favorite tool for creating this look is with a liquid eyeliner pen.
Not all liquid liners are created equal however. Every brand seems to have one, but that doesn’t mean they all perform well. And I find there’s a few attributes that they need in order for me to deem them the best of the best.
Here’s what I look for in a great eyeliner pen :
- Waterproof or at least water-resistant. It’s such a dramatic look that if it fades or smudges, it looses it’s luster so it’s gotta stay put.
- An easy to use felt tip. This is really what makes or breaks a liquid liner for me, the ease of use. And the tip of the pen has to bend just enough – not be too flimsy or too stiff. And it has to be pointy enough for me to make the perfect thin swoop tail (without being too fat). I’m not asking for too much am I?? Ha!
- Deep rich pigment. Whether it’s an inky black I’m looking for or a bold fun green or blue color, the outcome has to be opaque and dark. No weak shades for this look.
- Cost. This isn’t such a biggie for me because I love creating a winged eye so much it’s worth it if the best pen is pricier. But luckily as you’ll see below, there are some great budget ones out there if you’re just getting into trying the liquid liner look and don’t want to spend a big chunk of money.
If you have been confused and overwhelmed about which liquid eyeliner to chose from the huge variety on the market, I’m about to make it super easy for you.
Whether you want to create a soft flick or serious dramatic cat eye having the right tool is necessary to getting the job done.
After years of trying them all, here are my top picks for best liquid eyeliners in order…
#1 Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner, $19. It just got voted on Allure’s Best of Beauty for 2018 which is always a good sign. This has been at the top of my list for years. It was created by one of the most sought after tattoo artists ever, Miss Kat Von D, so you can’t argue with that kind of background in artistry. And this pen stays PUT, just like a real tattoo, but without the lifetime commitment.
#2 It Cosmetics Superhero Liner, $24. This liner can help you create a SUPER duper swoop! It’s got a great thin tip that can get in between eyelashes and also has amazing staying power. It’s pen shape is different than most (and kind of hard to explain) but it’s thinner in the middle of the pen which makes it really easy to hold.
#3 NYX Epic Ink Liner, $8. This drugstore priced pen makes drawing intensely pigmented lines a breeze. It’s got a slender and flexible brush tip which is unusual for a cheaper liquid liner. I just wish it came in more shades than black and brown!!
#4 Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash 2 in 1 Boosting Eyeliner and Serum, $11. This is the one I’ve been using the longest and always go back to it. I’m not sure how the serum actually enhances the appearance of lashes (that part I think is a bit gimmicky if I’m being honest!) but it does draw on like a dream. Again, the cheaper ones only come in black and brown which is a bummer, but what can you do!
#5 Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner, $22. YAY this one comes in 8 colors!! The Midnight shade is one of my fave deep navy colors for creating a fun winged eye. This one has mad mad staying power also so once it’s drawn on it doesn’t leave your face until you remove it.
Drawing a fierce cat eye is hard enough, you don’t need a hard to handle formula to make it even harder! So def give one of these a try and remember, practice and patience is all you need to nail lining your lid with a liquid eyeliner.
What is your all time favorite liquid eyeliner??