The Best Liquid Eyeliners For That Perfect Flick

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Not All Liquid Eyeliners Were Created Equal

Maybe you’re brand new to eyeliner. You don’t know how eyeliner can bring out the color of your eyes, provide a focus for someone to look into your eyes, complement your eye shadow, and brighten your eyes. The ancient Egyptians started lining their eyes thousands of years ago, and so should you! Eyeliner adds definition, and your lashes will look thicker, even before adding mascara! Your eyes may even seem to change size or shape! Smaller eyes can look bigger, and big eyes can look huge for the “waif” look. The “cat eye” and “winged” looks make your eyes look dramatic and larger. Anyone can use liquid eyeliner, from those with small, widely-spaced, “hooded” eyes (eyes with thick brows over them), to those blessed with perfect almond eyes.

Quite frankly, many people are terrified of liquid eyeliner. It seems to ask for perfection we mere mortals don’t have. Don’t worry! There are brushes and techniques that make this far, far easier than it initially seems. Now, without further ado, are the top 9 liquid eyeliners!

Best Liquid Eyeliners Buying Guide

Liquid eyeliners are different from powder, which tends to smudge or flake off. Powdered eyeliner is also hard to control, and gives a wider line. It doesn’t deliver strong, pigmented color. It is also terrible for creating precise lines. It also comes off with humidity, rain, or tears. Computer users tend to rub their eyes. So, no more liner at 10:00 AM! This really irritates you if you spent 10 minutes getting the perfect look just a few hours before.

Liquid eyeliners are great for creating precise, even lines with strong color and a lovely, glossy finish. It has great staying power. However, you can’t use liquid eyeliner under your lashes close to your eyes (called waterlining). We tend to rub our eyes staring at computer screens all day, and a great liquid liner stays on even with the accidental smudging! Eyeliner also works in the hot, humid weather endemic to those waterlogged regions.

Are you the kind that changes makeup completely before going out, or do you want to use the same look all day? A long-lasting, 15-to 24-hour eyeliner would be best for you. Have thin eyelashes? Why not use a liner that grows your lashes over time? Living in heat, humidity, or someplace with heavy rains? A waterproof eyeliner is right for you. A newbie? You need an eyeliner with a lovely liquid liner brush or even a three-dot brush. A felt-tip applicator makes the liner easier to apply. A bristled brush gives perfect control. There are very tiny brushes that give perfect, precise control. There are even those with dual brushes!

What kind of look are you after?

An angled brush makes it easier to the cat eye, with extends the line from the lash line to the far corner of the eye. The drop eye swings back and creates a thick line under the eye from the cat eye. You can create a very thick line on the top lid, then make an Arabian look with a thicker line over the top, a thin line beneath, and a tiny cat eye. You can go all Lady Gaga and create designs with thin lines to the side of the eye. The idea is to have fun making those peepers pop!

Liquid Eyeliner Color

What color should you use? Well, most people go with basic, dramatic black. Gray makes for soft, bright eyes. Brown is great for those with brown or green-brown hazel eyes. Blue makes blue eyes pop, but stick with dark blue. Add blue mascara, and your eyes are seriously dramatic! If you have green eyes, green or khaki eyeliner will really pop out your eyes. For those with small-set eyes, use black or another color on top, and white waterproof eyeliner on the waterline just above the lashes. For parties, red, gold, purple, or silver eyeliners are amazing. You can buy glitter eyeliner, but it doesn’t tend to stay put. Put another eyeliner on first, such as gold or silver, then the glitter. Do NOT touch your eyes if you use glitter eyeliner. You don’t want to get glitter in your eyes! Keep eye drops to gently rinse your eyes if this happens.

How I do I apply liquid eyeliners?

You may want to do this in front of a makeup mirror, if possible. You can start by putting a little moisturizer or foundation on the eyelid first. You can skip this step if you prefer. Then, be sure the lid on your liquid eyeliner is on tight, and shake the bottle for a few seconds. This removes any sediment that may clump on your lashes. Then, unscrew the cap and take the brush out of bottle. Swipe it a touch around the inside edge of the liner bottle to be sure there are no clumps. Put your elbow on a table, and your pinky on your cheekbone. Start lining in the middle of the eye just over the eyelashes. Close your eye and pull the skin taut. If you prefer your eyes open, hold a mirror downward to see what you are doing. If you’re new to eyeliners in general or liquid eyeliners, make 3 tiny dots, then go back and connect them with tiny strokes. Or, you can substitute dashes for the dots and connect those. When you get better at applying eyeliner, use longer strokes and put your dots or dashes a little farther apart. Use this dot or dash technique on the entire eyelash line, working from the middle out and then from the middle back to the crease of the eye, until you have one solid line. If you are terrified that you may be a klutz, relax. Just do the same thing with a pencil liner first, getting your line perfect, then repeat with the liquid eyeliner. Go slow. Slow is real!

For a winged look to intensify your allover look, apply the eyeliner. Then, extend from the outer lash to the corner of your eyelid on each side. The farther you go, the more dramatic the look. Do this for each eye symmetrically. A trick is to use a business card to get a perfect line. Just put the card in a line between the last eyelash and the corner of the eye, and then apply the eyeliner. Or, you can use a piece of regular clear tape. Line up the tape on both sides before drawing the line! Then, obviously, remove the tape. You can also go first with a powder pencil first and match the lines. Then, go back and draw a small line to the middle of the cat eye to create a tiny triangle. Fill this in to create a lovely cat eye.  

If your eyes tilt up, create thick lines on the outside corner of your eyes with the liquid eyeliner. This makes your eyes look bigger and more round. If your eyes turn down, do the traditional winged cat eye, but use a lighter shade to contour just above the liquid eyeliner line on the top lid to make it look rounder. With almond eyes, use the traditional wings. With thick eyelids, make a thicker line with the eyeliner on the top lid to pop out your eyes. If you want a wide-eyed look, angle the cat eye down, not up.

If you STILL think you can’t apply liquid eyeliner, use an eyelash curler. Put your powder eyeliner on the inside of the crimper, and then curl your lashes. Then, go over the perfect line you just made with the liquid liner.

Next, go ahead and do your eyeshadow! Be sure the shadow complements the eyeliner color. Use a little translucent powder to “set” the eyeliner. You can do this before or after adding the eyeshadow. It is better to do it afterward, because why do it twice?

How do I remove a liquid eyeliner?

There are special washes you use to remove eye makeup. You can also use a face wash, “tear free” baby shampoo, moisturizer, or cold cream. Some people just wash their faces with a facial cleanser. Just close your eyes and gently wipe on a dab of the eye wash, baby shampoo, or cleanser with a soft cloth. Then rub your eyes in gentle circles. It kinds of feels like a massage! Rinse and wipe again. Then, wipe your eyes with a dry cloth. Use the wipe on/wipe on method without the water rinse step with cold cream or moisturizer using a cotton pad or soft cloth. If you are an earth goddess, or just want to feel like one, use 2 ounces of olive oil with 2 ounces of witch hazel. Put it together in a little covered cup or ramekin, shake or mix it up, and use a cotton ball to dab it on your eyes. Then, wipe your eyes with a dry cotton ball. Don’t use oils or petroleum jelly. This tends to block pores. If you have sensitive skin, you may have to choose a trusted brand’s facial cleanser, like those from Neutrogena or Clinique.

How do I fix liquid eyeliner mistakes?

First, using a q-tip dipped in eye makeup remover, dot the remover on. Then, flip the q-tip over and pat on the mistake to eliminate both the remover and the mistake. This technique is fast and simple, and lets you go back in a jiffy to complete your look! Or, use a q-tip dipped in a dot of foundation. You can then cover up the mistake with eye shadow. For emergencies on the go, you can use clear lip gloss to remove mistakes. You can also use black eyeshadow and a smudge brush to clean up mistakes as well. Believe it or not, there are makeup remover pens! Buy one if you want to get fancy about fixing eyeliner errors. If your eyeliner is clumping and causing you to make mistakes, you can fix that easily. First, run the tip of the eyeliner on your hand or inner wrist to get the dried parts off. Or, if it is a felt-tipped liner, get a paper towel and dampen it with warm water. Then, run the felt tip over it. Then, plunge it in again, and carefully wipe the excess off in the inner part of the top.

So, these are the top 9 eyeliners! You’ve got it all on the list, from price-conscious to pricey, from simple to dramatic, from black to multicolored, from tiny brush to double brush, from day to night and back again! You also have the best tricks and tips to help you choose, then apply, the liquid eyeliner, even if you feel like a klutz. We’ll get you making your eyes beautiful in not time! Choose the eyeliner that will create the look you love, and experiment! You never know what look will bring out your gorgeous eyes!