Best black eyeliner pencils

No matter your practice, the perfect winged eyeliner – paired on both eyelids – remains elusive.

Seemingly a magic trick known only to specific artists, getting those sharp, clean lines can be tricky. Unless, of course, you’re equipped with the right tools in your makeup bag.

Lash line, waterline, winged, smoky or smudged – eyeliner is the foundation of all eye makeup looks. A graphic or blended line can instantly change, frame, and give pleasure to your creation, serving to define or exaggerate your eyes.

With the snap of a finger, you can create a sultry and smoky eye, a classic cat eye, a grunge aesthetic in keeping with the gothic nuclear revival, or a graphic design that would make Julia Fox swoon. The key is to find the best tool for the job.

Finding the perfect black eyeliner feels like an enduring search, like buying jeans or a bikini.

It’s easy to go wrong because they all seem the same in appearance until you dig deeper. Visually, black eyeshadow formulas are hard to tell apart, but one application and you’ll know you’ve made a poor choice – from the shade of black (there are many solid black shades) to the color payoff and texture.

Enter our tried-and-true editorial department, which will equip you with a product that quickly spreads pigment. These eyeliners have a creamy formula that glides over the eye without pulling or skipping, giving you greater control and preventing the all-too-familiar accident of needing a lot of eye makeup remover and a scratchy look – shades and all. You want the staying power to keep it from sprouting throughout the day yet remove it easily at night.

Professional makeup artist Mel Barrese has a hot tip when creating your look: “For the quickest and easiest smoky eye, follow your upper and lower lash lines. Blend with a small smudge brush to soften the line, and finish with a generous amount of mascara. For an intense, long-lasting eyeshadow effect, apply a pencil to your upper eyelid before applying any eyeshadow. This will give your eye makeup a base of color and intensity on the lash line.”

Makeup By Mario Master Pigment Pro Pencil

With Kim Kardashian as his muse, Mario Dedivanovic is one of the world’s most well-known and beloved makeup artists. His cosmetics brand – named after his Instagram account with more than 10 million followers – has translated his years of expertise and experience into easy-to-use products that make it easier than ever to achieve his signature look. Case in point: the Master Pigment Pro Pencil.

At one end is an ultra-pigmented pencil whose soft, the gel-like formula glides effortlessly across the eyelid without dragging, imparting color as it does so. Once dry, it locks into place predictably.

The other head holds a brush designed to help create a blended look in a precise manner. So whether you want to create a clean, straight line or a smoky eye, you can use or oppose the bristles to apply a velvety texture.

It includes a sharpener and a cleaning rod to remove shavings.

Maybelline Tattoo Liner Smokey Gel Pencil Black

We had high hopes for Tattoo Liner by Maybelline. The name implies unparalleled staying power; happily, we weren’t disappointed. According to the brand, Tattoo pencils make bold liner looks last up to 36 hours without involving needles. The richly pigmented soft pencils go on quickly and pay off nicely.

This is Maybelline’s first blendable liner, which comes with a smudge brush on the other end, making creating a smoky eye easier.

Victoria Beckham Beauty Satin Kajal Liner

Victoria Beckham’s eponymous beauty collection puts luxury into your makeup magazine, emphasizing performance. The entire collection uses precise, cruelty-free ingredients designed to be kind to the skin and deliver a real punch – perfectly demonstrated by the Satin Eyeliner.

One of the first things we noticed about this eyeliner was the fantastic texture of the product. It has a super soft, creamy consistency. It sweeps effortlessly onto the eyelid and stays firmly in place all day. It is waterproof and consists of a soothing and moisturizing combination of chamomile extract, plant-derived vitamin B5, and vitamin E to protect against environmental aggressors and strengthen the delicate perioral area.

Although classic black is the main product, the Bordeaux shade is surprisingly versatile.

Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner

No need for professional artistic skills; Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner is the exact tool you’ve been looking for to create XXL graphic eye makeup. Part of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty collection follows the brand’s reputation for long-lasting products full of staying power. Available in 20 colors in a range of finishes; matte, metallic, shimmer, and glitter; each color is as intense as the last. There is a twist-up tip for easy application.

The black eyeliner has rich color and a formula that won’t tug or smudge as you create your look. The effortless texture glides over your skin and looks impeccable all day long with no fading, creasing, flaking, or transferring.

NARS High-Pigment Longwear Eyeliner

From daytime to playtime, Nars is known for its sultry cosmetic collections and even better names (think the iconic Orgasm blush and Climax mascara). The brand has kept it clean and to the point with its eyeliner, which comes in 13 hues. But it’s the classic black that’s earning its place among our staples.

Creating a bold eye look, it glides onto skin with a thicker formula than some of the other gel textures on this list but melts into the skin with a velvety finish. This makes it easy to blend out – so keep it thin with a subtle flick for the office and when it comes to 5pm, grab your brush and blend your way to sultry and seductive smoky eyes.

The formula is completely budge-proof. No sweat, water or humidity can come for this product – no matter what your evening has in store.

Benefit BADgal BANG! 24 Hour Eye Pencil

From neat and graphic to morning-after smudged-out gothcore-worthy, Benefit’s BADgal BANG! has got you covered with rich, opaque colour that wears for up to 24 hours without moving an inch. The formula is waterproof and comes with a built-in blender to help you achieve your creations.

There’s no need for a sharpener with this one as you need only to turn the tip to lift up the nib when it starts to go blunt. It has a creamy texture, leaves a matte finish and works particularly well for those with hooded lids.

Hourglass Mechanical Gel Liner

Hourglass eyeliner pencil excels in the graphic department. It has game-changing precision with an ultra-thin 1.5mm tip that allows you to draw your designs in a foolproof and buildable way. Create crisp wings and oversized cat eyes, or instantly fill your waterline. Note, however, that there may be better choices for creating a smoky eye look.

It dispenses a lot of colors and stays on for a long time. It has a gel-like texture, so it glides on and dries quickly. You also don’t need to dig for a whetstone every few weeks because you can use this one to unleash the magic.

NYX Professional Makeup Epic Wear Eyeliner Pencil Black

Don’t let the affordable price tag fool you; this is an eyeliner worthy of your collection. Whether dipping in the pool, watching a real tearjerker at the movies, or dancing the night away, this summer sweat and tear-proof formula will last up to 36 hours without fading or evaporating.

Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘n’ Kohl Eyeliner

Smoky eyes are just a swipe away. This aptly named eyeliner will bring rock-era vintage glamour to your look and give Mick Jagger or the boys from Kiss a run for their money.

Contour your eyes with its formula, which is as close to liquid eyeliner as you can get but far more forgiving if you’re still fine-tuning your application style. Crushed pearl powder infuses the eyeliner with a subtle shimmer, while the creamy texture gives it a rich pigmentation.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes

With a more precise tip, Clinique’s eyeliner has endless possibilities. You can use it on the lash line for thicker, fuller lashes, on the waterline for wider eyes, or the wings for a designer look; the creamy formula and included smudging tip give you the power to soften the shade for a coveted smoky look. The formula glides on without dragging, while the color will stand the test of time. It also self-mattifies.

KVD Beauty Tattoo Pencil Liner

We’ve long been fans of KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner – a liquid eyeliner that creates precise lines and lasts all day – and now it’s available in pencil form. With a gel texture, it has an impressive color payoff, dries to a matte finish, and has the same staying power you’d expect from a product named after a tattoo. It comes in 10 shades.



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