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The Best Eyeliners for Waterline

Clare Holden
Written by Clare Holden
Best Eyeliners for Waterline

You may have found your dream eyeliner for your top lid, only to discover when you go to use it along your waterline, it can turn into a smudged mess. If you are serious about creating a clean and defined eyeliner aesthetic, it is best to invest in a product designed especially for underneath the eyes.

The good news? With just one swipe of a liner along the waterline, you can take your makeup look from basic to elevated in seconds. If you use a colorful or shimmery option, you can also add a subtle touch of vibrancy and luminosity to your eyes with minimal effort.

After getting recommendations from makeup artists and beauty insiders and testing out the options, we landed on these picks for best eyeliners for the waterline below.

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Finding the Best Eyeliners for the Waterline

Eyeliner a makeup bag essential and everyone should have at least one option on hand at all times. With so many variations from kohls, pencils and liquids, it can be a mission trying to decipher which one will work best for you.

To help you make an informed choice and to ensure you pick the best eyeliner to define your waterline, we have put together everything you need to know from application to ingredients to help you make your pick.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Eyeliners for the Waterline


Think about where you will be wearing your eyeliner. If it is for everyday use a drugstore black or brown liner is the perfect option. If you are looking for a specific color or finish for a special occasion or to go with a particular outfit both the Maybelline and Urban Decay picks on our list have huge shade ranges.


You want to be as gentle as possible when applying your eyeliner along the waterline. If you do find your eyes are starting to itch, give them a break, apply the rest of your makeup and come back to finish them off. Lightly dusting some setting powder under the eyes will also prevent smudging.


A good eyeliner should glide on and provide enough pigment in one swipe. You want to avoid having to go back and forth along the waterline as this will cause irritation and redness. Some liners are infused with vitamin e which will help to prevent the skin from drying out.


The waterline is the most delicate area of the face, so you want to ensure you avoid any harsh ingredients. Look for eyeliners that are fragrance free to avoid irritating the eyes. If you have particularly sensitive eyes also try to choose an eyeliner that is paraben, sulfate and alcohol free.


Eyeliner is generally one of the first makeup products we ever buy. There are hundreds of options available so while you will be spoilt for choice it can be overwhelming trying to narrow down your options. We have included tried and tested options for every price point on our list so once you have decided how much you want to spend go for one of our picks that fit within your budget.

What are the Different Types of Eyeliners for the Waterline?


Kohl has long been used along the waterline to define and accentuate the eye shape. Its naturally creamy texture glides on like a dream for a no-tug application. It can also be applied on the top lid and blended out for an easy to achieve smokey effect.


A classic eye pencil is simple to use and creates a timeless look in seconds. If you don’t want to line your full eyes, using a pencil half way along the waterline from the outside in, creates definition without making the eyes look smaller.


If you favor a clean makeup look, liquid liner is the one to reach for. It can be a little tricker to work with along the waterline so you may need to practice but once you get the hang of it—a liquid lined waterline is one of the sleekest makeup looks around.


Best Overall: Chantecaille Luster Glide Silk Infused Eyeliner


  • Super soft
  • Wide range of shades
  • Paraben and sulfate-free


  • Not as widely available
  • Slightly more expensive

This dreamy eyeliner from Chantecaille takes the top spot on our list thanks to how well it works on the waterline. The innovative formula glides on for a tug-free application and delivers an intense pigment payoff in just one swipe.

Available in seven rich shades, we especially love how the tones work under the eye. These pencils provide soft definition and its velvet finish is also much more flattering than a harsh matte.


Best Budget: essence Stay & Play Gel Eyeliner


  • Affordable
  • Long-lasting
  • Cruelty-free


  • Some shades sell out
  • Not for those looking for a liquid liner

This waterproof gel pencil from Essence is a makeup bag staple. In addition to coming in classic shades such as black and brown, it is also available in a silky nude tone that can be applied along the waterline to brighten up your eye area.

It is smudge-proof so ideal for wearing daily when you don’t have time for touch ups and if you are looking to add some luminosity to your makeup look—the burgundy hued shade Verry Berry has a slight shimmer to it.


Best Splurge: Valentino Twin Liner Gel and Liquid Eyeliner


  • Dual-ended
  • Available in 4 color options
  • Luxurious finish


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Not for those looking for a pencil

This double-ended liner from Valentino is the one to invest in if you are looking to achieve a professional finish. Each liner comes with a timeless black on one end and you can choose to team it with either a red, blue or brown option.

The liquid liner has an extra fine tip which makes applying it easier, while the gel end can be built up to your desired thickness. It is also retractable so never needs to be sharpened.


Best Drugstore: Maybelline TattooStudio Long-Lasting Eyeliner Pencil


  • Long-lasting
  • Intense color payoff
  • Huge shade range


  • Some may prefer a liquid pencil
  • Not every shade comes in a shimmer option

Available in over 33 shades you will be spoilt for choice when choosing which color to go for. In addition to the classic black matte, these liners also come in an array of shimmery bronze and copper tones that work amazingly along the waterline.

These pencils are great for creating a standout eye look that takes only minutes to apply. The shades Bronze Glitz and Rose Quartz are perfect to wear on their own or teamed with your favorite eyeshadow for a soft glam look that works for both day and night.


Best Brown: Tower 28 Beauty OneLiner Lip Liner + Eyeliner + Cheek Pencil


  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Multi-use
  • Infused with hydrating ingredients


  • Doesn’t come in black
  • Only available in one finish

Switching up your beloved black eyeliner for a brown for daywear is a great way to keep your makeup looking fresh and not overdone. This option from Tower 28 streamlines your beauty routine as it can also be used as a lip liner and a cheek pencil.

This multi-functional pencil gives you the tools to create endless makeup looks with just one product. It will also keep your skin feeling soft and supple as the creamy pencil has been infused with shea butter and marula oil.


Best Shimmer: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil


  • Huge range of shades
  • Available in 5 finishes
  • Waterproof


  • Some may prefer a liquid liner
  • Certain shades sell out faster

Everyone needs at least one of these Urban Decay pencils in their makeup collection. These vitamin e and jojoba oil infused liners glide on seamlessly to elevate any beauty look instantly.

Available in matte, metallic, shimmer, satin, and glitter finishes and coming in a wide variety of colors—this is the pencil to go for if you really want to illuminate and define your eyes. They are also both water and smudge proof so stay put all day once applied.


Best Liquid: Rimmel London Scandaleyes Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner


  • Cruelty-free
  • Great price
  • Easy to use


  • Only available in black
  • Some people may prefer traditional pencil

If you are looking to really frame your eyes then opting for a liquid liner along the waterline is the best method. The felt tip of this liner from Rimmel enables you to keep control of the amount of pigment you are placing and achieve a clean mess-free application.

This liner is both dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested—so is safe to use close to the eyes and its rich pigment lasts for hours with no need for touch ups.


Best Waterproof: wet n wild Mega Last Breakup Proof Eyeliner


  • Cruelty-free
  • Long-lasting
  • Self-sharpening


  • Some may favor a liquid liner
  • No vibrant shade options

If you are searching for a liner that doesn’t budge no matter what the conditions, look no further than this waterproof option from wet n wild. Not only is it affordable but its staying power and pigment payoff is one of the best on the market.

There is no sharpener needed with this retractactable pencil, as it is always on point and ready to use. The silky formula is also ideal for beginners as it glides along the waterline for a simple and easy application.


Best Pencil: L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Never Fail Pencil Eyeliner


  • Smudge-proof
  • Long-lasting
  • Built-in sharpener


  • No vibrant color options
  • Not for those looking for a liquid

This pencil from L’Oreal is a beauty bag essential and can be used to define your eyes for both day and night looks. The fade-proof formula means it stays put once applied—making it the perfect option for along the waterline.

It can also be used on the eyelid and smudged out if you prefer a more smokey look and the creamy texture also makes it ideal for tightlining and really defining your eye shape.


Best Kajal: Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal Liner


  • Available in both matte and shimmer finishes
  • Luxurious finish
  • Easy to blend


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Not as widely available

Our favorite product from Victoria Beckham’s makeup line, these kajal eyeliners elevate any makeup look. The waterproof formula is infused with vitamin e and pro-vitamin B5 for an extra dose of hydration, as well as chamomile to calm and soothe the skin around the eye area.

Each eyeliner comes with a blending sponge on the end to enable you to smudge out your eyeliner look for a softer finish.


Best Dual-Purpose: tarte Double Take Eyeliner


  • 2 liners in 1
  • Available in mini size
  • Waterproof


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Only available in black and brown

If you go between liquid and pencil eye looks then this is the product you have been searching for. It contains a pencil on one end and a liquid on the other making it the must-have tool to define your waterline while also creating winged flicks.

Amazonian clays and mineral pigments combine to make this eyeliner rich in natural color while also being gentler on the skin.


Best Longwear: NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Mechanical Eyeliner Pencil


  • Great price
  • Professional grade quality
  • Wide range of shades


  • Limited matte options
  • Some shades sell out

One of the highest quality drugstore brands around, NYX never disappoints when it comes to creating innovative new makeup products. These liners come in a rainbow selection of colors and their shimmer finish makes them the perfect option to create statement eye looks.

Their long-lasting formula holds up against heat and humidity and won’t budge once they have been applied. If you are looking for something more than just your standard black liner, we recommend the jewel-toned shade Gypsy Blue for its vibrancy.


Best for Mature Eyes: e.l.f. Cosmetics Satin Eyeliner Pencil


  • Includes sharpener
  • Softer finish
  • Great price


  • Only available in one shade
  • Not for those looking for matte finish

This satin pencil works amazingly well on mature skin and delivers a more flattering finish than a classic matte. It glides on easily without tugging and its buttery texture makes it extremely easy to work with.

Coming in at just $3, it is also one of the most affordable options available, while still providing a high quality long-lasting finish that is also cruelty-free.


Best for Sensitive Eyes: Physicians Formula Eye Definer Automatic Eyeliner Pencil Ultra Black


  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Fragrance-free
  • Comes with sharpener


  • Only available in one shade
  • Not ideal for blending

If you have sensitive eyes you may have avoided applying eyeliner along the waterline for fear of causing irritation but this gentle pencil from Physicians Formula was designed specifically with you in mind.

Each ingredient in this eyeliner has been approved by dermatologists as safe to use on delicate skin and the formula was created without any fragrance, parabens or sulfates.


Best Gel: MAC Colour Excess Gel Pencil Eyeliner


  • Long-lasting
  • Professional grade ingredients
  • Vibrant shade range


  • Some shades sell out
  • Not for those looking for a liquid formula

This gel pencil eyeliner from MAC is beloved by makeup artists due to its long-lasting formula and rich pigment. With just one swipe of these luxurious pencils you can instantly elevate your makeup and create a bold eye look in seconds.

Both transfer and water proof, these pencils are ophthalmologist tested—each of the 12 shades delivering high-impact color that won’t fade or smudge throughout the day.

People Also Ask

  • Q: Is it safe to use eyeliner on the waterline?

    A:Yes, it is perfectly fine to use eyeliner along the waterline. If you have sensitive skin go for our pick from Physicians Formula and always remember to remove it thoroughly at night by double cleansing.

  • Q: How to get eyeliner to last longer on the waterline?

    A:Once you have your eyeliner applied, lightly dust some setting powder just underneath to prevent it from smudging throughout the day. You can also spritz some finishing spray for extra hold.

  • Q: How much should I spend on eyeliner?

    A:The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to find a high-quality eyeliner. The drugstore is home to some of the best options on the market. On the other hand a luxurious kohl liner is always a great beauty investment.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Clare Holden

By Clare Holden

Beauty and style writer Clare has been a fan of makeup and fashion ever since she was a child. While studying for her degree in Journalism and Communications, Clare worked part-time on cosmetic counters. After graduating she went back and trained as a makeup artist after falling in love with beauty and skincare. She now splits her time between writing about all things makeup and running her own womenswear brand White Night.
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