The Best Waterproof Eyeliners to Withstand Sweaty Days and Cry-Fests

The One/Size Point Made Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen is the best waterproof eyeliner for creating a sharp, precise cat-eye.

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best-waterproof-eyeliners-of-2022-tout

Ulta / Sephora

We’ve all had that moment where we drew on the perfect cat-eye, leaned back, impressed with our own work, only to have it transfer on our upper lid. That, or a so-called long wear liner ends up fading away within an hour or two. It’s frustrating, but it happens to the best of us — that is unless you’re armed with a waterproof eyeliner that can truly last all day without budging. The good news is, they exist. It’s all a matter of finding which one lines up with your preferences. 

I’ve been doing a cat-eye for almost 20 years, so I’ve tried everything under the sun, especially waterproof eyeliner. You can call me an eyeliner snob, but I’ll wear that title proudly. I took my time to test and review the best waterproof eyeliners, from liquid to gel, kohl, and more. Plus, makeup artists give us professional advice on what to look for when it comes to waterproof eyeliners. One/Size Point Made Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen ended up being a step above the rest for its long wear powers and ease of use.

Keep scrolling to learn which ones are best for sensitive eyes, have the coolest color options, are worth your hard-earned cash, and more. 

Best Overall

One/Size by Patrick Starrr Point Made Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen

4.5
onesize-point-made-waterproof-liquid-eyeliner-pen

Sephora

What We Love: It has a long and flexible tip, making it easier to draw a wing.

What We Don’t Love: The cap can feel a little loose when trying to put it back on.

When it comes to liquid eyeliner, Patrick Starr knows his stuff. This One/Size liquid liner goes on super smooth, has a very pigmented, matte finish, and won’t budge after application. Because of its elongated tip, it’s a great choice for those who are still trying to perfect their cat-eye. I wore this all day (over primer and a little bit of eyeshadow) and it still looked fresh by the time I went to bed. 

Price at time of publish: $19

Type: Liquid | Color: Black, Blue, Brown | Width: Thick 

Best Drugstore

NYX Epic Ink Liner

4.5
nyx-epic-ink-liner

Target

What We Love: It’s only $10.

What We Don’t Love: It’s a little lacking in color options.

Epic Ink is proof that you don’t need to break the bank to find a solid liquid eyeliner. It’s a holy grail drugstore beauty product for many (including me) for a reason: It dries fast, goes on thick, and will last throughout the day. But for such a great budget buy, you’d think we’d be able to get more color options, especially since NYX is known for their wide range of colors for other products. (Note: they do offer other colored liquid liners so that might be the reason why they don’t have them for Epic Ink.) 

Price at time of publish: $10

Type: Liquid | Color: Black, Brown | Width: Thin

Best Splurge

Dior Diorshow On Stage Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

dior-diorshow-on-stage-waterproof-liquid-eyeliner

Sephora

What We Love: It comes in three different finishes.  

What We Don’t Love: Some reviewers say the matte option does tend to dry out faster.

Available in three different finishes (satin, matte, and pearlescent) and a world of color options, this Dior liquid liner provides endless artistry for eyeliner fans. There aren’t many other eyeliner brands that offer as many finishes so I love switching them up. Pricier than other liquid liners at over $30, Dior’s liner is considered a splurge, but if you’re a serious liquid eyeliner aficionado, you might consider this worth the cost, like I do. I love how precise the felt tip is, so it’s a steady go-to when I want a sharp wing.

Price at time of publish: $32

Type: Liquid | Color: Black, pink, white, indigo, denim, khaki, rust, green, bronze, burgundy, brown, rose, maroon | Width: Fine

Best Liquid

Kevyn Aucoin Precision Liquid Liner

Kevyn Aucoin Precision Liquid Liner

Kevyn Aucoin

What We Love: It has some seriously powerful pigment that doesn’t fade.

What We Don’t Love: The felt tip is a little bit harder than other liners, so beginners might not find it as easy to draw a cat-eye as with more flexible/softer tips.

I love a liquid eyeliner that is as black as my heart, and this one delivers, no question. Some liquid eyeliners tend to not look as opaque when drawn over eyeshadow, especially ones with shimmer finishes, but even my sparkliest palette is no match for the Precision Liner. While the tip is not as soft and flexible as some of the other liners on this list, there is an easy workaround when creating a cat-eye: Instead of drawing a continuous line, make small dashes on the lash line and connect it together.  

Price at time of publish: $34

Type: Liquid | Color: Black | Width: Fine

Best Pencil

Kulfi Underlined Kajal Eyeliner

kulfi-underlined-kajal-liner

Sephora

What We Love: It contains vitamin E and aloe. 

What We Don’t Love: May break easily due to how soft it is.

If you want a super soft pencil eyeliner that goes on incredibly smooth, look no further than these ones by Kulfi beauty. Not only are they smudge proof, waterproof, and deliver gloriously intense color, but the formula contains the antioxidant rich vitamin E and nourishing aloe vera, so you know your delicate lids and lashes will be taken care of. I love how this pencil feels going on. No worrying about tugging here! But because the pencil is so soft and pliable, it may tend to break if you’re not careful when putting the lid back on. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Type: Kajal pencil | Color: Black, Brown, Blue, Berry, Terracotta | Width: Thick

Best Gel

Too Faced Killer Line 36 Hour Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

too-faced-killer-liner-36-hour-waterproof-gel-eyeliner

Ulta

What We Love: It stays put, even on oily lids. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t set immediately (which can be both a pro and a con)

A creamy, pigmented liner that has a multitude of color options, I think Killer Liner is one of the best gel pencils out there. The 36-hour staying power is impressive ( if for some reason you will need it on for that long!), but also because it can withstand oily and sweaty eyelids. (I sometimes have oily lids and have not experienced any transfer whatsoever.) The one thing to keep in mind is the formula allows “play time” so it doesn’t set immediately. This is good if you want to smoke it out or blend into your shadow, but some people might want something that settles into its waterproof powers more quickly. 

Price at time of publish: $23

Type: Gel pencil | Color: cashmere, storm, gingerbread, caramel, chocolate, espresso, turquoise, sapphire, plum, black, camo | Width: Thick

Best Kohl

Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eyeliner Pencil

4.8
Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'n' Kohl Eyeliner Pencil

Sephora

What We Love: It contains pearl powder, a collagen-boosting ingredient.  

What We Don’t Love: It’s pricier than other pencil eyeliners.

This beloved Charlotte Tilbury pencil is considered to be somewhat of a hybrid liner, a balance between a liquid liner and a kohl pencil, but only because of its powerfully smooth application. This is another one that I find super easy to apply, especially if I do a liquid liner on top and want more definition in the outer corners of my eye and underneath the lash line. It contains crushed pearl powder, an antioxidant known to stimulate the body’s natural collagen, and keep the lids hydrated. 

Price at time of publish: $29

Type: Kohl pencil | Color: black, brown, gray, violet, blue, eye cheat (natural) | Width: thick

Best for Sensitive Eyes

Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner

thrive-causemetics-infinity-waterproof-eyeliner

Thrive Causemetics

What We Love: It’s made with skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and ceramides.

What We Don’t Love: You have to remember to let it set 30-60 seconds, otherwise it may smudge. 

With Thrive Causemetics’ eyeliner, you basically get two products in one: a great eye pencil, and a skincare product for your eyes and lashes. When I use this pencil, the shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides are evident. I don’t feel like my eyelids are getting pulled (always scary) and instead are almost getting a little treatment. The tricky part is trying not to blink for at least 30 seconds, otherwise I’ll experience transfer on my upper lids — it takes some time for the formula to set post-application. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Type: Pencil | Color: black, purple, plum, brown, navy, green, chocolate, gray, teal | Width: thin

Best Shade Range

Danessa Myricks Beauty Waterproof Cushion

danessa-myricks-waterproof-cushion-liner

Danessa Myricks

What We Love: The colors are the brightest and boldest of the liquid-based liners on this list. 

What We Don’t Love: It might be difficult to apply if you’re an eyeliner newbie.

These Danessa Myricks liners may not have the biggest shade range compared to other ones on this list, but I believe it has the most exciting and impressive colors because of how bright they are. If I want to make a statement with my cat-eye, I always reach for one of these shades (usually the lilac and turquoise colors). However, since these come in a little pot, you do need to apply them with a separate eyeliner brush, which can be difficult for some. Also, this is a multipurpose product, as you can use it as an eyeshadow and apply it to your entire eyelid. At $15, that’s a pretty good bargain for a 2-in-1 product, IMHO.

Price at time of publish: $15

Type: Liquid in cushion | Color: lavender, white, red, blue, turquoise, dark blue, bright blue, black| Width: n/a

Best Dual-Sided

Stila Stay All Day Dual-Ended Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

Ulta

What We Love: You get the option of a thin tip or a micro one.

What We Don’t Love: It has liquid liners on each end instead of one with a pencil.

This liquid liner 2-in-1 pen helps me draw a cat-eye in a matter of seconds. A thin, flexible tip (same as the original Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner) is on one end of the pen, allowing the creation of perfectly sharp cat-eyes that are drawn on smooth with the blackest of black formula. But if you need to get into the lash line or draw on a beauty mark or other super precise lines, the micro tip is perfect. Still, some people might prefer the option of having a pencil eyeliner if they are dealing with a dual pen.  

Price at time of publish: $30

Type: Liquid | Color: Black, brown | Width: Thin and Micro tip

Best for Cat Eye

Fenty Beauty Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner

4.6
fenty-beauty-by-rihanna-flyliner-longwear-liquid-eyeliner

Sephora

What We Love: The triangle tube allows for a firm grip, which is helpful when drawing a wing.

What We Don’t Love: Some reviewers say it dries out fast.

As someone who has done cat-eye makeup for almost 20 years, I can proudly say that this Fenty pen is one of my longtime favorites. The standout feature of this liner? Its unique tube. The cool triangle shape allows a good, firm grip, which is helpful in wing creation (many other liners have a circular tube, which can be slippy). Reviewers say that the formula can dry out fast, but all you have to do is shake it well before using and make sure to store the pen tip down. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Type: Liquid | Color: black, brown | Width: fine

Best Smudge-proof

MAC Liquidlast 24-Hour Eyeliner

mac-liquidlast-24-hour-eyeliner

Ulta

What We Love: It’s the most bulletproof eyeliner I’ve ever used.

What We Don’t Love: It can be difficult to remove.

MAC Liquidlast is a liner that I’ve used off and on for almost 20 years. It is truly the most bulletproof formula I’ve ever encountered. I used to use it to draw on a faux beauty mark because it would never rub off! I also know a couple of singers who swore by it for performances. One said that no matter how much she sweated onstage, the eyeliner would stay put! Is there a better co-sign that that? Of course, the downside is that it can be super difficult to come off, so you don’t want to be in a rush and try to remove it with regular soap and water. Use an oil cleanser or waterproof micellar water to gently remove it from your eyes.

Price at time of publish: $23

Type: Liquid | Color: Black | Width: Thin

Best for Waterline

Haus Labs Eye-Dentify Eyeliner

haus-laboratories-by-lady-gaga-eye-dentify-eyeliner

Sephora

What We Love: The color payoff is amazing. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t self-sharpen, which can be a dealbreaker for some. 

Haus Labs new and improved waterproof eyeliner pencil has a lot going for it: It’s clean, highly pigmented, can last up to 18 hours, comes in 13 mattes and five shimmers, and has skin-nourishing ingredients like vitamin E and argan oil. My favorite features? I love how intense the color looks on my lids, and how it comes with a smudge brush on one end (instead of a firm sponge like either liners), which also makes it a great travel liner. If the pencil starts getting small, all you have to do is use a regular eyeliner pencil sharpener. An easy fix, but some people prefer to have the pencil self sharpen by twisting it up, so keep that in mind.

Price at time of publish: $22

Type: Gel-like pencil | Color: gold, black, navy blue, purple, gray, brown, yellow-green, cobalt, white, silver, teal magenta, burnt orange, nude, green, sage, crimson, deep bronze| Width: Semi-thick

What to Keep in Mind

Eyeliner Type

There are plenty of types of waterproof liners to choose from, but it all really comes down to personal preference (I, for one, prefer a liquid liner). Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg, whose clients include Kaley Cuoco, Kristen Stewart, and Busy Phillips, favors liquid eyeliners and gel pencils over the others. Manuel Espinoza, makeup artist at Styleseat, also prefers gels, however, he’s not so big on liquid liners. “When choosing a waterproof eyeliner, a gel eyeliner formula is the best choice as liquid eyeliners are normally more watery and sometimes, may not even fully dry,” he says. “A gel eyeliner won’t bleed as easily, especially when using a waterproof formula.” 

Finish and Color

Some eyeliners strictly come in one finish, while others, like Dior Diorshow On Stage Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, come in a variety of satin, matte and pearlescent finishes. So, is one better than the other? Greenberg says that finish doesn’t matter since there are “many good formulas out there.” Meanwhile, Espinoza says that in general you should look for a matte, transfer-resistant finish. “If you want a shinier finish, I recommend using liquid eyeliner, but be wary of the drying time,” he says.

Your Questions, Answered

How long does waterproof eyeliner last?

There are a few eyeliners on our list that boast over 24-hour wear. This may sound impressive, but chances are that extreme kind of staying power isn’t really necessary unless you’ve got some vampiric sleeping habits or want to pull off an all-nighter. According to Greenberg, a good waterproof eyeliner only has to last about 12 hours. Espinoza points out that most waterproof eyeliners claim they have 24-hour wear. “This may be true but probably doesn’t come without a few smudges and smears after 24 hours,” he says. “For most waterproof eyeliner I would give it a 12-14 hour wear before I might see some smudging or fading.” 

What is the best way to remove waterproof eyeliner?

Waterproof eyeliner can be tricky to remove with a simple face wash, and you don’t want to risk damaging your lashes or aggravating your eyes with intense rubbing. You can use a makeup remover wipe, though Espinoza advises against that. “Whenever I am removing waterproof eyeliner, I like to use a liquid remover rather than a makeup wipe,” he says. “The eye area is extremely delicate, and using a makeup wipe to remove waterproof eyeliner requires a lot of rubbing and tugging at this gentle area. Instead, I recommend soaking a cotton ball or cotton ball in an eye makeup remover of your choice, pressing the pad against your eye for around 30 seconds, and gently wiping away the eyeliner. I repeat these steps a few times until the eyeliner is fully removed.” Greenberg suggests using an oil cleanser or balm cleanser like FarmHouse Fresh’s Make It Melt Cleansing Balm or COSMEDIX’s Purity Solution Nourishing Deep Cleansing Oil

Why Shop With Us

Marie Lodi is a freelance contributor to InStyle. She is the Looks Editor for Bust Magazine, and the former beauty and fashion editor for HelloGiggles. Her work has been published in The Cut, Who What Wear, Well + Good, Allure, Refinery29, Fashionista, and many other women’s media publications. She’s also a so-called eyeliner snob, making her the perfect person to report on this topic.

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