15 Waterproof Eyeliners That Won't Smudge, Budge, or Fade

We like the Makeup Forever Aqua Resist Color Pencil Eyeliner for its large shade range and creamy texture.

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Best Waterproof eyeliner
Photo: Sephora/ Rare Beauty

If you are on the hunt for makeup products that can stand tall against scorchers and downpours, look no further—we asked makeup artists to share 15 waterproof eyeliners to wear on days that it needs to last. We combed through reviews and tapped experts to create our list, evaluating products on their formula type, long-wearability, and shade selection. From splurge-worthy finds to sensitive-eye safe, and liquid to kohl to gel, these are worthy of an addition to your makeup bag.

Makeup Forever Aqua Resist Color Pencil Eyeliner earned the best overall spot on our list because of its creamy, no-tug texture, selection of colors, and MUA stamp of approval.

Each of these earned a spot on our list for the best waterproof eyeliners.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Makeup Forever Aqua Resist Color Pencil Eyeliner

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Also available at Nordstrom and Make Up For Ever

What We Love: The eyeliner pencil is creamy in texture and glides easily onto the lids.
What We Don't Love: Certain colors can fade quickly and may require touch-ups throughout the day.

"This is my everyday go-to waterproof eyeliner," says Lynn Simpson, makeup artist to songstress singers Jessica and Ashlee Simpson. "I love using it on the waterline because it goes on smoothly and doesn't budge."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 10 | Size: 0.42 oz

Best Value: NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Waterproof Eyeliner Vegan Formula

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Also available at Target

What We Love: The liquid eyeliner has a well-saturated, pigmented tip.
What We Don't Love: Liner goes on wet and the product can drip easily.

"NYX is a cheerful, affordable brand full of awesome products—including this waterproof liner," explains makeup artist Andrea Claire. "It is great for longevity, and, of course, intense pigment payoff."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Liquid | Colors: 2 | Size: 0.03 oz

Best Splurge: NARS High-Pigment Long-Wear Eyeliner

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Also available at Sephora and NARS

What We Love: Color lasts for a full 12 hours without touch-ups.
What We Don't Love: The pencil is not retractable and requires frequent sharpenings to keep it fresh.

"I love this liner for creating both natural and dramatic looks," Claire tells InStyle. "It works for tight lining, and for creating wingtips, feline flicks, and more."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 16 | Size: 0.04 oz

Best Liquid: Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner

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What We Love: This liquid liner has a pen-like grip and a fine tip.
What We Don't Love: The texture of this liquid liner is on the dryer side.

"This is such a fascinating product because it offers a matte finish and a deep dark black color that looks super dramatic," celebrity makeup artist Jenny Patinkin tells InStyle. "I also love the shape of the whole applicator because it balances in the hand like a brush."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Liquid | Colors: 1 | Size: 0.03 oz

Best Gel: Sephora Collection Ultimate Gel Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

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What We Love: It provides a great color payoff and goes on with one stroke.
What We Don't Love: It is not quite as smudge-proof as other liners on our list.

"This pencil is long-lasting, glides on like a dream, and the color payoff is amazing," says Clarybelle, makeup artist and educator on SKILLR. "I also love that it comes in matte, metallic, and shimmer finishes, so you can create any kind of eye look you like."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 22 | Size: 0.01 oz

Best Kohl: NYX Professional Makeup Slim Eye Pencil Long-Lasting Eyeliner

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Also available at Amazon

What We Love: This eyeliner pencil is available in 24 unique colors.
What We Don't Love: The pencil does require firm pressure to apply the product onto eyelids.

"This is a great kohl eyeliner that stays put and won't break the bank," says Maria Velve, Toronto-based makeup artist and beauty educator. "It is easy to use, comes in a variety of shades, and is both highly pigmented and cruelty-free."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 23 | Size: 0.04 oz

Best for Sensitive Eyes: MILK Makeup KUSH Liquid Eyeliner

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What We Love: It contains hydrating hemp-derived cannabis seed oil to prevent the liner from feeling too dry.
What We Don't Love: Brush can be too stiff for those who prefer something softer.

"For anyone who has sensitive eyes, I recommend an eyeliner that applies smoothly (you shouldn't have to press hard) and does not contain irritants such as mica, carbon black, or fragrance," Velve tells InStyle. "That is why I recommend this MILK mascara, as it is clean and vegan, and it's formulated with hydrating cannabis seed oil."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Liquid | Colors: 1 | Size: 0.03 oz

Best Shade Range: Sephora Collection 12-Hour Contour Pencil Eyeliner

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What We Love: This liner is available in several color options and matte, glitter, and shimmer finishes.
What We Don't Love: It can flake and can be too irritating to sensitive eyes.

"This literally has the best range of colors and is extremely long-wearing," says makeup artist Liz Fuller. "Since they are available in matte, shimmer, and metallic formulas, they are great for any occasion; from bridal makeup to clubbing, to the office."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 21 | Size: Standard size

Best Dual-Sided: Stila Stay All Day Dual-Ended Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

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Also available at Stila Cosmetics

What We Love: It has a dual-sided tip that can be helpful in creating simple or more elaborate eyeliner looks.
What We Don't Love: The product may need to be layered to create a more bold look with the fine tip side.

"This eyeliner has an original tip and a micro tip for a more precise wing," Clarybelle says. "The best part? The formula glides on easily and dries fairly fast." There are neutrals—like black and brown—as well as metallics in shades like champagne, berry, and green.

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Liquid | Colors: 12 | Size: 0.033 oz

Best for Cat Eye: UZU BY FLOWFUSHI Eye-Opening Liner

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Also available at UZU

What We Love: This eyeliner offers a fine tip brush that is easy for cat-eye beginners to maneuver.
What We Don't Love: If the cap is not fastened on properly, the product can leak.

"I love to use this liner to create cat eye looks," New York City-based makeup artist Suzy Gerstein tells InStyle. "The brush is very fine and tapered, so it gives me ultimate control. The formula also comes in lots of cool colors that can be layered to create so many fun, Euphoria-inspired looks."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Liquid | Colors: 20 | Size: 0.019 fl

Best for Waterline: SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner

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What We Love: This pencil is fully retractable, so you can control how much product you use.
What We Don't Love: It may not be the best eyeliner choice for those with monolids.

"I love this Sephora eyeliner," explains Clarybelle. "Not only is it affordable, but it is smudge-proof, creamy, and comes with a smudging tip."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 20 | Size: Standard Size

Best for Oily Lids: Babe Lash Enriching Liquid Eyeliner

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Also available at BabeLash

What We Love: This eyeliner wears all day, but can be easily removed with makeup remover.
What We Don't Love: Formula can go on too runny, which allows it to smear before it dries.

"I love this smudge-proof eyeliner for oily lids because it does not budge after it dries," says Gerstein. "Oftentimes, I will finish a natural look with a very thin line at the base of lashes—because I love the definition it gives at the lash line—and I can count on it to not move."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Liquid | Colors: 1 | Size: 1.5 oz

Best Clean: Jillian Dempsey Eyeliner

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Also available at Jillian Dempsey

What We Love: The formula is non-irritating and its smudging tip allows you to blend with ease.
What We Don't Love: It can require several passes to create a more dramatic eye look.

"This is a natural, cruelty-free eyeliner available in four colors and is made with organic jojoba oil, marula oil, and shea butter," says Dominque Lerma, MODA Executive Artist . "It glides on seamlessly for a perfectly sultry eye."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 4 | Size: Standard size

Best Cream: Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color

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Also available at Nudestix

What We Love: This eyeliner is easy to hold and comes with its own sharpener.
What We Don't Love: It may require a primer to prevent creasing.

"This is my current favorite eyeliner product," Clarybelle tells InStyle. "This eyeliner is very pigmented, long-wearing, and provides a perfect satin-matte finish."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Pencil | Colors: 21 | Size: 0.10 oz

Best Kit: Manna Kadar Cosmetics Eye Arsenal Kit

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What We Love: The kit comes with all your liner essentials; liquid eyeliner, eyeliner pencil, gel pot liner, and a liner brush.
What We Don't Love: While the liners are full-sized, the kit's brush may be too small for those who prefer a larger brush.

"I absolutely love everything about this eyeliner kit," Simpson explains. "It comes with everything you need—brush, gel pot liner, liquid liner, and eyeliner pencil—to create a beautiful and dramatic eyeliner look, especially cat eyes."

Look: Natural and Dramatic | Type: Gel, Pencil, and Liquid | Colors: 1 | Size: Four-piece kit

What to Keep in Mind

Eyeliner Type

Eyeliners come in many different forms, each with their own unique benefits when it comes to control, precision, and ease-of-use. There are traditional pencils which require frequent sharpening to maintain a point, and mechanical or twist-up pencils with a gel-like formula that sometimes have a built-in sharpener. You can also find liquid or cream pigments in pots that require a fine liner brush for application. These formulas tend to be for more advanced makeup wearers.

Finding the right pigment type (kohl, kajal, liquid, gel, or cream), and application mechanism (pencil, pen, felt tip, or brush) to match your comfort level and preferred style will make for easier application.

Finish and Color

The finish of an eyeliner might seem like a subtle detail (as compared to the finish of an eye shadow), but shiny, matte, or shimmery liner can make a big impact on your overall look. Matte liners offer an understated definition, while shiny and shimmery liners can create a dramatic, eye-catching effect. In the end, choosing the finish comes down to personal preference.

While almost all eyeliner brands come in black and brown for more natural, everyday looks, if you're looking for something a little more fun, you may want to consider other shades. You could pick an eyeliner that shows off your eye color: navy or copper for blue eyes, brown or burgundy for green eyes, and purple or cobalt for brown eyes. And, of course, there's always the option to follow colorful eyeliner trends, like metallics or neons.

Your Questions, Answered

How long does waterproof eyeliner last?

Pencil and gel liners typically last a year before they should be replaced. A liquid liner, like mascara, should be thrown out after three to six months to avoid bacteria. "That being said, it's important to sharpen it before EVERY use to keep it clean and hygienic—this will ensure that it lasts as long as possible," says makeup artist Natasha Moor. The benefit of a waterproof eyeliner is that it can last on the eyes through heat, rain, sweat, and oily lids and will stay put until it's time to remove it.

What is the best way to remove waterproof eyeliner?

"Removing waterproof eyeliner doesn't need to be a battle," Claire tells InStyle. "Press a cotton pad dampened with eye makeup remover (I love using the Bioderma Sensibio h2O Makeup Removing Micelle Solution) over the liner for 20 seconds, then gently wipe inwards. Repeat as needed." A cleansing balm is another great option—the oils in the balm can break down the waterproof ingredients to gently wash away the makeup. Follow up with a face wash to cleanse off any remaining makeup or residue.

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