The Best Black Eyeliner

Whether you want to create the ultimate cat-eye or subtly highlight the contour of your eyes, eyeliner can help you do it. This makeup bag mainstay is one of the most versatile tools in any makeup routine, allowing you to create all types of looks. It can help draw attention to your eyes and enhance the rest of your appearance. With so many black eyeliners on the market, choosing the right one may seem like an overwhelming task. With that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best eyeliners the internet has to offer to help you find the best one for you.

What to Look For

We asked ourselves the following questions to identify the best black eyeliners on the market: Does it come with an applicator that allows the eyeliner to glide on easily? What type of finish does it have? Is it a long-wear formula? Our top pick from NYX stood out for many reasons, including not needing to be sharpened and its creamy texture that delivers intense pigment with a long-lasting hold. We were also impressed by the eyeliner from Rimmel, which features a built-in smudger and sharpener. Keep reading to learn about the rest of our favorites and discover the right one for you.

NYX Mechanical Pencil Black Eyeliner

Perfectly defined eyes

Create the look you want with this eyeliner pencil that delivers intense pigment exactly where you need it.
Best Overall

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If you’re looking for a black eyeliner with intense color, this eyeliner pencil from NYX is an excellent choice. Its extra-sharp tip makes drawing thin, smooth lines easy. What’s more, it never needs sharpening, so it’s always ready when you are. The creamy formula helps prevent skipping, tugging, and pulling in the sensitive eye area. We also like that it’s smudge-proof and holds up well during hot and humid weather.


  • We love how easy it is to apply this eyeliner. It goes on smoothly and precisely without any need to stretch or tug at the eyelids.
  • This eyeliner performs as well as more expensive brands for a fraction of the price, making it an excellent value.


  • Unfortunately, It’s not waterproof.

Rimmel Self-Sharpening Black Eyeliner

Highlight your eyes

Make your eyes pop with this high-impact eyeliner featuring a built-in smudger and sharpener.
Runner Up

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Whether you’re working out or walking in the rain, this black eyeliner from Rimmel won’t budge. This waterproof eyeliner is long-lasting, maintaining its intense color for hours, so you won’t have to think about reapplying it during the day. It glides on effortlessly, leaving a smooth, smudge-proof finish. The creamy formula looks good alone, or you can blend it with other shades to create a bold look. 


  • We learned that this eyeliner is an excellent choice for hooded eyes because it doesn’t transfer from where it’s applied to the crease in the eyelid.
  • This eyeliner is easy to apply and doesn’t tug or pull the sensitive eyelid area during application. 


  • The built-in sharpener isn’t very durable.

Wet n Wild Retractable Black Eyeliner

Dress up your eyes

Reach for this eyeliner when you want to create a bold look that holds everyone's attention.
Best Value

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This black eyeliner from Wet n Wild proves that you don’t have to break the bank for a high-quality eyeliner. This affordable eyeliner is smudge-proof and waterproof, so it can withstand heat, humidity, and rainy days. Plus, you won’t have to worry about it running if you need to have a good cry at a wedding, movie, or another moving event. It’s also versatile, so you can easily create a range of looks. And it sets quickly, even on oily skin.


  • This eyeliner is so inexpensive that you can buy several at a time to stock up. That way, you won’t have to worry about running out.
  • We appreciate how long-lasting this eyeliner is. It usually stays on throughout the day without needing to be reapplied.


  •  There isn’t much product in the tub, so it tends to run out quickly.

Ucanbe Smudge-Proof Gel Black Eyeliner

Lead with your eyes

Use this eyeliner set to define your eyes the way you want.
Best Gel

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If you’re looking for an eyeliner with a deep black shade, you can’t go wrong with this black eyeliner gel from Ucanbe. It goes on smoothly without pulling or tugging the sensitive skin around your eyes. Moreover, it sets quickly while highlighting your eyelids with an intensely black color. It’s waterproof and it doesn’t smudge, so you can wear it all day long without worrying about reapplying it.


  • This set includes black and brown eyeliners, allowing you to choose the color that suits your needs or blend them to reduce the intensity of the black shade.
  • A regular liner and angle liner brush are included in the set, giving you everything you need to create various looks.


  •  The brushes that come with the set might be a bit small for some people.

Maybelline Liquid Pen Black Eyeliner

It's all about the eyes

Creating the look you want is a breeze with this easy-to-use liquid eyeliner.
Best For Beginners

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If you’re new to applying liquid eyeliner, this black eyeliner by Maybelline is an excellent choice. The eyeliner’s tip is very sharp, making drawing a precise line a piece of cake. It also features an easy-to-control grip, so you’ll find it easy to keep your hand steady as you apply it. Moreover, its tug-free no-slip formula glides on smoothly and lasts up to 24 hours. It delivers intense color and is smudge-free and waterproof, so it can hold up in almost any type of weather.


  • We love that this makeup doesn’t crack, cake, or flake during the day, so touching it up usually isn’t necessary. 
  • It works well with contacts because the formula is non-irritating and doesn’t get into the eyes.


  •  The cap comes off easily, which can cause the eyeliner to dry out if you don’t notice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of black eyeliner is easiest to use? 

If you’ve never used eyeliner before, you may find pencil liners easiest to use. You can choose from wood stylos or twist-up pencil eyeliners, and they’re an excellent option if you don’t have much practice applying eyeliner because their shape gives you more control when applying it. However, if you have trouble keeping your hand steady while applying eyeliner, a creamy formula might help because they allow you to blend the eyeliner into the shape you want, making it easy to correct any errors.

Is it safe to use black eyeliner on my waterline?

You should usually avoid using eyeliner on your waterline because it may stop the glands in that area from producing the oils needed to keep your eyes healthy. If you’re going to apply eyeliner to your waterline, you should only do it occasionally and choose a creamy formula that goes on quickly without any pulling or scratching.

About the Author

Lynnae is on a mission to help everyone choose the best products for their particular beauty needs, whether that be the best lipstick, hair spray, or skincare routine. Her expertise in these areas comes from her own personal experience, which includes using a process of elimination to find the best treatment for her naturally curly hair and sensitive, oil-prone skin. If you're looking for the perfect product for your face and body, Lynnae has you covered.

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