So much can go wrong with eyeliner. But these five gorgeous and ingenious liners are changing the game.

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So much can go wrong with eyeliner: raccoon circles, wonky cat-eyes, running, smearing — the fails go on and on.

It’s no wonder so many women would prefer to skip it altogether. But these five gorgeous and ingenious new liners are changing the game.

If your liner always smudges …

Try: Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner ($24 at Nordstrom). One reason eyeliner tends to be so polarizing is the smudge factor. In the blink of an eye (literally), your eyeliner can end up on an entirely different part of your face. Enter: Smashbox’s richly pigmented gel eyeliner pen. Not only does it apply like a dream, it’s smudge-proof and waterproof for 36 hours.

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If you can’t draw a cat-eye …

Try: Nonie Creme Colour Prevails Eye Calligraphy Liquid Liner ($9 at Walgreens). Not even a pro can draw a perfect cat eye every time. Thankfully, the ergonomic applicator on this new liquid eyeliner was designed for us amateurs. While the feel of the patented pen is odd at first, you’ll be shocked at how controlled and professional-looking your lines look when you’re done.

If waterlining scares you …

Try: Ciate Double Lines ($20 at Sephora). Blackened inner rims may look cool and chic, but perhaps you value your sight too much to stick pointy objects in your eyeballs. Luckily, the twist-up nub of soft kohl on this new double-ended liner is perfect for gliding along your inner rims. It helps quickly (and painlessly) add sexy definition.

If black is too harsh …

Try: Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner ($19 at While black eyeliner is a classic look, it doesn’t flatter everyone. If your eyes benefit from a pop of color, Ardency Inn’s long-lasting eye pencil comes in practically all the hues of the rainbow, including shimmery hot pink, gold, emerald green and deep purple.

If a smoky-eye thing is too much work …

Try: L’Oreal Infallible Smokissime ($10 at drugstores). Pencils and shadows and highlighters, oh my! Smoky eye makeup tends to demand a lot of products. Not so if you use L’Oreal’s new liner. Just blend away with the preloaded sponge tip (the eyeliner powder is stored in the cap) for an easy, smoky look.


Sara Kennedy: