Professional makeup artists choose the bargain liners they'd use without batting an eye.
Since eyeliner is a product prone to multiples (one for home, one for the gym bag, etc.), we like to purchase ours at the drugstore. And makeup artists do, too.
We polled nine of the industry’s most in-demand artists and they all came back with glowing reviews for drugstore liners. Here are their top picks, all for $8 or less.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner ($5). “I love a good creamy formula when it comes to liner, but don’t always love the longevity of them. This liner gives you both. Creamy, easy, smooth application along with a waterproof formula that lasts all day. They’re also highly pigmented, and you can blend and smudge with ease.” — Desirae Cherman
Maybelline Eyestudio Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil ($8). “The formulation is like silk with a ton of pigment and stays put as long as you want it to.” — Erin Ayanian Monroe
“I’m super impressed with this liner, and I would say that it definitely gives the department-store versions a real run for their money. It’s so fine that you can create a cat eye with it, and it layers really beautifully.” — Andre Sarmiento
Rimmel Magnif’eyes Double Ended Shadow + Liner ($6). “I love Magnif’eyes for its easy application and long-lasting, smudge-proof formula. It glides on smoothly and blends beautifully when it’s first applied, but won’t budge after it dries. The colors are saturated and vibrant. Each liner comes with two shades, one on each end, so you get two liners in one.” — Nicole Walmsley
“I love this shadow-and-liner combo because of its versatility and the amazing staying power. The shadow side is basically a thicker liner that I love to use for creating a soft, smoky look, and finish with the liner side for extra drama.” — Kristee Liu
Almay Liquid Eyeliner ($8). “This eyeliner is great because it has a super-smooth, inky formula to create the perfect cat eye that won’t ever smudge or bleed. I love this product for red carpet because I know the liner will be flawless all day and night.” — Tinna Empera
Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precision Ink Pen Eyeliner ($7). “For the ultimate cat eye, this is my go-to every time. It’s a super-rich black that has the most precise fine point for getting the shape exactly how you want. One trick I love to do if you are wanting a more natural look but still want a super-defined lash line is to take the Ink Pen and dot in between your lashes to fill the spaces where skin shows.” — Desirae Cherman
Milani Liquid Eye Liquid Eyeliner Pencil ($7). “This gel-based pencil covers all requirements that matter most to me when determining the quality and use of an eyeliner: application, pigment and staying power. Its ultra-smooth application is easy on the delicate areas of the eyelids, and makes it easy to blend if I choose to smudge it out. The pigment is so rich, I can create a smoky eye with it fast, or a bold, sexy cat-eyed look. Its staying power goes the distance like a champion.” — Roxy Saffaie
L’oreal Voluminous Smoldering Liner ($8). “These are great for a smudgy rock-and-roll feeling, or to layer under your shadow for an easy smoky eye. Draw directly on using as a pencil and smudge with your finger for a darker, messier smoke, or apply with a liner or cream shadow brush for a more subtle, precise look. Both brown and black are a must-have.” — Adam Breuchaud
Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner ($6). “It’s super long-lasting, smudge-proof and waterproof. I like that it’s in self-sharpening packaging, so it’s always the perfect point.” — Kindra Mann