The amount of eye liners you can buy on the market now is a little overwhelming, and I always think if you've got winged eye liner on, that is the one piece of your make-up that you really want to stay in tact all day. If it smudges or wears away it's immediately noticeable. So it can be a bit of a minefield trudging through all the gel liners, liquid liners and pen liners to find one that is actually any good (because to be honest, some are completely pants).
I've been wearing winged eye liner since I was abouttt...16 maybe? So I've grown incredibly picky about which ones I think are any good. If you are in the market for some recommendations, hopefully this can give you a helping hand. And the good news is they aren't all mega expensive high end products, some are cheaper ones from Boots that are still brilliant.
For each of these liners, I have done what I call the layer test. One layer, two layers, then three layers. As you will see with the majority of them...it makes very little difference to the intensity of the colour. Hence why it's the ultimate test! Eyeliner should go on in one stroke, I don't want to layer it up to make it black.
Let's start with the high end stuff.
Urban Decay Ink For Eyes - £15.50
When I first bought this, I was running around to everyone saying an eye liner had changed my life. Okay maybe a little over-dramatic, but you get my point.
As you would expect from Urban Decay, this liner is fantastic. I often find pen liners can be dry, and the colour can be so thin that it requires layering up (not ideal when you are trying to draw a neat line). Not at all the case with this one, it comes out black as black, and the nib is fantastic. It's small and the perfect shape, my eye liner has honestly never looked so neat. And on top of this, it has brilliant staying power. As proof of this, I doodled a heart on my hand with it once (because that is what mature 24 year olds do, okay?!) and a shadow of it was still there the next day - after hand washing and showering. It does what it says on the tin, it is waterproof.
Although to contradict this, I do find it a bit sketchy around the inner corners of my eye, that is the one spot that wears away. However that isn't exclusive to this eye liner as I often have that problem. And it's easily solved as it is the most compact, lightweight liner ever. It barely even makes a dent in your make-up bag.
Buy it here.
Clinique Brush On Cream Liner - £17
After forking out £17 you would expect this stuff to be darn good. Well, I'm pleased to say that it really is. It's the perfect consistency as it's not too thick, and not too thin - just a great creamy texture which means it is so easy to apply. And as you'd expect, the staying power is brilliant. It'll also last you absolutely ages, as you use so little at a time. The only downside is the brush it comes with isn't that great. So you obviously need a good liner brush to pair it with, which adds to the cost and the complexity. It may not be the best liner for anyone who isn't very confident with applying it.
Buy it here.
Mac Liquidlast Liner - £16
I'm pretty sure when they designed this one of the main ingredients was cement, honestly this stuff does not budge for anyone. I have to (quite literally) scrub at my eye to get it off at the end of the day. If you want liner that will absolutely stay on all day, then this one is ideal for you. It does mean it's a bit of a danger zone when applying though, you can't mess up.
Cons? Well, as you will see in the picture below. You will never get through a whole tube, as after a few months the consistency goes really gloopy - think similar to nail varnish that's gone manky. It's not the cheapest of eye liners, so that is a bit of a pain to be honest. Also the brush applicator is a bit annoying as it's just not the right shape, odds are you will need a tissue near by as it often finds a way to cling onto your lashes. Big black clumps on the ends of my lashes? No thanks.
But, saying all of this. I still stand by my original point, no liner will last like this one. And the colour is the blackest of black. I can't stand liners that are supposed to be black, and come out looking like an over-washed pair of jeans.
Buy it here.
Can't afford to fork out for these? Don't sweat it. There are some great cheaper alternatives.
Seventeen Wet Look Lacquer Eyeliner - £3.99
Initially I kind of dodged this one, as the 'wet look finish' put me off a bit as I couldn't really imagine how that would look. But it still looks great, and not as strange as I imagined - all it means is it's not very matte, and has a slight gloss to it.
This stuff is brilliant, 100% my favourite "Drug Store" liner. It's staying power is fantastic, the applicator is a small brush so it is easy to use, and the formula is the right consistency - not too watery, and not too thick. I often opt for it over some of my more expensive ones! Particularly if I have a lot of eye shadow on, as it glides over it very easily.
In all honesty I have very few bad things to say about it, it's a perfect example of how lower end products can be just as great as higher end products.
Buy it from Boots.com
Collection Fast Stroke Eyeliner - £2.99
This is an absolute steal at £2.99. And it's brilliant, the colour is an intense, matte black, it's easy to apply and it has pretty great lasting power. Only criticism? As it's a sponge applicator, after a few months it becomes less pointy and loses it's shape. So your eye liner starts coming out in a big fat line. Great if you're Marilyn Manson, not so great if you are going for a subtle daytime look.
But in all honesty, at that price who really cares? Still well worth buying in my opinion.
Get it from Superdrug here.
Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Liner - £5.29
This was my go-to liner for years from the age of about 16 right through university, until I decided to venture out of my eye liner rut and started seeing what else was out there. It's a solid, and reliable product. The applicator is great for anyone who is less confident with eye liner as it is pretty easy to use, the colour is nice and black, and it has decent (but not incredible) staying power. It's also very reasonably priced.
Grab it from Boots here.
Which ones should I not bother with?
Eesshhh. Yeah, I have a few that I've tried that I just think - to be quite blunt, are pretty rubbish. Some people may have different experiences with them, but these ones I really don't like.
Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner
24 hour? Good joke, Collection. TELL IT AGAIN. Don't get me wrong I love Collection, and as you can see I have already recommended one of their liners. But this one just isn't very good. The colour is thin and not at all intense, and it just wears off your eyes really easily. I don't expect to have to layer up a liner 2-3 times to get the colour it is supposed to be...this isn't nail varnish guys! I bought it in both brown and black and I didn't like either of them.
Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen
Colorstay? This product does not stay. In any way. After only a couple hours of wearing it, it had flaked off all around my eyes. On top of that the colour is a bit transparent and a bit of an off-black, not at all intense and pigmented like you would hope. A bit of a shame really, as Revlon is one of the pricier "drugstore" brands in my opinion.
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner
Damn, Revlon! Back at it again with the rubbish eye liners.
I bought this in brown, and it's just so watery. It is impossible to apply it without it all seeping inside the corner of your eye. Gross, not what you want at all. And not very hygienic really. Although saying this, I recently saw Sam and Nic (creators of the Real Techniques brushes and all round beauty vlogger goddesses) recommend this as a great learning liner. So maybe the formula has changed since I bought it, or maybe it is much better in black than in brown.
To help your liner stay on, I would really recommend a decent eye primer. It makes such a difference. Personally I like Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I know it is on the more pricey side, but you use so little of it with each application that it will honestly last you ages, so it is well worth the investment in my opinion. You can get it from the Urban Decay Website for £16.
So that's it! I really hope you love one of these products as much as I do. And there are tons of brilliant liner products out there, so if you love one I haven't mentioned then please put it in the comments below! I'm a liner addict...any excuse to buy more.
I shall leave you with this gospel quote.