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The best black eyeliner

Black eyeliner

Magazine pages always have and always will be full of celebrities wearing red-carpet ready makeup. While it may be the rouge of their lips, the tint of their cheeks or their dramatic eyebrows that catch your attention, it’s the application of the black eyeliner that can transform a look from high-street to tinseltown. 

·         The best lipsticks for long-lasting colour

·         The best mascaras for longer looking lashes

Whether it’s the subtle Kate Middleton highlight or the dramatic Amy Winehouse wing you’re after, we’ve put together a list of the best black eyeliners so you can achieve the look you want. If you’re looking for a liquid eye-liner for that dramatic wing-effect, we think a black liquid eyeliner pen is the best choice. The Tom Ford eyeliner is pretty popular and actually makes the top of our list, thanks to its ease of use and calligraphy style tip.

For that soft, smokey look, pencil is always best; and if you’re worried about its lack of staying power, it’s good to know that Chanel have come up with a waterproof option that promises to last from morning to night. The alternative option is gel; so perfectionists should head on over to Bobbi Brown for a long lasting look that they can achieve with their own black eyeliner applicator. 

Department stores are definitely your best bet when it comes to high quality eyeliner, whether it’s from renowned designer brands including MAC, Lancome and Givenchy or budget friendly options from high street brand, Stila. With all that in mind, we’ve researched the best black eyeliners across all of these brands so you can work your own style just right.

Black eyeliner

1. TOM FORD Eye Defining Pen in Deeper

For the deepest black and precise results, this Tom Ford pen is a winner

Best for: Statement black | Type: Pen | Size: 0.8ml | Shade: Deeper

Pen tip delivers precise strokes
Dual ended for fine and winged detail

Anyone’s who’s tried to work any magic with liquid eyeliner probably quickly realises that application is much harder than it looks, especially when you want to create that classic ‘wing’. To help matters, this black eyeliner pen from Tom Ford features a slim tip for detail and a brush on the other so you can make big, bold statements with ease. Promising blackest shade of black colour, expect so weak tones with this eyeliner pen.  

Black eyeliner

2. Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner

A smudge proof eyeliner for stay-on smokiness

Best for: Stay-on pencil | Type: Pencil | Size: 0.3g | Shade: Noir intense

Also resists humidity

You wouldn’t think a pencil had particularly impressive staying power, but this one from Chanel does, which makes it totally worth the price tag . Waterproof and humidity resistant, work this one to your style and it’ll stay there, no matter what your daily life throws at it. To top it off, it features an integrated sharpener so you can keep the pencil on point, and it’s retractable, so it won’t make a mess of your makeup bag, either.  

Black eyeliner

3. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eye Liner

If you have a steady hand, you can’t go wrong with Bobbi Brown

Best for: Award winning gel | Type: Gel | Size: 0.3g | Shade: Black ink

Intensely pigmented
Waterproof and sweat resistant

Deep colour, check. Waterproof check. Lifeproof, check. Applicator? No - but they’re not hard to come by. This multi award winning gel eyeliner is favoured for its long wear and dramatic effect, which is very similar to liquid, so long as you make sure to remove any excess gel from your applicator brush. While slightly fiddly to apply, once on, it’ll stay there, which means no rushed bathroom reapplication mid way through your night out.  

Black eyeliner

4. Lancôme Grandiôse Liner

With a smart application wand, this eyeliner adapts to your eye shape

Best for: Precision application | Type: Liquid | Size: 1.4g | Shade: Noir mirifique

Applicator pivots and bends
Ultra thin tip

When it comes to making sure that your liquid black eyeliner looks precise, this number from Lancome does everything it can to help. Featuring a pivoting and bendable eyeliner applicator, it adapts to the shape of your eye so you can access even the most awkward angle. The precision is further enhanced by the ultra fine tip, while they say the eyeliner liquid itself has the staying power of up to a day.  

Black eyeliner

5. Givenchy Magic Khol Eyeliner Pencil

A creamy textured eyeliner pencil with a smudge resistant finish

Best for: Creamy pencil | Type: Liquid | Size: 1g | Shade: N°01 Black

Soft texture for blending
Suits upper and lower lashes

Liquid and gel eyeliners are often too harsh for the lower lash. Alternatively, pencil eyeliners are often too soft when it comes to upper lash definition. It’s therefore a rarity when a makeup brand boast that their pencil eyeliner is good enough for both the bottom and top lash. The creamy texture of this pencil allows it to glide on easily, depositing defining colour, while still being soft on the lower lash. It stays in place, all day too 

Black eyeliner

6. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eye Liner

With a forgiving tip, this is the ideal black eyeliner for beginners

Best for: Beginners | Type: Liquid | Size: 0.5ml | Shade: Intense black

Smooth application
Thin marker tip for precision

If you’re looking for a good quality black eyeliner but don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, this one from high street brand Stila is a great compromise. Designed for beginners, the felt tip delivers a thin bold line with minimal chance of skipping or smudging; to top it off, it’s waterproof, which means it should last all day. 

Black eyeliner

7. MAC Cosmetics Fluidline Blacktrack Gel Eyeliner

MAC are the holy grail of makeup cosmetics, so here’s their highly rated gel offering

Best for: Silky soft finish | Type: Gel | Size: 3g | Shade: Blacktrack

Softer finish than other gel liners

This MAC black eyeliner promises to deliver a smooth application and silky soft finish. When liquids can be too harsh and pencils too soft, this gel eyeliner should meet in the middle for polished day time look. It’s longwearing and smudge proof, too, so no matter how stressful your day becomes, the gel eyeliner will see you through. We can’t however, promise water resistance, which knocks a point off compared to the Bobbi Brown gel.  


Still not seen the perfect eyeliner for you? Check out our lists of the best liquid eyeliner or the best eyeliners for achieving define lines.