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Best Eyeliners from Drugstores and Department Stores


There are so many eyeliner options these days. Pencil liners are great for smudging (think smokey eye) but tend to have poor staying power and need to be set with a eyeshadow, liquid liners stay on forever but require expert, steady application and gel liners provide a perfect balance of ease-of-use (pencils) with staying power (liquid liners). These, however, require a separate brush to apply.

Here are my favorite liners from pricey department store brands to some drugstore faves.


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A Great Gel Liner: MAC Fluidline Gel

The makeup artist's secret (Angelina Jolie's makeup artist Matin uses this to get her famous cat eye), this matte gel is applied with an eyeliner brush and stays on longer than pencils while providing a line that's not as harsh as a liquid liner. Line the upper lids and dot in between lashes for the perfect cat eye.

This also happens to be the most-reviewed eyeliner on Makeupalley. Of the 1,520 reviews at the time of this writing, more than 85 percent of reviewers would buy it again. That speaks volumes about the quality of this product.

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Another Great Gel Liner: Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners are popular on Makeupalley.com and are an InStyle magazine "Best Beauty Buy." Although pricier than a liquid liner you might get at a drugstore, the product in this little pot lasts forever -- as does the line it makes on your lid. It's known for staying put until you wash it off. Also, gel liners go on more smoothly and stay on longer than pencil liners but are less harsh than the lines created by liquid liners. The only downfall is you need an eyeliner brush. I like MAC and Sephora brands.

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Best Drugstore Gel Liner: Maybelline's Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Perhaps the best drugstore eyeliner out there, Maybelline's gel eyeliner is easier to apply than liquid liners and stays put longer than pencil liners. Comes in four shades: Black, brown, gray and plum. I love this because it comes with a brush and it's affordable! A huge hit with beauty bloggers.

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Great Liquid Liner: Lancome Artliner

Perfect for drawing in thin, barely-there lines on upper lashes. Goes on smooth, clean and precise and won't budge. Because liquid liners require a steady hand, they can be a pain for newbie users or non-professionals, however Artliner works well because if you smudge, simply put a Q-tip in some water and swipe over lid to remove. Some users report it's not a great liner if you like to layer shadows over the line (for a smoky eye, for example). The liner apparently "peels" away when shadow is layered over it. But it's perfect for that thin line so many love.

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Great Liquid Eyeliner: NARS Liquid Stylo

NARS makes great products and this liquid liner is no exception. This liquid liner does require a steady hand, but goes on precisely and beautifully. Bonus: The line dries quickly and has a deep pigment for intense color that will last all day.
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Great Pricey Liquid Liner: Shiseido Automatic Fine Liner

Perhaps one of the best, most precise liquid liners available. Works best if you prime the lid first with an eyeshadow primer and fix the line with a bit of eyeshadow. The

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Best Drugstore Eyeliner: Wet 'N' Wild Megaliner

You get more than you pay for with Wet 'n' Wild's megaliner. For less than $5 you get a great liquid line (steady hand required) that stays all day. One con with these cheap liquid liners are you go through a tube faster than you would the eyeliner gels and pencils. Great selection of colors.

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Best Shadow Eyeliner: MAC's Kohl

One of the benefits of shadow eyeliners is you can smudge the line. If you don't like a harsh line, a pencil liner is a good bet and MAC's Kohl pencils are a great buy. Keep the line from melting onto your lid by dotting eyeshadow over the line once it's in place. This pencil also works great smudged underneath the bottom lashes. Use your finger or a Q-tip to smudge.

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A Fabulous Pencil Liner: Chanel Precision Eyeliner

Chanel's eyeliner is perfection.

Smudge the pencil line with your finger for a lighter, more natural look

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Best Eye Pencil for a Smokey Eye: MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil

Perfect for smudging. This eye pencil goes on soft, is easy to smudge but won't budge because it actually dries after a few seconds of contact.

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