Review

The best liquid eyeliners to buy in 2020

20 February 2020

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Reviewed: Liquid eyeliners

A great liquid liner is a makeup bag must-have and a key player when it comes to defining and emphasising the eyes. Whether you’re mastering retro feline flicks or perfecting statement bold lines, the wide variety of different applicators and formulas makes it easier than ever to get it right - from pens and pots to gels and wands there’s a liner look for everyone.

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Fenty Beauty Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner, £18

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When we first got our hands on this eyeliner we found it a little bit cumbersome to manoeuvre - the pen is quite long and chunky to hold so it was tricky to get as close as we like to the eye, but once we got the hang of it we were sold. The fine tip makes it easier to go back over any wobbly lines to correct them, without it looking like a child has drawn on you, and the rick black pigment stayed put all day.

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Hourglass Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner, £31

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Add a touch of class to your makeup bag with this gold packaged vegan liquid eyeliner. It has an easy to manoeuvre felt tip so you can easily alter the width and length of your eyeliner flicks, plus it dries fast so you don't get those annoying prints on your eyelid. We love!

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Too Faced Better Than Sex Eyeliner, £18

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The Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara  is one of our favourites of all time, so why not complete your eye makeup look with the matching eyeliner? The nib is ultra-soft, made from lots of little fibres as opposed to a solid nib, making it easier to alter the thickness of your flicks and create precision ends to your cat eyes. The soft brush allows it to glide over the lids comfortably without any dragging.

The shade is called Deepest Black, and it certainly is a richly pigmented hue.

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Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, £18

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Kat Von D is known for her perfect eye makeup, so we should have known her liquid eyeliner would be impressive. It has a satin finish and an ultra-fine precision tip for nailing any little details you're after. The lightest pressure delivers a rich black line which can be intensified if you press down on the applicator.

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Surratt Auto Graphique Liner, £40

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Like the fountain pens we had at school, this liquid eyeliner comes with ink cartridges - not only is it a fun nostalgia hit when you click it in, it's also great for sustainability, as you don't have to buy a whole new eyeliner every time it runs out - refillable is the way forward.

It has a very flexible soft bristle brush which makes precision flicks an absolute doddle. Also, the cartridges come in several different colours (black, brown, purple and blue) so can be swapped if the mood takes you.

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NARS Eyeliner Stylo, £22

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When it comes to blusher, Nars' Orgasm  is our go-to, so we had high hopes for this a Nars liquid eyeliner, and it didn't disappoint. The easy-to-use pen is great for creating definition and pigmentation. It dries quickly and stays put, only requiring a small touch up at the end of the day if you're off out for the evening. The nib is quite firm, which at times feels a little hard on the lids, but it does allow for good control when you're drawing on your flicks.

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Chantecaille Le Stylo Ultra Slim Eyeliner, £30

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With sleek silver packaging and an ultra-efficient applicator tip, Chantecaille's liquid eyeliner offering is the zippy sportscar of the liner world. It goes from nought to Sixties in about ten seconds flat, which is a blessing when you’re trying to look groomed but also get out of the door in the morning. It’s incredibly easy to achieve both a sleek, thin line or a more kittenish, dramatic flick and whilst not inky black, colour payoff is good and the effect is perhaps more flattering that a deep, harsh black. It’s water-based instead of silicone-based, so it’s easily removed and kinder to sensitive eyes.

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Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner, £16

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Even though it is called “Skinny”, the nib on Eyeko's liquid eyeliner is quite solid without being too hard on your lid. Having a tip that isn't flimsy means you can easily control it against the line, so you can build up from a subtle flick to an Adele-worthy line in gradual stages. The size of the pen is a good size to hold, meaning your hand is able to go one way or the other to fill in any little gaps.

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L’Oréal Paris Super Liner Perfect Slim, £6.99

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We're big fans of L'Oreal Paris' liquid eyeliners, with digital writer Melanie favouring the Super Liner Eyeliner . But this one rivals its sibling when it comes to ease of use. It's incredibly quick, clean and easy to apply, leaving no extra residue on lashes or annoying smudges. It has a gelly finger grip that reminds us of the pens that ruled our pencil cases when we were at school, making it really easy to hold onto - ideal if you're doing your makeup on the train.

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Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick Quick Fine Line Shodo Pen, £22

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Charlotte Tilbury's liquid eyeliner is akin to a fine felt-tip pen and is remarkably easy to use - it doesn't drag, and is flexible enough to draw along the lash line easily. Making mistakes is near impossible and the colour lasts for hours without flaking at all. Truly, foolproof - the only slight disadvantage as it isn't as darkly pigmented as other liquid liners out there.

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Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen, £46

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The price of Tom Ford's eyeliner is quite staggering, but as with anything from the brand, you feel like you’re experiencing a little bit of luxury each time you apply it; we have friends who like to keep things very budget on the beauty side of things (Lidl eyecream, for example) but that always splash out on this - testament to how worth the money it is. It's easy to use thanks to the super-fine brush on one end and calligraphy tip on the other, and the silky formula glides onto the lids with absolutely no dragging.

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Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Liner, £5.99

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This Rimmel liquid eyeliner is known for being one of best liners on the market; available in a small pot (which lasts ages) with an accompanying thinly tipped, firm-but-not-too-hard nib, this highly pigmented formula swipes on the lid with ease and its applicator is extremely easy to keep under control, allowing you to create a precise line. If you're used to a felt tip style nib you might struggle with this on first use as it's more flexible but after one or two tries you'll be drawing on the best flicks of your life.

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Clarins 3-Dot Liner, £19.35

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Designed essentially as the dummy's guide to applying liquid eyeliner, this triple tipped pen from Clarins was created to help make wonky lines and smudged lids a problem of the past. It works by placing the pen across the lid (depending on how winged you like to look), and then filling in the spaces in a dot-to-dot style fashion, allowing you to create a more smooth and even line. By fully colouring in the space between each lash this liner also helps to give the illusion of a fuller-looking lash line, with more intense (yet still natural-looking eyes). It looks technical but it’s super easy to use, while the felt-tip style nib is neat and hassle free - especially for liquid eyeliner novices.

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Guerlain Liquid Eyeliner, £33

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As far as liner packaging goes, this one is certainly a looker. The slender gold handle and spherical inkwell would doubtless curry favour with Cleopatra herself, but it’s more than just pretty; it functions impeccably to create the much-coveted feline flick. The slim, long handle allows for on-point precision, while the smooth nib makes it easy to get close to the lash line and get a bit arty and graphic should you wish. In terms of texture, the liner is quite ‘wet’ but the black pigment is very strong, with a slight shine that catches the light. It also boasts a winning formula that it both somehow durable and long-lasting while also being easy to remove. All in all it’s very sexy, but a tad expensive.

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YSL Shocking False Lash Effect Eyeliner, £27

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If, like many of us, you're a devotee to YSL's Touche Eclat , you might be interested to see what an eyeliner from the brand is like - us too. This YSL liquid eyeliner has a perfectly sized calligraphy style, fine-tipped nib, allowing you to etch ‘n’ sketch with ease and is pigmented enough to add noticeable definition to the upper lash line - it lasts very well too, which you'd want from a liner that sits on the pricier side of the spectrum.

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The Body Shop Liquid Eyeliner, £9

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The colour of this Body Shop liquid liner is a really black-black, and goes on smoothly in perfectly inky sweeps. The spongey, felt-tip type brush is soft and agile, and the long, slender top doubles as a handle, turning the applicator into a paintbrush. The agility of the brush allows you to paint matching flicks in record time, and once dry the line itself didn’t budge throughout the day come rain or pollen-filled shine. Towards the end of the day the liner tends to get a tad flakey, and it definitely wouldn’t withstand an accidental eye rub, but for the price it's hard to complain.

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Pat McGrath Labs Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner, £26

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Pat McGrath's liquid liner offering has a flexible tip, which might make it difficult for novices, but the deep black pigment is reason enough to keep trying until practice makes perfect. It's so dark it has an almost lacquer effect, for extra-dramatic dark eyes that show up on all skin tones. It dries quickly and even rubbing at it doesn't cause it to budge - ideal if you're going "out out" and want an eyeliner that stays put.

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Diego Dalla Palma Water Resistant Eyeliner, £14.50

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The fine felt tip nib on this eyeliner makes it one of the easiest and quickest to use - it delivered a succinct line in one swipe and was easy to build up for a more dramatic look - a definite yes from us.

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Benefit Roller Liner, £19.50

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Another liquid eyeliner borne from a mascara of the same name, Benefit's Roller Liner is one of the easiest to grip onto thanks to the textured handle. The nib is relatively long, so is great for those who like an elongated flick. It has a matte formula for a classic cat-eye look.

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Suqqu Colour Ink Liquid Eyeliner, £25

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This little liquid eyeliner is like a high-end version of the much-loved Rimmel eyeliner. It's resistant to water, humidity, sweat and excess oil so a great one if you're a gym bunny and want your makeup to stay in-tact post-workout. It has a felt brush tip and the formula dries really quickly to prevent flaking and cracking.

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Nudestix Rock N' Roller Easy Eyeliner Ink, £20

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This pizza wheel style applicator was great for the inner corner of the eye and getting perfectly proportioned lines, but we struggled to create perfect flicks with this. If you’re more of a subtle-liner fan, this is definitely one to try