The 10 best waterproof eyeliner pencils

Anna Hunter 29 June 2017
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The Makeup Maniac: The 10 best waterproof eyeliner pencils

Eyeliner: it’s all smoky eyed fun and games until you’ve got kohl on your chin, child or chic new Zara shirt. Any trace of emotion or humidity can often see otherwise perfectly decent eyeliners running in rivers down your face, most often on occasions when you need to look “put together”. We say no more. Here are ten steadfast life-proof eyeliners to suit every budget and whim, whether you crave something bright and spangly for a festival or sharp and classic for the boardroom.

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Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil, £15.50

‘Glide’ is the word- this soft, rich liner requires barely any pressure on application to produce intense definition. It’s sooty without being messy, sets nicely and doesn’t move an inch once it’s done so- it aced the gym and almost emerged unscathed from a shower, but not quite. Colour range and payoff, as you’d expect from Urban Decay, is second to none- from inky black to vibrant turquoise, there are no less than 41 shades to choose from. Fragrance-free and enriched with jojoba oil, cottonseed oil and vitamin E, it’s as nourishing as it is nightclub ready, and you don’t have to scrub your lids to remove it, although I’d use a bi-phase solution designed to dissolve waterproof makeup for ease.

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Bourjois Contour Clubbing Eyeliner, £4.99

On the topic of nightclub appropriate eye makeup, Bourjois’ purples and blues would be right at home in Ibiza or similar, and the no-smear formula will stand up to sweaty raving. Many of the coloured shades have a glittery finish, so do be aware of that if matte is more your thing, and while the pigmentation isn’t the most intense on the market, longevity-wise this liner is impressive. It sets fast, so you’ll need to work quickly, but once on it’s loyal to your eyelids come rain, shine or random watery eye (what is with that).

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YSL Dessin du Regard Waterproof Eye Pencil, £21

Pricey, yes. Perfect? It’s possible. Our Art Editor Sarah has been defining her eyes with YSL for yonks, and still refuses to stray thanks to the sleek, black line it creates (four shades are available), combined with the fact that it is going NOWHERE. If you like a rock n roll smudge, this isn’t for you, but if you’re after something clean, precise and black as night, it delivers all day long.

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Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘n’ Kohl, £19

Onto the sexy, smudgy stuff. This ‘liquid’ eyeliner pencil is unlike anything I’d tried previously and I’ve reached the stub of two of these to date. It’s a doddle to apply and comes off deep, delicious and pleasingly ‘Kate Mossy’. With crushed pearl particles for a bit of a gleam, it marries the ‘come hither’ effect of a kohl with the opaque finish of a liquid liner, and the shade range is spot on- more ‘earthy’ than ‘out there’, and flattering on all eye colours. It’s creamy, so not razor-sharp definition wise, but then again you want a bit of soot and smoke if you’re channeling Bardot et al. Despite the more fluid formula it sticks around, although you do need to sharpen it relatively frequently- I resisted as long as I could, and to this day am rationing sharpening to half a turn only. Sad, but telling.

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Eyeko Sport Waterproof Eyeliner, £16

If Rock ‘n’ Kohl is ‘slept in your makeup’, Eyeko Sport is ‘ran a marathon with eyeliner intact’. A word of warning- this is darkest eyeliner I’ve put to my lids. There’s black, and there’s this- the pigmentation is akin to charcoal, which is great if weedy liners frustrate you, but you’ll definitely want to soften it a bit with the built-in brush. You’ll have a bit of a window to do this before it dries, thanks to addition of coconut oil, and while you won’t achieve a clean-cut flick, the finish is smouldering.

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Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer, £3.99

Good ol’ Rimmel, aka, the first eyeliner I ever owned. As essential in my school backpack as my gel pen collection and Tamagotchi pet, my Rimmel liner rarely dribbled off piste during double hockey, and it’s still a sound high street option to this day. This particular definer has a thin nib that’s perfect for tightlining and day to day wear- you can really get to the root of the lashes, and the waterproof formula sticks right there until you want to remove it, although I did notice a bit of colour fade by home time. It doesn’t retain its impact as much as other eyeliners in this edit, but it doesn’t “travel” either, and at less that four quid, frankly, it’s working it.

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Estée Lauder Double Wear Infinite Waterproof Eyeliner, £18

Like the budget Rimmel alternative, this liner comes complete with a smudger on one end to work it into the lashline, and with a promise of 24-hour wear, it means business. Neat and artful, you can wear it any way you want depending on how far you take the smudging, and even an eye rub didn’t move it or result in any colour transfer. The colourways are classic with black, grey plum and brown, and I can see this becoming a makeup bag staple for simple liner looks, although it does feel a little flimsy for an expensive option.

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L’Oréal Paris Infallible Gel Crayon Eyeliner, £4.99

I replaced my usual bronze kohl with this sleeker liner in Super Copper, and was mightily impressed with both the metallic effect and non-moving line. It wasn’t particularly dramatic, but just right for a day of meetings, writing and gymming, and you can apply it tidily at speed. This is probably the most low-key of the lot, but good to have on hand for subtle definition- don’t rely on it for drama.

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Clarins Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil, £17.50

A generously long option, this pencil will last you well on every front, and it was one of the few to survive the ‘head under the shower’ test without turning all Rock Horror. It feels and looks classic and expensive, and while the colour isn’t as pigmented as others, it’s also far from harsh and very blendable, although do said blending with haste before it sets. It’s not the softest on application, but once on, you’re good to get as sweaty/ sobby as you like with no eyeliner migration.

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IT Cosmetics No Tug™ Waterproof Anti-Aging Gel Eyeliner, £17

A newbie to the British market, this futuristic eye pencil promises a lot- apparently it comes loaded with peptides, antioxidants, hydrolyzed collagen and silk. I’d ignore most of that and focus on the dense black pigment and creamy formula- it does indeed apply with no tugging and very little effort on your part, and the colour stays true all day. A hidden sharpener will keep the nib in good shape, and the fact that is was developed with plastic surgeons means that it’s a good bet for sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers.

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Need makeup that won't ruin your precious eyelash extensions? See here for  the best makeup for eyelash extensions

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