10 Eyeliners That Don’t Smudge on My Oily Lids

The best black and brown liners--liquid, gel, cream and pencil--that actually stay put.
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The best black and brown liners--liquid, gel, cream and pencil--that actually stay put.

Smudgy eyeliner—the accidental kind, not the sexy, deliberate kind, a la Sienna Miller—is the bane of my existence. Because I have oily eyelids, most "long-lasting" liners smudge from my top lid to below my lower lash line, even with primer—an issue made exponentially worse during the summer.

Over the years and in the past few weeks, I’ve stumbled upon a few long-lasting liners that actually stay in place. So none of you will have to deal with raccoon eyes in the warmer months, I’m sharing all of them below.

LIQUID

From left to right: Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink Satin Eyeliner in Friesian, Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Waterproof Eyeliner in Blacquer, Lancome Paris Artliner in Noir, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown, Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner in Trooper, Sonia Kashuk Liquid Line Precision Marker in Black

From left to right: Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink Satin Eyeliner in Friesian, Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Waterproof Eyeliner in Blacquer, Lancome Paris Artliner in Noir, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown, Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner in Trooper, Sonia Kashuk Liquid Line Precision Marker in Black

Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink Satin Eye Liner in Friesian, $32: This liner is the priciest, but it stayed on amazingly well and wasn’t too difficult to remove. It was a bit tricky to use at first since the product dispensed more from the side versus the tip, but I eventually got the hang of it.

Lancome Artliner in Noir, $30.50: This sets to a matte finish very quickly, so if you have to go back to intensify a line, be careful not to drag any of the dried liner in process. With that aside, I felt like the short brush gave me a lot of control over the lines I created, and of course, there were no smudges throughout the day.

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Waterproof Eyeliner in Blacquer, $30: Of all the long-lasting liners, this is the blackest and shiniest. The felt-tip pen dispenses just the right amount of product every time so you don’t have to wait too long to build up the line.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown, $20: I have been using this felt-tip liner for several years (I replace them when I have to), and even on the hottest days, it never smudges. This is a dark brown, but the swatch (below) looks lighter since I used a tube that is about to dry out. Oops.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper, $19: I totally get why this is so popular now! In addition to lasting all day, this liner was good at doing thin and thick lines, and it produced the second-darkest line out of all the liquid liners. The brush is very unique since it’s like a pointed version of a flat foundation brush.

Sonia Kashuk Liquid Line Precision Marker in Black, $7.99: For a more affordable option, this liner, which dispenses product with a felt tip, works amazingly well. It has a slightly watery consistency and produces the lightest black, but no smudges to report!

GEL/CREAM

From left to right: Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Topshop Gel Liner in Ink, mark. Saved by the Gel Waterproof Eyeliner in Brownie Points

From left to right: Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Topshop Gel Liner in Ink, mark. Saved by the Gel Waterproof Eyeliner in Brownie Points

Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, $16.50: I bought this a while ago for the color, but I was seriously impressed by the wear. This is a purply-brown (almost burgundy-brown in some lights) liner with subtle gold flecks. To get an intense color, you’ll have to layer this on, but it’s totally worth it because this creamy liner does not budge once it sets. (I’m wearing it here.)

Topshop Gel Liner in Ink, $12: This has a firm texture like many potted cream shadows, so expect to dip your brush into it more than you would with a regular gel liner. It produces a matte black that really delivers on intensity and staying power.

mark. Saved by the Gel Waterproof Eyeliner in Brownie Points, $11: Like the Topshop gel liner, this also has a firm texture. The color is a matte dark brown that stays on my lids all day. (I’m wearing it here in the second look.)

PENCIL

NYX Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Waterprooof, Extreme Shine Eye Liner in Jet Black. THAT'S THE COMPLETE NAME.

NYX Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Waterprooof, Extreme Shine Eye Liner in Jet Black. THAT'S THE COMPLETE NAME.

NYX Slide On Pencil in Jet Black, $8: I’m reluctant to add this to the list, since I’m suspicious of pencil liners and expect them all to one day smudge on me, but when I tested this out for wear, it performed really well and didn’t smudge even when I wore it to sleep by accident. It also glides onto my lids very easily.

Swatches

From left to right: Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink Satin Eyeliner in Friesian, Marc Jacobs Marc’er Precision Pen Eyeliner in Blacquer, Lancome Paris Artliner in Noir, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown, Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner in Trooper, Sonia Kashuk Liquid Line Precision Marker in Black, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, mark. Saved by the Gel Waterproof Eyeliner in Brownie Points, Topshop Gel Liner in Ink and NYX Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Waterproof, Extreme Shine Eye Liner in Jet Black

From left to right: Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink Satin Eyeliner in Friesian, Marc Jacobs Marc’er Precision Pen Eyeliner in Blacquer, Lancome Paris Artliner in Noir, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown, Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner in Trooper, Sonia Kashuk Liquid Line Precision Marker in Black, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, mark. Saved by the Gel Waterproof Eyeliner in Brownie Points, Topshop Gel Liner in Ink and NYX Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Waterproof, Extreme Shine Eye Liner in Jet Black

As you can tell, liquid liners that came in pen form had the best staying power on me. I think it may have to do with the fact that the narrow brush dispenses smaller amounts of product, so there’s less smudge-able product on my lids. As for gel and cream liners, I sometimes have luck finding long-lasting ones, but truly long-lasting pencils, by far, are the most difficult for me to find.

  • To everyone with oily lids, which liners do you swear by?
  • Are you more of a liquid, cream, gel or pencil liner person? 
  • Does anyone actually like when liner smudges throughout the day?