I’ve never been much of a liquid eyeliner fan. Like, why would I spend 15 mins drawing and re-drawing a cat eye when all I need is two seconds and my favorite gel eyeliner? Not only is gel eyeliner super soft and silky against my lids, but it’s surprisingly versatile—like, you can smudge it out to make the smokiest smokey eye, or let it dry down to create the sharpest, ultra-precise line. And considering the fact that the world is loooooaded with long-lasting, smudge-proof formulas right now, there’s honestly never been a better time to get on board Team Gel. Don’t believe me? Check out the 15 best gel eyeliners, below, and you’ll see what I mean.
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Best Gel Eyeliner and Sharpener
Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil
The majority of gel eyeliners are twist-ups (meaning, nope, you can’t sharpen ’em)—but this pencil-gel hybrid isn’t most eyeliners. Translation: You get the creamy, silky texture of waterproof gel with the ease of a pencil. Just know that when this bb sets it sets, though, so if you’re going for a smokier vibe, make sure you smudge it out ASAP.
Best Cream Gel Eyeliner
Black Radiance Continuous Black Cream Gel Eyeliner
If you’re new to gel eyeliner pots—no shade! They can def be a little tricky to apply at first—this creamy formula is a great place to start. Not only is it under $6, but it also comes with a mini angled brush for seamless application. Plus, it’s quick drying and actually stays put once it dries down.
Best Kohl Gel Eyeliner
One Size by Patrick Starrr Point Made 24-Hour Gel Eyeliner Pencil
Best Cult-Favorite Gel Eyeliner
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner
Beauty-obsessives turn to this cult-favorite gel eyeliner for its incredibly creamy formula and 12 crazy-pigmented colors (including, yes, this baby-pink shade, would looks especially gorgeous on deeper skin tones, FYI). Line or blend the gel-like tip across your lids, wait 15 seconds, then marvel at its clean, matte finish that genuinely stays put.
Best Drugstore Gel Eyeliner
Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner Pencil
New to makeup? Can’t nail the perfect cat eye? This drugstore gel eyeliner’s got you covered. The creamy, pigmented formula is easy to work with (it doesn’t skip or tug) and comes with a built-in blender to help create smokey or smudged looks—fast.
Best Gel Pot Eyeliner
Morphe Gel Liner
Potted eyeliners get a bad rap thanks to the sheer level of precision and skill they seem to require. But there’s a reason this little gel eyeliner pot has glowing reviews on Ulta: It’s incredibly pigmented, easy to draw on, and lightweight enough that you can build it up for ultra-dramatic, geographic lines. Just make sure you have an angled brush on hand.
Best Gentle Gel Eyeliner
Tarte Sex Kitten Eyeliner
This water-resistant, vegan gel eyeliner is so damn soft, it glides across skin to create even, super-pigmented strokes. And thanks to its vitamin E– and vitamin A–spiked formula, it leaves even the most sensitive of lids happy and hydrated, and not at all irritated.
Best Skinny Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Think of this creamy gel eyeliner as a mechanical pencil (and a cute-as-hell one at that)—the über-thin, 1.5 mm tip makes incredibly neat and precise lines, so you can color in just your lash line, or layer it on for a thicker look.
Best Brush-and-Pot Gel Eyeliner
Maybelline New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner
Please don’t fear the pot, okay? Trust me: This tried-and-true liner (which comes with an easy-to-wield gel eyeliner brush) leaves you with a rich, long-lasting line for less than $10. And that, folks, is balling on a budget.
Best Hydrating Gel Eyeliner
Wander Beauty Side Liner Automatic Gel Eyeliner
This gel eyeliner is formulated with a cocktail of skin-softening ingredients (think: olive oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E) that work to keep your liner smooth and non-flaky all day long. But don’t worry—even though it’s super creamy, it also has legit staying powers with a waterproof formula.
Best Colored Gel Eyeliner
L.A. Girl Gel Glide Eyeliner Pencil
You know those days when black eyeliner feels blah and boring? Enter: this teal gel eyeliner. One swipe leaves you with a vibrant stroke that lasts all night long. Consider yourself warned though—you’ll need to whip out your most effective makeup remover to get rid of this guy at the end of the night.
Best Gel Eyeliner for Blending
Smashbox Always On Gel Eyeliner
If you’re after a ~sultry~ look, it’s time to enlist the help of Smashbox’s incredibly blendable gel eyeliner, which can be layered on for an opaque cat eye or smudged into a hazy, smokey finish in just a few seconds.
Best Sweatproof Gel Eyeliner
CoverGirl Ink It! By Perfect Point Gel Eyeliner
For the ultimate sweatproof coverage, look no further than this drugstore gel eyeliner. The ultra-thin tip creates smooth, waterproof lines that won’t melt down your face in the middle of your hottest yoga session.
Best Liquid Gel Eyeliner
Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Gel Eyeliner Pen
Don’t be thrown by this marker-esque tip. The gel pen—which comes in five rich hues—works to hug your lash line as you draw it on, allowing you to make even the most dramatic wing with the precision of a professional makeup artist.
Best Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
Nyx Gel Eyeliner and Smudger
For those who feel like they’ve already mastered the art of applying eyeliner (which, like, good for you), this potted gel formula offers intense, long-lasting pigment when paired with a soft angled brush.
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