(Last Updated On: April 15, 2018)

Would a couple of slivers of color around your eyes really make that much of a difference?

It definitely would.

Correctly lined eyes can help you project yourself...well, just about anywhere. Click To Tweet

When you walk into a meeting after a sleepless night, a good eyeliner can hide puffiness, making your eyes look alert.

At a party…well do we really need to point out the range of choices available – from Cara Delevingne’s Cannes bold blue winged design to the more demure girl-next-door look?

However, choice of eyeliner is critical. There are all kinds of disasters – from lines that are barely visible to the color streaming down your face – waiting to happen.

To help you choose, we at Unsullyd reviewed bestsellers to select the 5 top colored eyeliners.

At A Glance: The Best Colored Eyeliners

Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner is an intense black liner with a felt tip that makes it a good choice for beginners.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio, Universal Looks Collection yields a nice ‘nude’ look that amplifies your appearance without being too intense.

Almay Intense i-Color Eyeliner is a great drugstore choice for everyday use.

Physicians Formula  Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio comes in a variety of shades and should be useful for users with sensitive eyes.

L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Precision Liquid Waterproof Eyeliner has tremendous staying power and is especially suitable for use in humid weather.

The Best Black Eyeliner

01. Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner Review

This liquid eyeliner from Maybelline New York has a fine (0.4 mm if we’re not wrong) felt tip that makes it very easy to apply.

We would recommend this one for beginners because of the tip.

It won’t flop at the slightest extra pressure (which is kind of a given for any beginner). On the other hand it isn’t so stiff that it feels unpleasant applying it.

Being fine and firm the tip can easily trace out precise lines, like those you need to draw wings.

The black shade is deep enough to get a really intense wing.

The liner itself may take a bit of time to dry upon application so you have to take care to not twitch while and after applying otherwise you could end up with racoon eyes.

Speaking of drying, sometimes the eyeliner itself can be in a bit of a hurry to dry up so you should remember to properly close the cap after each use.

If it does dry up, keep the liner upside down (forcing liner from below to flow into the tip). If that doesn’t work you could try shaking the liner, but gently.

This eyeliner is reasonably water resistant.

One thing however was a bit of a turn-off. This liner seems to react to quite a few eye shadows – like refusing to flow over them – so you may have to choose between them.

The main ingredients are listed below.

HumectantButylene Glycol
Viscosity controllingButylene Glycol
SolubilizingPEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
OpacifyingStyrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer
Film formerStyrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer
Cleansing agentCoco-Glucoside, Sodium Laureth-12 Sulfate
PreservativePhenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
BufferingCitric Acid
Chelating agentDisodium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA


  • Start at the inner corner of your eye and move outwards.
  • After you’re done, remember to close the cap properly. This liner tends to dry a little fast.
  • An oil-based cleanser should suffice for removal. If that doesn’t work try shea butter.

What I Liked

Firm but soft felt tip is good for tracing precise lines.

Good for beginners.

Yields sharp and intense wings.

Doesn’t flake easily.

Water resistant.

Quite easy to remove.

Does’t burn or irritate easily. Good for users with sensitive eyes and skin.

What I Didn’t Like

You may need to re-apply in a humid area because it may smudge.

Upon application you should give it some time to dry.

If the tip dries up keep the liner upside down. If that doesn’t work try shaking the liner gently.

May not work with all eyeshadows.

The Best Brown Eyeliner

02. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio, Universal Looks Collection Review

The creamy pencils glide smoothly onto the skin without any tugging. You should be able to do wings and other designs you want easily enough.

While the liners twist up and normally should not need sharpening, each liner does include a pullout sharpener at the end.

You can use the sharpener if you think it’ll help make the lines..well, sharper and more precise.

It’s reasonably smudge resistant. You shouldn’t face any smudging or flaking except after a long wear, say 6-8 hours. And that includes running or working out.

It’s pretty water-resistant too. You can sweat or cry; it won’t melt off.

On the other hand, removal ain’t a bitch. Cotton pads and your regular cleanser should suffice.

Coming to the shades, our verdict is a mixed bag.

The trio of colors – black, pewter and champagne – are well-chosen to impart the ‘nude’ look. And overall the ‘nude’ look has pretty much been nailed.

However the champagne shade is a bit too light. It’s there mainly to lighten the overall tone but it could definitely be improved to provide a champagne look on its own.

The ‘shimmer’ part receives full marks though. They add a subtle glamor without being too showy.

Just one last footnote. These liners are pretty good for people with oily and normal skin. If your skin is on the drier side though you may feel some pulling or scraping when you’re putting them on.

The main ingredients are listed below.

EmollientCyclopentasiloxane, Octyldodecanol, Lecithin
Hair conditioningCyclopentasiloxane, Lauroyl Lysine
Skin conditioningTrimethylsiloxysilicate, Lauroyl Lysine, Vitamin E**
EmulsifierPolyethylene, Ozokerite, Synthetic Wax, Lecithin
Film formingPolyethylene, Propylene Carbonate
Viscosity controllingOzokerite, Lauroyl Lysine, Synthetic Wax, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate
AntioxidantVitamin C*, Vitamin E**
BufferCitric Acid

* Ascorbyl Palmitate.

** Tocopherol.


  • Start at the inner corner and sweep outwards.
  • Ideally, use the black as a base.
  • Pewter should come next, complementing the black.
  • Champagne is meant to lighten the overall tone, adjusting the look to ‘nude’.
  • A gel cleanser and cotton pads should suffice in cleansing. If that doesn’t remove it completely, try a charcoal-based cleanser.
  • The liner is pull-up and normally does not need sharpening.
  • However if you feel a little sharpening will make the lines more precise, there’s a built-in sharpener at the bottom of each liner.

What I Liked

 Creamy pencils glide smoothly on oily and normal skin.

 You should be able to do wings and other designs easily enough.

 The ‘nude’ look revs up your face without going overboard.

 Include built-in sharpeners if you want to sharpen the tips.

 Reasonably water-resistant, smudge and flake proof.

 Can be removed without much hassle.

What I Didn’t Like

May cause some tugging on drier skin.

The champagne shade is a little too light.

The Best Eyeliner For Blue Eyes

03. Almay Intense i-Color Eyeliner Review

With its deep pigmentation and smooth texture, this drugstore eyeliner from Almay was an easy pick in our roster of top colored eyeliners.

It’s smooth, doesn’t tug on the skin and doesn’t take much time to set. A very good choice for when you’re lining in a hurry.

You can trace reasonably precise lines. From that POV it’s good for wings and other designs.

The shades seem to have been a little overhyped though. For example ‘Black Amethyst’ seems to be, for all intents and purposes, just violet.

It’s labelled ‘hypoallergenic’ and we don’t think you will face any irritation or any other discomfort, even if you have sensitive eyes.

That also makes it a great option for delicate things like lining the waterline and tightlining.

Flaking should not be a problem but the liner may smudge if you rub your eyes.

Removal is no great issue. Cotton pads and cold cream ought to do it.

In the same vein, touching up and re-application aren’t that difficult either because it glides on smoothly and dries quickly.

The main ingredients are listed below.

EmollientTriethylhexanoin, Beeswax, Castor* Seed Oil, Soybean*** Oil
Hair conditioningTriethylhexanoin, Soybean*** Oil
Viscosity controllingOzokerite, Beeswax, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Carnauba Wax, Dipentaerythrityl Tetrahydroxystearate/Tetraisostearate
EmulsifierOzokerite, Soybean*** Oil
BulkingSynthetic Fluorphlogopite
Film formingCarnauba Wax, Polymethyl Methacrylate
Skin conditioningDipentaerythrityl Tetrahydroxystearate/Tetraisostearate, Caprylyl Methicone, Vitamin E**, Aloe (barbadensis) Vera Leaf Extract
AntioxidantVitamin E**, Aloe (barbadensis) Vera Leaf Extract
PreservativeBHT, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

* Ricinus communis.

** Tocopheryl Acetate.

*** Glycine soja.


  • Start at the inner corner and move out.
  • You can use it on your waterlines. You can also try difficult techniques like tightlining because it doesn’t irritate the skin.
  • Removal shouldn’t be much of a problem. Your regular makeup remover, a Vitamin E cleanser or even cold cream should suffice.
  • In particular, if you have hazel eyes, consider using the Black Pearl shade.
  • If you have blue eyes, try out Brown Topaz.
  • If you feel the lines are becoming less crisp try sharpening the tip with the inbuilt sharpener.

What I Liked

 It’s a drugstore eyeliner; very easy on the purse.

 Easy to remove and reapply/touch up.

 Does not sensitize the skin; suitable for using on sensitive eyes, at the waterline and for tightlining.

 Does not flake or smudge easily.

What I Didn’t Like

 The shades aren’t very subtle.

The lines may be a bit blunt.

The Best Eyeliner For Green Eyes

04. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio Review

With a nice variety of color combinations, these eyeliners from Physicians Formula are sure to pique your interest!

These nice creamy pencils are a pleasure to apply. Basic application should be a breeze since the liner just glides onto your skin.

If your style is immaculately sharp lines this may not be the liner for you. From these liners you can expect a smoky effect.

While they don’t fade easily under normal circumstances if you’re in a humid area or exposed to water, you should expect some smudging.

On the other hand complete removal can be a bit time consuming but cotton pads and a good eye makeup remover or micellar water should do the trick.

It may not be a good candidate for the waterline either because it may tend to melt and streak down your cheeks.

These seem to be non-irritating and we don’t expect they’ll irritate sensitive eyes but if you do have sensitive eyes, run trial runs to check if your eyes are affected before adopting them as your regular liner.

And that holds true for any eyeliner, not just this one. The eyes are a particularly sensitive and critical part of our body and you can’t afford to take risks.

Coming to shades, the black, which is supposed to be the base, is deep and fairly impressive.

Among the others, the green seems to be a bit too dark. The others are up to the mark.

Mind you, since they come in trios you can’t just buy the black or avoid only the green; we’re just telling you what you can expect.

The main ingredients are listed below.

EmollientCyclopentasiloxane, Synthetic Beeswax, Octyldodecanol, Lecithin
Hair conditioningCyclopentasiloxane, Lauroyl Lysine
Skin conditioningTrimethylsiloxysilicate, Lauroyl Lysine, Vitamin E**
EmulsifierPolyethylene, Ozokerite, Synthetic Beeswax, Lecithin
Film formerPolyethylene, Propylene Carbonate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer
OpacifyingOzokerite, Tin Oxide
Viscosity controllingOzokerite, Lauroyl Lysine, Synthetic Beeswax, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide
BulkingCalcium Titanium Borosilicate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide
AntioxidantVitamin C*, Vitamin E**
BufferCitric Acid

* Ascorbyl Palmitate.

** Tocopheryl Acetate.


  • Start at the inner corner of the eye and sweep outwards.
  • Use the black liner as a base.
  • If you find the black too light (unlikely), don’t worry. It’s eminently buildable.
  • They are twist-up liners. However if you think the lines are losing clarity, try sharpening the tip with the built-in sharpener.
  • Cotton pads and a makeup remover should be able to remove the liner. You may try micellar water.

What I Liked

Creamy liner glides onto skin easily.

Should not irritate sensitive eyes.

Those who like a smoky effect will appreciate this liner.

What I Didn’t Like

The shades are a trifle off-point. For example the green may be a little too dark for many users.

They come in trios so you can’t buy any particular color of liner.

Could have been a little more water resistant.

The Best Colored Liquid Eyeliner

05. L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Precision Liquid Waterproof Eyeliner Review

If there were one thing to pick about this liquid eyeliner from L’Oréal Paris it would have to be staying power, hands down.

The two things you may worry about – sweat and tears – are no match for this liner. It won’t smudge. It’s a perfect fit for humid climates.

However the other factor in staying power – flaking – is a little more of a problem.

There is a chance it’ll flake/crack, especially after a long wear.

So if you use contact lenses, do trial runs to see whether it flakes before adopting it as your go-to liner.

You can splash your face with water to cool off or freshen up and the liner should still remain in place.

In case you want to deepen the tone, this liner is eminently buildable.

However it does take a little time to dry so you should allow for that when applying multiple coats.

And since it takes time to dry, you should be careful while lining, especially if you’re doing a difficult design like a wing. Excessive pressure could cause it to blot.

There’s another thing you need to watch out for while applying this eyeliner and that is your lashes.

If you get too much liner on your lashes, they’ll stick together. Applying mascara will be a real problem.

If you do face this issue, you should use the time the eyeliner takes to dry to remove the liner from your lashes.

Talking of removal, it can take some time. That is expected, given it’s so resistant to smudging.

We’d recommend using an oil-based remover or micellar water.

Overall this is easily one of the top 5 colored eyeliners around. It’s a shame that it’s available in only 2 shades – black and dark brown.

The main ingredients are listed below.

SolventWater (Aqua)
Film formingStyrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate
OpacifyingStyrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer
HumectantButylene Glycol, Sorbitol
Viscosity controllingButylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride
Skin conditioningPentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Hexylene Glycol
EmollientBis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Laureth-2 Benzoate, PEG-6 Capric/Caprylic Glycerides, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Sodium Polyacrylate, Coconut Acid
EmulsifierBis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, PEG-6 Capric/Caprylic Glycerides, Sodium Polyacrylate, Coconut Acid, Hexylene Glycol
PreservativeBenzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Methylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
CleansingSodium Laureth-12 Sulfate, Coconut Acid
BufferAmmonium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride
Chelating agentTrisodium EDTA, Disodium EDTA


  • Start at the inner corner and sweep outwards.
  • It takes some time to dry so be careful to not apply excessive pressure otherwise it could blot and distort your design.
  • If you want to apply an additional coat/layer, give the existing layer some time (say 30 seconds) to dry before applying the next one. Otherwise you could end up with a mess.
  • After using it make sure to wipe excess liner off of the tip. Otherwise it will accumulate which can make it difficult to close and the blue cap may crack.
  • Use an oil-based cleanser and cotton pads to remove it. Micellar water may work as well.

What I Liked

 Glides smoothly onto skin.

 Smudge-resistant. Suitable for humid climates.

 You can build layers to deepen tone.

 Should be suitable for users with sensitive eyes.

What I Didn’t Like

 When you’re applying the liner, give it some time to dry. Both between coats and after you’re done applying.

 You should do a couple of trial runs to see if it flakes before selecting it for regular use.

What should you look for when you select a colored eyeliner?

If you think about it there’d be two things you would look out for.

One, the liner should be buildable. You should be able to add layers to deepen tone.

Two, the liner should last and not smudge or flake.

Flaking is the more serious issue since that could lead to tiny pieces of the liner falling into your eyes.

Especially if you use contact lenses, avoid liners that flake.

Now let’s try to understand some of the properties the ingredients have.

A solubilizing agent helps a substance to dissolve in a liquid (solvent) in which it usually does not dissolve.

Waterproof is a double-edged sword. A waterproof liner should remain intact through rain, sweat and so on but will also be really difficult to remove.

Water resistant is a good compromise – it doesn’t melt under the slightest sweat but you can clean it off fairly easily.

Skin conditioners, emollients and humectants keep the skin lubricated and supple.

Film formers help the skin retain oil and moisture and impart a smooth appearance to the skin.

Emulsifiers force other ingredients to go into an emulsion in the solvent. An emulsion is tiny droplets of one liquid suspended in another liquid with which it doesn’t mix.

Chelating agents ‘bind’ metal ions in the eyeliner. That keeps it free of contamination.

Opacifying ingredients lend the product a creamy appearance by reducing transparence. In some situations they also help hide blemishes on your skin.

Antioxidants have a range of uses including resisting environmental stress and wrinkling.

So, if you’re new to all these, which liner should you pick first to see whether it becomes your go-to colored eyeliner?

We’d go with Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner. It’s an easy first choice.

It’s good for tracing precise lines, like the ones you’d need for wings.

It doesn’t tug or pull at the skin; it just glides on smoothly.

It won’t flake easily.

People with sensitive skin and/or eyes can use it.

It’s easy to remove.

Defeating smudging

Have you been facing smudging for a long time?

Found that changing eyeliners didn’t help? Or you really, REALLY like your eyeliner and don’t want to switch?

Smudging can be caused by excessive oil on your lids.

Using a lid primer like the Thank Me Later Eye Primer from Elizabeth Mott may help.

There are primers you use for your face but the eye is a sensitive area and you should try to stick to products that are made to be used at/near the eyes to avoid infection.

We hope you enjoy trying out (and hopefully adopting as your HG liner) our colored eyeliners.

If you think there’s an eyeliner that deserves to be included in our colored eyeliner hall of fame please tell us!

Good suggestions may get a shout-out on Twitter and/or Facebook.

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