My Top Picks for the Best Black Eyeliners

Black eyeliner is a beauty staple. It can be used for so many different looks, classic and timeless to bold and dramatic or edgy. How many black eyeliners do you have? I realized that not only do I have an entire section devoted to black eyeliners in one of my makeup drawers but I actually use them all. So why have so many? Can't I use the same one for a variety of looks? Well of course I can, but there really is a difference! If you are not a fan of black and prefer something softer like brown or grey, that's ok. The following tips apply to any eyeliner, not just black. I have listed each product I am currently using and which look I prefer to use it for. Now before you think I am crazy for having so many, I LOVE makeup and enjoy trying different looks regularly. Hopefully this list will inspire you to try something new or give you an idea of a different way to use something you already own. 

Basic Black Eyeliner Pencil - NARS Larger Than Life in Via Veneto

This pencil is fast drying and intense black. For a look that is more defined and all day wearing, this is my favorite.   

*Application tip* Use a fine, angled liner brush to blend the outer corners for a winged-liner look.  

Pencil for the Waterline - MAC Technakohl Liner in Graphblack

I especially like that this pencil is retractable and requires no sharpening. If possible, I prefer this style pencil to a sharpenable pencil to avoid accidentally scratching my eye while applying. This pencil wears really well and touches up smoothly. It is also available in a variety of other shades. Using black for the waterline creates a more sultry effect. 

*Application tip* Apply once to the waterline while applying your eye makeup and then once again after completing the rest of your makeup look as a finishing touch. 

Tightlining - Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in Matte Black

I like using this waterproof formula for creating a fuller, longer lash look by tightlining. Tightlining is when you apply liner to the upper, inside lash line. I also use it fill in  between the lashes. This creates a much more polished look to your lash line while, again, creating an illusion of more volume and length. 

*Application tip* Be sure to take your time and hold steady as you tightline. Hold your eyelid in place to prevent accidentally poking your eye. It is best to use a magnifying mirror. 

Sultry, Smokey Liner - Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer

This eyeliner is so intense black and glides on with such ease. What's great about this pencil is that it is waterproof but doesn't set immediately. I prefer that for a more sultry, smokey look. You can easily blend this and apply more for added intensity. 

*Application tip* Apply very little pressure when using this pencil. It is so soft and almost melts onto your skin. Applying more pressure will create a thicker line and more intensity for when you want to add more drama. 

Gel Eyeliner - Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink and Anastasia Beverly Hills Waterproof Creme Color in Jet

I love both of these formulas, I simply can not choose! The Bobbi formula is a solid black and is easier to blend and build. This product holds up very well to heat, humidity and much more. It's no wonder it's an award-winning product. The Anastasia formula is a much more intense black and sets very quickly. I find that it doesn't build up quite as easily since it sets so quickly. But for a sharp, ultra-black look, whether winged and dramatic or thin, fine and natural, this product is a winner. 

*Application tip* Using a gel liner always use a brush that is in good condition and not frayed. If brush hairs are sticking out, you will not get as smooth and precise of a line. For a thin line, choose a thin, skinny brush. For a thicker, more dramatic line, use a wider brush. 

Liquid Liner - Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black

This liner has a felt tip applicator much like a fine marker. The tip has a perfect combination of stiffness and flexibility. It is also truly an intense black and is waterproof. I buy this liner over and over again. It is now available in a Micro Tip style for an even finer point. 

*Application tip* Use this as a finishing touch to your eye makeup. This very fine point will fill in any gaps between your liner and lashes. 

Shadow Liner - MAC Eyeshadow in Carbon

This matte black shadow blends easily and can be built up for added intensity. I prefer to use this along the bottom lash line for a smokey look and applied over another black liner along the top lash line to either set and add more intensity or to create a softer look to the line. 

*Application tip* If you have not created the smoothest line on your eyes, apply this shadow using a fine angled brush and blend over your liner. This will cover and smooth any little bumps in your line.