• 10 Best Pencil Eyeliners in 2022 (Makeup Artist-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Pencil Eyeliners in 2022 (Makeup Artist-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Pencil Eyeliners in 2022 (Makeup Artist-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Pencil Eyeliners in 2022 (Makeup Artist-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Pencil Eyeliners in 2022 (Makeup Artist-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Pencil Eyeliners in 2022 (Makeup Artist-Reviewed)

Are you on the hunt for an eyeliner to help you achieve soft looks for the day, bold looks for the night, a sharp wing, or a tight-lined waterline for a dramatic look? Pencil eyeliners can help you with that! Pencil eyeliners are very versatile; the possibilities are limitless with this product. You can create a bold cat eye look or tight line your eyes for more definition.


To help you decide on a pencil eyeliner, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 best. The first one on the list is Maybelline's Master Precise Skinny Automatic Pencil. It's a handy mechanical eyeliner pencil you can bring anywhere you go! Are you still struggling to decide? Read through our buying guide for more information on choosing the right kind of pencil eyeliner for you!

Featured in this article

Natalya Lowe
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-29-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Pencil Eyeliner - Buying Guide

Consider the type of pencil, the ingredients, and your skin tone before deciding on the perfect pencil eyeliner for you!

Decide Between Retractable and Non-Retractable Pencil Eyeliners

Decide Between Retractable and Non-Retractable Pencil Eyeliners

There are two kinds of pencil eyeliners: retractable and non-retractable. Retractable pencil eyeliners are pigment sticks in a mechanical plastic cylinder. The retractable feature keeps it clean even without a cap


They are convenient to use and bring on the go because you don’t have to sharpen them. Sharpening also wastes product, so a retractable one will let you get more for your money. However, retractable pencil eyeliners usually contain less product compared to non-retractable eyeliners.

Decide Between Retractable and Non-Retractable Pencil Eyeliners

Non-retractable eyeliners, on the other hand, will have to be resharpened every time the tip runs down. This might not be the most convenient when you are on the go.


They also might not be the most hygienic if the pencil doesn’t come with a cap or if you lose it. It’s a good thing that some pencil eyeliners are self-sharpening or have a built-in sharpener to make them more convenient.

Natalya Lowe
Professional Makeup Artist
Natalya Lowe

One is a sharpen pencil liner and one is a twist up liner. They do cost about the same amount in pricing but have different amounts of product. A pencil liner normally loses some product when you sharpen. A retractable liner can risk snapping if the product is out too far and too much pressure is applied. 


Both apply the same effect on the eye, but a pencil liner can be sharpened to have a sharp edge and a retractable liner has a rounded end to create a soft edge.

Pick a Pencil Eyeliner That Complements Your Skin Tone

Pick a Pencil Eyeliner That Complements Your Skin Tone

In choosing the right pencil eyeliner for you, you can pick one that brings out the best of your skin tone. If you have fair skin, you can opt for brown, grey, or green colored eyeliners. These shades are warm, but they don’t bring a considerable contrast against lighter skin, unlike black eyeliners.


People with medium skin tones, on the other hand, can safely use black eyeliner. You can also go for shades of deep red, maroon, or bronze. These hues will compliment your skin tone.


Deep skin tones can pull off any color. The brighter the shade you use, the more it makes your skin color stand out. Shades of blue and purple will do the same. Moreover, shimmery and metallic shades like gold and silver will also look great with your skin tone. 

Find a Color That Enhances Your Natural Eye Color

Find a Color That Enhances Your Natural Eye Color

You can also choose your eyeliner shade according to your eye color. If you have blue eyes, eyeliners in gold or copper will make your eyes appear even bluer. Deep orange and champagne hues will do it too. If you want to achieve a bold look, dark blues will do the trick.


Green eyes can be enhanced with shades of red. Colors like mahogany or amethyst will surely make your eyes pop. But if you have hazel eyes, the hues to go for are golds and olives. These will highlight the green in your eyes. You can also go for a deep and warm brown if you’re looking for something bolder.


If your eyes are on the darker brown side, deep blue shades or amber will bring out the gold and light brown in your eyes. Other shades you can try are purple or dark grey. For bolder looks, you can go for cobalt blue.

Natalya Lowe
Professional Makeup Artist
Natalya Lowe

A new trend has been to apply a white or cream liner on the waterline. A white pencil eyeliner is a bolder statement and makes the eye look a lot bigger, and cream gives you a bright eye but toned down enough to give you a simple pop. A nude pencil eyeliner is a simple hack to create a brighter appearance and wider look of the eyes.

Opt for a Waterproof and Smudge-Free Pencil Eyeliner

Opt for a Waterproof and Smudge-Free Pencil Eyeliner

If you want to keep your look on the whole day without smudging or running, you should go for a waterproof and smudge-free eyeliner. These will last you the entire day through all kinds of weather. 


These are especially suitable for warmer seasons or when you’re doing outdoor activities. Even if you tend to sweat a lot, you can trust your waterproof eyeliner to stay in place and keep you from panda eyes.


The only downside to these liners is that they can be hard to remove. You have to look for effective makeup removers like cleansing balms and oils.

Pay Attention to Beneficial and Harmful Ingredients

Pay Attention to Beneficial and Harmful Ingredients

When looking for the right pencil eyeliner, you have to be mindful of both beneficial and harmful ingredients. The eyelids are thin and delicate and therefore the most sensitive part of your face. Some eyeliners are safe to use for most people; these are hypoallergenic and have been dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested


If your skin is on the drier side, you should opt for hydrating and moisturizing eyeliners that contain shea butter, castor oil, or jojoba oil.

Pay Attention to Beneficial and Harmful Ingredients

Some ingredients to consider avoiding, especially if you have sensitive eyes and skin, are fragrances, sulfates, and pigments that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Fragrance can cause itching and irritation in some people. Sulfates can also be irritating and drying for people with dry or sensitive skin. It tends to strip away natural oils from the skin and cause it to dry up.


Most black eyeliners are created with a pigment named D&C Black 2. This pigment has been certified by the FDA as safe to use for cosmetics. Avoid black eyeliners with uncertified carbon black pigments.

10 Best Pencil Eyeliners

We've put together various pencil eyeliners from retractable to non-retractable with different shades that can cater to all kinds of eye color and skin tone!


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Natalya Lowe unless explicitly stated so.

Image
1
Maybelline Master Precise Skinny Automatic Pencil 1

Maybelline

2
Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Eyeliner Pencil 1

Pat McGrath Labs

3
Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner Pencil 1

Revlon

4
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil 1

Urban Decay

5
Clinique Quickliner for Eyes 1

Clinique

6
NYX Professional Makeup Jumbo Eyeliner Pencil 1

NYX Professional Makeup

7
L'Oreal Paris  Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner 1

L'Oreal Paris

8
e.l.f.  Satin Eyeliner Pencil  1

e.l.f.

9
Julep When Pencil Met Gel 1

Julep

10
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner 1

Marc Jacobs Beauty

Name

Master Precise Skinny Automatic Pencil

PermaGel Eyeliner Pencil

ColorStay Eyeliner Pencil

24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil

Quickliner for Eyes

Jumbo Eyeliner Pencil

Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner

Satin Eyeliner Pencil

When Pencil Met Gel

Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner

Features

Thin and Precise Retractable Pencil Eyeliner

Silicone-Enriched Non-Retractable Pencil Eyeliner

Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner With a Built-in Sharpener

Pencil Eyeliner Infused With Beneficial Ingredients

Double-Ended Pencil Eyeliner With Smudger

Multipurpose and Versatile Eyeliner Pencil

Retractable Eyeliner With Built-in Sharpener and Smudger

Non-Retractable Pencil With a Handy Built-in Sharpener

Opthalmologist Tested Eyeliner Pencil for People With Sensitive Eyes

Mini Gel Pencil Eyeliner to Take With You

Price$6.38$28.00$5.97$22.00$20.00$3.99$7.24$2.00$12.00$12.00
Amount0.0035 oz.0.042 oz.0.01 oz.0.04 oz.0.01 oz.0.18 oz.0.008 oz.0.3 oz.0.32 oz.0.01 oz.
Available shades3583151371175
TypeRetractableNon-retractableRetractableRetractableRetractableRetractableRetractableNon-retractableRetractableRetractable
Highlights--Ophthalmologist-testedCruelty-freeOphthalmologist tested, no parabensCruelty-free-Vegan, cruelty free, no parabens, phthalatesOphthalmologist tested, cruelty-free, no sulfates, parabensCruelty-free, no parabens, sulfates, phthalates
Link
1

MaybellineMaster Precise Skinny Automatic Pencil

$6.38

Amount0.0035 oz.
Available shades3
TypeRetractable
Highlights-
2

Pat McGrath LabsPermaGel Eyeliner Pencil

$28.00

Amount0.042 oz.
Available shades5
TypeNon-retractable
Highlights-
3

RevlonColorStay Eyeliner Pencil

$5.97

Amount0.01 oz.
Available shades8
TypeRetractable
HighlightsOphthalmologist-tested
4

Urban Decay24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil

$22.00

Amount0.04 oz.
Available shades31
TypeRetractable
HighlightsCruelty-free
5

CliniqueQuickliner for Eyes

$20.00

Amount0.01 oz.
Available shades5
TypeRetractable
HighlightsOphthalmologist tested, no parabens
6

NYX Professional MakeupJumbo Eyeliner Pencil

$3.99

Amount0.18 oz.
Available shades13
TypeRetractable
HighlightsCruelty-free
7

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner

$7.24

Amount0.008 oz.
Available shades7
TypeRetractable
Highlights-
8

e.l.f. Satin Eyeliner Pencil

$2.00

Amount0.3 oz.
Available shades1
TypeNon-retractable
HighlightsVegan, cruelty free, no parabens, phthalates
9

JulepWhen Pencil Met Gel

$12.00

Amount0.32 oz.
Available shades17
TypeRetractable
HighlightsOphthalmologist tested, cruelty-free, no sulfates, parabens
10

Marc Jacobs BeautyHighliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner

Mini size

$12.00

Amount0.01 oz.
Available shades5
TypeRetractable
HighlightsCruelty-free, no parabens, sulfates, phthalates

Natalya's Recommended Pencil Eyeliner

Makeup DesignoryEye Pencil

$14.00

Amount0.04 oz.
Available shades7
TypeNon-retractable
Highlights-
Natalya Lowe
Professional Makeup Artist
Natalya Lowe

The Makeup Designory eye pencil liners have been those that I find longest lasting on my clients and on myself. From MUD cosmetics, the eye pencils have a smooth and soft application. The liners glide on easily and apply very pigmented on the eye. These liners can be smudged and used elsewhere on the face.


I first tried this product when I went to the professional makeup school in Los Angeles, CA. This professional makeup brand and school has some of the best and longest wearing products. These pencil liners come in multiple colors and are very easy to sharpen to create that sharp end to create any look you want. I am constantly stocking up with these eye pencils because they have not done me wrong and I can trust that they will last me throughout the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Natalya also took the time to answer some commonly-asked question about pencil eyeliners.

What are some differences between pencil and liquid eyeliner?

"A pencil liner will need to be sharpened with a makeup pencil sharpener before each use. Most pencil eyeliners can be used to create a sharp, hard edge or a soft edge when smudged. A liquid eyeliner is to create a hard, defined edge that is dark in color," explains Natalya.


"A liquid eyeliner tends to last a little bit longer than a pencil liner. A pencil liner is easier to blend and can be used on the water line and the tight line on the upper lash line. A pencil liner can be more of a subtle look. A liquid tends to apply more bold and dramatic."

How do I keep my eyeliner from smudging?

Natalya says, "A great way to protect your eyeliner from moving and smudging on you is to first prep the eye with a primer to keep your shadows and eyeliner from fading. Using a long wear or waterproof liner is your best bet if you have oily skin, are more likely to have teary eyes, or have sensitive eyes.


Setting your entire face with a setting spray can set your makeup in place. You can also set the liner with a powder that is the same color as your liner to be sure it won't move on you."

Try Out Other Eye Makeup Products!

Your eye makeup can change your whole look! There’s nothing wrong with investing and trying out other makeup products that make you feel and look good. Here are some suggestions.

Buying Guide Reviewed by Professional Makeup Artist Natalya Lowe

Natalya Lowe
Professional Makeup Artist
Natalya Lowe

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Author: Janina Maddatu


  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more mybest recommendations! For questions or comments, leave us feedback via a Google Form on our Contact Us page.

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