The waterline may not be everyone’s favorite part to apply makeup on. In fact, some years ago, I used to freak out every time an object, say, a makeup brush reached the vicinity of my eyes.
However, over the years, I have embraced applying eyeliner on my waterline as a part of my daily makeup routine as it makes my eyes look bigger and brighter. And, tightlining is just as good too.
What is tightlining?
The waterline is a wet and sensitive area that makes us cringe even at the thought of anything touching it. However, tightlining is just that — applying eyeliner or kohl on the waterline to make your eyes pop.
But, tightlining is done on the upper waterline. Not only does it make your eyes look more appealing, it further gives the lashes a much fuller look.
Tightlining can give your eyes a professional and pulled-together look without any eyeshadow on the lids.
But it’s important to choose the right eyeliner for waterline or tightlining as it is a highly sensitive area. It’s essential only to use the ones that are specially formulated for the waterline.
What are the eyeliner options for waterline?
First, there’s the good old pencil eyeliner. It is a good option and is somewhat water-resistant, so it stays on for longer.
Just make sure that it’s sharpened before using, but then be careful not to make it too sharp. A pointy edge might hurt your waterline, or even poke at your eye.
Second, a liquid eyeliner. The brush in a liquid eyeliner offers precision, but it’s going to be disastrous if you use them on your waterline. It won’t stay put and turn into a gooey mess. Moreover, there is a high possibility of irritating your eyes.
So, liquid eyeliner is a big no-no for the waterline.
The third option is the gel eyeliner. The brush also offers better accuracy for tightlining. However, you need to hold the brush at a certain angle as it is not as tapered as that of liquid eyeliner. You don’t need to use a lot of it, though, as a little gel eyeliner can go a long way.
1. Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner
If you have never tried eyeliner on your waterline, Sephora’s eyeliner is an excellent choice for starters. It has a retractable design along with a built-in sharpener and a smudger. The rich, creamy formula glides smoothly, doesn’t irritate your eyes, and is waterproof!
Sephora has brilliantly managed to hide the sharpener on the smudge tip. When you pull out the smudger, the other end is a sharpener!
Further, you can also use the smudger for a smoky look in the outer corner of your eyes. It doesn’t take long, just a swoop of the liner, a little freestyle smudging, and within a few minutes, you’re good to go.
- Built-in sharpener
- Smudge tip
- Stays intact
- Creamy texture
2. Kajal Eyeliner by VASANTI
There are only so many beauty products that are vegan friendly. For conscious people, it is hard to find makeup items according to their needs.
In addition to being vegan friendly, Kajal eyeliner by VASANTI is paraben-free, gluten-free, and not tested on animals.
Further, the formula is highly pigmented and applies with just one stroke. However, it doesn’t have a retractable design, nor does it come with a sharpener.
In fact, it has a one-way twist-up feature for ‘hygenic’ purposes that I have mixed feelings for. What if my clumsy self accidentally twists a lot of the eyeliner at once? It’s concerning, as it could get damaged or broken off.
- Vegan friendly
- Rich pigment
- Can be used while wearing contact lenses
3. NARS Larger Than Life
NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner is made to last 12 hours without smearing. That means you don’t have to worry about your eyeliner smearing down to your undereye area or constantly reapplying every other hour.
The pencil glides on smoothly, so you don’t have to hurt your eyes rubbing and dragging it along the waterline. It also comes in different eye-catching shades from iridescent turquoise to muted colors like antique brass and white.
However, the color isn’t as vibrant or intense as you’d expect for such an expensive eyeliner. I like my black eyeliner to be deep black, but NARS failed my expectations. Also, I have to admit that it is waterproof, and you have to use a makeup remover for some time to clean it off.
- Lasts 12 hours
- Many color options
- Smooth application
- Doesn’t smudge
5. Kiko Milano
Kiko Milano is an Italian brand known for its highly pigmented and colorful eyeliners that are comparatively affordable than other brands.
The Kiko Milano eyeliner has a gel formula that makes it long-lasting and easy to smudge for a smoky look. The eyeliner glides smoothly, and you have a little time to smudge before it ‘sets.’
Further, there’s a sponge applicator for smudging at the base of the pencil. Also it is not retractable, you have to sharpen it often, but the package does not include any sharpener.
Since the eyeliner sticks to the waterline instead of rubbing off throughout the day, we can let that slide.
- Lasts 10 hours
6. Immovable by Mia Adora Makeup
Immovable by Mia Adora is a cruelty-free waterproof eyeliner that can be applied on the waterline as well as lash lines for the perfect cat-eye look.
The formula further resists smudging and smearing, and stays on for most of the day. All that for a not-so-expensive price tag, isn’t that exciting?
On top of being cruelty-free, it is also paraben and fragrance-free. It’s gentle on the eyes, and you can apply it even when you’re wearing contact lenses.
The matte formula lifts the eyes almost instantly with its deep, dark black color. Honestly, it’s so pigmented that only one coat is enough.
- Retractable design
- Rich pigment
7. Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner
Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners in tiny tubs have been everyone’s favorite since forever. Well, this eyeliner is the same gel formula but in the form of a pencil! It just makes the normal eye makeup routine that much faster — no more hassle of handling brushes with little tubs.
This gel-based pencil is expensive, but it’s comfortable to use and doesn’t irritate your eyes. The shade it comes in, Pitch Black, is true to its name as it gives one of the richest and most pigmented colors we have seen in an eyeliner. Further, it comes in six shades in total.
As it is retractable, you can twist it up to line your eyes, then twist it back to avoid breaking the liner. Lastly, it comes with a sharpener on the base. It blunts quickly, so you may have to sharpen at times, especially if you want to use it on your lids for a cat-eye.
- Soft and creamy
- Retractable design
- Highly pigmented
- Sharpener included
8. Wunder2 Super-Stay Liner
For days you want to switch things up and ditch your regular black eyeliner, Wunder2 Super-Stay Liner comes in a variety of different colors in different finishes! There are 24 shades in three finishes: essential (matte), metallic, and glitter.
These eyeliner pencils are waterproof, smudge-proof, and transfer-proof. They glide on effortlessly without poking you in the eye, and on the plus point, they can also be used as an eyeshadow.
So, whether it is a normal look or a playful look, Wunder2 Super-Stay has many options to choose from.
- Creamy formula
- Highly pigmented
- Metallic/Glitter options
- Can be used as eyeshadow
Things To Consider Before Buying Eyeliner For Waterline
Avoid liquid eyeliner on the waterline. It’s a recipe for disaster! The moment you apply liquid liner on your waterline, it will instantly turn into a gooey mess, and smear into your eyeball, and then down onto your whole face. Unless that is your aesthetic, don’t do it. Period.
Always use eyeliners that are specially formulated for the waterline. This is a very sensitive part in our eye and we don’t want to cause any irritation, right?
If you have super sensitive eyes, get an eyeliner that is dermatologically tested and is safe to use on sensitive eyes. You can also try eye whitening drops.
Try white or beige eyeliners. White eyeliner on your waterline instantly makes your eyes look bigger, brighter, and more awake. Nude or beige eyeliner gives you the same effect but in a soft way that is more suitable for a no-makeup makeup look.
How to make your eyeliner not smear?
Firstly, you have to understand what makes eyeliner on waterline smudge and smear into the undereye area. The main reason is having oily skin as the oil makes it easier for the eyeliner to smear.
So, if your eyeliner is smudge-proof and you have oily skin, make sure to apply some powder or eyeshadow after you have used the eyeliner. In case your skin starts to feel oily, just clean up and pack in more eyeshadow or powder. Keeping your skin oil-free will keep your eyeliner from smearing as well.
Another common reason why eyeliner on the waterline does not stay long or smears is because of watery eyes. Some of us have dry eyes, while some of us have naturally watery eyes. For watery eyes, it’s hard to apply eyeliner on the waterline in the first place. And even if you apply eyeliner, it just fades away faster than in people with dry or normal eyes.
Finding the ‘perfect’ eyeliner depends on your skin type as well as your preference. We have different products on our list, and that should give you a start even if you have never used an eyeliner.
Create alluring looks with colorful, metallic eyeliners or just apply a matte black eyeliner for a simple yet powerful look.
Have you tried any of the eyeliners mentioned in our list? Let us know in the comments below!