A good liquid eyeliner is a bit of a Goldilocks situation. You want something that stays put, but is easy to remove when you want to, something that goes on smoothly but doesn’t run or bleed, and something that can create both a super precise line or avant-garde graphic eye.
Luckily, you’ve got options, maybe even too many. A quick search on Amazon will pull up over 6,000 results ranging from drugstore favorites to under-the-radar K-Beauty gems. That’s a lot to sort through. Luckily, the retailer has highlighted its #1-selling eyeliner, the cult favorite Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen.
Stila’s liner boasts 5,229 reviews, with 4,053 of them being 5 stars, which is pretty damn impressive. The liner pen is well-loved in the industry and has a reputation for being the best of the best when it comes to liquid liners, and the reviews confirm that. Thousands of them sing the praises of its staying power, saying it lasted through a 13-hour shift, sweaty workout class, or trip to a waterpark. Shoppers were also quick to praise the liner’s ease of use, with one legally blind user writing it’s the only eyeliner she’ll ever use.
Still, you never exactly know with reviews. So we had five Glamour staffers put the liner to the test to see how it stacks up to our favorites. Here are our honest thoughts.
Tara Gonzelez, commerce editor
I am notoriously bad at eyeliner, which is really tragic because I love it so much. I just have really big eyes (and thus really big eyelids), so I find drawing a good cat eye impossibly hard. This eyeliner really does live up to the hype, and I was able to create my ideal cat eye in one stroke which never ever happens. It’s also the perfect color black and lasts literally all day.
Khaliha Hawkins, producer
After trying this for the first time, I now understand why so many people love this eyeliner. I love that the tip on it is very thin and stiff. A lot of eyeliners I’ve tried that boast about a thin tip are flimsy and don’t provide a defined line, but this was the exception. The tip actually allowed me to move faster to make a straighter line. As someone who has yet to perfect my eyeliner technique, this pen is perfect to help me get there.
Bella Cacciatore, beauty associate
I used this religiously in high school, but this is my first time using it in a few years, and I can confirm it’s still the best. It really stays on forever: I’ve cried in it many times, and a good friend of mine sleeps in it so she only has to apply it every other day. It’s jet black and doesn’t patch off when you add more ink on top to correct a line, which is my biggest pet peeve. The formula is super smooth, doesn’t pull on your eye, and doesn’t bleed so it’s easy to get a nice wing. I generally prefer a brush tip over a felt—it’s a little easier to control—which is the reason I stopped using it in the first place, but when it comes to staying power and inkiness, the Stila can’t be beat.
Lindsay Schallon, senior beauty editor
I have deep-set eyes that eat eyeliner for breakfast. Cat eyes are next-to-near impossible to do on me (even pro artists struggle with it), so I don’t wear black eyeliner all that often anymore. But when I do, I love a thick black line that emphasizes the base of my lashes to make them look fuller and thicker. I’ve tried many of “the best liquid eyeliners” over the years, and this is right up there on the list. The pen itself is not too long or clunky like some others. The felt tip glides smoothly and doesn’t skip or drag—or the worst, bleed, leaving you with a big black ink blob on your eyes. (My trick for getting a perfectly straight line is to use my pinkie finger as an anchor on my cheek to help keep my hand steady.) As for black smudges on my brow bone by mid-day? There were none. The liner truly stays where you put, no matter how hungry your eyelids are.
Kim Fusaro, director of branded content
So I did NOT realize when I volunteered to test-drive an eyeliner that it was a liquid eyeliner, but when this landed on my desk, I knew I didn’t have a choice. (You just don’t cross the Beauty Closet Mafia.) I’ve always been intimidated by liquid liner, but I’ve also always been a nerd, so I figured I could study my way out of disaster. Turns out, I barely had to. With one video, nine eyeliner hacks, and a pep talk from Lindsay, I pulled off a fairly respectable cat eye on the first try. (Hey, I’m not going pro anytime soon, but I wouldn’t be ashamed to leave home like this.) It might’ve been been beginner’s luck, but I suspect this particular liner had something to do with it. The super-fine point meant I could use tiny strokes and work slowly; it was more like writing on my skin with a fine-point Sharpie than applying finger paint with a Q-tip, which is what I had been envisioning. I don’t think liquid liner will be in my daily rotation any time soon—it was a slow process—but I’ll definitely play with this one again.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.*