Eyeliner has evolved a lot over the years. Although this type of makeup was used in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as early as 10,000 BC, it wasn’t until 1920 — when Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb was unearthed — that Westerners were reintroduced to eyeliner.

Since then, a variety of forms of eyeliner have come into existence that the ancient Egyptians could never have dreamed of as it has been embraced by average women as well as by the Goth, Punk, and Emo subcultures. Depending on how it is used, eyeliner can either be a bold fashion statement or a subtle accentuation, and there are plenty of types of eyeliner to choose from.

Types of Eyeliners

Eyeliner comes in a variety of different forms. Some examples of different eyeliner types include:

  • Wax-based pencil eyeliner: This form of eyeliner is one of the most common varieties on the market. It consists of coloring agents that are combined with wax to make application smooth and easy. It can also come in a cone-shaped form.
  • Powder-based pencil eyeliner: Although similar to wax-based eyeliner, this type of eyeliner comes in a powdered form rather than a wax-based one. This change results in a darker line that tends to be messier.
  • Liquid eyeliner: This type of eyeliner comes in a bottle that contains a small brush. It produces a thin, clean line, and is usually only applied to the upper lash line due to its heavy appearance.
  • Kohl eyeliner: This form of eyeliner comes in a powder form, and it is prone to smudging. However, it can create incredibly pronounced lines around your eyes when used wisely.
  • Felt-tip eyeliner: A form of liquid eyeliner that is applied with a device that looks similar to a felt-tipped pen. As in the case with a normal pen, a stick of it draws liquid makeup to the tip of its felt attachment.
  • Gel eyeliner: This type of eyeliner usually comes in a small jar with a brush. It is one of the easiest types of eyeliner to apply. Plus, it is long-lasting.

1. Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Liquid Eye Pencil

You know you’re getting a fancy eyeliner when one of the ingredients is crushed pearl. This liquid eyeliner provides the performance of kohl, glides on easy, and leaves behind a rich, deeply pigmented line.

Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Liquid Eye Pencil is available in several colors such as Marlene Midnight, Veruschka Mink, Eye Cheat, and Bedroom Black. Priced at $27, it is available through Charlotte Tilbury, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Amazon.


  • Charlotte Tilbury claims that this eyeliner stays on for 14 hours straight
  • Easy application
  • Waterproof
  • Preservative-free and paraben-free
  • Crushed pearl is said to stimulate collagen production


  • Relatively pricey
  • Prone to smudging and running
  • Not as many color choices as competing eyeliners

2. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Considered something of a legend among makeup enthusiasts, Urban Decay adds to their legendary status with its 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil.

Available in dozens of colors and highly resistant to smudging and running, this smooth eyeliner is one of the best options on the market. You can buy Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil for $21 directly from Urban Decay, as well as through Amazon, Sephora, Ulta, and Macy’s.


  • Goes on smooth
  • An incredible variety of color choices
  • Blends easily with other makeup


  • Consumers report eye reddening and allergic reactions after use
  • No information is given on potential presence of toxic ingredients

3. Rimmel London Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil

Coming from the prestigious Rimmel London brand, this eyeliner pencil is made in a variety of bright colors. While it smudges easily, that’s part of the allure as creating a “smoked-out” look is easy with the Rimmel London Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil.

The Rimmel London Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil eyeliner is available through Amazon CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Rimmel London themselves for only $3.99.


  • Inexpensive
  • Available in a variety of shades
  • Perfect for a smudged look


  • No information provided on toxic ingredients
  • Smudges easily

4. YSL Couture Kajal Pencil

The top benefit of the YSL Couture Kajal Pencil is its versatility. You can use this eye pencil as eyeliner, eye shadow, or as kohl, and its rich pigmentation is perfect for making a statement.

Available through the likes of Amazon, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and YSL Beauty, this high-end eye pencil costs $35.


  • Highly versatile product
  • Stays on for up to 12 hours


  • High price
  • Tends to smudge

5. Milani Stay Put Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

It’s easy to see why Milani is a big name in the makeup industry; this eyeliner is packaged beautifully, and it offers great value for a low price. This wax eyeliner pencil comes with a sharpener and a gold cap, and it’s designed to last all day.

A stick of Milani Stay Put Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil only costs $7.99. You can find this eyeliner for purchase at Amazon, CVS, Ulta, and Walgreens.


  • Inexpensive
  • Excellent color options
  • Easy to blend


  • Must be sharpened frequently, which wastes product
  • Runs easily
  • Cannot be applied to the waterline