We may live in the age of magnetic masks and airbrush makeup, but our love affair with eyeliner goes way back. Ever since our first swipe of kohl pencil in the sixth grade, we’ve been on a quest to find the perfect jet-black liner (and endured our share of sloppy wings and panda eyes in the process). After years of testing, we bring you the best.

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black eyeliner stila
Nordstrom

Longest Lasting: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

When we polled our colleagues on their go-to eyeliner, this one got the most recommendations by far. According to them, the felt applicator makes it easy to create everyday looks as well as dramatic cat-eyes—and the liquid formula does, in fact, stay all day (even through a recent bout of hay fever). 

Stila ($22)

black eyeliner urban decay
Sephora

Most Pigmented: Urban Decay 24-7 Glide-On Pencil

There’s black—then there’s black-hole-from-which-no-light-can-escape black. Thanks to an impossibly smooth formula, this pencil goes on like butter and leaves a fully opaque color payoff in its wake. And despite its creaminess, once it sets, it does not move. (Though you have about 30 seconds to blend if you so desire.)

Urban Decay ($20)

black eyeliner eyeko
Net-a-Porter

Easiest Application: Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner

Too much of a klutz for liquid liner? This chubby marker gives even those of us with shaky hands enough control to swoop on a wing that would make Adele proud. Tip: Steady your elbows against a table before going in with the liner.

Eyeko ($18)

black eyeliner bobbi
Bobbi Brown

Best Gel: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

There are a few reasons to go the pot-and-brush route: control over the amount of product you’re using, a precise application that’s a bit more forgiving than a standard liquid liner and a longer shelf life. This tried-and-true gel continues to inspire cultish devotion for its super-creamy and smudge-proof formula.

Bobbi Brown ($26)

black eyeliner mac
MAC

Best for Sensitive Eyes: MAC Technakohl

Contacts wearers (or those with extra-sensitive skin) face a special challenge when it comes to their eye makeup. Luckily, this ophthalmologist-tested pick puts any fear of discomfort to rest. The fine-tipped point makes it easy to target your application, and the budge-proof formula won’t migrate and irritate your peepers. 

MAC ($17)

black eyeliner laura
Sephora

Best Powder: Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eyeliner

It takes a little more time than a pencil, but for tightlining (the “invisible” eyeliner technique that makes your lashline look super lush), this powder formula is tops. Grab an angled liner brush, dampen it with water and load the bristles with pigment before stamping it directly onto the root of your lashes to get subtle definition. 

Laura Mercier ($25)

black eyeliner charlotte
Nordstrom

Most Efficient: Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eye-Shadow Pencil

This chubby stick is a godsend for rushed mornings because it doubles as eye shadow. All you have to do is line your lids as you normally would and gently smudge the color out using your fingertip to get an instant smoky eye.

Charlotte Tilbury ($27)

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black eyeliner rimmel
Amazon

Best Pencil: Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal

This pencil is as classic as they come. Loaded with soft kohl pigment, it glides seamlessly across your lids without tugging and doesn’t fade as it wears. The fact that it’s the price of a single latte is an added bonus.

Rimmel ($4) 

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