To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best waterproof eyeliner 2023: Keep your eyes defined with these water-resistant liners

Wave goodbye to smudged panda eyes with our pick of the best waterproof eyeliners

Black streaks running down your face after getting caught in a rainstorm; trying desperately not to get your face wet in the pool; coming home to find that your eye makeup has smudged everywhere except where you applied it – these are all common plights of eyeliner enthusiasts.

But there’s a solution, and that solution is waterproof eyeliner. Specifically formulated to stay in place no matter what life throws at it, you can finally go on a night out without rushing to the bathroom mirror to reapply, or lounge by the pool without fretting about the raccoon eyes that are developing. Not all eyeliners deliver on this promise, however, so we’ve collected some the best along with key advice about how to choose the perfect one for you.

Best waterproof eyeliner: At a glance

How to choose the best waterproof eyeliner for you

What type of liner is best for me?

The answer here depends on two things – the effect you want to create and the way you naturally apply your eyeliner. That latter demonstrates how personal makeup can be, and how one type of eyeliner can be perfect for one person but feel totally wrong for another. With waterproof eyeliner, especially, it’s important to be happy with both the formulation and the mode of application for a chosen product.

READ NEXT: The best makeup removers

Liquid eyeliners, for example, are the best option for those who want to create a precise, flawless finish, perhaps with a flick or other artful flourish. Felt-tip style pens make it even easier to achieve the look, while gel liners require a separate brush. Then there are kohl pencils and twist-up liners, which lend themselves much more to blending and smudging (before they are dry, of course) for a smokey eye look.

How much should I spend?

Finding the perfect waterproof eyeliner doesn’t have to be expensive, with most variations priced in the £10-£20 range. Liquid eyeliners tend to be slightly more expensive than their pencil counterparts (which you can easily grab for under £5), and gel liners even more so. It’s also worth considering how long a product will last you – while pens can run dry, pencils can be sharpened and reused dozens of times if you’re careful.

Do I need something special to remove it?

Because waterproof eyeliner has been designed to stay put no matter what, you’d be right to assume you can’t just remove it at the end of the day with any old cream or lotion. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be left scrubbing your eyes and damaging the incredibly delicate skin around them – you’ll just need to find an oil-based cleanser powerful enough to remove stubborn makeup. Something like this Caudalie Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil or the Garnier Oil-Infused Micellar Water should do the trick.

How we test waterproof eyeliner

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. As such, we personally test all of the waterproof eyeliners in our roundup, either at home or in-store.

We start by noting the ingredients used in the eyeliner and the application type, whether that’s liquid, pencil or gel. We then apply the eyeliner onto the eyelids, following any application guidance included with the product. We evaluate the definition and pigmentation of the eyeliner, noting the colour payoff from a single application, and note any issues with smudging after application. Through the process, attention is paid to how easy it is to apply each waterproof eyeliner and how the eyeliner performs over the course of a typical day of wear, including in damp and humid conditions and during and after exercise. Finally, we take note of the available colour range for each product.

READ NEXT: The best mascaras

The best waterproof eyeliner to buy in 2023

1. Too Faced Better Than Sex Easy Glide Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Best for easy application

Price when reviewed: £22 | Check price at Look Fantastic

We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether this eyeliner truly lives up to its name, but it’s certainly recommended if you want maximum pigment and an easy-to-apply felt tip nib that glides on the eyelid with no bother at all. The dual-fibre brush makes it easy to practice and subsequently master the iconic cat-eye flick and because it’s so fine, you can get away with a couple of mistakes without having to start over. What’s more, it promises to stay on for 24-hours without smudging.

Key Specs – Formula: Liquid; Application: Felt-tip; Vegan: Yes

Check price at Look Fantastic

2. Rimmel London Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner: Best for blending

Price when reviewed: £3.79 | Check price at Amazon

If you can get past the difficulty of sharpening the Rimmel London Scandaleyes eyeliner (we recommend something like the Beautytime Cosmetic Pencil Sharpener), it really can’t be beaten on long-lasting dramatic colour for a tiny price tag. The liner itself has a really creamy texture and glides easily onto the eyelid, and once dry it lasts all day and night without smearing or smudging. That said, it’s also good for creating a long-lasting smoky eye look – just blend it straight after application and voila!

Key Specs – Formula: Kohl; Application: Pencil

3. Daniel Sandler Velvet Waterproof Eyeliner: Best for comfortable application

Price when reviewed: £9.95 | Check price at Look Fantastic

The twist-up applicator is, for our money, one of the makeup world’s best inventions, and the Daniel Sandler Velvet Waterproof Eyeliner matches it with a formula that’s not only easy and comfortable to apply but also infused with vitamin C and E for extra-healthy peepers. The velvety texture means it can be blended before dry, or simply added to the waterline for a subtle finish. No sharpening required, no mess, and it won’t dry out either.

Key Specs – Application: Twist-up

Check price at Look Fantastic

4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Waterproof Creme Colour: Best for personalisation

Price when reviewed: £18 | Check price at Look Fantastic 

For those who want a little more control over their eyeliner application, there are gel liners that require you to BYOB (bring your own brush). That way, you can choose the angle, width and material of your applicator rather than being tied to what the brand thinks is best. This particular product comes from Anastasia – a company beloved by celebs and famous for its eyebrow products. The liner promises to be smudge, sweat and crease-proof, among other things and maybe just the ticket for those with oily skin.

Key Specs – Formula: Gel; Application: Brush; Volume: 4g

Check price at Look Fantastic

5. Lovoir WingLiner Eyeliner Stamp: Best for beginners

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Amazon

Not everyone has been blessed with a steady hand and a knack for adding perfect feline flicks to their eyes, and for those who struggle there is finally an answer. The Lovoir WingLiner Eyeliner Stamp comes in the form of two pens with double ends – one for normal eyeliner application and the other for perfect flicks every time. It may seem strange at first, but those who’ve spent many a frustrating morning wiping off failed attempts, it could be the miracle you’ve been waiting for. Smudgeproof, so no mess.

Key Specs – Formula: Liquid; Application: Felt-tip

6. MAC Liquidlast Liner: Best for precision

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Boots

MAC has a reputation for delivering high-quality products, and this Liquidlast Liner is no different. The liquid liner comes with a fine brush and can easily be applied to the eyes for a smudge-free, waterproof finish. The applicator is brilliant for creating perfect, precise lines as thickly or subtly as you prefer and because it won’t move or transfer at all once dry, you can be certain it’ll stay that way from morning until night. If you like your eye makeup to be unique to you, then this will deliver.

Key Specs – Formula: Liquid; Application: Brush

Check price at Boots

Read more

Best Buys