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A Definitive List of Affordable Liquid Eyeliners

As someone who has been into makeup for roughly seven years, it’s assumed that I’ve been through tons of different brands and styles, but I haven’t. I’ve stayed in my comfort zone of three stages of liquid liner in the last few years: e.l.f. liquid liner as a beginner, Ulta brand liner for my middle years and I finally settled on my current Kat Von D liner. I love winged liner more than any other makeup trend, so I decided to test out a few affordable liners (with the exception of Kat Von D) for the college ladies who are ballin’ on a budget. Note: I have little to no color in my eyebrows, so I tint them. I forgot that I was doing that halfway through testing these eyeliners, so please forgive the large, dark, square brow in the last group of pictures!


Wet n’ Wild Liquid Megaliner  in “Black” ($2.97 at Target) 5/5 stars

This is tied for my new favorite liquid liner with the Nyx Matte Liquid Liner. This is seriously the blackest eyeliner I have ever owned and the felt tip makes the application smooth and effortless. The color is opaque and dries down matte without any sheen.

Milani Ultrafine Eyeliner in “04 Prismatic Purple”  ($6.65 at CVS) 2/5 stars

Disclaimer: I didn’t actually pay for this one – it was some swag from HerCampus! This liner is a beautiful shimmery purple, but it lacks pigment. The applicator is harder than any other liquid liner applicator that I’ve used. After testing it alone, I put it on top of matte black liquid liner and it gave the liner an amazing iridescent sheen.

e.l.f. Expert Eyeliner in “Jet Black” ($2.00 at Target) 1/5 stars

This was the first liquid eyeliner that I used way back in 2010 when I was delving into the world of makeup. While amazing for beginners who use tape to sharpen their wing shape, the thicker and non-tapered brush doesn’t create the thin, sharp point that I’m used to. The color payoff is nice, but since I am a winged liner girl through-and-through, I won’t be reaching for this one anytime soon.

Essence Superfine Eyeliner Pen in “Black” ($2.99 at Target) 2/5 stars

This gave a very sharp wing, but the tip was way too long. It kept getting eyeliner spots on my lid, as well as not gliding well. The first layer is more like a charcoal gray so I had to do a few layers to really get a color payoff – in the picture below there are three coats of eyeliner.  This could be useful for getting the tip of your wing super sharp, but other than that it’s a dud.

Nyx the Curve Liner in “Jet Black” ($14.99 at Target) 3/5 stars

This liner is weird for me to hold only because I’m a leftie. Most products are made for people who are right handed, so I did the best I could with this product. This is definitely not Nyx’s best liquid liner. The wing was average and the color payoff was average – not something I would never use, but also not something that is my holy grail.

Nyx Matte Liquid Liner in “Black” ($6.99 at Target) 5/5 stars

HELLOOOO new holy-grail eyeliner!! My little sister used this liner for about six months before I did and I stole one of hers to try out (Sorry Carol!). This liner is carbon black and dries matte, which is a must for me. The brush on the dip pot applicator is just the right thickness and size to give you the perfect wing.

Kat Von D Tattoo liner in ”Trooper” ($21.00 at Sephora) 4/5 stars

Kat has rightly earned her cult following for her tattoo liner – it literally tattoos itself on your face and Does. Not. Budge.  I have been using this liner for the last two years of my life and I had never found anything better until last week. This liner is very black and glides on well, but the only caveat is that it dries out super quickly and then sticks to your eyelid. This liner gives me wings that could stab someone, but only for about a month if I use it everyday.

Self-proclaimed makeup guru that I am, this was an amazing way to find new things that work for me. I’ve found two new liners that I absolutely love and have been using nearly every day since I tested them out. Go forth and be fierce.

Cover image from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/70/66/68/7066686cdb44168b…

All other images are mine.

I love makeup, crime TV, and melted cheese.
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