Every liquid pen eyeliner I’ve ever owned: best, worst and everything in between

Actually I lied in the title. It’s not every single pen liner I’ve ever owned because I gave one away just a few months ago, but I can still tell you what it was like plus it’s been properly reviewed (Beyu Statement Eyeliner, fits into “Won’t knock your socks off, but it’s fine” category ) and I left out the Kardatrashian one, since I hear their brand tanked (haha) or at least I can”t find it anywhere (great liner though, for the “Best so far” category),  but all the rest are here. I keep them for reference, even though a great majority are too old to use, but I felt one day they’ll come in handy for a proper overview post. I’m one of those people who wears eyeliner almost every day. Come rain or sunshine, apart from on a random lazy Sunday, I’ll always sport a thin line on the top of my lashes, mostly with no flick and when I feel more confident that today will be the day when I finally make something decent, I’ll try with a flick – which always ends up completely different on the other side. Eyeliners make my eyes appear more awake and open, so as someone who has relatively small, bland eyes and who wears glasses which make her eyes look ever smaller, eyeliner is my best friend – even better than mascara. Naturally I’m on a never ending quest for the perfect liquid pen eyeliner and as you can probably tell from the pictures, there has been a significant amount of them in my collection. So let’s delve in.

Yeah, it doesn’t look as good on the other side. 

BEST SO FAR

Finish: semi-matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 1.7 ml
Price: €10.19 
This one is very close to being my favourite eyeliner ever, but I just wish the tip were more precise and smaller, though it’s the best one to draw flicks with. The formula is super black, matte enough and it lasts well on the lids, but the best thing about this liner is how long it lasts. It’s quite possible that because of the spade shape of the applicator it manages to keep the tip saturated with colour for much longer than others, so it’s one that stays fresh for several months. I haven’t seen it on our stands the last time I was in Müller, but I’d repurchase it.

Finish: semi-matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 2 ml
Price: 6.95 €
The formula of this one is exactly the same as in Superstar and you get a more precise applicator, plus I just found it in our drugstores (I only had to wait four years for such a miracle to happen). However, due to the applicator being so much longer than others, the tip loses colour faster, so you can use only the base of the applicator after a couple of months, but that part stays saturated with colour for basically forever (mine works after five years). This is the only eyeliner on the list that I’ve repurchased.
Finish: matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 1 ml
Price: 5.95€
This is also about the same as both L’Oreal eyeliners, particularly when it comes to the formula and the tip is very much like Perfect Slim’s as you can see on the pictures. It’s got the same pluses and faults, but all together it’s a reliable liner and one of the rare ones I’d repurchase. It’s also sold in Slovene drugstores, so that’s an additional plus for me.
Finish: matte
Applicator: brush
Quantity: N/A
Price: discontinued? It was $9.99
I’ve never found a perfect liner, so one that’s my absolute HG and I’d always repurchase (clearly, given my stash of used up different liners), but this one came closest. Yeah, it looks like a toy and I think most wouldn’t even take it seriously if they saw it, but it has one of the best applicators (it’s a brush one) because it’s small and precise, but not so small that it’d dry too quickly, The formula is properly black and it lasts great on the lids. So far it’s my favourite, but I haven’t seen it in a while. It’s possible other liners Born Pretty sell are similar.

WON’T KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF, BUT IT’S FINE
Finish: matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 7.8g (data from Superdrug website, it’s not on the liner)
Price: £2.99
The main fault of this one is that the formula is more sheer than at others and it’s not intensely black. The applicator is not the ideal shape and it’s stiff, but you can still work with it. Basically this is just a very average eyeliner that I’d get only if there wasn’t anything else on a budget.
Finish: matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 1 ml
Price: €2.75
This has a much better formula than Collection’s, but a similar stiff/scratchy applicator. It’s nicely black, but it’s not waterproof as promised and it took only a month for the tip to get so dry I couldn’t do precise flicks anymore. If you don’t want to spend much and aren’t too fussy, this one is ok.
Finish: semi-matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 1 ml
Price: $8.00
This one could almost go to the best category, since it’s about the same as L’Oreal, but the tip of the applicator got dry too fast for my taste, so I wasn’t able to be precise anymore and it’s not the best shape anyway because it’s so long. But otherwise the formula is lovely – intensely black and long-lasting. 

WE HAD ISSUES…

Finish: semi-matte
Applicator: brush
Quantity: 0.55 ml
Price: €16.99 
This is was one of those liners where I’m still not sure what the hell happened. I bought it after I was seriously impressed by the tester in the shop (I applied it on the back of my hand and it lasted through several washings), but when I opened mine at home, it just wasn’t the same thing. The formula was diluted, not as black and I could never manage to do both eyes in one go, plus it crumbled when you went over it trying to make the line darker. And it sucked hard for about two months and then it had a sudden personality transplant and started working almost perfectly. The Jekyll and Hyde among liners.
Finish: shine
Applicator: brush
Quantity: 0.5 ml
Price: €18.40 
Oh, Stila why hast thou disappointed me so? A lot of people love this liner and I’ve heard numerous recommendations, so I was incredibly excited to be trying this liner because I was convinced it’s perfect in both terms of formula and the shape of the applicator. But nope, this just wasn’t it and I was consistently disappointed by it from first use. The tip of the applicator was very flimsy, on mine it also came already a bit frayed, so I could just forget about ever doing a flick that wasn’t semi-sheer and uneven. It’s also one of the rare liners in this bunch that is completely dried up and I have much older liners which work.
Finish: semi-matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 0.5 ml
Price: €4.49 
Again another one where I just don’t get what is its deal. It started out beautifully, it’s one of the most intensely black ones plus long lasting and precise. I was 100% sure it’ll be my HG, but then it just rebelled. The tip stopped getting enough colour and now when I try to draw a flick, all I get are some sheer streaks of colour. The base of the applicator though is still heavily saturated and works perfectly, but that ink is just not getting to the tip, no matter how long I store it upside down or shake it like an idiot.
Finish: semi-matte/shine
Applicator: brush
Quantity: 0.55 ml 
Price: $10.06
About the same story as with Stila – it was heavily recommended and I expected a lot, but it was a disappointment from the start. Formula is ok, standard very black and lasts well, but this is dries up mid process (including on bare skin which is how I always test liners) and I need to revive it on my hand before I proceed. It’s just so tedious to use and I gave up on it.

WORST
Finish: matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 1.1 ml
Price: €8.99 
I loved this from the start because it is super precise and you can do the tiniest, cutest flick with it, but within days or a week, it was too dry to use. Mine is so sheer now and has been for a long time that it’s just useless. Good concept, but it doesn’t work well in real life. 
Finish: semi-matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 1 ml
Price: €3.29 
Disappointing from the moment I tried it. This has the worst formula I’ve ever tried because it’s like someone watered it down. The applicator isn’t that good either, so this was one of those “why did I buy this?” products.
Finish: no idea
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 0.28 g
Price: €9.99 
This just fills me with rage. I love L’Oreal liners because they are consistently good, but this such an annoying one. I don’t know if I’m cursed or what, but I got my first one in DM, came home full of anticipation and nothing, it was completely dried up. Now, I understand that happens since a lot of buyers are just uncultured animals who open products and put them back on the shelves like a bunch of morons, but I went to exchange it (it was actually placed back on the stand and I got a different one from the front. That’s just the worst selling ethics I’ve ever seen). The second one worked about a day and then it was the same story as with the first one – it just completely dried up. 10 euros down the drain. Yay.
Finish: satin with some shine
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 1 ml
Price: €5.99 
One of my first liners and it’s not horrible at all – it actually still works after five years, but the formula is sheer and it’s not intensely black. Also staying power isn’t as good as its competition. Essence’s is better for a budget liner in our drugstores.
Finish: semi-matte
Applicator: felt
Quantity: 2.5 g
Price: $1
This made me laugh at loud when I first tried it. Not because it was shockingly bad, but because it performed like a liner that costs ten times as much. It was black and easy to apply precisely, so it rivalled other more expensive liners. Unfortunately, by day two, it was completely useless, though I recently discovered the base of the applicator still has plenty of colour when I swatch it. It’s cheap as chips on AliExpress and eBay.

So these are all my pen eyeliners I’ve tried in an overview type of post. L’Oreal is the most reliable when it comes to liners (though that So Couture one), but they aren’t cheap. Essence is cool if you want to try such eyeliners and not spend much, but don’t expect it to last long. Most of the hyped-up ones (Stila, Clio, Wet n Wild) were a disappointment, as I said, I must be suffering from an eyeliner curse of sort, there’s no other explanation (and before you say I must have ruined them with an eyeshadow – I didn’t. I always try them on bare skin and in general skip eyeshadow a lot). Anyway, I’ve recently made a switch to dip eyeliners, more precisely to Catrice’s Liquid Eyeliner. It’s the one I’m wearing in the top picture and I’ve been using it every day for the past month. So far I’m impressed and it’s actually the reason I made this post because I think I’m done experimenting with pen liners and I plan to stick with Catrice’s for a quite a while.

Have you found your perfect pen eyeliner? I hope this was helpful.

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