Black eyeliner! Find your perfect pencil here!

Black eyeliner! Find your perfect pencil here!

Quick! If you had to build yourself a brand new makeup bag, what would you put in it? Black Mascara, an eyelash curler, some blush, a neutral eye palette, concealer and BLACK EYELINER! Black eyeliner is so essential that some women wear nothing else: Inky smudged like Chrissie Hynde, Kohl-rimmed like Cleopatra, cat-eyed like Brigitte Bardo or now, Alexa Chung. What’s your style? Liquid or pencil?

I’m a pencil gal. I like a nicely lined inner rim; who knew it was called a “water-line.” Where did that term come from, anyway?

Line the inner rims of your eyes, line lightly or heavily outside, all around your lashes, and smudge, smudge, smudge. You’re done.

Black Eye Liner Pencils

Black Eye Liner Pencils, L to R: Tarte Precision longwear eyeliner, Buxom Smoky Stick, Dr. Hauschka Kajal Eyeliner, Giorgio Armani Waterproof Smooth Silk eye pencil, Nars Eyeliner, MAC Eye Kohl, Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Smokey Eyes Pencil, Laura Mercier Kohl eye pencil, Clinique quick liner, Gucci Impact long wear eye liner

Here are some of my favorites, and some new selections for you, in no order at all. Some of them came with sharpeners and I can’t say for certain which ones did — I also regret that I could not list more, but what you see is what I had in my kit already or just got for restocking my kit :

Gucci Eye Impact Longwear Eye pencil w/ sharpener – Iconic Black ($32) Very dark black pencil has a slant-tipped foam smudger at the end – I never use these as they are hard to clean and usually not very useful anyway. I like a brush. This pencil is very similar to the Giorgio Armani; I would not be surprised if they were made in the same factory. High quality and a definite branding bump in cost — the pencil is covered in Gucci logos but is otherwise just a good eyeliner.

Elizabeth Arden Smokey Eyes Pencil – Smokey Black ($18.50)  Elizabeth Arden products continue to surprise me. Very long lasting and waterproof pencil, deep black. It has a smudging sponge on the end. I never use the sponge tips as they are hard to clean.

Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil Black Violet ($24) Well, this isn’t technically black, but it so dark that it might as well be. Really nice with green, hazel or golden-brown eyes. I think that the pencil pictured was a gift, not full-sized.

Nars Eyeliner Black Moon ($24) I like this liner a lot. It’s dark black but it doesn’t go on with the same saturation of say, Smolder (MAC). Nice choice if you want a soft black – good every day liner but not dramatic.

MAC Eye Kohl Smolder ($16) Dark black, the black of choice for many makeup artists. Stays in place, wears for a long time, good value.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes really black ($16.50) I think that the first eye pencil I ever bought (as opposed to using cast-offs from my mother’s “gift with purchase” cosmetics) was Clinique. I don’t know why they call it Quickliner, but it never needs sharpening, so maybe that’s why. Good all-purpose liner if you like self-sharpeners.

Tarte Lights, Camera, lashes precision long wear eyeliner Black ($20) This is the only liquid liner I picked and I really like this one. It has a different sort of tip; it flexes a bit more than other liquid liner pens seem to. Get it right the first time, because it does not move until you take it off. It’s like a sharpie for eyes.

Giorgio Armani Waterproof Smooth Silk Eye Pencil #1 ($28) – This might be my top choice. Dark black, stays in place, easy to smudge with long-enough play time to get it right before it sets to a waterproof finish. Expensive but worth it. Again, sponge tip on the end. I don’t use these because they are hard to clean (hard to dry, really), and my tip is already sort of ripping even though I’ve never used it, just from taking the cap off.

Dr. Hauschka Kajal Eyeliner #5 ($20.55) – If you have sensitive eyes, this is for you! Free of synthetic preservatives (I don’t know if other pencils are, too, honestly) it was the only pencil to have an expiration date on it, about 2 years from now (it’s new). I have never tried Dr. Hauschka makeup and was excited to get this pencil. It smudges well and is very creamy, but it does smudge. You can build a very smudgy smokey look with it by smudging, then re-applying it in a neat line. It is not a waterproof or non-budge type of liner. It reminds me of an old-fashioned eye pencil, like theatrical makeup in a way. Everything about it reminded me of my grandmother’s makeup drawer. That’s a good thing.Very dark black color. I like this very much for the type of look it provides.

Buxom Smokey Eye Stick 3 in 1 Smokin Pistol ($19) – I am cheating a bit, because this is a thicker eye stick, but it is also a great liner with a sharp point. Waterproof and dense color. It is sort of like the Dr. Hauschka pencil in texture, a softer stick, but it is waterproof and non-budge, so smudge it out right away and you’re set.

And, because dark needs light, here are 2 lightening pencils for your inner rim or under the smudged line you’ve created with your black liner, to make it pop:

Highlight and Brighten your eyes!

Highlight and Brighten your eyes! Close-up of Tarte Inner Rim Liner in Brightener, and MAC Chromagraphic pencil in NC15/NW20

MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20 ($16) – MAC makes this pencil in various shades, and also a Chromagraphic pencil in white. This shade is gentle and natural looking on inner eyes and inner corners. The pencil also works as a superb blemish cover when even a brush is too large for little veins, spots and things; I find I use it for cover-up more than as an eye-liner. Find your shade at MAC.

Tarte Inner Rim Liner in Brightener ($19) Ditto everything above. This pencil does not need a sharpener. It is one-shade fits-all, a light peachy-beige tone which works well as a blue/green corrector in addition to your concealer, or in the water line or inner corners of your eye.

Stay smudgey, Baby!