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The Best Gel Eyeliner

Last updated on August 4, 2022

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Gel Eyeliners

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Rimmel Smudge-Proof & Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

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Smudge-Proof & Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

Rimmel's 1.3-gram waterproof gel eyeliner glides on so easily, with a creamy, ophthalmologist-tested formula that is safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. You'll love the deep color and how well it stays on.

Overall Take

Smooth Application; Intense ColorThis gel eyeliner is so fabulous, you can wear it everywhere. It's even waterproof!

 Runner Up

UCANBE Long-Wear Waterproof Gel Eyeliners, 2-Piece


Long-Wear Waterproof Gel Eyeliners, 2-Piece

Here's a set of black and brown creamy gel eyeliner pots (3 grams each) that also comes with two brushes (one regular, one angled) to help you create various sexy looks. The gel is smudge-proof, long-lasting and waterproof.

Overall Take

Two-for-One DealYou can "wing" it with this eyeliner or stick to more basic designs.

 We Also Like

Inglot AMC Matte Finish Hypoallergenic Gel Eyeliner


AMC Matte Finish Hypoallergenic Gel Eyeliner

Offered in two dozen colors, this 5.5-gram professional-grade quality gel eyeliner has a light, creamy consistency, rich color, never smudges or creases and dries within 60 seconds. You can even use it as an eyeshadow after you line your eyes.

Overall Take

A Professional, Matte FinishThis great eyeliner is also paraben-free and waterproof.

 Also Great

Julep Matte Finish Wax Blend Pencil Gel Eyeliner


Matte Finish Wax Blend Pencil Gel Eyeliner

Designed for all-day wear, this gel eyeliner contains a unique wax blend that allows the finely milled pigments to glide on smoothly. It also has a built-in sharpener and a long-lasting, ophthalmologist-tested finish that lasts up to 10 hours.

Overall Take

Has its Own SharpenerChoose from more than 20 vibrant colors, each with shimmer and matte finishes.

Buying Guide

Back in the day, there were only eyeliner pencils, but now there are also liquids and gels, and all three can serve a purpose. The pencils work well to create quick eyeliner bases, frame your eye line at the roots and be neatened on the edges with the liquids and gels. Pencil finish is usually duller, though, and they do not go on as smoothly.

Liquid eyeliners can have a less natural look, but many people actually prefer that. It will be visible, sharper and suitable for more detailed looks, but liquid eyeliner requires a very steady hand to apply. People with sweaty or oily skin may prefer liquid and gel eyeliners because once the liner sets, it will not move or smudge. You will not be able to smoke it out, though.

Gel eyeliners are a great in-between because they offer the rich pigments of liquid liners and some of the hardness of pencils. They contain silicones or waxes that provide creamy, smooth consistencies that make them easy to apply. The gels can also have more pigments than their pencil counterparts. Once applied, they usually dry immediately or within a minute.

Some gels are sold in pencil form, while others are in smudge pots. The first kinds may or may not have built-in sharpeners; others are retractable and get turned to make the liner go up and down. You will need brushes to apply the liners that come in pots, and some include them with the purchase price. Gels are also great for creating wings; like liquids, they don’t gather up in the creases of your eyes.

Gel eyeliners can be just as good as liquid eyeliners for precision work, and once they dry, they should be smudge-proof. Many of them are waterproof and will not transfer onto your skin or clothing. Look for hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist-tested gel eyeliners, especially if you have sensitive eyes. This is especially important if you wear contact lenses. Also, it’s best to use only makeup that is explicitly designed for use around your eyes.

What to Look For

  • The waterline is the skin line between your lashes and the eye.
  • You can use pencil and gel eyeliners on your waterline if you carefully do it. Do not use liquid eyeliners on that part of your eye.
  • Gel pot eyeliners allow you to control the amount of eyeliner that you put onto the brush tips.
  • Always keep the cap on your eyeliner to prevent it from drying out.
  • Bacteria quickly multiplies in liquid and creamy eye makeup, so throw yours out after three months and get new ones.
  • Never share your eye makeup with anyone, even close family and friends.


More to Explore

Winged eyeliner might look modern, but it is anything but. Ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians lined their eyes as far back as 400 BC and winged their way out to their hairlines. This look was likely the first “cat eye” liner, and the heavier it was, the higher the wearer’s status. It was made from kohl, a powdery, black substance made from galena, an ore. Galena is the source of lead and was found in Aswan, along the Nile River in Egypt.

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