I love Tura Satana. She is the reason for my haircut. She is one of my favorite style icons. She is one lovely bad-ass, the queen of the 60s B-films. One thing that Tura rocked other than ass kicking moves, the perfect body, blunt bangs, and an amazing attitude, was the heavy black liner. Every time I use a heavy hand with black liner, I think of Miss Satana’s oh so delicious evil look.
There are a ton of black liner formulas on the market. They all have a time and a place. I love kohl and pencils for smudging and gel and liquid for that harsh unmovable cat eye.
Swivel Sticks/Retractable: Swivel type liners are so easy to use. You don’t even have to sharpen these babies. They usually wear longer than most pencil liners and they come in unmovable waterproof formulas. It produces a precise line. My favorite budget one is Avon Glimmerstick in Blackest Black. This one goes for $6 and usually is on sale for much less. My more expensive choice is Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof in Noir.
Wooden Kind/Sharpen: These are a much softer formula that can be smudged for a kohl rimmed effect. These need sharpened and can create either a paper thin line or a fatter line that looks wonderful with shadow layered over it. My favorite budget one is Jordana Eyeliner in Black. It sells for .69¢. I was seriously surprised by this product. The quality is actually really good. The more expensive one that I prefer is the MAC Eye Pencil in Ebony which retails for $13. The other note worthy liners in this category include: Estee Lauder’s Artist Pencil in Softsmudge Black for $18.50, L’Oreal Le Kohl Pencil for $8,and NYX Long Pencil in Black for $2.
Long Wearing Sharpening Kind: These are usually budge proof and set within 30 seconds. They are easy to use like the retractable liner but these have the benefit of creating a thin or thick line just like the softer wooden types. The budget one that I prefer is Sephora Flashy Liner in Black for $8 . I really love the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide Eye Pencil in Zero. It is very long wearing. It retails for $16. Other notable ones include: Dior Waterproof Crayon Liner in Trinidad Black for $25.
Cake Eyeliner: These are solid powders that when mixed with water create a matte (typically) long wearing, crisp line. Just wet a liner brush of your choice and swipe of the powder. I love this stuff because it is really classic. Plus I love my art store liner brush so much. It just works for me. I love Clinique Water-Resistant Eyeliner in Natural Black and it is the cheaper option at $14.50. My more expensive fave is Laura Mercier Caviar Eyeliner in Midnight Caviar which goes for $22. Others that are nice: NVY ECO Organic Cake Liner in Black which is $24, Elizabeth Arden Dual Perfection Brow Shaper & Eye Liner in Black for $18, or wet NYX Single Eyeshadow in Black for $5
Liquid Liner: Liquid liners are long wearing and create a very crisp line. It is that classic cateye look. These come with fine brush tip applicators and pointed sponge tip applicators. The handles vary so this is a matter of preference for what works best for you. Personally I like the sponge tip kind. I can create a more even line, either fatter or thinner. My favorite budget sponge tip liner is L’Oreal Telescopic Precision Eyeliner in Carbon Black which goes for about $9. My more expensive favorite sponge tip applicator is Lancome Artliner in Noir which retails for $28. (L’Oreal’s is almost identical to Lancome’s for much less.) The budget brush type that I like is NYX Liquid Liner in Black for $5. The brush type I like is Clinique Eye Defining Liquid Liner in Black for $14.50. Honorable mentions: Almay Liquid Line in Black for $7.50, MAC Liquid Liner in Boot Black for $16.50, Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid Liner for $19.50, Covergirl Line Exact Liquid Liner Pen in Black for $6.50, and Manic Panic Dreamliner in Raven for $9.50.
Gel Liners: Gel liners are pretty fool proof and look more natural than liquid liners. They are long wearing and don’t take too long to dry so you don’t have to worry about smudging. However, these can be smudged right after application for a soft look. I like these too because you can choose which brush you like. Some people like stiff slanted brushes and others like softer, narrow brushes. L’Oreal HIP Cream Eyeshadow Color Truth in Black for $12 is nice but for $3 more I really love MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack for $15. Other nice ones include: Cat Cosmetics Gel Liner in Tomcat for $18, Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Liner in Midnight Black for $22, and Bobbi Brown Long Wearing Gel Liner in Black Ink for $21
Cream Eyeshadow used as liner: These aren’t as smudge resistant or long lasting but they do define the top and bottom lashes nicely. You can smudge with a smudger brush or line with a brush. You can use your fingertips too for a messy look. These are nice for beginners because you have more control and it is easier to remove mistakes. A nice cheap option are the darkest shades in Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Precious Metals or Twilight for $6.50.My more expensive choice is Dior Diorshow Eyeshadow in Glam & Glitz Black for $30. Other nice ones: NARS Cream Eyeshadow in Zardoz for $21,
I also love Guerlain Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl Liner for $33. It is a loose, OK, a messy powder I admit, with a pointed plastic stick for an applicator. It looks very raw an wild and has such a seductive dagger as packaging. I’m sold. Rimmel has the Smokin’ Kohl Eye Shadow in Black for $7 in way less glamorous packaging if that matters to you. I also noticed that L’Oreal HIP has launched a khol dagger also, but I am unsure of the price.
It’s difficult to discuss all the black liners out there but these are a few that I have used and really liked. Each have their own personality and look. So try your each formula so you can find your own unique black liner look.
Update: Obviously this is an old post, so a lot of these have been discontinued.