If you like your eye makeup sultry, smoky, or smudgy, you should be using a kohl eyeliner. But not all kohl eyeliners are created equally: some of them are creamier and more pigmented than others, while others can be disappointingly stiff. All of the best kohl eyeliners featured here have soft, creamy textures, so they're ideal for blending or smudging without having to tug at your lids. They come in both skinny pencil and chubby stick forms, but they're all intensely pigmented — another key feature of any good kohl eyeliner.
Kohl has been used for centuries for both its therapeutic and utilitarian purposes. (Cleopatra and her cohort, for example, sported kohl as proto-sunglasses.) And aesthetic purposes these sooty substances have in spades, though kohl eyeliners aren’t exactly known for their staying power. Modern formulas are certainly more equipped to withstand tears, heat, and natural oils from your eyelids than the pulverized minerals Cleopatra et. al. favored, but they’re still prone to smudging (and not in the way you want). To counteract potential bleeding, run a bit of matching, powder eyeshadow over your liner, then sweep some setting powder under your eyes. An eyeshadow primer can help mitigate smearing on your upper lids, too.
Whatever the vibe you’re going for, the best kohl eyeliners listed below will help you get there.
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