best eyeliners for hooded eyes

The 6 Best Eyeliners For Hooded Eyes

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by Claire Epting

Eyeliner creates amazing definition, but eyeliner on hooded eyes can present some unique challenges — namely, it tends not to stay put, and it can be hard to create dramatic looks that are visible when your eyes are open. That being said, a little tweaking to your makeup bag will do the trick. Whether you opt for a pencil, gel, or liquid, the best eyeliners for hooded eyes have water-resistant, smudge-proof formulas that resist transfer all day long.

The Experts

Melanie Barrese is the Head Makeup Artist for London-based eye makeup brand Eyeko, which focuses on crafting long-lasting formulas made from natural ingredients.

Suzy Gerstein is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist who has worked with clients like Karlie Kloss, Leighton Meester, and Millie Bobby Brown.

What Is The Best Eyeliner For Hooded Eyes?

According to makeup artist Melanie Barrese, the type of eyeliner isn’t as important as finding a smudge-proof formula that stays put. She says, “Generally, you can use liquid or pencils, but it’s best to go for a long-wearing waterproof formula, so you won’t get a transfer onto the lids and to [prevent] the liner moving throughout the day.”

However, if Barrese had to pick between pencil or liquid liners for hooded eyes, she’d recommend pencils because they’re “softer, easy to use, and can be used for both defined and smoked out looks.” Also keep in mind that traditional pencils generally create a more subtle look, while gel pencils and liquid eyeliners offer more pigment and intensity.

Last, note that liquid formulas are the best eyeliner for wings, and they can have either felt tips or brush tips. Felt tips are easy to apply (perfect if you’re a newbie — they’re like using a pen), while brush tips let you create both ultra-thin and thick lines, but may require some practice.

How To Apply Eyeliner To Hooded Eyes

Application can also be a bit tricky for hooded eyes. While your instinct might be to close your eyes while applying the liner, you can actually get a more accurate view by looking straight ahead. New York-based makeup artist Suzy Gerstein explains: “I recommend that those with hooded eyes gaze straight into the mirror while applying liner to get the angle right and assess what is actually visible when the eyes are open.”

Other Eyeliner Tips For Hooded Eyes

  • Thick eyeliner lines can take up a lot of space on hooded lids. If you want more real estate to show off eyeshadow, keep your eyeliner close to the lash line or apply it at the water line (this can be done by gently lifting your top lid and working a pencil eyeliner through the lashes).
  • For a lifted look, gradually increase the thickness of your liner as you move toward the outer corners of your eyes.
  • To define your eyes without weighing them down, opt for a non-black shade such as brown, dark gray, or purple.

With all that in mind, I’ve rounded up the best eyeliners for hooded eyes, ranging from creamy gel formulas to ultra-rich liquid options. The eyeliner you choose will depend on your preferred method of application, as well as what kind of look you’re going for.

Shop The Best Eyeliners For Hooded Eyes

In a hurry? These are the best eyeliners for hooded eyes:

  1. The Basic Pencil Liner: e.l.f. No Budge Retractable Eyeliner
  2. The Gel Pencil With Intense Pigment: Rimmel Scandaleyes Gel Eyeliner
  3. The Felt-Tip Liquid Eyeliner For Easy Application: Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
  4. The Brush-Tip Liquid Eyeliner With A Matte Finish: NYX Epic Ink Liner
  5. The Brush-Tip Liquid Eyeliner With A Satin Finish: Maybelline Hyper Easy Liquid Pen
  6. A Fast-Drying Gel Eyeliner That Comes In 25+ Colors: Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel

1. The Basic Pencil Liner: e.l.f. No Budge Retractable Eyeliner


  • Creamy, smudge-proof formula
  • Retractable tip stays sharp
  • Budget-friendly price

If you’re looking for the versatility of being able to create either a smoky or subtle eyeliner look, this e.l.f. pencil is your best bet. The retractable design keeps the tip sharp over time, allowing you to define your lids with fine lines, or smudge them out. Highly pigmented and waterproof, the creamy formula can be applied to your lash line, your water line, or even all over your lid as an eyeshadow. Not to mention, it’s incredibly wallet-friendly, so you can even get two — one for home, and one for your on-the-go bag.

According to a reviewer: “I love this eyeliner!! It doesn't smudge or fade. I have to use eyedrops several times a day, and it withstands even that. This tube has actually lasted quite awhile. It's the best value I've gotten for my money, even over the pencil. The visual impact is greater and it stays much longer. I highly recommend!!”

  • Available shades: 3

2. The Gel Pencil With Intense Pigment: Rimmel Scandaleyes


  • Gel formula glides on easily
  • Pigment is more intense than traditional pencil formulas
  • Budget-friendly price

Rimmel’s gel eyeliner glides on easily, locking into place for up to 24 hours of wear, and the extra-thin pencil tip allows you to create precise lines close to the water line. The waterproof formula is also infused with kohl, an ingredient that boosts pigment for intense color. Boasting over 16,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, this wallet-friendly eyeliner pencil is available in a dynamic array of black, brown, deep blue, and beige shades.

According to a reviewer: “Rimmel Scandeleyes is the right consistency for a gel pencil. Not too wet or dry and it's easy to draw thick or thin lines with it based on how you angle the gel tip. Very pigmented unlike drier formulations and it lasts all day. As someone with hooded, heavy lids, normally a liquid eyeliner is the only thing I can wear that doesn't smudge or migrate up my lid [...] If I use an eyelid primer near the lash line this Rimmel brand stays put all day, with no flake or smudge...”

  • Available shades: 6

3. The Felt-Tip Liquid Eyeliner For Easy Application: Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

Expert Pick


  • Felt tip is easy to use
  • Matte black finish
  • Conditions eyelids with algae extract

Barrese recommends Eyeko’s liquid eyeliner for hooded eyes, since the fine felt tip can create ultra-precise lines along your lash line and water line. The long-lasting, smudge-proof formula is infused with algae extract, which works to condition delicate eyelid skin. Drying quickly to a matte carbon-black finish, it resists smudging and transferring. While the brand doesn’t state if this product is fully waterproof, several reviewers have noted that it resists light moisture.

According to a reviewer: “Very sharp tip for application, hard felt not brush like.. more marker like which took some getting used to but worth it for the staying power! I have hooded, oily lids and this stays put all day and to the next morning if you need. Love it.”

  • Available shades: 1

4. The Brush-Tip Liquid Eyeliner With A Matte Finish: NYX Epic Ink Liner


  • Flexible brush tip creates both ultra-fine and thick lines
  • Matte black finish
  • Over 46,000 five-star ratings on Amazon

Here’s a liquid eyeliner that’s beloved by beauty fans — it boasts a 4.5-star overall rating after thousands of reviews. NYX’s smudge-proof formula dries to a matte black finish and doesn’t budge throughout the day. Since it’s also waterproof, you don’t have to worry about streaking if your eyes happen to water up. The versatile brush tip can create anything from fine lines to thick strokes — the more pressure you put on the brush, the thicker the line will be.

According to a reviewer: “This is the best smudge proof and long lasting eyeliner! I have two things [working] against me, oily skin and hooded lids so eyeliners never last on me however this one is the best I have tried. The tip is also thin and does not lose its shape. Buy it!”

  • Available shades: 2

5. The Brush-Tip Liquid Eyeliner With A Satin Finish: Maybelline Hyper Easy Liquid Pen


  • Flexible brush tip for ultra-fine and thick lines
  • Satin finish
  • Easy-grip pen

Designed with a flexible brush tip that won’t skip or drag, this liquid eyeliner pen is great for defining hooded eyes, and you can create both thin lines and thick lines with ease (although it might take a little practice). The waterproof formula lasts for up to 24 hours, drying to a satin finish that has just a bit of silky sheen. A hexagonal barrel allows you to grip the pen more securely for smoother lines. Over 35,000 reviewers have given this eyeliner a perfect five-star rating on Amazon, with many raving over its long-lasting formula that even stands up to rainy weather.

According to a reviewer: “Great for hooded eyelids. First eyeliner that does not run- I've tried many waterproof pencils, gels, brushes, and tips eyeliners. This eyeliner does not run when it's humid out, rainy, or I'm working. [...] Surprisingly, the eyeliner lasts for a long time, over 10+ hours and does not smudge. It works great for me!”

  • Available shades: 2

6. The Gel Eyeliner That Comes In 25+ Colors: Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel


  • Dries within 60 seconds
  • Matte gel formula lasts all day
  • Available in a wide range of colors

This gel eyeliner from Inglot dries to a matte finish in just one minute, and it stays put all day long. Available in over two dozen shades — ranging from purple to teal to red — the creamy formula is fantastic for creating unique makeup looks. Unlike pencil or liquid liners, this eyeliner comes in a small pot and is applied using a thin, angled liner brush (not included). The lighter shades can even be applied to your entire lid as an opaque, long-wearing eyeshadow.

According to a reviewer: “The hype around this product is well-earned. I purchased the white shade and it is very opaque and smooth. Even after hearing so many rave reviews, I was astonished by the longevity of this product on my waterline and my oily, very hooded upper lids.”

  • Available shades: 26

Also Great: An Eyeshadow Primer That Locks In Makeup

To further keep makeup from transferring, prep your eyelids with a good eyelid primer — this one gets rave reviews from users with hooded eyes, and it rings up at a wallet-friendly price. The non-greasy formula creates a smooth base, and the addition of shea butter adds just the right amount of hydration.

According to a reviewer: “I’ve used this eyeshadow primer for a long time and I love it. You only need to use a tiny bit, eyeshadow stays on all day and the tube lasts forever. It was a game changer for me, as I have hooded eyes and my eyeliner was always spreading to my eyelid and my shadows were not staying. Excellent product especially for the price!”


Melanie Barrese, Head Makeup Artist for Eyeko

Suzy Gerstein, celebrity makeup artist