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The Best Retractable Eyeliners

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By Marissa DeSantis
Elite Daily/Amazon

If you're ranking staple beauty products, eyeliner would definitely land a spot in the top 10. While liquid liners are great for creating crisp lines, and wood pencils are easy to keep nice and sharp, the best retractable eyeliners can do it all. Like their non-retractable counterparts, retractable liners come in both waterproof and smudge-proof forms; the right one for you will depend on how you plan on using your eyeliner. For tightlining and applying to your waterline, go with a slim eyeliner that’s waterproof, as it will hold up a lot better. If you usually use your liner to create a smudgy smokey eye, look for a creamy formula or gel pencil that can easily be blended out.

While black is undoubtedly the go-to color for eyeliner, consider switching things up with an on-trend, brightly colored eyeliner. You can match your liner to what you're wearing for a coordinated, monochromatic look, or opt for a liner that's complementary to your eye color. Generally, purples will work best on those with light brown, hazel, or green eyes, while those with blue eyes should try experimenting with something copper or even red. For those with dark brown eyes, you’re lucky: just about any colorful eyeliner will make your eyes pop.

Scroll on to shop five of the best retractable eyeliners, all for less than $10 on Amazon.

1. The Overall Best

With more than 40,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, NYX’s retractable eyeliner is one of the most popular eyeliners on the market, retractable or otherwise. It’s a heavy-duty waterproof liner that's creamy enough to glide across your lids without dragging or tugging at your skin, and once it’s dried down, it won’t smudge. In addition to classic black, the PETA-certified cruelty-free pencil comes in 12 other colors, including a bright aqua green and shimmery gold. And at just $5, it’s one of the most affordable eye pencils out there, too.

  • Available shades: 13

2. Best Retractable Eyeliner With The Most Color Options

Palladio’s retractable eyeliner is another great option, but since it costs a couple of extra dollars and comes in a few less shades, it doesn’t quite beat out NYX’s. It does have some unique selling points, though: It’s formulated with nourishing ingredients like chamomile and aloe leaf extracts, which give it a comfortable feel and super-smooth glide, and it’s cruelty-free, waterproof, and long-lasting. The twist-up pencil has a pointed tip that allows for drawing on sharp lines, and it comes in several rich colors like plum, navy, and olive, which can be used to complement different eye colors.

  • Available shades: 9

3. Best Skinny Retractable Eyeliner

Though any waterproof eyeliner can be used for tightlining, Maybelline’s Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil has a super-thin tip (1.8 millimeters, to be precise) that makes the job even easier. This also means that it can double as a brow pencil in a pinch, if you have dark hair. It’s a gel liner, which makes for a smooth, skip-free application so you don't have to keep tracing over your lines. Get it in three neutral shades: black, brown, and gray.

  • Available shades: 3

4. Best Retractable Eyeliner With A Built-In Smudger

For sultry smokey eyes and smudgy (on purpose) looks, you want the L’Oréal Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner. It comes with a built-in smudger on the opposite end of the pencil, so you don’t need to use a separate brush, and the formula was designed to be creamy enough to glide across your lids (and allow for smudging immediately after applying). Though it’s not waterproof, it’s capable of lasting up to 16 hours once it’s dried down.

  • Available shades: 6

5. Best Korean Retractable Eyeliner

This fan-favorite liner from K-beauty brand CLIO is another super-precise option, though at 2 millimeters, its tip is just slightly bigger than the Maybelline pencil. It claims to be “waterproof, sweat-proof, and smudge-proof”, according to the brand, and it glides on smoothly without tugging, drying down immediately. This liner comes in several brown shades, which is rare to find in an eyeliner, so this could also work nicely as a brow pencil.

  • Available shades: 6