Finding the best eyeliner has been a long journey. I remember the first time I fell in love with eyeliner. I was 14 and I used my mum's sharpened-down black kohl in my waterline. It wasn't the best eyeliner ever, but it was a revelation—immediately my eyes looked more defined and made me feel grown-up. I ended up wearing this look for the next six years. For day, it was always a little smudged around my top lid and a bit on the bottom. For night, I would thicken the line around my eyes for a more smoky look (before I knew what I was doing).
But in my early 20s, I discovered the liquid liner. And without sounding too dramatic, it changed my life. The style I had been sporting with the smudged liner was looking a little dated. I no longer looked grown-up, but rather like I was auditioning for a Courtney Love tribute band. So I turned to Rimmel Glam Eyes Professional Liquid Eyeliner (£5) to give myself a subtle eyeliner flick.
Over the years, in addition to a wondrous liquid (or pen) eyeliner, there are four other eyeliners I've discovered that every woman needs in her makeup arsenal: kohl, coloured, gel, and brush pot. That makes five in total that you will always need. By now, I've probably tried nearly 50 types of liner, so I thought it would be best to whittle them down to give you my definitive guide and list which types are the best. Your eyes will thank you.
Click through the gallery to find 20 of the best eyeliners and why you need them in your life.
If you want a slim liner, this is really the one for you. Careful, though, it's a long thin pen, so take a steady hand.
This is my go-to everyday eyeliner. You can't fail with this one.
A blunter end than some other pens, this gives you good control and a nice solid line.
Some kohl doesn't smudge in the way you want it to, but this one by Bourjois is perfect for helping you create a rock 'n' roll look.
This doesn't budge when you put it on, and it's waterproof. Also worth noting: It comes in an autumn-friendly purple.
Just because it's kohl, it doesn't have to be a dark colour. This nude will help make your eyes look bigger.
This is a classic kohl that should always be kept in every makeup bag for those emergencies.
Less is more with this product, but a bit of practice doesn't hurt!
There's a reason everyone loves this—it's because it works so well. A dramatic and dark eye awaits you.
It means you don't get the hardness of the pencil, but it's easier than a gel. Win-win.
A small nib means you can get more control to create a subtle look.
The brilliant thing about this one is that there are many colours in the range, including taupe and a brown, which are ideal for those who want a sharp but gentle look.
This is a serious bargain, as the liner comes with its own brush.
This one is easy to apply and stays put. A brilliant everyday little pot.