Isn’t it strange how the simplest of products are also the hardest to nail?

Eyeliner pencils, like mascaras and concealers, are one of the few go-to items in makeup pouches that require a fair bit of testing before you find the perfect formula. Add humidity to the equation and your journey to finding the perfect one is easily fraught with many a smudged, deranged look. Trust us, we know.

A good eyeliner can awaken and define eyes, or can be used to create a dramatic feline flick or smokey look. But like the rest of your face, the eye area is delicate real estate, so you’ll want to make sure that whichever you choose not only glides like a dream, but also stays put for the rest of the day.

Nearly every beauty brand offers one, but they’re not all created equal, so we’ve sussed out some of the best eyeliner pencils that you should be rimming your lash lines with for that sultry, come-hither look, even with your mask on.

Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil

As one of the world’s most sought-after makeup artists, Pat McGrath knows a thing or two about what a good eyeliner pencil should look and feel like. Her very own Permagel pencil has a slightly powdery yet still creamy texture that’s similar to that of gel liner, so expect a smooth, highly pigmented application with every stroke. Its formulation also allows for ample time to smudge and diffuse before setting into a long-lasting matte finish for a smokey eye look.

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Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’N’ Kohl Eyeliner

If you’ve always wanted to achieve that smouldering rock star eyeliner look a la Kate Moss, make the Rock ’N’ Kohl your best friend. Created specifically so you can achieve the perfect “bedroom eye”, this pencil marries the silky-smooth glide of a liquid eyeliner with the sooty, pigment-rich payoff of kohl. The waterproof, long-lasting formula sets after 30 seconds and stays locked in for the next 14 hours too, so you don’t have to constantly worry about looking like a coked-up has-been. As a little treat for your peepers, there’s crushed pearl powder within that stimulates collagen and smoothens the skin.

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Victoria Beckham Beauty Satin Kajal Liner

Trust VB to know what women really, really want. The Satin Kajal liner was made to excel whichever way it’s worn, whether it’s on the lashline, waterline, smudged or winged. The smooth, creamy formula glides on effortlessly without skipping or tugging, and has been made waterproof and long-wearing, so you can cry or party as hard as you’d like. The blend of Panthenol, chamomile extract and vitamin E within also calms, nourishes and protects the delicate skin around the eye. The pencil comes with a smudger for convenient blending anywhere.

Approx. S$39
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Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil

Lining the waterline with a subpar pencil truly is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. For this age-old conundrum, Urban Decay has specially formulated a pencil that immediately sets as soon as you apply it so that it’ll neither flake into your eyes upon application nor rub off all over (in a terribly unsexy way). The super creamy, semi-matte pencil was, after all, specially formulated for this sensitive area, so you won’t have to worry about irritation from nasty chemicals either. 

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Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Waterproof Liner

Finally, an eyeliner that takes the word waterproof seriously. Known for withstanding even the hottest of yoga sessions, the award-winning eyeliner has been known to not budge even when you’re drenched in sweat and swathed by extreme humidity. It’s also been thoughtfully formulated with as little waxes and oils as possible so it’s gentle enough to be used on the waterline. 

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Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eye Pencil

This is a favourite amongst celebrity makeup artists for good reason. This precision, wax-based liner glides on like silk and melts against the lash line like butter, filling in any creases before setting in after about a minute. For an ultra-glamorous look, extend the pencil eyeliner beyond the outer corner of the eyes or use the smudger to transform it into a smokey eyeliner.

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Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eyeliner

A genius combination of gel eyeliner with the ease of a pencil, the Highliner is an extreme-wear, waterproof eyeliner that delivers intense colour payoff with every glide. Although super-malleable, the pencil is still capable of flawless precise lines, with conditioning vitamin E and roseship seed oil to keep the delicate area nourished. The series comes in an array of richly pigmented shades in shimmery hues or matte finishes. 

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Shatricia Nair
Deputy Editor
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.