Liners for the Waterline

Hello Miss Beauty Nerd!

I’m looking for a product that has staying power in my waterline. I used to use indian kajal back in the day which had a great base and stayed on longer than most liners – however many of them contain lead.
Now I use MAC Smoulder but it doesnt stay on very long. Laura Mercier has a great product but if you uses it too much it builds up in your eyes so its not neccessarily that healthy for you. Any ideas on a product that I can try that is super black and has good staying power?


Dear M,

I love the look of liner in the waterline – it completes a smokey-eye and can really make the eyes pop. Unfortunately, I don’t have a magical answer for you. It is a high maintenance look that will require some touching up when you are wearing it for extended periods, like a red lip.

I would recommend trying {1} MAC Technakohl Liner – which comes out in a mechanical pencil form. I found it lasted a little longer than Smolder Eye Kohl. Some other popular ones that you may want to check out are {2} Stila’s Kajal Eye Liner and {3} Urban Decay 24-7 Glide-On Eye Pencil. Something else that caught my eye recently is {4} Bare Escentuals Buxom’s Insider Eyeliner, which is actually advertised to be used in the waterline. You can also try adding a bit of a black eyeshadow close to the waterline, which will add to the smoldering look and help with some of the smudging that can happen.

A word of caution – usually a liner that is considered waterproof is not considered safe for the waterline as it can block the delicate glands in your eye. However a lot of makeup mavens will use waterproof and gel eyeliners in the waterline for its long lasting effects. I will admit on the odd night out I will use a gel liner (like MAC Fluidline) to rim the waterline but it is definitely something that you do at your own risk. If you are particularly sensitive or have sensitive eyes, I would highly recommend not to go this route. If you do try it – minimize contamination of the whole gel-liner pot by extracting a small amount of the product with a sanitized spatula and then dip your eyeliner pencil in the product before rimming the water line (you can use a brush too, but it may feel unpleasant and irritating to the waterline area). I would recommend always using a spatula for any products in a pot form, especially if it is to be used on your eyes. Also, be careful not to use any products with any sort of shimmer/glitter for the waterline as it can damage your eye and cause irritation.

I hope some of these products and tips help!


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