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Question: What is the best eyeliner for the waterline? I have watery and irritated eyes

Answer: There’s nothing more annoying than perfecting a makeup look—only to have it completely disappear the next time you look in the mirror. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, ditch the pencil liner, for starters. Pencil eyeliner is great for the upper lash line, but in my experience it does not last long when directly on the waterline. And liquid liner on the waterline? Ouch. No thanks. Choosing the right eyeliner really does make a world of difference.

If your eyes tend to be on the sensitive side, I would recommend only lining your waterline on special occasions. For anything else, stick to the lower lash line. You can even step it up a notch by blending a brown eyeshadow on top of your lined lower lash line.

If you’re having a hard time choosing a color for your waterline, I would recommend going with brown over black (as black liner tends to be harsh when applied directly to the waterline). Wearing brown eyeliner with black mascara, though, is just the right balance.

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To line your waterline, vouch for a trusty, long-lasting gel eyeliner like Bobbi Brown Gel eyeliner. Before anything else, prep the skin around your eyes with an eyelid primer (never underestimate the power of primer!). Be sure to swipe the primer just under the lower lash line for full effect. This way, your eyeliner will hold for hours. Use a small brush, and apply the gel eyeliner directly to the waterline.  No matter how great your eyeliner is, it’s eventually going to migrate from your waterline to your lower lash line. But no worries—it should stay put for a few hours minimum if you’re using a high quality gel eyeliner. And by using eyelid primer before application, your eyes will maintain a smokey, sultry appearance even in between touch-ups.

The best gel eyeliner for the waterline:

Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner, $24


  • Anne

    I agree that gel liners are best for those with watery eyes. Good tips.

  • tessa

    I’ve always had this problem and will try out these tips. stay away from Maybelline’s gel liner. it sucks for those with watery eyes, to say the least