Back in Black Eyeliner: A Classic That Rocks

Black eyeliner is a true classic. For thousands of years, it’s been used in some for to line, define, and accentuate the eye shape. The most well-known early use was by the Ancient Egyptians, who used kohl powder mixed with oil or animal fats to line their eyes.* Silent movie actress Theda Bara was famous for her sultry, dark-rimmed eyes, and her iconic look still influences fashion today. Then there’s the bewitching doe eyes of the ’50s, the mod lines of the ’60s, and the punk rock extremes of the ’80s.

Fast forward to 2020: after weeks of wearing a mask, thanks to a global pandemic, the eyes have become the focal point of self-expression. That means black eyeliner is our best friend all over again, and, personally, I couldn’t be happier. After all, who can deny the alluring confidence exuded by a person wearing it? So, if you’d like to turn up the volume on your eyes, there’s no easier way than with this cosmetic classic. Here are some fantastic options to help you create everything from a perfect tightline to the darkest rock n’ roll rims.


Top: Alcone Company Luxe Gel Eyeliner Bottom: Ben Nye MediaPro Eye Definer, Danessa Myricks Waterproof Cushion Color

Alcone Company Luxe Gel Eyeliner delivers intense pigment in a gel formula that goes on creamy and dries down for extended wear. Use it with your favorite brush to draw a precise Cat Eye or smudge it out quickly before the product sets for a softer look that won’t budge. $12

Ben Nye MediaPro Eye Definer is a cream for enhancing the lash line, contouring the eye, or creating a smoky diffusion. It’s also great for intentionally imperfect “guyliner” looks. Set with a pressed eyeshadow for more intensity. $10

Danessa Myricks Waterproof Cushion Color is a liquid formula saturated into a cushion for delivering the right amount of product to the brush that comes with it. Perfect for creating elongated Fox Eyes! $15


Ben Nye Eye Liner Pencil provides intense black pigment in a traditional formula that applies smoothly-no tugging necessary. It’s removed easily with regular makeup remover making it an excellent choice for when multiple makeup looks or quick changes are part of your day. $10

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in Matte Black applies easily for creating bold lines with exceptional long wear–great news for those prone to watery eyes. For a smoky look, soften the line with a brush like the Alcone Company Precision Smoke, but work fast because it sets in seconds. If you prefer a touch of sparkle, try it in Diamond Black for rocker chic with a twist! $21


Ben Nye Liquid Eye Liner is perfect for creating authentic-looking period makeups or for anytime sharp definition is the key to your makeup design. The brush-in-cap packaging also provides convenience when you’re on the go. $9

Eve Pearl Smudgeproof Liquid Eyeliner is a cult favorite for its ultra-dark color and finely tapered tip that allows you to control the application through pressure and angle. It’s also a must-have for lash application to fill in gaps or cover any visible glue with targeted precision. $29

Mehron 1927 Liquid Vinyl Makeup is a modern take on the classic liquid but has a high-shine finish even after it dries, and comes with a liner brush for painting details with precision. Try it for updated Twiggy-inspired looks! $25

Looking for beautiful eyeshadow colors to add to your look? Read Jewel Tones for Majestic Eyes.

Makeup illustration by MUA Louis Braun using MyKitCo.™ My Facecharts.

*Source: “Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup” by Gabriela Hernandez

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