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Best Eyeliners and Makeup Application for Oily Eyelids

Updated on October 10, 2012

Eyeliners are not made equal and if you're like me, with oily eyelids, trying to find an eyeliner that doesn't smudge and give you raccoon eyes can be a daunting task. I have to admit that I am a major beauty junkie and am always on the hunt for the next HG (holy grail) makeup product. I'm going to share with you the best eyeliners I have used so far and some application tips that will help your eye makeup stay put for as long as possible.

Eyeliner Swatch

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner swatch - Before
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner swatch - Before
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner swatch - After
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner swatch - After
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner - close up of tip
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner - close up of tip
After smudging with a tissue
After smudging with a tissue
MAC Liquidlast liner
MAC Liquidlast liner

Gel and Liquid Eyeliners

For people with oily lids, I think the best staying power comes from gel eyeliners. I don't think even liquid eyeliners can hold up as well as the potted gel ones (except for one product which I will talk about later). The only downside to gel liners is the difficulty level. If you're new to makeup or if you've never used a liner brush, it could take some practice before you can make a smooth line on your eyelid.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in "Carbon Black" (Updated December 2011):

I just want to provide everyone with an update. This is now definitely my favourite liquid eyeliner, hands down! You can see by the pictures that this liner barely budged when smudged with a piece of tissue. I've been wearing this on a daily basis for about a month and I must say it wears really well and doesn't give me the raccoon eyes that the other liners give me. I've even convinced some of my friends to buy them and they're definitely singing high praises about it. Another plus is that it's in a pen form so it makes application much easier, particularly if you're new to eyeliners.

-Excellent staying power
-Pen form allows for easy application
-Does not give you the "raccoon eyes" at the end of the day

-the tip of the pen can separate a bit if not used gently
-you only get 0.016 fl. oz. or 0.5 mL of product only
-the "carbon black" is not as black as I would have hoped, but is still pretty dark!

MAC Fluidline in "Blacktrack":

This was my first gel liner and it remains a favourite to this day. It has a nice application, plus it's bold and dark which is what you want from an eyeliner. It also lasts for a long time if you follow my makeup application tips later on in this article. However, I do eventually get smudging and slight raccoon eyes after work is over (so after 8 hours or so). Look to the picture to right for a swatch and the second picture is the result of rubbing a tissue over the liners. As you can see, the fluidline held up the best, but it will last even longer as long as you set it properly.

-Nice and dark colour
-You get about 3 grams of product or about 0.10 ounces and this will last you a long time. I've had the same pot for about a year
-MAC also has a recycling program called Back to MAC. When you return six empty containers to a MAC store, they will give you a free lipstick of your choice so it's good if you use other MAC products too.

-The pot tends to dry out
-When it smudges at the end of the day, it smudges more on certain parts of the eye so that some areas are lighter than others.
-Some fluidline colours are better than others. For example, I have it in "Dipdown" (a medium brown) and "Waveline" (a navy blue) and the colours are not as vibrant as Blacktrack.

Stila Smudge Pot in "Black":

This was recommended to me by a friend. She thought that the Stila Smudge Pots were far superior to MAC's fluidline, so I totally had to try it. Honestly though, it is very similar to Blacktrack and as you can see from the second picture, doesn't hold up as well as the Fluidline on its own. However, if I follow the application tips listed later on, the Smudge Pot stays on as long or sometimes even better than the Fluidline. In addition, the consistency of the Smudge Pots are much more smoother and it makes it easier to make a straight line on your eyelids.

-There is 4 grams or 0.14 ounces of product. When you break it down to price per gram, the Smudge Pot is comparable to the Fluidline
-Although the Smudge Pot also smudges at the end of the day, it smudges evenly on the lid unlike the Fluidline liner.
-It's also quite dark.

-If it's not set with shadow and powder, the liner does not last at all!

MAC Liquidlast in "Point Black":

This is probably the longest lasting liner I've ever used, although you probably couldn't tell from my picture because I didn't let it dry long enough, which is one of the major downsides to this product! It takes so long to dry!! And I just don't have enough time in the morning to wait before I continue with the rest of the makeup routine. Also, I do not have a crease in my eyelids (I am Asian and I have a monolid), so if I blink before the liner dries it's smudge-city for me. This is also a liquid liner and I'm not a big fan of the applicator (it's not quite stiff or thin enough at the tip). it requires some practice and I don't know if I've quite mastered it yet. However, if you don't have a monolid and you have the the patience to wait for it to dry, this eyeliner will not budge!!

-The longest lasting eyeliner I've used so far
-It's quite dark, which is good if you want a true black liner.

-It takes such a long time to dry
-The applicator takes some practice
-If you make a mistake when applying, it's hard to remove without rubbing off your other eye makeup

Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in "Zero"

This is a pencil liner. The one you see in the picture is from the Urban Decay Naked Palette. If I'm running late, I like to use this liner as it's easy to apply and usually two quick swipes on each eye is enough to produce a nice line. That being said, I think pencil liners are the worse for its staying power. As you can see from the picture, it smudged quite a bit, but if you set it and prime your eyelid, it can last for a good chunk of the day (maybe 4 or 5 hours). For you less oily girls, this will probably work for you!

-Easy and quick to use
-Pretty good staying power for a pencil liner

-Requires constant sharpening (probably after 3-4 uses) because the product is just so soft. This wouldn't be a very economical choice for those on a budget. It retails for $18USD on Sephora
-The colour is more of a dark grey than a true black
-If it's not sharpened, it's hard to make a thin line
-It will smudge on those with oily eyelids after about 4 or 5 hours...maybe even sooner!

Products that I've tried...

These are the products that I've tried that I do not recommend either for its staying power on my eyelids or ease of usage:

-Revlon Colorstay pencil liner (does not stay, colour is not dark enough)
-Prestige pencil liner (does not stay)
-Sephora pencil eyeliners (does not stay)

And two products that I do want to try, but haven't gotten around to purchasing yet are the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners and the Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes liners. I've heard some good things about them, so I'll update this article if/when I buy it!

Tips for Application

These are some of my tips for making your eyeliner stay on your eyelids until YOU decide to take it off at night. For those with extremely oily eyelids or for those with monolids, it's likely that some smudging will occur, but following these instructions will definitely decrease the severity of raccoon eyes!

1. Prep your eyelids. Use a blotting or setting powder all over your eyelids. I use Too Face Primed and Poreless powder or MAC Blot Powder.
2. Prime your eyelids. I use Urban Decay Primer Potion, but you can also use Too Faced Shadow Insurance or even just concealer. This will help with the longevity of your eyeshadow too!
3. Apply your eyeshadow - however you like! Try to avoid using only cream eyeshadows. If you want to use it, make sure you apply powder eyeshadow on top or some sort of translucent powder.
4. Apply your eyeliner.
5. Then, set your eyeliner by applying a powder eyeshadow in a similar colour on top of your eyeliner. For example, if you used a brown eyeliner, use a brown powder eye shadow to set your liner.

Now you're set! Hopefully these tips will help you eyeliner stay on your eyelids...where it belongs!

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About Me

Elaine Li is always on the hunt for that perfect eyeliner. Read her other articles to check out some of her other favourite makeup products!


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