Everyone knows each emo is only as good as their eyeliner. From Laura Jane Grace to Pete Wentz, there have been many before us who have shown the importance of artfully smudged eye makeup. But what is the cheapest and best eyeliner I can grab for my money? In the ultimate drugstore smackdown, we ask: What eyeliner is the most emo?
In my rankings, I used my ABCs: application (was it easy to put on?), blackness (could it match the darkness of my soul?) and concert-proof-ness (could this contend with jumping, screaming, crying and overall mania of a concert experience?).
I should also note here that I have pretty watery eyes and very oily eyelids, so I consider myself the ultimate test for eye makeup. For continuity, I wore no primer and no additional makeup. (Aren’t I brave? No, wait... lazy. The word I’m looking for is lazy.)
Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Onyx
Application: 4/5: I am pretty hopeless at a cat eye, but this eyeliner was thin enough that I could work a reasonable flip.
Blackness (above): 1/5: This was... very disappointing. I had to go over and over the same line at least four times for it to show up opaque.
Concert-proof-ness (above): 0/5: Look at this photo after 10 hours of wear. Those dark circles under my eyes aren’t from staying up the night before watching the rest of Big Little Lies! (Well, truth be told... I did that, too.) And even if 10 hours is a high ask from a drugstore eyeliner, my corners started fading as early as one hour into the test. Not a great showing.
Covergirl Ink It! Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner in Black Ink
Application: 1/5: This eyeliner comes as a sharp stump, so it’s a little difficult to wear down at first and get the right application. It would definitely be better if it came pre-sharpened.
Blackness: 3/5: It showed up fairly opaque after a couple of strokes, but wasn’t especially vibrant.
Concert-proof-ness: 2/5: This definitely faded more gracefully than others in this test—mostly just wore away, rather than settling in my lovely, creasey under eyes. Plus, I noticed it lasted in its original state all the way into lunch!
NYX Retractable Eyeliner in Black
Application: 4/5: This is a very, very creamy eyeliner—like buttah, I tell you. The creaminess is a plus for smudging on your eyes, but if you want a super defined line, it’ll be hard to accomplish.
Blackness: 6/5: NOW THIS! IS WHAT! I’M TALKING ABOUT! Look how dark that line is. That’s after one lil swoop on my eyes! I’m always looking for makeup I can apply in under a minute, and that dream has finally become a reality.
Concert-proof-ness: 4/5: While this certainly faded, it didn’t seem to go anywhere. I will take eyeliner that dissolves into nothing, rather than one that smears all over the place.
L'Oréal Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner
Application: 4/5: This also came pre-sharpened with a good, creamy consistency.
Blackness: 4/5: I was really happy with how black this was at first line! But, you do need a fair amount of pressure to get it fully black. As you can see, my wing doesn’t have the same pigment on the end.
Concert-proof-ness: 2/5: For being “infallible,” this is pretty damn fallible! It mostly smeared all over my lids, so at least it didn’t settle in my under eye, but I’m still pretty bummed. Plus, it was the most expensive of the pack! What the heck?
Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black
Application: 3/5: This didn’t draw as smooth of a line, but it did have good pigment no matter the pressure and came pre-sharpened.
Blackness: 4/5: A deep, full black for Revlon—only had to draw over the line twice!
Concert-proof-ness: 3/5: Now, I will be honest—these photos are after I shed a few tears at the emotional rollercoaster that is the Amazon Prime dog-as-a-lion commercial. However, my eyeliner was fading even before that turmoil. At least some of the line was still holding on at the end of the day.
Some final thoughts
While no eyeliner could truly stay in place all day, I’m sure most of these concert-proof-ness scores could increase with a good primer and base coat of eyeshadow. Yet, no eyeliner in the collection could compete against the NYX. It was the blackest of black with just one line and faded the best out of the bunch.