Updated April 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best Clinique eyeliners

It’s said that the eyes are the window to the soul. If you want to bring greater focus to your eyes, the right makeup can do the trick. Eyeshadow certainly helps, but nothing defines your eyes quite like eyeliner, and Clinique eyeliners are some of the best around.

Clinique eyeliners are available in several different formulas, which means there is an option for everyone. All of the brand’s eyeliners are allergy tested, so they’re not likely to cause any reaction or irritate your eyes. You can also choose from several different shades based on your eye color or the type of look you prefer. Some Clinique eyeliners are waterproof too, so you don’t have to worry about them smudging or running.

If you need help choosing the best Clinique eyeliner for your makeup bag, our buying guide can point you to the right formula, shade, and wear time for your needs. We’ve also included some specific eyeliner recommendations if you already have a good idea of what you’re looking for.

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Most of Clinique’s pencil eyeliners set in about 60 seconds, so you have time to blend or smudge the liner after you apply it.

Key considerations

Formula

Clinique offers eyeliners in several formulas, which vary in their application, staying power, and blendability.

Pencil eyeliner is the most common type. As the name suggests, it resembles a pencil that you draw along your lash line to apply. Clinique offers both regular pencil eyeliners, which require a pencil sharpener to maintain the point, and automatic or mechanical pencil eyeliners, which have a barrel that you twist to expose more of the liner. Most pencil eyeliners are highly blendable, so they work well for smoky, smudged looks.

Liquid eyeliners are typically the most long-lasting and pigmented formula. Clinique liquid liners come in a pen-like barrel with a felt-tip applicator. While many liquid eyeliners are waterproof and offer the best wear time, they can be tricky to apply, especially if you haven’t used it before. It works especially well for dramatic and winged eye looks.

Cake/powder eyeliners aren’t the most common liner option, but they can be fairly long wearing. They come in a compact or pot-like eyeshadow and require water to activate. You wet the eyeliner brush, dip it in the liner, and draw it across your eyelids. It can be smudged or blended before it dries, but once it does it’s pretty much budge-proof. Unfortunately for fans of this option, Clinique no longer offers this style of eyeliner.

Quality

Clinique is a beauty brand known for its gentle, fragrance-free formulas that are suitable for sensitive skin. Clinique eyeliners are ophthalmologist and allergy tested, which means that they’re not likely to irritate your eyes or cause a reaction on the surrounding skin. As a result, Clinique eyeliners can be a good option for contact lens wearers and allergy sufferers.

Water resistance

Some Clinique eyeliners are formulated to be water resistant, so they won’t smudge, run, or smear if exposed to water or other moisture. That means you can cry, sweat, or go out in the rain without worrying about your eyeliner coming off.

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Did You Know?
While eyeliner is often worn with eyeshadow, you don’t need to wear the two together. You can apply liner on its own with just some mascara to help define your eyes.
Staff
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Features

Shades

Black: As with most eyeliners, black is the most common color option for Clinique eyeliners. That means every formula the brand offers has at least one black shade. Neutral black is a classic option that works for all eye colors and nearly any eye look. Black eyeliner can look particularly dramatic if you have pale skin or light eyes and hair.

Brown: Several Clinique eyeliners are also available in brown, which offers a softer look than black. Blue eyes look best with a warm brown eyeliner.

Other colors: Some Clinique eyeliner formulas come in shades like navy, plum, forest green, charcoal, and/or eggplant. For brown eyes, consider plum, eggplant, or purple eyeliner. Green eyes pop with red-based plum shades, while hazel eyes look good with plum or eggplant. Navy liner is a softer alternative to black that can help make all eye colors look a little brighter.

Wear time

Most Clinique eyeliners offer an average wear time of 6 to 8 hours. However, some formulas, such as the liquid and cake liners, are designed for longer wear, up to 16 hours without smudging or smearing.

Components

Built-in sharpener: Some Clinique automatic eyeliners have a built-in sharpener to use when the tip wears down. It’s usually under the cap so it doesn’t come loose and get lost.

Smudger tip: Many Clinique pencil eyeliners have a sponge smudger tip at the end of the pencil. You can use the sponge to softly blend your liner for a smoky eye look or smooth out any gaps in the liner.

It helps to look down into a mirror as you apply eyeliner because it keeps your lashes out of the way.

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Accessories

Eyeshadow primer: Wet & Wild Photofocus Eyeshadow Primer
Even if you’re not going to wear eyeshadow with your eyeliner, an eyeshadow primer can help keep the liner in place all day. We love this one from Wet & Wild because it’s extremely affordable and only requires a small amount to provide long-lasting results.

Eyeshadow palette: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette
The best way to draw attention to your eyes is to pair your eyeliner with a high-quality eyeshadow palette. This one from Anastasia Beverly Hills is a favorite because it includes 14 blendable shadows in a range of shades and finishes. They’re all highly pigmented and long-wearing too.

Mascara: Clinique Lash Power Long-Wearing Formula 01 Mascara
You need an excellent mascara to make your lashes long and lush to finish your eye look, and you can’t go wrong with this Black Onyx mascara from Clinique. It lengthens and thickens lashes without clumping or flaking, wears for 12 hours, resists smudging, and rinses off with warm water.

Eye makeup remover: Clinique Rinse Off Eye Makeup Solvent
If you have trouble getting a long-wearing eyeliner off at the end of the day, the right eye makeup remover definitely helps. This option from Clinique is fragrance-free and non-greasy, so it won’t irritate your eyes or leave behind any residue.

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Did You Know?
If you’re having trouble applying your eyeliner smoothly, gently pull your eyelid taut so you have a smooth canvas to apply it to without smudging.
Staff
BestReviews

Clinique eyeliner prices

Clinique eyeliners vary in price based on the formula, wear time, and other features. Most cost between $17 and $27.

Inexpensive

The most affordable Clinique eyeliners are standard eyeliner pencils that require sharpening. They’re highly blendable but don’t offer the longest wear times. You’ll typically pay between $17 and $20 for these Clinique eyeliners.

Mid-range

Many of these Clinique eyeliners are automatic twist-up eyeliner pencils that don’t require sharpening; others have a built-in sharpener. These eyeliners are highly blendable but don’t last as long as the more expensive eyeliners. You’ll typically pay between $20 and $23 for these.

Expensive

The most expensive Clinique eyeliners are liquid and cake formulas. They aren’t very blendable, but they offer significantly longer wear times than other formulas. You’ll usually pay between $23 and $27 for these.

Tips

  • Apply primer first. If you’re having trouble keeping your eyeliner from smudging or smearing, prep your lids with an eyeshadow primer. You can also help boost the liner’s staying power by setting it with eyeshadow in the same shade.
  • Apply liner in dashes. If your hands aren’t very steady, it helps to apply your eyeliner in small dashes rather than a single continuous line. You can then go back and fill in any blank spaces or smudge the liner to smooth it out.
  • Try different looks for day and night. Creamy, blendable pencil eyeliners are good for softer looks, so they’re a good option for daytime. Liquid eyeliner gives you a sharper, more dramatic look that’s ideal for special occasions and evenings out.
  • Start winged eyeliner at the outer corner. If you have trouble applying winged eyeliner, it helps to start at the outer corner of the eye to get the right angle. You can then connect the liner along the lash line to the wing. To create a straight line for your winged liner, hold a sticky note at the corner of the eye to provide a straight edge as a guide.
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Make sure to tightly close your eyeliner after every use. Exposing the liner to air can dry it out.

FAQ

Q. What type of eyeliner is best for everyday wear?

A. For everyday wear, pencil eyeliner is a good bet. Pencil liners are typically very creamy, which makes them easy to blend and smudge to create a soft look that won’t look too harsh in casual situations. Pencil eyeliner is the easiest formula for beginners to use too, so it’s an excellent option for those who are new to using eyeliner or experienced eyeliner wearers who need to apply their makeup quickly in the morning.

Q. How can I fix eyeliner mistakes?

A. Keep a stash of cotton swabs and some eye makeup remover on hand when you’re applying your eyeliner. If you accidentally smudge the eyeliner, you can dip a cotton swab in the makeup remover and gently smooth it over the mistake to remove it.

Q. What’s the shelf life of a Clinique eyeliner?

A. It depends on the formula. Liquid eyeliners usually last about three to six months. Pencil liners last a little longer, six months to a year.
 

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