Best tarte Eyeliners

Updated June 2021
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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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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
30 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
201 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best tarte eyeliners

With the right eyeliner, you can define your eyes with a sleek, dramatic wing or go for a sultry, smudged line. If you want a range of liner options for achieving any eye look, you’ll definitely want to give Tarte eyeliners a go. You can opt for liquid liner for perfect cat eyes, pencil liner that’s ideal for smoky looks, or gel liner that offers the versatility to do both winged and smudged liner looks. Best of all, the brand is known for using innovative natural ingredients, and most Tarte eyeliners are cruelty-, paraben-, and phthalate-free.

But choosing a Tarte eyeliner can be difficult precisely because of all the options. You have to decide what type of liner you like best, what shade you prefer, and how long you need the liner to last to find the best Tarte eyeliner for your makeup bag.

Our buying guide breaks down exactly what you need to consider when shopping. For our top five Tarte eyeliners, take a look at the matrix above.

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Tarte gel and liquid liners typically take a minute or two to set before they’re smudge- and budge-proof.

Key considerations


Tarte offers eyeliners in several different formulas, so you can find a liner that’s perfect for whatever eye look you have in mind.

Pencil eyeliners are probably the most classic. All Tarte pencil eyeliners are retractable. That means you don’t need to sharpen the liner. Instead you simply twist up the bottom of the pencil to expose fresh eyeliner. Tarte pencil liners are perfect for everyday wear because they offer a softer look. They’re also ideal for smoky looks because they’re easy to smudge.

Liquid eyeliners have a thinner texture than pencil liners, so they offer more precision. That makes them ideal for winged eyeliner, and the liquid formula gives a bold, dark look. Most Tarte liquid liners have a felt-tip applicator, which makes it easy to apply the liner and create the perfect cat eye with one swipe.

Gel eyeliners have a texture that’s a cross between an eyeliner pencil and a liquid liner. That means you can use these eyeliners for simple everyday looks, smudged smoky looks, or precise cat eyes. Gel liners are easier to control than liquid liners. Some Tarte gel eyeliners come in a pot or a squeeze tube and require a brush to use. Tarte also offers gel eyeliners in convenient pencil form.


Tarte offers eyeliners in a variety of shades. Most people use black or brown, but you can choose an eyeliner shade based on your eye color to create contrast that brings attention to the eyes.

  • Black is the most popular shade for eyeliner. It works with any eye color and any eyeshadow shade. If you have fair skin or mature skin, though, black eyeliner can sometimes look a little harsh or dramatic.
  • Brown is another common shade for liner. It offers a softer look than black, so it can be great for everyday wear. Warm brown liner works extremely well for blue or green eyes.
  • Navy is another alternative to black eyeliner and can make the whites of your eyes appear brighter. It works particularly well for brown or blue eyes.
  • Gray or silver also works as an alternative to black liner. Gray eyeliner is a good option for everyday wear, while a metallic silver liner is perfect for parties and special occasions. Gray and silver liners work especially well for brown or green eyes.
  • Plum is a softer color option for everyday liner. It works particularly well for green, brown, or hazel eyes.
  • Nude eyeliner shades are perfect for the lower waterline. Nude shades can make your eyes appear brighter and more awake.
  • Fashion shades, like yellow, lime green, and pink, can be a fun addition for anyone who likes to play with color. They work especially well for summer parties or adding a pop of color to the lower waterline.



The eyes can be extremely sensitive, so you want to be sure that any makeup you use on your eyes won’t irritate them. Most Tarte eyeliners are ophthalmologist-tested, which means they don’t contain ingredients that are likely to cause irritation. That also makes them safe for contact lens wearers to use.

Wear time

Like any makeup, eyeliner can smudge, flake, or fade over the course of a day. Most Tarte liners last for six to eight hours, so you can get through an entire work or school day. But if you need an eyeliner that goes even further, opt for a Tarte liner with a 12-hour formula that can take you from morning to night.


Most Tarte eyeliners have a matte finish, which works well for everyday wear. However, for special occasions, you might prefer a metallic liner that offers a more dramatic look. Tarte even offers some eyeliners with a glitter finish. These liners are ideal for parties, date nights, and other special occasions because they catch the light and draw attention to your eyes.


Some Tarte eyeliners are waterproof, so they’ll stay put even when exposed to moisture like sweat, humidity, or rain. You can also wear them to the beach or pool without worrying about the eyeliner running when you take a dip.

"Many Tarte eyeliners feature cruelty-free, vegan formulas."


Eyeshadow primers: Smashbox 24-Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer
Even if you’re wearing your Tarte eyeliner on its own for a simple eye look, starting with an eyeshadow primer can help keep the liner locked in place all day. We really like this primer from Smashbox because it resists sweat and humidity to keep your eye makeup crease-free for hours.

Eyeshadow palettes: Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette
If you want a complete eye look, you need a quality eyeshadow palette to go with your eyeliner. One of our favorites is this neutral option from Tarte that offers 12 shades in a mix of matte and shimmer finishes that work well for everyday and evenings out, too.

Mascaras: Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara
Whether you want a simple look with just eyeliner or are going all out with eyeshadow and liner, no eye look is complete without a good mascara. This formula from Dior is a favorite because it lengthens, thickens, and darkens lashes without any clumping or smudging.

Expert Tip

Tarte eyeliner prices

Tarte eyeliners vary in price based on size and type, ranging from $12 to $24. The most affordable Tarte eyeliners are travel-size liquid and pencil varieties. They’re usually ophthalmologist-tested, contact lens-safe, and cruelty-free. They cost between $12 and $15.

Mid-range Tarte eyeliners are mostly pencil liners. They’re typically ophthalmologist-tested, contact lens-safe, cruelty-free, and waterproof. They cost between $15 and $20.

The most expensive Tarte eyeliners are liquid liners and gel liners. They’re usually ophthalmologist-tested, contact lens-safe, cruelty-free, waterproof, and can last 12 hours. They cost between $20 and $24.


  • If you can’t keep your hand steady when you’re applying eyeliner, brace your elbow on a vanity, table, or counter for balance. When you bring the liner up to your eye, rest your pinky on your cheek to stabilize your hand further.
  • When you’re new to applying eyeliner, it can be easier to create a series of dashes or dots along your lash line and then connect them, rather than trying to draw a line in a single motion.
  • Use concealer to help erase any mistakes that you make with eyeliner. Just dab a small amount on a precise eye brush or even a cotton swab, and wipe away the mistake.
  • Having trouble with your liner lasting all day? Top pencil, liquid, or gel liner with an eyeshadow in the same color to lock it in place.

Other products we considered

Tarte makes plenty of high-quality eyeliners that add definition to the eyes, but we couldn’t include them all on our shortlist. The Tarte Fake Awake Eyeliner is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a brightening liner. It comes in a universally flattering nude shade that can be applied to the lower waterline or the inner corners of the eyes to make your eyes instantly appear brighter and more awake. It also features a built-in smudger on the end, so you can easily blend the liner.

We also love the Tarte Maneater Liquid Eyeliner if you’re a fan of winged liner. Not only does it offer 12-hour wear, but it’s also quick-drying and waterproof. Its micro-brush tip glides smoothly along the lash line for easy one-swipe application.

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For the most intensely colored liner, apply two coats of Tarte eyeliner.


Q. How long can I expect my Tarte eyeliner to last?
Like all makeup, eyeliners have an expiration date. Tarte pencil eyeliners are usually good for about two years, Tarte gel liners are typically good for a year, and Tarte liquid liners can dry out after six months. These are just guidelines, though. If you notice that the color, texture, or smell of your eyeliner has changed, it’s likely gone bad. You should also toss any eyeliner you used when you had an eye issue, such as pink eye or a stye.

Q. What type of brush should I use with Tarte gel eyeliner?
It depends on what type of look you’re going for. If you want a tight, thin line, opt for a skinny liner brush. For a small wing at the end of your liner, a bent liner brush is a great option. For bold, dramatic winged liner, you’ll have more luck with an angled liner brush.

Q. What’s the best way to remove waterproof Tarte eyeliner?
You’ll have the easiest time removing waterproof eyeliner if you use an oil-based eye makeup remover. Apply some to a cotton pad or swab and gently wipe at the liner until it’s removed. Then wash your face as you normally would.

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