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THE REVIEW: Best Eyeliners From Asian Beauty Brands

February 05, 2021 Charlotte Cho

No matter what your beauty style, eyeliner is usually involved in some way, subtle or fierce. For those of us who veer towards the latter, not just any eyeliner will do. I refuse to suffer through any wimpy liner formulas and currently have a drawer full of trial-and-error ones I’ve bought with high hopes only to find them crease, slip, smudge or otherwise end up anywhere far from where I’ve applied them by midday.

The few liners I have met that I can say without a doubt are basically the equivalent of tattooing your liner on (without the needles, pain, or permanence) come from a handful of Asian beauty brands. Doesn’t surprise me, since there’s really no room for products that don’t perform in the competitive beauty market—it’s not a race, it’s a marathon…for which eyeliner can last the longest!


Top to bottom: TONYMOLY Backstage Gel Eyeliner, TONYMOLY Crystal Tear Glitter Eyeliner, CLIO Kill Black Waterproof Liquid Liner Pen, Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner, Clio Gelpresso Waterproof Pencil Gel Liner

The TONYMOLY Backstage Gel Eyeliner is great for liner beginners and super convenient for on-the-go since the brush is in the cap. The cute little inkwell design houses the gel liner at the bottom. Gel liners in pots like this one are great because you never have to gripe about your liquid liner pen drying out mid-stroke, leaving you with a sad, fading line. Also, you can really get a thick dramatic liner look without much effort and a nice easy blend-able finish, if that’s your style. This one feels super light and goes on black as night with a matte finish. I applied it in the morning and come evening, my cat-eye was still plenty sharp!

For those who prefer a standard pen liquid liner, Clio Kill Black Waterproof Pen Liner is super inky and super smudge-proof. Once it’s on and dry, it isn’t going anywhere (even on my oily eyelids). I like that the felt tip makes it easy to create really sharp lines and even tight-line between lashes. The color is a velvety black, deep and dark—one swipe should do it. It’s pretty easy to fix little mistakes with a cotton bud while it’s still wet, which is helpful. Removing it at night requires a nice oil-based makeup remover or cleansing balm—I wouldn’t really bet on just your face cleanser to do the trick.

White eyeliner is always a cool way to update your look with minimal effort, but in order for it to look cool, opaque white makes the most impact. TONYMOLY Crystal Tear Glitter Eyeliner is pretty much the festive go-to for me when I want something shiny but not necessarily chunky glitter. You could draw crystal tears around your eyes, as the name of this liner might suggest, and it would pretty much look like a shiny bold gem on your face—that’s how much this liner means business. Fair warning: A little goes a long way with this one.

My cousin brought me an eyeliner from Japan, Dolly Wink Liquid Liner—it’s apparently one of the cult liquid liners in Japan. After using it, I understood why. It has a brush tip, which is nice for making smooth lines and the color is super black and dries to a bit of shiny finish. This is another stay-put formula that lasts until I want to take it off at night. It can start to flake if you glob it on in too many layers, but it’s so opaque that one swipe is all you need, really.

Not everybody is all about liquid liners though and a really good pencil liner can create almost any look you want. Personally, I was never really a pencil eyeliner kind of girl because I always found them to be too waxy, difficult to apply evenly, sometimes too tough on my eyelids if the formula was too stiff, and they’d inevitably end up migrating underneath my eyes throughout the day.

Cue CLIO Gelpresso Pencil Gel Liner—my favorite type of liner (gel) in a pencil form. This one comes in a ton of jewel colors but my favorite is the silver and the golden black. Other than the fact that it in fact is super waterproof, cry-proof, and smudgeproof (unless you blend it as you apply), it applies SO smooth, like butter. Not that I expect you know what rubbing butter on your eyelids feels like, but you can imagine. This makes it so much easier to create sharp OR smoky eye looks because I don’t have to fuss with a pencil that makes me press really hard just to get the pigment onto my eyes. It’s a twist-up model with a micro-sharpener in the end—good to go anywhere!


I like my eyeliner how I like my cheese... SHARP! Easy with the Clio Waterproof Pen Eyeliner in Kill Black.

What are your favorite liners? Any technique tips... like how to get a liquid liner pen to stop shorting out (hate when that happens)? Are you a liquid, gel or pencil liner type?

Glow forth!



Sable Yong is a beauty writer and editor as well as Soko Glam's Senior Digital Content Manager. She lives in Brooklyn where she enjoys eating bread and playing music (not at the same time) when she isn't hoarding beauty products. Sable has never once #wokeuplikethis, but that's okay otherwise she'd probably be out of a job. Follow @sabletoothtigre for snaps of her life. 

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About Charlotte

Soko Glam co-founder and chief curator. Licensed esthetician sharing the love of all things K-beauty.

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