If I had to whittle my makeup kit down to just one item, I wouldn’t even need a minute to decide which one I’d keep – my eyeliner would make the cut, hands down.
No single piece of makeup is more versatile for me than the humble eyeliner – whether I’m looking for a subtle, put-together look for running errands or a dark, dramatic wing for a night out with girlfriends, eyeliner helps me complete the finishing touches on any outfit or look I’m going for.
When I began swapping out my cruel, chemical makeup for alternatives that aren’t tested on animals, I’ll admit I was worried.
How could a vegan, even organic, eyeliner compare to my expensive traditional eyeliners?
Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry for long.
Just as there are aisles crammed with eyeliner options, those options are equally as abundant for people who choose to purchase only products that contain no animal products and aren’t tested on animals.
But how do you know which cruelty-free brand is right for you?
Even further, how do you know if a pencil, gel, or liquid liner will be the best addition to your makeup bag?
Worry no more – we’re going to dive deep into the world of cruelty-free eyeliners, so you can find the absolute best product that meets your needs, is in line with your morals, and will help you create exactly the look you’re going for.
Let’s first take a high-level look at our favorite liquid, pencil, and gel liners.
Best Vegan Pencil Eyeliners
The Old Faithful of the eyeliner world, pencils are the oldest and most well-recognized eyeliners on the market. I remember being a little girl watching my mom apply pencil eyeliner, and chances are, your mom had a pencil or two in her makeup bag too.
Like most classics, pencil liners have been around for so long because they are easy to use, glide on as you apply them, and can be used all over your eyes, from your top lid to your waterlines. Pencil liners are usually easy to blend for a more subtle, natural look as opposed to a dramatic one, and are perfect for lining lower lashes, where liquid or gel eyeliners might look too stark.
Those looking for a dramatic, clearly defined line may find themselves disappointed in pencil liner, as it doesn’t provide quite as much oomph as a liquid or gel might. Additionally, because of their powdery nature, pencil liner does tend to smudge over time, so it may require some touching up throughout the day, and may not hold up well in wet environments like excessive heat or your evening workout.
While they’ve been around for a long time, pencil liners have come a long way as far as their ingredient lists and animal testing practices (or lack thereof).
Check out our top three vegan-friendly pencil liners below.
Best Vegan Pencil Eyeliner
Providing velvety smooth color, Mineral Fusion’s eye pencil glides on beautifully, defining and enhancing eyes with just a touch of elegance. With chamomile, meadowfoam, and vitamin E, this formula is gentle on the delicate skin around your eyes. Free of gluten, parabens, preservatives, and fragrance, it’s a good choice for even people who suffer from sensitive skin and allergies.
Available in five colors, reviewers are especially partial to the Coal color, as it provides definition without being a stark, dramatic black.
What We Love
There has been a push for makeup that uses only safe, natural ingredients, not only in the vegan and animal-friendly world, but also because eyeliner is applied so close to sensitive eyeballs. Reviewers of this product love that the ingredient list is short, natural, and pronounceable, but the pencil still delivers a soft, smooth color that rivals those from chemical-laden brands.
The soft tip of this vegan eyeliner makes it easy and comfortable to apply color, but some reviewers note that the tip breaks a little too easily. Take care when sharpening, and apply only light pressure when applying the pencil to avoid getting pieces of the tip in your eye.
Another clean beauty pick, Au Naturale’s Organic Eyeliner is available in several colors beyond plain black, including amethyst and deep sea for enhancing green, brown, and blue eyes. Each color is free of parabens, preservatives, and other irritating chemicals, and is certified vegan and cruelty-free.
The hard tip of this liner makes it super easy to apply – you won’t have to waste time in front of the mirror painstakingly drawing on your eyeliner. These cruelty-free eyeliners are made in the United States and include natural ingredients like jojoba oil, castor seed wax, and rosemary to apply beautiful color while keeping the underlying skin healthy and nourished.
This liner is on the more expensive side, which may make it cost prohibitive to some users, but if you have the money to spend, it’s great to be able to add a chemical-free liner to your makeup arsenal.
What We Love
In addition to the chemical-free status, reviewers love how easily this eyeliner goes on. With a soft, creamy texture, it goes on without too much effort and stays put throughout the day. Reviewers also love the wide variety of colors available through this brand – there’re so many options beyond the traditional black and brown to make any eye color pop.
While the tip makes this eyeliner easy to apply, the color doesn’t go on very dark – this provides a very light, subtle pigmentation, but won’t fit the bill for those that like a darker, more dramatic eye.
A favorite brand among vegans, beauty aficionados, and everyone in between, Pacifica’s eye pencil does not disappoint.
Completely vegan, cruelty-free, and chemical-free, this eye pencil uses shea butter to help moisturize skin, vitamin E to reduce the appearance of fine lines, and vitamin C for antioxidant power that helps fight against free radicals. And here you thought your eyeliner was just for looks – this eye pencil allows you to care for your skin while creating your signature look.
Reviewers also note that the product smells great and feels natural during wear, thanks to the clean ingredient list.
What We Love
The wear of this eyeliner receives plenty of accolades from the Amazon community – in addition to going on smoothly, it wears comfortably – many users note that it doesn’t feel like they have anything on their eyes while wearing this product. It’s also a blessing for those with sensitive skin, allergies, and delicate eyes, who usually have difficulty finding an eyeliner that doesn’t cause irritation or bad reactions.
While many reviewers are happy to find an eye pencil that doesn’t include toxic ingredients or animal products, they do note that this pencil doesn’t stay in place very well. It smudges nicely into your initial look, but you may need to touch it up throughout the day or reapply after being out in the rain, working out, or simply after very long wear.
Best Vegan Gel Eyeliners
Regarding difficulty to apply, gel liners are somewhere in the middle – not quite as easy as pencil liner, but not quite as difficult as liquid eyeliners. Usually available in a small pot, gel liners have a creamy consistency and require a brush for application.
Gel eyeliner provides more drama than pencil liner, and gives a thick, richly colored line.
It’s easy to use the brush to press the liner into your lash line and create a clean, defined line that’s easily smudged for a more subtle, natural look. The flexibility of gel liner makes it a fan favorite, as you can easily dress it up, dress it down, or use your brush to create a retro-inspired wing.
Gels are a perfect step for those who want to create a little more bold look than a pencil can provide, but aren’t ready for the tedious and difficult application of a liquid liner.
Bear in mind that because gel liners usually come in a pot instead of a bottle or pencil, the formula can dry out over time, so be sure to take care when storing it. Additionally, gel liner can “tug” on the skin after prolonged wear, so it feels a little less natural when you wear it when compared to pencil or liquid.
Ready to start experimenting with gel liners? Check out our favorites below.
Best Vegan Gel Eyeliner
Our number one pick for gel liners, Pacifica is a well-known and popular brand within the cruelty-free makeup scene. With a smooth, creamy texture that’s never tacky or waxy, this lining gel is super flexible and versatile, with the ability to be smudged for a subtle look, or kept sharp for clean, bold drama.
This gel can be applied with an angled brush, or with your fingertips for maximum flexibility and ease – you can even layer it with your makeup to create a truly put-together, unique look that’s all your own.
What We Love
Reviewers on Amazon note that there is a lot of product in a single pot, so one container of the stuff will last you a long time. It’s also possible to use this as an all-over eyeshadow, thanks to the softer, quieter-than-black color and just a hint of shimmer. It’s also long-lasting, so you won’t have to worry about touching it up halfway through the day – just put it on in the morning and let it go with you through your day.
This gel isn’t quite as stiff as other gel liners available on the market – it goes on a little more smoothly, which is great for easy application, but can make it difficult to get a bolder, cleaner, winged look without smudging or smearing.
This gel liner by Orglamix is a drama queen dream – the deep, dark black provides a thick, dark line that is perfect for that retro look or making a statement during girls’ night out. Because it doesn’t include any harsh chemicals, preservatives, or artificial colors, it’s a perfect choice for those with sensitive eyes, skin, or people who wear contacts.
Versatile enough to make a clean, thick line, or be smudged into a romantic smokey eye, this one product allows you to create several different looks without having to cram your makeup bag full of different liners. It’s smudgeable and blendable upon application, but once it dries, the color is long-lasting and stays put.
What We Love
Reviewers love the creamy consistency of this gel, which makes it easy to apply and feels weightless upon wear. The dark, intense black is incredibly rich and provides lots of drama for just a little bit of product.
There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the application of this gel. Some reviewers had some difficulty getting this gel from the brush to the eyelid, so experiment with different brushes, and take some time to practice with the product before you debut it.
Another intense black gel, Inglot’s matte liner provides true staying power to keep with you while you dance the night away, power through an intense workout, or get spontaneously caught in the rain.
Completely waterproof, the formula is also quick-drying – after 60 seconds, this stuff isn’t going anywhere until you use a makeup remover to take it off. It has a creamy consistency that won’t smudge after drying or crease into lines.
You can also use this gel liner with eyeshadow underneath for a unique look, or smudge it for a less intense line. It’s also paraben-free, which makes it safe to use on sensitive or delicate skin.
What We Love
This gel liner is all about the color! A deeply pigmented product, this provides that perfect retro black line, and the matte finish means an elegant, beautiful result. Reviewers also note that each pot will last you a long while, as a little product goes a long way. Even reviewers with sensitive eyes and allergies note that this product was easy wearing, and caused zero irritation.
While reviews are overwhelmingly positive, some reviewers do have trouble with this product taking awhile to dry, or having it transfer throughout the day. Users with exceptionally watery eyes or oily skin may benefit from a primer underneath this liner or may need to allow a few extra minutes for the product to dry.
Best Vegan Liquid Eyeliners
The sharp, matte lines provided by a liquid eyeliner are super in, right now – anytime you see a retro-inspired wing with a thick, bold line on the upper lashes, chances are, it was created with a liquid liner.
Liquid liners usually come in a small tube and are applied with a small brush or felt tip that comes with the liner.
Going onto skin cleanly and smoothly, liquid eyeliner creates a very sharp, very defined line that won’t budge once it’s applied.
Most liners have a matte finish, with minimal shine or glossiness, and look best when they’re applied to the upper lash line only – they can look strange if they’re applied to subtle areas like the lower lashes or the waterline.
Best of all, liquids are also super easy to remove – even the waterproof liquid liners can usually be removed quickly with a few swipes of a cotton ball soaked in makeup remover, and with minimal tugging or irritation.
That being said, liquid liners have a learning curve, and they can be frustrating to apply.
They require surgical precision, and one bump or twitch of your finger can ruin a whole look. However, the effort and patience it takes to apply these will be rewarded – they provide an elegant drama that can move seamlessly from the office to the bar, and they create a statement without looking over the top.
We’ve included our top three animal-friendly liquid liners below.
Best Vegan Liquid Eyeliner
The ZuZuLuxe Liquid Eyeliner uses a fine calligraphy tip to ensure ultimate precision so that you can flaunt any look from the thinnest bit of definition to a thick, bold wing.
This liquid liner is completely gluten-free and is formulated with jojoba oil to nourish and moisturize the delicate skin around your eyes that’s always being tested with different makeups and skin products.
The jojoba oil also ensures that the product glides on smoothly and effortlessly, leaving a crisp, clean line in its wake.
For those looking for a pure, matte black with no sparkle, the Raven color is the clear winner. If you’re looking for a hint of shimmer and sheen in your liquid liner, their Black Pearl will provide just that little extra something.
What We Love
Reviewers love that this liquid liner has a short, pronounceable ingredient list, but stays put throughout the day – no smearing or smudging to put a damper on your rock-star makeup look. Many buyers compare this liner to “traditional” liquid liners, like those from L’Oreal or Maybelline.
While reviewers for the product itself are overwhelmingly positive, be aware that some people had shipping errors through Amazon, sometimes receiving the wrong color. Double-check your product before you open it if ordering through Amazon, or pick this up at your nearest beauty store or pharmacy for error-free purchasing.
Glitter Eyeliner from BH is a water-based glitter eyeliner that dries quickly, and it won’t get flaky, which saves you time and embarrassment. It’s made from natural and vegan ingredients with a water-based formula, which makes it gentle on the sensitive eye area where you’ll be applying it.
What makes it great is the fact that it can last you the whole day without falling apart, and the super fine tip makes it really easy to apply. Applying it on top of regular eyeliner adds even more sparkle. You’ll have heads turning, and you’re sure to get loads of compliments with this vegan eyeliner
What We Love
This glittery eyeliner makes the eyes pop thanks to it’s long wearing capacity. You can wear it in any weather situation, it won’t let you down, and it stays on until you purposefully remove it yourself with a makeup remover.
Some reviewers noted that it could be a bit hefty and smudge on the eyelashes, especially when it hasn’t dried. And it’s not that quick drying but is considered fast only when compared with other previously used and similar products.
Just as its name suggests, 100% Pure’s liquid eyeliner gets its rich pigment from crushed, micronized tea leaves!
In addition to its pigment, this brand also uses all natural ingredients like aloe, for moisturizing delicate skin around the eye, oregano leaf, and rosemary, for a recognizable, pronounceable ingredient list you can feel good about putting on your face.
The all-natural ingredient list means the product is unlikely to cause irritation, so it’s safe to use even in sensitive areas like your water line.
Even better, it is incredibly long-lasting, especially considering it uses no harsh chemicals, and a little bit goes a long way thanks to the rich black pigment.
What We Love
While some liquid liners take a few applications to get the deep, richly colored line you’re looking for, 100% pure goes on thick and opaque with a single swipe. This eyeliner also has great staying power – through wind and rain and long, tough days, reviewers note that this stuff is on for good until you choose to remove it with a cotton ball.
Some reviewers noted that this product clumped a bit on their eyelashes, which can be frustrating if you’re looking for a product to wear all day long, and especially considering the price point of this particular product.
Made with 100% natural and 70% organic ingredients, Orglamix’s liquid liner is incredibly versatile, allowing you to create the thinnest line, a thick bold line, or a dramatic cat eye with the same product.
The formula contains no artificial colors, preservatives, or fragrances, so it’s safe and gentle to use near your eyes.
Orglamix’s liquid liner uses a felt-tip applicator, which guarantees precision, whereas a bristle brush can get unruly and cause choppy uneven lines.
The felt tip allows you to easily control the application and get exactly the shape you want. With ingredients like cinnamon, jojoba, and coconut oil, the liner nourishes and moisturizes skin while you’re wearing, instead of drying it out the way some traditional, chemical-laden makeups do.
What We Love
Purchasers of this vegan-friendly eyeliner are all about the control of the brush – everyone who’s tried liquid liner knows what a struggle it can be to get the perfect line, so the fact that this one can provide quality and control with each application is truly a blessing!
This product is on the most expensive side of this list, so if you’re on a tight budget, you may not be able to justify shelling out the cash for an eyeliner. If you’re trying to be more careful with your quarters, look for this on sale at your local beauty supply store, or in promotions online.
Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Vegan Eyeliner
Knowing what type of eyeliner you want will help you guide your choice as you peruse the beauty aisle.
Need a natural, subtle eyeliner that can be easily blended and smudged?
Reach for a pencil.
Looking for something clean, sharp, and easy to wing?
Gel or liquid is more your style.
We’ve recommended our top nine products above, but you’ll certain encounter more eyeliners in your shopping travels that aren’t on this list. The amount of choice can be overwhelming, but with a few simple guidelines, you’ll be able to know immediately whether or not the eyeliner you’re considering is cruelty-free.
First, take a look at the packaging – the easiest way to determine how bunny-friendly a piece of makeup is is to look for the Leaping Bunny seal – this means the company not only does not test on animals, but they also vow not to sell their products abroad where animal testing is required. Like a “vegan” label on a food product, this logo takes all the guesswork out for you – look no further, you’ve found a cruelty-free product!
If the bottle doesn’t show the Leaping Bunny logo, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not cruelty-free – you just need to work a little harder to find out. Look for phrases like “not tested on animals” on the packaging itself, or look the company up on Leaping Bunny to see what their stance is on animal testing.
Next, take a look at the ingredient list, and keep a lookout for animal-derived ingredients under sneaky names. This can include things like glycerin, lanolin, and carmine, which are all animal products that don’t have particularly telling names.
If you see any of these ingredients on the packaging, put it back – you don’t want a product with sheep oil or crushed bug dye to taint your collection of animal-friendly cosmetics!
By arming yourself with the knowledge of what makes makeup cruelty-free, vegan, or otherwise, you’ll be able to navigate the drug store like a pro!
Beautiful Human Eyes, Happy Bunny Eyes
The addition of eyeliner is perhaps the single biggest impact you can make on your look. Whether you’re just swiping a little pencil line on your lashes, or going bold with a super dark wing, just a touch of eye liner can transform your look and create a statement that’s 100% you.
If you’re switching from a company that uses cruel animal testing or animal derived ingredients in their liners, there’s nothing to worry about – whether you’re a pencil liner aficionado, or you simply can’t leave the house without a little flick of your favorite liquid liner, there are plenty of animal-friendly, cruelty-free options to choose from. The only difficult part will be picking the one you want to use!