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12 Best Eyeliners for Women Over 50 That Won’t Smudge, Fade, or Flake [Updated 2023]


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Finding the perfect liner to make our eyes pop can be tricky as we get older. That’s because as we age, the skin around our eyes gets thinner, making it more prone to damage. Fine lines and wrinkles already come with the territory when we’re over 50, and and eyeliner pencil that pulls or tugs at the delicate skin around our eyelids only makes them worse. That’s why, in addition to a liner that won’t run, smudge, flake, or irritate your eyes, you need one that will be gentle on your skin and make a smooth, even line with a minimum of effort. Not to worry, though — finding the best eyeliner for older women just got easier, because we’ve rounded up all our favorites for you right here!

Keep scrolling to shop our picks, or read more for answers to all your burning questions about how to choose the best eyeliner for older women.

What is the best eyeliner for older women?

Trust us, the best eyeliner for older women not only exists, but will glide on effortlessly to accentuate your peepers and bring out their gorgeous color, making you look well-rested and refreshed. Scroll down for a selection of the best eyeliner for older women that will create sharp, precise, long-lasting lines without wearing down your skin. 

How should women over 50 apply eyeliner?

As New York City-based dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD, told The Healthy, anything that causes friction near the delicate skin around the eyes — including pulling skin taut for eyeliner application — can pronounce unwanted wrinkles. “Rubbing this sensitive area stretches skin and breaks down collagen and elastin, which can result in wrinkles,” she said. That means it’s extremely important to choose products that go on smoothly, offering up as little resistance as possible. 

Contact wearers or those with sensitive skin might also need a formula with fewer chemicals and nourishing ingredients that will protect their skin from dryness and irritation. Folks with oily lids may find that pencils and powders work better than liquid liners and gels, while ladies with dry skin, on the other hand, might prefer a product with extra hydrating properties, such as aloe. 

What’s the best eyeliner for mature eyes?

The best eyeliner for older women isn’t a “one size fits all” situation. Each type has its pros, and the best one for you might not work as well for someone else. Where one woman may prefer a gel, liquid, or felt-tip pen eyeliner — which will work wonders when going for sharp winged eyes or a cat eye — others may opt for crayons or powder to create a gorgeous smoky eye. Eyeliner pencils can do both, and are also lovely for adding pop of color. Learn more about the different types below. 

  • Gel eyeliner is great for creating both thin and thick lines. It may be a bit harder to control than other forms of eyeliner, but it typically lasts longer and has an extra-bold pigment.
  • Pencil eyeliner is ideal for maximum control. While the pencils of yore have been known to drag and tug skin, new beauty innovations have made this type of eyeliner practically effortless with regard to application. 
  • Crayon eyeliner is a mix between a pencil and a gel. These liners tend to have a creamier consistency and won’t dry out your skin. They’re ideal for dry eyelids and smooth application.
  • Liquid eyeliner is well-known for its optimal control and smudge-proof properties, making it a tried-and-true pick you can’t go wrong with. 
  • Felt-tip eyeliner, or pen eyeliner, is a cross between a liquid and pencil eyeliner. Felt tips offer long-wearing color, maximum control, and high pigment, making them ideal for makeup touchups. 
  • Powder eyeliner, or shadow eyeliner, can be used to create straight lines, but it’s a touch tougher to do. They’re best for getting that intentionally “smudged” look.

Our list of the best eyeliner for older women includes all of these different types of products, as well as great options for every style and budget.

To complete your look, be sure to check out our roundups of the best under-eye concealers for women over 50 and the best retinol eye creams for women over 50. Keep scrolling to learn more about our picks for the best eyeliner for older women, and kiss smudging, fading, and flaking goodbye!

The Best Eyeliner for Older Women

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner

Best overall eyeliner
best eyeliners

Buy from Nordstrom, $34

Why we like it:

  • Available in 4 neutral colors
  • Lightweight texture
  • Built-in sharpener

There’s a reason Bobbi Brown’s makeup is so popular — the brand just gets it when it comes to knowing which staples women want in their makeup bags at all times. This Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner is no exception, which is why it’s our pick for the best overall eyeliner. Available in four lovely neutrals (we want them all!), the sweat- and humidity-resistant formula was created with longevity in mind, and glides on with ease, so you won’t have to worry about any pulling or tugging at your eyes’ sensitive skin. The saturated pigment stays vibrant for up to 12 hours without flaking, fading, or smudging, and a built-in sharpener guarantees precision, so you can create as bold or thin a line as you desire.

Reviewers rave about the staying power of this eyeliner, with one even saying she’s started wearing it around the house just because it’s “so easy to apply!

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Best Eyeliner for Wrinkled Eyelids
best eyeliners

Buy from Nordstrom, $24

Why we like it:

  • Available in 8 neutrals and colors
  • Easy to use, even for beginners
  • Marker-like tip

When it comes to makeup, it really is all about the details. Sometimes, fat-tip eyeliner pens or smudgy gels can be tough to control, which is not ideal when you’re working with wrinkled terrain. The micro-tip on Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner is tiny enough to be precise when working with uneven surfaces, yet still has enough pigment power to draw thick, saturated strokes. It’s easy to apply, dries quickly, and stays on all day. Plus, its waterproof capability makes it a perfect hot weather essential, ensuring that sweat, sea water, pool splashes, and humidity won’t ruin your look.

Many fans of this product call it the “only eyeliner” they’ll use, thanks to its “ease of application” and the fact that it “doesn’t streak or fade.”

Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Liner Pen

Best two in one eyeliner
best eyeliners

Buy from Nordstrom, $62

Why we like it:

  • Includes a fine tip and brush
  • Paraben-, sulfate-, and phthalate-free
  • Can be used to create a range of looks

Having options is never a bad thing, and when it comes to makeup, the more the merrier! Eye makeup in particular is something we might change up depending on the occasion — for instance, we might opt for a cat eye for going out at night, or go for a more subtle effect for work. With that in mind, this Eye Defining Liquid Liner Pen by Tom Ford is the perfect versatile product when it comes to creating multiple designs. One one end, a brush tip gives you a precise, clean line that can extend the entire length of your eyelid, or provide some contrast for the fine calligraphy tip on the other end, which can be used for bolder, dramatic flourishes. Either way, you’ll have fun experimenting with different combinations that will last all day.

A cosmetologist, who said she’s tried every product out there, called this eyeliner a “home run” and was blown away by its “amazing control” and “stay-on-all-day quality.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Best Gel Eyeliner 
best eyeliners

Buy from Sephora, $25

Why we like it

  • Available in 15 colors
  • Hydrating formula
  • Paraben- and cruelty-free

This 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil from Urban Decay definitely lives up to its name! We don’t know what you’ll love more: the silky consistency that goes on oh-so-smoothly (no pulling or tugging here!), or the fact that there’ll be no flakes, smudges, or bare spots anywhere in sight. As if that weren’t enough, the super-hydrating formula is made with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and cottonseed oil, so you won’t have to worry about it drying out your eye area.

This eyeliner scores high marks with reviewers, thanks to its “great staying power” and “rich color.”

Make Up For Ever Artist Color Pencil

Best Colored Eyeliner
best eyeliners

Buy from Sephora, $22

Why we like it:

  • Available in over 20 colors
  • Can also be used for lips and brows
  • Chic matte finish

It’s a common misconception that bold, flashy hues are reserved for kids and teens. Color looks just as fabulous on women in their 50s! Make Up For Ever’s Artist Color Pencil works as an eyeliner, lip liner, and a brow pencil, killing three birds with one stone. While there are plenty of flattering neutral reds, browns, and grays up for grabs, there’s also a nice selection of greens, blues, purples, and pinks: You’d be surprised at all the creative looks you can create with these pretty hues! 

Reviewers love how versatile this pencil is, with one 59 year old customer saying that, while she doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, “this is a staple,” and that it’s perfect for her “mostly dry eyelid skin.”

Charlotte Tilbury Eye Color Magic Eyeliner Pencil Duo

Best two in one colored eyeliner
best eyeliners

Buy from Nordstrom, $32

Why we like it:

  • Includes matte and metallic eyeliners
  • Available in 4 gorgeous colors
  • Lasts for up to 16 hours

We could all use a little pop of color every now and then, and this Eye Color Magic Eyeliner Pencil Duo by Charlotte Tilbury is a fabulous two-in-one to add to your makeup collection. Choose from blue, copper, green, and maroon tones to add a vibrant boost to your lids that will enhance your eyes’ natural beauty without upstaging them. We love that this pencil includes two tips for each color — one matte and one metallic — to serve up an array of stunning looks that you can play around with. Natural waxes make applying this eyeliner a breeze, and the rich colors last for up to 16 hours, so there’s no need to reapply throughout the day.

A reviewer from Texas was so impressed that this eyeliner didn’t melt or smudge — even with the heat and humidity — that she ordered one in every color!

Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Liquid Liner

Best Eyeliner for Oily Lids
best eyeliners

Buy from SkinStore, $34

Why we like it:

  • Ultra-fine applicator
  • Quick-drying formula
  • Ergo-dynamic grip

Say goodbye to unsightly smudges and stains from oily lids with Kevyn Aucoin’s The Precision Liquid Liner. Once you apply this classic black liner, it won’t budge an inch, providing you with an eye-catching look that lasts all day. The ergo-dynamic grip also allows for better control, so you can achieve the perfect, precise cat eye without any wobbling.

Tarte Fake Awake Eyeliner

Best Brightening Eyeliner for Waterline
best eyeliners

Buy from Sephora, $22

Why we like it:

  • Brightens eyes to make them look more awake
  • Enriched with aloe and antioxidants
  • Vegan

Tarte’s Fake Awake Eyeliner is a pretty, peachy pencil that’s ideal for lining your waterline, which is right above your lower lashes. It removes any gray, red, or uneven tones, completely brightening your face in the process. Your eyes will look bigger, giving you a “wide awake” appearance — a huge plus on those mornings when you normally look as tired as you feel. Because of its creamy gel consistency, it’s a no-tug tool, preventing wrinkles and eye damage. Its pigment is also enriched with aloe and antioxidants — both of which are fabulous for your skin — and you can use it to highlight your brow bone arch and the inner corners of your eyes. After working its magic, you’ll look like you always get your nine hours of sleep in!

Many reviewers said this product helped them look “less tired,” and a few with smaller eyes even said it make their eyes appear larger. Best of all, they say it goes on “super smoothly.”

Jane Iredale Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner

Best Powder Eyeliner 
best eyeliners

Buy from Amazon, $25

Why we like it:

  • Available in 5 colors
  • Can also be used as eyeshadow
  • Water-resistant

You may be familiar with gel, liquid, and pencil eyeliner, but powder? It sounds like a big old mess waiting to happen! The applicator brush found in Jane Iredale’s Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner, which has more of a cream consistency, makes it just as easy as your trusty pencil, with superior smudging powers for creating an alluring smoky eye. It comes in a classic black, but also has a few fun color options you can experiment with, such as amethyst, topaz, and sapphire.

A reviewer in her 50s said she used to experience smudging before trying this eyeliner, but was pleased to find that she could easily blend this one in, saying, “I felt it was the best my eyes have looked in a long time with eyeliner.”

Ciaté London Fierce Flicks Liquid Liner

Best Eyeliner for Crepey Eyelids
best eyeliners

Buy from Amazon, $10

Why we like it:

  • Matte finish
  • Ultra-precise tip
  • Smudge-proof

You won’t find dryness or flaking here! Ciaté London’s Fierce Flicks Precision-Tip Liquid Liner has a consistency that’s buttery soft and long-wear pigment that won’t budge. The pen rests comfortably in your hand, and its felt tip is firm, which makes creating a cat eye or a sharp, dramatic look a breeze — even for crepey skin. It’s a wonderful choice for a classic black eyeliner, and because of its ease of use, it’s also a must-have for unstable hands. Bonus! 

Ona happy Amazon customer claims it “makes the cat eye itself,” while others love that it “lasts all day” and “won’t rub off or crease.”

ILIA Clean Line Gel Liner

Best smooth eyeliner
best eyeliners

Buy from ILIA, $26

Why we like it:

  • Available in black or brown
  • Effortless application
  • Cruelty-free

When it comes to easy application, this Clean Line Gel Liner by ILIA is our pick. Its smooth-as-butter formula effortlessly glides onto your lids and under eye to create a defined line, and stays dewy just long enough for you to blend. Once set, it’ll stay put all day long. This silky gel eyeliner comes in black or brown (we recommend trying one of each!), and best of all, its clean, carbon black-free composition is also cruelty-free.

One reviewer with crepey eyelids was hesitant about using a creamy eyeliner, but was wowed by the fact that this one stayed in place and was “super blendable” without transferring to her eye crease.

Glossier Pro Tip Brush Point Liquid Eyeliner

Best precision eyeliner
best eyeliners

Buy from Glossier, $18

Why we like it:

  • Flexible brush tip
  • Quick-drying formula
  • Vegan

For the most defined, precise application, we recommend this Pro Tip eyeliner from Glossier, which features a flexible brush tip to create the exact line you’re going for. The deeply-pigmented, quick-drying formula won’t smudge and lasts up to 12 hours, so you can rest assured your bold eye will hold strong from day to night. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and has even been deemed safe for contact-wearers by ophthalmologists!

One happy customer said this was the “best eyeliner” she’d used in 40 years (!), while another was so impressed by the fact that it didn’t smudge, she bought extras so she’d never go without!

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