Eyeliner Cover Shot

Love bright, bold eyeliner? Me, too. The only thing that bums me out is when you buy something you think will be one gorgeous color, but it turns out to be a completely different shade despite the packaging and (possibly very obscure) name.

I tried 10 different ones, all under $20, to determine which offers the smoothest glide and prettiest shades. From ultra-light yellow to deep green, dark magenta to bright blue, here are several stick eyeliners that can fit in your budget and won’t be a disappointment. Plus, these might wind up being the perfect (and easiest) addition to enhance your Halloween costume this year!

Also, I know I look rough in a lot of these pictures; I’ve been fighting off allergies and what I suspect is a cold for a while. :(

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Eyeliner in Cobalt ($9)

L'Oreal Colour Riche in Cobalt L'Oreal Colour Riche in Cobalt

This is a perfect bright blue and is very true to the color on its packaging. It drags a little when you apply it, but if you warm the tip between your fingertips for just a few seconds, application will be considerably easier.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Mainline ($19)

Urban Decay 24/7 in Mainline

I love how this feels on my eyelid when I apply it — it glides beautifully, living up to its name — and I think the shade is really accurate to the packaging. It would be flattering on a variety of eye colors and skin tones. However, it wasn’t quite as long-lasting as other UD 24/7 eyeliners I’ve tried.

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear in Banana Split ($9)

Sephora banana split eyeliner

I have this shade in Sephora’s eyeshadow and I have to admit, I like the eyeliner version much better. The shadow isn’t nearly as bright, but this is a pretty great pencil. Plus, it’s extremely blendable and soft, making it a great option for a Halloween costume.

Tip: If you apply it overtop white pencil with a bit of translucent powder on it, the yellow will be insanely bright and won’t come off for ages.

Maybelline Master Smokey in Blue Blaze ($8)

Maybelline smokey eye in blue blaze

Sadly, this was probably my least favorite. It was different to apply (the crayon tip is huge) and the built-in smudger was no help. I would have liked it much better it the pencil itself were small, though the color smeared relatively easily and I just wasn’t super into the shade itself.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in Shimmering Plum ($19)

Make Up For Ever Eyeliner in shimmering plum

I had never actually tried any Make Up For Ever pencils in any shade other than black, so I was curious to see how it held up. This shade is gorgeous and very accurate to the cap. It was unflattering to my complexion, though, but I can see how it would look wonderful on anyone a little less pale. It was long-lasting, staying put all day after I applied it.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeliner in Blue ($1)

Wet N Wild eyeliner I’m a big fan of wet n wild products; they’re so inexpensive but I never seem to be disappointed. This is a nice, deep navy blue that will apply easier is you do the same tip trick where you warm it with your fingers first. For the price, it’s A+!

tarte skinny smolderEYES in purple garnet ($19)

Tarte SmolderEYES

This shade looked like it would be a rich purple-reddish shade, which I think is a great color on so many people. It’s extremely easy to apply, gives a very bold line, and I loved how it looked on my blue eyes.

CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in Red Hot Flame ($6.49)

CoverGirl Flamed Out

This is an easy-to-use shadow pencil, but it’s thick, so if you’re looking to make a thin line, this will probably be a little different. That said, it’s a gorgeous shiny magenta shade that would work well for any costume calling for a bright pink lid. You could probably even use it on cheeks or lips, too, for a wild monochromatic look.

Buxom Hold The Line Waterproof Eyeliner in Door’s Unlocked ($17)

Buxom Eyeliner

This shade is absolutely gorgeous, I love it. It’s the perfect iridescent purple, so if you have any eye color ever, it will look amazing on you.

NYC Eyeliner Duet in Mockingbird ($2)

NYC black and white eyeliner

This inexpensive duo is surprisingly effective, with white on one end and black on the other. (They also have lots of other duos, mostly including black, in the event you’re looking for a different set of shades.) It applies well, stays on for hours and looks great. Just a note, though: if you’re looking for a matte white, this pencil offers more of a shimmery white-silver.

Bonus: CoverGirl Ink It in Aquamarine Ink ($6)

CoverGirl Ink It aquamarine eyeliner CoverGirl Ink It aquamarine eyeliner

Honestly, I was pretty sure I would hate this shade since my eyes are blue and most bright blue liners look weird on me. However, I absolutely love it, and it would be excellent for any mermaid, fairy or other fun, ethereal costume. If you have a tan or deep skin tone, I guarantee this will look amazing on you. I wasn’t planning on including this in my roundup, but I found it amongst my makeup and tried it on the other day, and figured I had to share!