21 Great Eye Liners That Are Not Black

I’m an eye liner girl. I have an entire drawer of eye liner — and it is not a small drawer. While I have plenty of black and brown eye liner, most of my collection are alternative shades. I have silvers and golds, dark greens and every shade of blue. I have champagne shimmer liners to use as a highlighter (Stila Angelfish is my favorite of those) and so many purple eye liners that I should be ashamed of myself.

Why do I have so many colors of eye liner? Using an eye liner that is dark but not quite black can take away the harshness but add a little much needed depth to an eye look! Sometimes a little eye liner is also a great eye shadow base, like in my green shimmer eye shadow look. Or, the liner can be the basis of an entire look, like the bright teal that I’m dying to create an eye look around (Urban Decay Electric).

I dug through my liner drawer and pulled out some of my best eye liners that are not black! All of these shades are currently available and will be a great choice to punch up your next smokey eye look. My favorite liners are from Make Up For Ever, Urban Decay, Stila and CoverGirl. I’ve found great shades as well from Elizabeth Arden, Pixi, Laura Mercier and L’Oreal. You’ll find great options at nearly every price point, just be sure to look for something other than black!

  • 21 Great Eye Liners that are not Black 1 of 22

    An easy way to punch up your eye look, or to make that harshness disappear, is to grab an eye liner that is not black! There are so many great options out there, here are a few of my favorites.

  • Urban Decay in Desperation $19 2 of 22

    This deep taupe-grey shade is matte and is only a few steps away from black for those that are afraid of venturing too far from their favorite shade. I love to use it in the place of black for days that black would be a bit too harsh but brown doesn't feel quite right.

    Urban Decay

  • Make Up For Ever in 12L $19 3 of 22

    This is an amazing metallic teal blue with green highlights. It works beautifully as a featured pop of color with an otherwise neutral eye or even over your entire lid for a fun look.

    Make Up For Ever

  • Urban Decay in Crash $6 4 of 22

    This deep eggplant with silver shimmer is one of my favorites and is about to disappear. It is considered a "vintage" shade, if you catch it on sale you should snag one while you can!

    Urban Decay

  • Artistry in Port Wine $23.50 5 of 22

    Absolutely breathtaking on the eye, this shade is well worth trying out Amway's surprisingly cutting edge skin care and makeup line.


  • Urban Decay in LSD $19 6 of 22

    LSD has a dark blue (almost navy) base with turquoise shimmer and glitter.  So much shimmer can be daunting, but on the eye it will mostly catch the light rather than appearing as a lot of glitter.

    Urban Decay

  • Smashbox in Penny Lane $20 7 of 22

    A brown-copper with shimmer, this Smashbox liner is waterproof and  smudge-free.  Thanks to the built-in shaper in the cap you'll never have to sharpen it!


  • Laura Mercier in Black Gold $20 8 of 22

    I can't use this pencil without getting the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies stuck in my head.  It is definitely more than an aged gold, I love to use it on my lower lid to add a little dimension to my lower lash. 

    Laura Mercier

  • Urban Decay in Underground $19 9 of 22

    Urban Decay has a large selection of brown-copper alternatives in their 24/7 eye liner formulation.  Underground has a touch of taupe added, and I love the copper shimmer.

    Urban Decay

  • Laura Mercier in Black Violet $20 10 of 22

    Definitely darker than other purple eye liners, Laura Mercier's Black Violet has a lot of a dark grey charcoal mixed into the color.  It's only a few steps lighter than black.

    Laura Mercier

  • Votre Vu in Aubergine $16.10 11 of 22

    Votre Vu's liner is perhaps the most subtle of the liners featured here.  Used as an alternative to black or brown it will just add depth rather than a pop of color.

    Votre Vu

  • Make Up For Ever in 3L $19 12 of 22

    This is a fun bright pop of color.

    Make Up For Ever

  • CoverGirl Queen in Amethyst $7.49 13 of 22

    Some of my go-to basic brown and black liners are from CoverGirl, but it is their CoverGirl Queen Vivid Impact Liners that really are amazing. While the range can be hard to find in stores, they are well worth the hunt!


  • Elizabeth Arden in Midnight $18 14 of 22

    The Smoky Liners from Elizabeth Arden have just the right balance between blendable and unable to smudge.  I love their Midnight pencil for the deep blue, but not yet navy, shade.

    Elizabeth Arden

  • Pixi in CopperGlow $15 15 of 22

    Exactly what it sounds like, this is a copper-brown base with bright gold shimmer.  It won't smudge or budge all day.

    Pixi Beauty

  • L’Oreal in Violet $8.95 16 of 22

    This Violet is both bright and a little bit plum at the same time. I've blended it out with black to bring out the plum tones and it is beautiful!

    L'Oreal Paris

  • Stila in Starfish $20 17 of 22

    This liner manages to be a khaki-green, brown and copper-gold tone all at the same time.


  • Make Up For Ever in 5L $19 18 of 22

    I've been craving antique gold tones for the fall!

    Make Up For Ever

  • Urban Decay in Uzi $19 19 of 22

    This amazing gun metal grey with silver shimmer is a great alternative to black or to add into a black smoky eye.

    Urban Decay

  • Make Up For Ever in 11L $19 20 of 22

    A fun purple for the beach or pool this summer.

    Make Up For Ever

  • L’Oreal HIP in Violet Volt $10 21 of 22

    I think this is the deepest of my purples, I love to smudge it all over my lid and pair it with black liner for a smoky eye in a flash.

    L'Oreal Paris

  • Laura Mercier in Brown Copper $20 22 of 22

    When I need an "everyday" alternative to brown liner, this is usually my choice. The dark copper shade is great for picking up my brown eyes and adds a little shimmer.

    Laura Mercier

Read more from Christine on Babble and her blog, 15 Minute Beauty. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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