It's definitely my most intense love/hate relationship. Who doesn't love the sultry effects of a perfect slick of liquid eyeliner? But if you're anything like me, you mightn't exactly enjoy (attempting to) apply it.
Still keep persevering (just make sure you have cotton buds and remover handy), because when done right, it's so worth it. One trick is to use a waxy pencil to draw the line you want on your lid. This helps 'hold' the liquid applicator and makes applying it in sweeping lines so much more manageable. Here are some of the best in the business.
Nars Eyeliner Stylo in Koala, €26
This grey colour from the four-strong Stylo collection (other shades include the usual staples of black, brown and navy) comes in a very precise liner pen with a well designed felt tip (ie, no uncomfortably tugging and it's thick too, making it easy to work with). Although the highly pigmented formula boasts great staying power, it comes off remarkably easily. A single sweep equals an opaque line in a dark shade that can be so much more flattering than black yet still provides good definition.
Rimmel Professional Liquid Eyeliner, €6.95
Perfect if you want a very fine, very black line with a matte finish. The tip is very thin, so it does take a bit of practice to get the look you want – it's not necessarily the best introduction to liquid liners for newbies. And make sure to give it enough time to dry and then it won't budge. It's versatile too, and works well if you prefer a bolder line.
Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner Pen, €25.41
Pricey, but gives great precision thanks to a very fine tip. Definitely requires some practice but once you get the hang of it, it's quick and easy to use for a crisp, glossy line. Waterproof and practically smudgeproof, it's flexible enough to be used for dramatic cat eyes or a subtle daytime look. Available in a highly pigmented black and brown.
MAC Penultimate Eye Liner, €19
Delivers a sleek fine line that makes lashes look luxuriant, stays put and is perfectly precise thanks to its super-slim nib. While it delivers a rich deep colour, it's not as highly pigmented as others. Use a primer first if you have oily lids. Good for novices.
Bourjois Eye Liner Pinceau in Noir, €8.99
Looking for a shot of jet black colour? Then this highly pigmented liner is the one. The brush is lovely and fine; just make sure not to overload it. And it definitely requires a steady hand (but don't they all?). It's worth taking the time though as the result is a clean and rich line that won't flake. And while it stays in place all day, it won't delay you at bedtime.
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, €19 (available from Debenhams and House of Fraser)
Stylish sleek packaging covers a thinly nibbed pen that produces a svelte opaque line that's surprisingly subtle and seemingly stays on forever – as long as you don't rub your eyes too much, that is. Nice glossy finish.
Dior Intense Liquid Eyeliner, €33
It promises an intense colour and, as you expect from this brand, it does deliver a blacker than black shade, but be warned you may have to reapply during the day. Still, once you've mastered the art of the thin black line, thanks to the precise felt tip, you really won't mind. It has a nice consistency that goes on easily. Lovely classy packaging too. Expensive but worth it as a payday treat.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, €22
This thick gel goes on easily, is great if you like a sexy, smudged effect or want to play with shape (a feline flick or winged eye) and, importantly, it lasts and lasts. The brush and colour pot packaging is really quite cute. Graphic Shimmer works for a soft smoky look, while the universally flattering Denim Ink offers a fresh alternative to boring old black. The colour offerings may not be terribly intense but they certainly are pretty.