If the saying is correct and the eyes have “it,” what does “it” even mean anyway? As you can see from the following categories, eye makeup means everything from a stiletto-sharp cat-eye to a no makeup-y cream liner — not to mention high-impact mascara and brow gel go-tos.

In preparation for the Allure Best of Beauty Awards: Eye Makeup, we editors have been swatching and swiping no shortage of formulas, and products that work for both night-out smoky eyes and more demure — but just as interesting — work-day looks. Our intrepid testing may have filled our small apartment closets and turned our vanities into a mountain of merch, but it led us to some real winners.

Take, for instance, Ami Colé’s Lash Amplifying Mascara, a first-time champion that’s our new-go to for those days when only high-drama will do. Or Hourglass Cosmetics Voyeur Waterproof Gel Eyeliner, which just might be your new, everyday, black eyeliner. And we’re not immune to the Euphoria effect — Donni Davey’s Half Magic Face Gems made the cut, because guess what? Sometimes the TikTok hype lives up to the real deal.

We picked these products not just because of the final result, but the entire experience, from color selections and range to ease of application and how long it holds up after you post that selfie. And that’s how we define the eyes-have-it factor.

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Best of Beauty Awards 2022: Eye Makeup

Jump to your favorite category or keep reading to see every mascara, eyeliner, and brow enhancer:

Best Eyeliner (Pencil, Black): Hourglass Cosmetics Voyeur Waterproof Gel EyelinerBest Brow Gel (Tinted): Lawless Beauty Brow GelBest Mascara (Tubing): CaliRay Come Hell or High Water Volumizing Tubing MascaraBest Mascara (Volume): L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm MascaraBest Mascara (Length): r.e.m beauty lengthening mascaraBest Mascara (All the Drama): Ami Cole Lash Amplifying MascaraBest Mascara (No Drama): Clinique High Impact Zero Gravity MascaraBest Mascara (Brush Options): MAC MACStack Superstack Mascara MicroBrush and MegaBrushBest Mascara (Color): ITEM Beauty by Addison Rae Boost Juice Dual-Ended Lash Primer & Colored MascaraBest Eyeliner (Pencil, Light and Bright Colors): Florence by Mills What’s My Line EyelinerBest Eyeliner (Pencil, Deeper Colors): Kulfi Beauty Underlined Kajal Eyeliner (Berry and Terracotta)Best Eyeliner (Liquid): Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Matte Liquid EyelinerBest Eyeliner (Gel): About-Face Line ArtistBest Brow Gel (Clear): e.l.f. Cosmetics Brow LiftBest Brow Pencil: Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ Volumizing PencilBest Brow Powder: Joey Healy Luxe Brow PowderBest Brow Wax: Trio Beauty Butterfly Brow Lifting WaxBest Brow Conditioner: Revitalash Cosmetics RevitaBrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner & SerumBest Eye Shadow (Wand): Juvia’s Place Culture Duochrome Liquid EyeshadowBest Eye Shadow (Stick): Bobbi Brown Longwear Cream Shadow SticksBest Eye Shadow Pans, Pots, Palettes (1 Color): ColourPop Super Shock ShadowBest Eye Shadow Pans, Pots, Palettes (4 Colors): Tom Ford Eye Color QuadBest Eye Shadow Pans, Pots, Palettes (9 Colors): Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow PaletteBest Eye Shadow Pans, Pots, Palettes (15 Colors): Ace Beauté Tropical Vibes PaletteBest Eye Shadow Pans, Pots, Palettes (16 Colors): Nyx Professional Makeup Ultimate Queen Shadow PaletteBest Eye Shadow Pans, Pots, Palettes (30 Colors): Prados Beauty the Matriarch PaletteBest Lashes (Individual): Ardell Natural Individual LashesBest Lashes (Strip, Natural): Doe Lashes Cloud 9Best Lashes (Strip, Dramatic): ​​Kiss ​​Lash Drip Strip Lashes, You Dew YouBest Eye Jewelry: Half Magic Face Gems

Best Eyeliner (Pencil, Black)
Hourglass Cosmetics Voyeur Waterproof Gel Eyeliner 

Hourglass Cosmetics Voyeur Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

Why it won: If we’d had Hourglass Cosmetics Voyeur Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in the early 2000s, our Avril Lavigne-wannabe phase might have lasted more than two weeks. The creamy black glides on with ease and doesn’t smudge, feather, or fade.

Best Brow Gel (Tinted)
Lawless Beauty Brow Gel

Lawless Beauty Hold Up Soft Set Creamy Brow Wax

Why it won: Why is Lawless Beauty Hold Up Soft Set Creamy Brow Wax our tinted gel winner? Because while it does offer impressive hold (like a wax) its lightweight texture makes it, in our book, 100 percent a brow gel — and a really great one at that.

Best Mascara (Tubing)
Caliray Come Hell or High Water Volumizing Tubing Mascara

Caliray Come Hell or High Water Volumizing Tubing Mascara

Why it won: Caliray Come Hell or High Water Clean Mascara uses flexible polymers to wrap every lash in an itsy-bitsy tube that’s built to withstand smudging in the face of rain, sweat, tears and — the ultimate adversary — oily eyelids.

Best Mascara (Volume)
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Mascara

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Mascara

Why it won: The flexible, spiky bristles on L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Mascara ensure even the teeniest lashes get coated with its thickening formula. For deputy beauty director Elizabeth Siegel, it was love at first swipe. Her testing notes got right to the point: “This should win.”

Best Mascara (Length)
r.e.m beauty lengthening mascara

r.e.m beauty Lengthening Mascara

Why it won: We clicked out of a long-standing Google search for “lash extensions near me” seconds after applying r.e.m beauty Flourishing Lengthening Mascara. The tapered brush separates as it elongates for naturally fluttery results.

Best Mascara (All the Drama)
Ami Colé Lash Amplifying Mascara

Ami Colé Lash-Amplifying Mascara

Why it won: Some formulas get gloopier and gloopier with every additional coat, but Ami Colé Lash-Amplifying Mascara just gets better and better. The rich black pigmented formula won’t smudge, run, or flake.

Best Mascara (No Drama) 
Clinique High Impact Zero Gravity Mascara

Clinique High Impact Zero Gravity Mascara

Why it won: Like a Skims bralette, Clinique High Impact Zero Gravity Mascara delivers a little bit of lift, wears comfortably, and doesn’t require tons of effort to take off when you’re tired.

Best Mascara (Brush Options)
MAC MACStack Superstack Mascara MicroBrush and MegaBrush

MAC MACStack Superstack Mascara MicroBrush and MegaBrush

Why it won: Since even the best mascara is only as good as its applicator, MAC Cosmetics MACStack Mascara offers two options: The same lightweight, smudge-proof, buildable formula is available with a smaller Micro Brush for shorter lashes or a bigger Mega Brush that caters to longer ones.

Best Mascara (Color)
ITEM Beauty by Addison Rae Boost Juice Dual-Ended Lash Primer & Colored Mascara

ITEM Beauty by Addison Rae Boost Juice Dual-Ended Lash Primer & Colored Mascara

Why it won: Not to get all beauty magazine-y on you, but blue mascara really does make the whites of your eyes look brighter — also, it’s fun. ITEM Beauty by Addison Rae Boost Juice Dual-Ended Lash Primer & Colored Mascara makes a strong case for treating cobalt like a neutral.

Best Eyeliner (Pencil, Light and Bright Colors)
Florence by Mills What’s My Line Eyeliner 

Florence by Mills What’s My Line? Eyeliner

Why it won: We thought we were pretty happy people before — and then we discovered pastel eyeliner. Florence by Mills What’s My Line? Eyeliner in baby blue and lavender are the dopamine hits we didn’t know we needed.

Best Eyeliner (Pencil, Deeper Colors)
Kulfi Beauty Underlined Kajal Eyeliner

Kulfi Beauty Underlined Kajal Eyeliner

Why it won: When an eyeliner bills itself as long wearing, we take it as a personal challenge. Let’s just say the score came out to Kulfi Beauty Underlined Kajal Eyeliner: 1. Us: 0. We’ll even throw in an extra point for the gorgeous shade range, which includes terracotta, blue, and berry.

Best Eyeliner (Liquid)
Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Matte Liquid Eyeliner

Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Matte Liquid Eyeliner

Why it won: Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Matte Liquid Eye Liner “is a classic for a reason,” says news editor Nicola Dall’Asen. Or, rather, many reasons: The precision tip, transfer-resistant formula, and matte finish chief among them.

Best Eyeliner (Gel)
About-Face Line Artist

Why it won: If you were the type of kid who always wanted the jumbo-size box of crayons, you’ll love About-Face Line Artist. The Brights Collection contains eight rainbow hues of long-wear gel eyeliner practically begging to be mixed and matched.

Best Brow Gel (Clear)
e.l.f. Cosmetics Brow Lift

e.l.f. Cosmetics Brow Lift

Why it won: We don’t recommend using superglue as brow gel, but you could probably use this brow gel as superglue. e.l.f. Cosmetics Brow Lift coaxes even the most unruly hairs into submission and ensures they stay that way all day.

Best Brow Pencil
Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Pencil

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Pencil

Why it won: You can use Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Pencil to draw tiny strokes in sparse areas or to beef up what you’ve already got going on. The formula is infused with fibers that cling to existing brow hairs, resulting in a fuller, fluffier look.

Best Brow Powder
Joey Healy Luxe Brow Powder

Joey Healy Luxe Brow Powder

Why it won: : In the right hands, powder can create natural-looking, subtly defined arches. In the wrong hands, it can create a Groucho Marx situation. But Joey Healy Luxe Brow Powder is so finely milled, it’s almost impossible to overdo it, no matter your skill level.

Best Brow Wax
Trio Beauty Butterfly Brow Lifting Wax

Trio Beauty Butterfly Brow Lifting Wax

Why it won: Don’t you dare pause to check your phone after applying Trio Beauty Butterfly Brow Lifting Wax — you’ve got just a few seconds to brush your brows into place using the included spoolie brush. Because once this stuff sets, it really sets.

Best Brow Conditioner
Revitalash Cosmetics RevitaBrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner & Serum

Revitalash Cosmetics RevitaBrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner & Serum

Why it won: Swipe Revitalash Cosmetics RevitaBrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner & Serum over your arches once a day for eight weeks, and your brows may start to resemble a Chia Pet (in the best way). Calendula and B vitamins also help hydrate and soften.

Best Eye Shadow (Wand)
Juvia’s Place Culture Duochrome Liquid Eyeshadow

Juvia’s Place Culture Duochrome Liquid Eyeshadow

Why it won: Juvia’s Place Culture Duochrome Liquid Eyeshadow dazzles onlookers without requiring much effort on your part. The color-shifting shadow, available in four metallic hues, makes it appear as though you expertly blended several shades.

Best Eye Shadow (Stick)
Bobbi Brown Longwear Cream Shadow Sticks

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks

Why it won: We have, on more than one occasion, mistakenly picked up a Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick when rifling through our purse in search of a pen. That is to say, we typically have at least two or three of these easy-to-blend shadows (in both matte and shimmering finishes) on us at any given time.

Best Eye Shadow (Pots, Pans, and Palettes)
ColourPop Super Shock Shadow

Colourpop Super Shock Shadow

Why it won: “Creamy powder” is absolutely an oxymoron, but it’s the only way to describe the texture of ColourPop Super Shock Shadow. All 50-plus shades are highly pigmented, smooth on like butter, and come individually.



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