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Beauty/Makeup/Eyes/Eyeliners
Top 10 Eye Brightening Pencils

This Product Is Like An Instant Eye Lift—Here Are The Internet's Favorites

“I woke up like this” isn’t just a mantra bestowed onto us by a certain Queen Bey. It’s also a lifestyle. Pulling off an aesthetic that looks as though it requires literally no effort and is somehow still camera-ready does, in fact, require effort. Your outfit—or that thing you “just threw together”—probably combines the comfort of sweatpants, the chicness of a power suit, and the classic vibe of a denim jacket. Your hairstyle—or the “bedhead” you woke up with—is a carefully put-together messy bun or ponytail. And your makeup is probably “no-makeup makeup,” otherwise known as very light coverage, a few layers of mascara, lip balm, and the ultimate secret weapon for convincing everyone that you actually got eight hours of sleep: eye brightener makeup. 

It’s not eyeshadow, and it’s not exactly eyeliner either, but it deserves the spotlight just the same. Eye brightener is a niche product—a translucent, nude-like powder or pencil that makes your eyes look as if they’re straight out of a makeup ad: bright, wide, and full of dimension. In other words, effortless. Still, you don’t necessarily need concealer or other eye products to reap the benefits of a brightening pencil. Read on for our top tips.

How To Use An Eye Brightening Pencil

Eye brightener should be applied the same way you would an eyeliner: just under or directly onto the lower lash line, depending on your level of sensitivity. If you want to draw less attention to that area, use a small angled brush to blend out and diffuse the line, which will add more dimension and blend seamlessly into your overall complexion. If your end goal is a bolder makeup look, eye brightener also makes an excellent primer for eyeliner by enhancing the top color. To top it all off, eye brightener can also double as a brow illuminator when you want to lift and define your arches. Simply outline the bottom end of your brow and use a brush to blend it out for a natural-looking highlight. 

If you want to add an eye brightener to your routine for the first time, you probably aren’t sure where to start your search. Lucky for you, we’ve gathered the best eye brightener pencils out there, keeping price and user-friendliness at top of mind.

How We Found The Best Eye Brightening Pencils

As always, we compiled this list by consulting our ultra-smart and unbiased algorithm, a proprietary tool that picks products by analyzing a range of data like editor reviews, expert recommendations, and social media buzz. Brighter days are ahead—literally. Keep scrolling for the must-know details on these top-rated pencils.

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September 28, 2022

Words:Rank & Style

Product Expert:Georgia Jones

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Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.

The Rankings


Chantecaille Brightening Eye Kajal In Nude

Our Score

4.25

Best For Redness

USER REVIEW
"Amazing product! If you are looking for the perfect eye opener look no further. After one use, the difference was unbelievable. My eyes looked brighter, less tired, redness disappeared, and complimented my whole makeup application. A game changer!!!"

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT
This formula is clear of harsh toxins like parabens and phthalates in addition to being cruelty-free.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Essence Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil In Silky Nude

Our Score

4.4

Best Affordable

WHO'S IT FOR
New to eye brightening pencils? Pick this one, it's only $3 so you have nothing to lose.

USER REVIEW
"I use this as a lower lash water line liner. Only one that stays put all day. I've tried many many other ones even the expensive ones and you cannot beat the price. Best yet"

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Trish McEvoy Eye Brightener Pencil

Our Score

4.4

Best Jumbo

WHY IT MADE THE LIST
This portable jumbo pencil has a creamy consistency that smooths onto the skin and can be used in a number of ways. Apply it to the inner corners of the eyes, along the lashline, or onto the brow bone for added brightness.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
This highlighter pencil is super gentle, making it a must-try for those with sensitive skin.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Tarte Fake Awake Eyeliner

Our Score

4.45

Best Universal Nude

WHY IT MADE THE LIST
This eye-opener comes in the most beautiful, universally flattering shade of nude meant to be worn on the lower rim and inner corners of the eyes. The formula is also infused with aloe and antioxidants for added moisture and protection.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
The built-in smudger can be used to blend out your lines for a diffused finish.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener

Our Score

4.55

Best Light-Reflecting

WHY IT MADE THE LIST
The Brilliant Eye Brightener goes on like a cream liner but dries down to a powder consistency that gives the eyes an instant lift. The pencil is also boosted by the brand’s proprietary Ring Light Technology, which features “light-reflecting smart pigments” that turn the dial down on imperfections around the eyes.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
A slew of skin-loving oils provides nourishment with each application—think macadamia seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and vitamin E.

More Colors

More Colors

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


MAC Cosmetics Colour Excess Gel Eye Liner In Incorruptible

Our Score

4.55

Best Long-Lasting

WHO IT'S FOR
If you're in search of an eyeliner that glides on smoothly, this gel formula is the one for you. It's rich and bold with amazing color payoff, so you can pull off any look with ease. And reviewers reported that the 24-hour promise is true, as this liner lasts for a full day's duration.

WHERE TO WEAR
This liner is perfect for use on your waterline thanks to its precise tip and smudge-proof formula.


Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighting Duo Pencil

Our Score

4.6

Best Multitasking

WHY IT MADE THE LIST
Take your makeup from day to night with this dual-ended brow highlighter that can also be used around the eyes for brightening. One end is a matte highlighter for creating soft daytime looks, and the other is a shimmery highlighter for a metallic, nighttime finish.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
The Duo Pencil is formulated with vitamin E for moisture, and the shimmer side is enriched with other nourishing ingredients like castor seed oil and aloe leaf extract.

More Colors

More Colors

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl Eyeliner Pencil In Eye Cheat

Our Score

4.6

Best Hydrating

WHY IT MADE THE LIST
Nothing beats the color payoff of kohl eyeliner, especially if it’s waterproof like this one. The Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eyeliner provides the silky precision of a liquid liner and promises to stay put for up to 14 hours.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
Crushed pearl powder is also included in the formula to help boost natural collagen production in the skin.

More Colors

More Colors

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Make Up For Ever Aqua Resist Color Pencil Eyeliner In Sand

Our Score

4.8

Best Waterproof

WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT
For a long-wearing, waterproof eyeliner, you can't go wrong with this formula. Alongside its built-in sharpener and twist-up packaging, it provides up to 24 hours of bold color and precision with no smudges, pulls, or blemishes. And it's safe for sensitive eyes as it was ophthalmologist-tested.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
This eyeliner comes in both matte and pearly finishes, so you can have the best of both worlds.


NYX Professional Makeup Jumbo Eye Pencil In Milk

Our Score

4.85

Best Overall

WHY IT MADE THE LIST
Minimalists and makeup artists alike will adore the versatility and price point of this affordable multitasker. An eyeliner and eyeshadow in one, it can be used to line, prime, fill in, or highlight, depending on your mood and skill level. Plus, the jumbo applicator and silky-smooth formula ensure easy application and blending.

USER REVIEW
“This is so easy to blend out and gives the perfect pop of color to any eye look! I bought multiple colors and use them almost daily! These have definitely become some of my new makeup staples!”

More Colors

More Colors

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free

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