Atsushi Takatori is a professional hair and makeup artist. In addition to his work on commercials and magazines, he's earned his reputation among actresses and athletes in Japan. He has a unique ability to draw out the beauty in his clients both male and female through his proficiency in a natural makeup style. His skills in creating the appearance of naturally dewy skin, as well as his airy hairstyles have earned him the nickname "the wind master."
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As the name implies, waterproof eyeliners are durable against moisture. Not only does this make them great for the summer, when we get sweaty, but also for beach or pool days, as well as for those whose eyes tend to get watery from allergies.
What makes Japanese waterproof eyeliners different, though, is that unlike their Western counterparts, Japanese waterproof eyeliners are also smudge-proof and resistant to friction, making them functional and long-lasting, especially when you plan on having your makeup on for extended periods.
Compared to non-Japanese waterproof eyeliners, many users claim that Japanese waterproof eyeliners stay on longer throughout the day as well as feature narrower tips that make it easier to draw thin, precise lines. They also often offer vibrant and bold colors, as well as are easily removed with the appropriate makeup remover when it comes time to take it off.
Keep reading to learn more about the best Japanese waterproof eyeliners!
Here, we want to introduce four points you should look out for when picking out a Japanese waterproof eyeliner.
Broadly speaking, eyeliners are either liquid, pencil, or gel. They might all be waterproof, but the form an eyeliner takes will have a big effect on its finish.
Liquid eyeliners allow you to draw bold, sharp lines, drawing attention to your eyes. They also feel smooth when applied, with minimal friction felt.
Liquid eyeliners can broadly be split into two groups; brush or felt-tipped.
Brush-tipped liquid eyeliners have brushes with incredibly fine bristles with a diameter ranging from 0.01 to 0.1 millimeters and feel soft and supple. While you can draw both thick and thin lines with brush liquid eyeliners, the brush can move in all sorts of directions, so you'll need to adjust the amount of pressure you apply when drawing.
Felt-tipped liquid eyeliners are designed similarly to a marker, where the liquid is absorbed by a felt tip. These products allow you to easily draw steady lines and are beginner-friendly. However, since the felt tip doesn't flex much, it can be difficult adjusting the thickness of your lines.
When using a liquid eyeliner, don't draw your eyeliner in one long stroke.
Instead, angle the brush so it's a bit more flat against your eyes, and draw using shorter strokes, connecting shorter lines.
There are eyeliners that you have to sharpen like a traditional No2 pencil; others have refillable cores that you can twist out. Pencil liners are relatively easy to use, which makes them more beginner-friendly.
Even if you mess up, you can blur, erase, and adjust the line to a certain extent. They also come out to a softer, more natural finish.
Waterproof pencil eyeliners are not only good for drawing lines, but they're also versatile, and can also be used to color in your eyebrows. You can also use your finger to intentionally smudge the pencil eyeliner a bit to blend it in. Moreover, while most think that pencil eyeliners tend to catch their skin, causing lots of friction, there are plenty of products that you can draw smoothly with.
Pencil eyeliners can be broken down into two types: standard pencils and twist-out core pencils.
Standard pencil eyeliners require you to sharpen them like a regular pencil you'd use to write or draw on paper and depending on how you sharpen them, you can adjust the thickness of your lines. However, some pencils have a pretty hard lead which might be less pleasant to use when drawing your eyeliner.
Twist-out pencil eyeliners often have soft lead and can be used to smoothly draw lines. Since you don't need to sharpen them, they're great for those who don't like spending too much time prepping their makeup products or for beginners. However, if you twist out too much of the lead, it can break. Some products don't even let you retract the lead that you twist out, which can also make them difficult to use.
Pencil eyeliners can be easy to use with one simple trick: use your other hand to tug your eyelid to give it some tension, making it easy to draw neat, fine lines.
Also, when drawing the outer corner of your eye, try to start by drawing from the outside, moving inwards to prevent your eyelids from catching onto the pencil.
Gel eyeliners have a smooth, buttery feel to them, and offer a slightly fuzzy finish that looks a bit like a crayon, allowing you to create fashionable eyes with little to no skills.
Gel eyeliners are broadly separated into either pencil gel eyeliners or jarred gel eyeliners.
Most pencil gel eyeliners are the kind where you twist out and can be used to draw the outline of your eyeliner as well as to color in the spaces between your eyelashes. However, since they have a soft core, they can easily break.
Jarred gel eyeliners are applied using a brush, which may or may not be supplied with the product. While they can be used to draw intense, bold lines, the gel can also easily harden. Moreover, jarred gel eyeliners are a bit more difficult to adjust the amount you want to use, requiring a bit more skill and experience.
Filling in the space between your eyelashes can give you a neat finish.
However, if you blink before the eyeliner dries, you might get some color onto places where you don't want it to go, so be sure that it dries.
Waterproof and smudge-proof eyeliners will likely last you all day, saving you the hassle of constant touch-ups.
Smudge-proof eyeliners are resistant to sebum and can help your eyeliner stay on even when you have oily skin or if you use liquid foundation or concealer around your eyes.
However, smudge-proof eyeliner can only protect against sebum, and won't hold up against water, friction, or even humidity. If you want to protect your eyeliner from friction, look for products formulated for friction resistance.
Eyeliner that comes off with warm water doesn’t react to sweat or lukewarm water, but as soon as it comes into contact with water around 100℉, it starts to come off, making it gentler on the skin.
Waterproof and smudge-proof eyeliner has a higher adhesion to the skin, so even if the manufacturer claims they can be removed with hot water, it may be difficult to remove entirely.
When you rub at your eyes to remove eyeliner, you're paving the way for hyperpigmentation and will develop a dull, sunken-eyed look, so it’s important that you find an eyeliner that’s easy to remove.
However, as we found out from our tests, no matter what the product is, it's best to use a makeup remover anyway to be sure that your eyeliner is completely removed.
Even if you find a brand or a color that you like, if the eyeliner is inconvenient to use, it may affect your finish. Be sure to check how the eyeliner feels to use, especially how it feels on your skin and how easy it is to hold.
What makes an eyeliner feel good to use:
Be sure to watch out for eyeliners that feel abrasive, as this can cause the delicate skin around your eyes to become rough. Also, eyeliners that take forever to dry can possibly lead to the eyeliner getting on places you don't want it to.
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Cezanne Gel Eyeliner
Excellent Finish That Is Smudge Resistant But Also Easy To Remove
Kate Rare Fit Gel Pencil
Quick-Drying Eyeliner With Deep Color That Sticks To The Skin
IBERIS PMEL Cream Shadow Liner
Easy Application With Steady Color With No Budge
The Rose of Versailles princess Antoinette Gel Pencil Eyeliner
Rich Color That Is Gentle on The Skin And Easy To Grip
Integrate Snipe Gel Liner
A Smooth Gel Eyeliner That’s Resistant to Water, Oil and Friction
Déjà Vu Lasting Fine Cream Pencil
Its Soft and Smooth Oval Core Makes It Easy to Draw and Easy to Remove
CAMMAKE Creamy Touch Liner
Resistant to Water And Oil But Hard To Draw
CAROME. Liquid Eyeliner
Easy To Draw Delicate Line But Smudge With Water + Rubbing
Deep, Vivid Color But The Liquid Drips
K-Palette Real Strong Eyeliner 24hWP
"Great Finish But Takes Time To Remove "
Major affordable cosmetics brand Cezanne's Gel Eyeliner is formulated to also be used as an eyeshadow by rubbing it on. The tip is a little firm, but the cap is easy to remove, which is great in terms of application.
We could draw a strong, vivid line without smudging or clumping. It was also easy to draw even delicate lines such as at the crease and corner of the eyes. In addition, the product hit a perfect score for its smudge resistance. The color did not come off at all even when we rubbed it with water and oil. So even there would be little need to reapply when you are at the beach or pool.
When it was time to take it off, the eyeliner was also easy to remove with a gel or oil makeup remover. It’s a great product that offers a steady color, is smudge resistant, and is easy to take off.
Rare Fit Gel Pencil from Kate claims to be smudge resistant to sebum and rubbing. The product was hard to remove with water and gel makeup removers, but it easily came off with an oil remover.
It would be hard to correct the line when you have a mishap, but it has a smooth application.
The feel of the product was on average but it scored higher points for its smudge resistance. In addition to the fact that there was no smudging after spraying water and oil, the color did not fade even after rubbing it off. So it is great for the hay fever season when you would touch your eyes a lot.
It was easy to draw a delicate line from the inner corner to the outer corner of the eye, and the intense color made the eye to stand out. It dries quickly and doesn’t budge or transfer color so it is great for those with monolids or hooded eyes.
IBERIS PMEL’s Cream Shadow Liner features three colors with subtle, natural tones. The color faded when we rubbed it with water and oil, but didn’t come off easy when we rubbed it with a soft pressure, so we gave it an average score for smudge resistance.
Although we can’t deny that the color had clumps and some fell off, it had a smooth application and was easy to blend. There was also no budging, smearing or color transfer when blinking. In addition, the deep brown color we used for the test was great for highlighting the eye contour while creating a softer look. We could easily remove the liner with a little blending with any types of removers, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin.
Bandai's Creer Beaute Rose of Versailles features a 1.5mm gel barrel. The product also contains nine beautifying ingredients, providing eye care. When removing it, make sure to use an oil remover, since oil cleansers were the best at removing this product.
While some may not appreciate how once the pencil core is pushed out of the barrel it can't be retracted, it was easy to grip despite the barrel being quite thin. We also loved how when applying, the eyeliner felt smooth on the skin with minimal friction.
It is resistant to water, oil, and friction, so you can rest asured you won't have to worry about smudging. In terms of the finish, we couldn't draw as straight of a line as we'd have liked. However, it had a solid, rich color, so we gave it an average score.
Integrate's Snipe Gel Liner is formulated to be resistant to sebum and features an ultra-fine 2mm core. The vibrancy of the color wasn't as intense, which some may appreciate, but it adheres to the skin well and is easy to draw thin lines, which earned high scores in terms of finish.
Our testers liked how the gel wasn’t sticky at all and had a smooth feel, its retractable core, and its tightly closing cap.
In our smudge resistance test, we found that it withstood everything we threw at it, refusing to come off with oil, water, and friction. This waterproof eyeliner would be great not only for those with oily skin or in the summer, but also for those who have allergies and tend to rub their eyes frequently.
Imju’s Déjà Vu Lasting Fine Cream Pencil features an ultra-fine oval barrel and is formulated to be resistant to sebum, sweat, tears, and friction. While we found that this product wasn't as strong against friction as the manufacturer claims, we did confirm that it can withstand water and oil, so we gave it an average score.
This product allowed us to confidently draw fine lines all the way to the outer corners of the eyes, We also found that the lighter color of the product added a subtle amount of definition to our eyes. Our testers liked the fact that you can retract the core, as well as how smooth it felt to apply, earning it a high score in our feel test.
When it came time to remove, this eyeliner took some time to remove with a water cleanser, but it worked great with gel and oil cleansers, coming off almost completely with just a light sweep.
CAMMAKE’s Creamy Touch Liner features an ultra-fine 1.5mm barrel and it claims to be hard to remove once it dries and adheres to the skin. While it didn’t smear, the fact that the tip bended easily while drawing was a major downside, so we gave it a low score in terms of application.
Despite the product labeling says "intense color," the color actually wasn’t very intense, but since there were no problems with overall coloring, we kept an average score for the finish of the product. But the color almost never faded when we rubbed it with water and oil so the eyeliner scored higher points in terms of removal. It is not only resistant to sweat, tears, and sebum, but we would also recommend it for those who touch their eyes often. It didn’t come off easily with a water-type makeup remover, but worked with gel and oil removers with careful blending.
CAROME. Liquid Eyeliner from I-ne, produced by model Akemi Darenogare, claims to stay on for long hours but is also easy to remove. Although it didn’t smudge even when we rubbed it with oil, the color faded when we rubbed it with water, so we gave it a low score in the smudge test.
However, we gave it high scores in terms of the finish, easy removal, and feel of the product. The fact that the cap was tight and needed to add pressure to open could be a negative point for some, but the brush was moderately firm and had a gentle feel against the skin. The color was deep and we could draw a nice, delicate line to the outer corner of the eye and it matched well with the skin. We also liked how it was removable with all types of makeup removers by easy blending.
Stage Liner from Sanzen comes with two different textures of blacks; with and without shine. All the testers gave low scores in terms of application as the liquid came out too much and it was hard to adjust the drips. So we would say it is not for easy everyday use.
The deepness and vividness of the color were more than enough, but the liquid dripped and stuck to the corners of the eyes. It was just not easy to draw a clean line so it scored low in the finish test as well. However, the product received a perfect score in the smudge resistance and removal tests. The color did not fade at all even when we rubbed it while covered in water and oil. It was hard to remove with oil makeup remover, but it came off easily with water and gel types.
K-Palette Real Strong Eyeliner 24hWP from Cuore claims to be resistant to sebum and rubbing. It also contains beauty ingredients. The eyeliner was hard to remove with all types of makeup removers and we also had to blend them in hard to take it off so we gave them a low score in the removal test.
On the other hand, it earned a perfect score in terms of finish of the product. The color was glossy and rich, and we could draw delicate lines without smearing. The weight of the product makes it easy to grip, the brush is flexible, and the cap closes securely. In the smudge resistance test, the color faded when we rubbed it after spraying water, but perfectly stayed on with oil, so we gave it an OK score. The color won’t come off as long as you don’t rub it too much.
We gathered 28 popular Japanese waterproof eyeliners from Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme and tested them for their smudge resistance, removal, finish, and application.
In choosing a waterproof product, the most important thing to consider is its durability.
First, we tested how water-resistant the product is. We applied the liquid eyeliner to synthetic leather and let it dry for 30 seconds, and then sprayed it with exactly two sprays of water. We left it in that state for 30 seconds, rubbed it once with a cotton swab, and checked how much color came off.
After that, we reapplied the eyeliner, replaced the water with horse oil, and tested its resistance to oil using the same process.
We then graded each eyeliner on a five-point scale from 1.0 to 5.0 and gave a perfect score to the ones that refused to come off at all with both water and horse oil.
The products that earned a score of 4 or above in this test didn't lose any color even after water, oil, and friction were applied. Of which, they were mostly gel or pencil waterproof eyeliners, meaning that if you want something that can withstand most things, consider a gel or pencil.
On the other hand, liquid waterproof eyeliners either lost color or became runny and wore off when water, oil, and friction were applied. While the liquid eyeliners withstood water and oil, they couldn't stand up to friction. If you have allergies and tend to rub your eyes frequently, consider a non-liquid waterproof eyeliner for best results.
Next, we tested the finish of the waterproof eyeliners. For this test, we asked makeup artist Atsushi Takatori to evaluate and comment on the finish of all waterproof eyeliners.
The products with the best finish from an expert's perspective were given a score of 5.0.
Next, we looked at how easy each eyeliner was to remove. Even with waterproof eyeliners, you ideally want a product that comes off easily when it's time to take them off.
We applied all the products onto our arms and then we tried removing them using three types of makeup removers (water, gel, and oil) and checked how easily the waterproof eyeliners came off. We gave a perfect score of 5.0 to the ones that came off with all three types of makeup removers.
Finally, we tested the feel of the products.
We gathered several Japanese staff from mybest's editorial team, all with different eye shapes, and had them use each waterproof eyeliner to test how they felt, including how easily they applied and how hard the caps and brush tips are.
We gave a perfect score of 5.0 to the ones that were easy to apply and felt great to use.
There are plenty of other Japanese eye makeup products out there for you to try! We've tested them all, gathered information from experts, and created handy buying guides for you to reference if you're looking for more.
No. 1: Cezanne | Cezanne Gel Eyeliner
No. 2: Kanebo Cosmetics | Kate Rare Fit Gel Pencil
No. 3: pdc | IBERIS PMEL Cream Shadow Liner
No. 4: Bandai | The Rose of Versailles princess Antoinette Gel Pencil Eyeliner
No. 5: Shiseido | Integrate Snipe Gel Liner
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