The Best Liquid Eyeliners: Stila vs. Kat Von D

Over three thousand years ago, Queen Nefertiti, her eyes lined with black kohl, ruled over ancient Egypt amongst the pyramids erected in the sand. Her husband was a Pharaoh, she a symbol of beauty, power, and change. Her bust, painted on ancient limestone, remains one of the most iconic and memorable relics of a civilization past. 

Though I often critique the beauty ideals that have me lining my eyes almost every day, I am reminded, three thousand and three hundred years later, that a powerful and revered woman outlined her eyes for armor and strength. 

Beauty trends come and go: contouring might be a thing of the past in five years, and Kylie Jenner lips outdated, but black eyeliner is here to stay. Which brand, then, does Nefertiti justice? After three millennia, have we mastered the art of the liner?

I tried and tested two of the most talked about eyeliners online and sought to find out for myself in a battle for the ages:

Round 1: The brush

With a brush tip instead of a more traditional felt one, the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner is more unique by design. This, according to marketing language, ensures a precise application, allowing for crisp, thin lines. Compared to the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, the brush is a tiny bit shorter (though barely). It does feel softer than when applying the Stila liner, and it does seem to create a thin line. However, I find I have more control with the Stila eyeliner. 

Felt being a bit more stiffer than bristles on a brush, I have an easier time gliding the Stila liner over my eyes to get the desired shape...and get it right on both eyes. But felt tips are prone to fraying, and I do sometimes have to pull a "hair" to reshape the tip, something I haven't had to do with the Kat Von D offering.

Winner: Tough call, but Stila wins this one. Though Kat Von D held her own really well. 

From left to right: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner and Kat Von D Tattoo liner 

From left to right: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner and Kat Von D Tattoo liner 

Round 2: The formula

Kat Von D's formula is a smidget more matte, but it's also noticeably less opaque. When swatching the two formulas on my arm, I had to go over the Kat Von D line twice as much as the Stila one. Honestly, this made me wonder why people rave about the Kat Von D liner so much. While it's great if you want a more subtle black line, it's impractical when attempting a bolder look as you have to go over it a few times (and therefore making it less likely to achieve a thinner line). Stila's formula is incredibly black with just one swipe. 

Winner: Stila, by a mile

Round 3: The longevity

Kat Von D's formula is pretty long-wearing, but as it's not opaque, it doesn't hold a candle to Stila. I never have to reapply my eyeliner when wearing Stila's offering. With Kat Von D's, however, the formula disappears from the outer corners of my eyes after the course of a day. 

Winner: Stila all the way

From top to bottom: Kat Von D Tattoo liner and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner

From top to bottom: Kat Von D Tattoo liner and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner

Round 4: Ethicality

While Stila states it does not test on animals, it misleadingly circumnavigates the fact that it does by stating: Stila Cosmetics does not test any of our products on animals, nor do we ask others to do so on our behalf, unless it is required by law in countries where our products are distributed.”

Because Stila is sold in China, and because China requires animal testing on all cosmetics, Stila tests on animals. Kat Von D, however, is 100 % cruelty-free. 

Winner: Kat Von D, you go girl 

Final Thoughts:

In terms of brush and formula, I find the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Eyeliner to be the best I have ever tried. It's incredibly easy to use, it's long-lasting, and it's opaque. It's what eyeliner dreams are made of, and it would make Nefertiti proud. 

However, because the brand tests on animals, I will unfortunately not be repurchasing it. While Kat Von D can't, in my opinion, claim to have the best eyeliner (especially compared to Stila), it still remains a good eyeliner. So while I'm not completely devastated by having to ditch the Stila eyeliner since Kat Von D remains a solid option, I shall nonetheless deeply miss it...

What's your favorite eyeliner? Which ones makes you feel like the most bad-ass Queen of the Nile?