I was late to the liner game, outside of smudgy kohl that is. I lost literal hours to the flimsy liquids with limp bristles and runny formulas. For the longest time I gave up, but eventually the appeal of the vintage wing and the graphic liner drew (get it?!) me back in.

Over the years with many trials and even more tribulations, I’ve been loving three distinct styles of liner that have proven foolproof and failsafe no matter what the occasion; be it trying to look put-together in work or trying something new for a night out.

Besides their sweet smellies, Soap&Glory also put on a cracking show in the cosmetics aisle. For a long time felt-tip liners were my lifesavers, but to many let me down with wobbly nibs or pallid pay-off. Somehow, I came across Soap&Glory Super Cat liner, and I never looked back. Sturdy, solid and lives up to its “carbon black” claim. I’ve even been inducting my sister into the liner love-in and have recommended she start off with this beauty. They hit the nail on the head with a formula that’s wet enough for instant transfer, making a tight-line or a guide point (hands up who maps out their wing?!) but dries quick enough that your hard work isn’t undone by a sudden sneeze. The simplicity of Soap&Glory makes it a sure-fire every day essential for work, or a simple Saturday face.

Benefit They’re Real Liner was big news when it launched. Harnessing the staying power of gel in the convenience of a pen, it took a couple goes to get the knack but it was soon my go-to for days, and nights, when I need something that won’t budge or a trip away where I need something I can rely on. I will say that the intense dry-down means layering over already-set liner is next-to impossible, and it doesn’t always apply well over shadows. Don’t be put off by the dry excess in the nib when you reach for it the next day, the fast-drying formula creates a seal so the rest of product stays fluid. The main upside of this formula feature is that these wings aren’t flying off anywhere any time soon. I especially call on this when I’ve a whole day ahead of me, from work to dinner to drinks, or when I need a retro-inspired wing for a night out. It’s also become the one I recommend when a fellow makeup fanatic inquires after “a good liner”. I also warn good luck getting it off without some serious makeup remover.

Last, but by no means least; the liner that keeps on living, the go-to for graphic liner, expert tight-lining the upper waterline for lashes with extra oomph – no liner line-up would be complete without Maybelline Lasting Gel Liner. I’ve had this so long they’ve changed the packaging and the accompanying brush (I can’t see why, because this brush was fantastic!) As I said, it keeps on giving no matter what the occasion, especially if you’re feeling adventurous. The trick is to get a good brush, or two perhaps a stiff angled brush and a thin eyeliner brush (bent on purpose to ease of application) and just have a good ole’ play! Many high-end gel pots have great claims, but I’d be surprised if any had a patch this Boots-bought beauty.

May your eyeliner be ever the blackest-black, and your wings, at least somewhat, even …