Comparison | MAC Black Eye Pencil Liners

A black liner is de rigueur in any makeup collection. It is not surprising then that MAC has a range of black pencil liners in varying formulas that fulfil different makeup purposes.


Crayon black, smudgeable, smooth. Good for a smoky eye but won’t last long on your lid without a base.


Grey black, smooth, waterproof, once set. The most waterproof formula. Good for tightlining and lining the waterline.

For the latter, setting with powder eyeshadow is ideal. Sadly, its hue does not endear itself to me – it just isn’t black enough. For a soft and lasting smokey eye, this would be it.


An intense, richly pigmented black, super smooth and very smudgeable.

I LOVE its depth of colour. Unfortunately, this one smudges like crazy and has absolutely no hold. You will need eyeshadow to set this. However, doing this usually takes away its richness…leading to yet another makeup conundrum.


Similar to the grey black of Engraved, skips a little upon application, smudgeable.Unlike Engraved, it has the potential to be blacker with more layers. Its biggest drawback is its mechanical/self-sharpening packaging. Although it is deceptively more convenient to use than the other pencils which require sharpening, the product does not always sit securely in the barrel. I have experienced and seen Technakohls that have snapped off or were completely loosened from the packaging. One way to circumvent this is to scroll them up to reveal only a little nib; just enough for application.

I used to like Smolder for its blackness…but the luxuriant black of Feline raised the bar! Funnily enough, I was under the impression that Kohl Powers combine the best of two worlds – the intensity of kohls and the waterproof quality of the Powerpoints. I’ve since realised that the word ‘power’ refers to the rich concentration of colour, not durability.

As you can probably tell, I’ve yet to find my holy grail black pencil liner. Ideally, it would be a hybrid of Engraved (waterproof) and Feline (intensely black). Even with careful layering of the two, I can only achieve a semblance of what I want. All the black waterproof pencils that I’ve come across do not have the richness and darkness of Feline. They are either plain black or worse, veer on pewter.

It would be perfect if MAC could come up with one pencil with the qualities I desire (are you listening, good people at MAC?)!


Product Name Description by MAC Weight & Origin Price (USD/SGD) Lasting Power (on a scale of 1 to 4; with 1 being the most lasting) Colour Intensity (on a scale of 1 to 4; with 1 being the blackest black)
Eye Kohl in Smolder A soft-on pencil liner that lines, defines and shades the eyes with rich colour and a silky-smooth, matte/pearl finish. Ophthalmologist tested.

1.45g/ 0.05
US oz

Made in Italy

US$14.50/ S$27 3 2
Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved Waterproof. Longwearing. Metallic, shimmer and matte finishes. Smooth to apply. Won’t transfer, smudge, or budge… Draws the line: powers your eyes. Makes its point. Lasts.

1.2 g/ 0.04

US oz

Made in Germany

US$14.50/ S$27 1 4
Kohl Power Eye Pencil in Feline A kohl pencil that has all the intensity and colour power of ultra-soft carbon. Specially formulated to provide deep, fully opaque coverage, provides an intense, smoked finish with duo-chrome pearl. Versatile in application: blend or smudge.

1.5 g/ 0.05
US oz

Made in Italy

US$14.50/ S$28 4 1
Technakohl Liner in Graphblack A mechanical pencil-style liner. In formula, soft and creamy, with an intense, rich, colour deposit. Blends on application: dries quickly to a long-wear, non-smudge finish. Versatile. An easy way to line the top and lower lash line of the eye. When applied at a 90 degree angle, provides a thin precision line. For thicker application, apply at a flat angle. 0.35g/ 0.012
US ozMade in Germany
US$14.50/ S$29 2 3

A larger/clearer version of the table above:

The list of liners here is by no means exhaustive. Excluded from this comparison are Eye Pencil in Ebony and Black Funk from Dual Edged Pencil in Black Funk/Pop Blue.

I do, however, have Eye Pencil in Indigo. If Ebony is anything like it, it would likely be both precise and soft in effect, depending on stroke intensity and nib sharpness. Like the Eye Kohls, Eye Pencils are rich in colour but they are not as intense as the former. They last slightly better than the Eye Kohls but not as well as the Technakohls. In addition, the Eye Pencils are generally harder in texture than all the other pencils.

MAC Eye Pencils are now US$13, an increase from US$12.50. They should cost around S$26 in Singapore.


  • Decorative Diva says:

    I’ve owned Smolder, Engraved and Graphblack.
    Smolder smudged all over the place on me.
    Engraved smudges a lot, too.
    GraphBlack doesn’t smudge too much, but it still does a bit, usually under my eyes.
    The MAC MA’s had me buy Bare Canvas and told me to put that under my eyes to prevent transfer, but it didn’t really work.
    I’ve been using Aromaleigh’s indelible gel eyeliner, which works well. I’ve also used MAC’s liquid last liner in Point black, but I find it more difficult to apply.
    Do you like Feline a lot?

  • makeupmag says:

    Hi Decorative Diva!

    Thanks for sharing your experience. :)

    I’ve heard similar feedback; in particular, that of Graphblack. My MA loves Graphblack and it stays on her.

    Unfortunately, after this same MA did a mini makeover on my friend using this pencil to tightline, it disappeared within minutes.

    On me, it doesn’t smudge terribly, if given time to set. However, Engraved stays the longest on my eyes.

    A point to note: I always set my liners with shadow.

    I’ve modified my post to include the things I didn’t have time to type up last night. I hope you find it useful!

    To answer your question: I love Feline for its colour but not its lasting power (or more accurately, its lack of it). :)

  • Amanda says:

    hello! i’ve recently chanced upon your blog and i’m superrrr in love with all your posts. looks like i’ve a lot to catch up on. haha.

    i’m hopeless at making up. do you think you could include some how-to-make-up tips in your posts? (: would really loooove to learn how to make up properly. heh.

  • makeupmag says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you for your positive comments; I really appreciate them. :)

    I’m actually very behind on makeupstash posts – there’re so many posts-to-be in my head that I’ve yet to write! *wry grin*

    I’ll likely write some how-to posts too but if you live in SG and would like a hands-on experience, I conduct personal makeup workshops. You can email me at mag at makeupstash dot com to find out more. :)

  • UptownGal says:

    hi Mag! silly me. i didn’t realise i need to click on the actual post (and not from the tags on the side) in order to post a comment.

    EXCELLENT blog! best makeup blog i’ve seen ever!

    anyway, for everyone who has oily eyelids (like me), i recommend the Bobbi Brown gel liner. so far it has the best holding power (comparing Mac Engraved pencil, Mac gel liner and BB gel liner). it still smudges a little at the outer corners of my eye but well, not perfect but it’s still the best so far.

  • makeupmag says:

    Hi Uptowngal,

    Thank you for your uplifting comments! :) There are a host of wonderful beauty blogs out there (take a look at my sidebar).

    I’ve friends who absolutely love BB Gel Liners and I’ll definitely try them as soon as I’ve made dents in the gel liners I have, lol! ;)

    Pencils work for me but yes, YMMV and some (waterproof or not) do not work as well for others as they do me.

    Have you tried Kanebo Kate’s gel liners?

  • UptownGal says:

    Haven’t tried Kate’s liners yet… but I bought Majolica’s liquid eyeliner… initial observations show that it’s even more smudge proof than BB’s gel liner. Heh. But the true test will be when I use it tomorrow… the hot afternoon sun during lunch is the best test of staying power on oily lids. ;)

  • makeupmag says:

    Hey Uptowngal,

    You may like to try K Palette’s eyeliner, as well as Kate’s.

    The latter is much loved by SQ flight attendants for ease of application and the former is apparently very lasting…and popular in Japan! :)

  • makeupmag says:

    Oh, I also wanted to say –

    Pencils in general do not last as well as liquid liners because of their formula. What I always do is set Engraved with a powder eyeshadow. This helps it to last. A dry base also seems to keep liners from smudging (hence my suggestion of using a primer/powder as base before application).

    By the way, you’re right about Engrave’s uniform appearance in your blog – this is why I also use it as an eyeshadow base for a smoky eye; it blends beautifully over a slightly emollient base (usually my tinted sunscreen/moisturiser)! ;)

  • UptownGal says:

    I just bought Majolica's liquid liner in black (BK999 or sthg). Used it to line my upper lids, but below my lashes (is this what you call "lining the waterline"?).

    It's been great the whole morning. No smudges as yet! (The best I found before this was Bobbi Brown's Gel Liner but even that has some very very faint smudges at the corners of my eyes on mornings tt are hot & humid).

    I recommend the Majolica one for people with oily lids!

  • makeupmag says:

    Ah! I’ve wondered about the MJ, Uptowngal! Thanks for the feedback.

    Below the lashes would be tightlining. ;)

  • Tanner says:

    are the kohl powers ophthalmologist tested, like the eye kohls?

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Tanner,

      It isn’t stated on the MAC website. However, they ought to be safe. I know of many people who use it on the waterline.

  • Tanner says:

    okay. thanks! great article!

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