Face Off | Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner vs. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner


I’m a liquid liner kinda gal. I’ve loved the winged liner look ever since my junior year of high school, when my mom took me to a  Lancome counter before Homecoming. The woman tried her darndest to teach me how to create a perfect cat eye…and even though it took several years to perfect, I stuck with it. (Looking back at photos of myself from that era make me cringe…Oh how far I’ve come.)

Now, winged liner has pretty much become an everyday thing for me. There are obviously a million ways to wear liquid liner, but I especially love to pair a dramatic flick with a red lip. It just feels so classic and polished!

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years, is that it’s all about having the right tools. I’ve tried lots and lots of different liners, but I discovered the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner about two years ago, and it immediately became a staple. Last fall, however, I began hearing lots of people talk about the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner. I decided to give it a try, and I’ve been testing it out, side-by-side with the Stila liner for the past four months.

Here’s how the two stack up…

I’m going to preface this comparison by saying that I am not a makeup artist. As much as I love makeup, the products that I reach for on an every day basis are usually the ones that are the easiest to use. In general these are the things that I want out of a liquid eyeliner:

  • Quick drying: There’s nothing more annoying than applying the perfect winged liner, only to end up with product all over your eyelid because you forgot to let it dry before opening your eye.
  • Jet Black: Some eyeliners don’t apply completely opaque. They’re extra watery, and so they end up looking like black watercolor on your eyelid, as opposed to a solid black line. I also prefer a matte finish.
  • Waterproof: My eyes are quite watery and so I need something that doesn’t wear off part way through the day.
  •  The “Goldilocks” Tip: I’ll explain this more below, but I’m quite picky with the tip of my eyeliner. Not too stiff, not too flexible– just right. (Man, I didn’t mean for that to sound so dirty…)

With that in mind, here’s how the two liners are described on Sephora’s website:

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner [Trooper]

A liquid eyeliner with an innovative brush tip for effortless, precise application.

Achieve eye perfection with this high-pigment, waterproof liner that stays put all day for a fade-, melt-, crack-, and run-resistant finish. The superfine and flexible brush tip glides across the lashline for incredibly fluid application, allowing you to create a variety of looks with ease. Unlike traditional felt tip liners, this brush tip will not fray.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner [Black]:

An easy-application, waterproof liquid liner that stays on all day and night.

This easy-glide, quick-dry precision liner stays in place until you say when—no smudges, feathering, or running. The thin, marker-like tip is easy to use, even for the beauty beginner, and delivers any look—from a thin line to a bold, dramatic stroke. It goes on smoothly without skipping, smudging, or pulling, and lasts all day.




Both liners come in a sleek black, pen form with a spring-loaded cap that helps to keep the product from drying out.

The Kat Von D liner is actually a brush made from super fine, ultra smooth bristles. But unlike other brush-tip applicators, the Kat Von D one doesn’t fray at the tip. I’ve had mine for several months and used it almost to completion, and the hairs have held their shape perfectly.

On the other hand, the Stila liner has a thin, felt tip applicator. While it claims to be “marker like,” it’s nothing like the pseudo-sharpie liners created by some brands. (I’m lookin’ at you NYX.) The felt tip is flexible enough to create the perfect flick, but doesn’t bend all over the place (*ahem* Loreal). For me, this is the perfect “Goldilocks” tip– not too stiff, not too flexible, just right.

Unfortunately, though, I found the Kat Von D brush tip to be so smooth, that it was quite unforgiving to anything less than a perfectly steady hand. When they say, “incredibly fluid application,” they’re not joking around. I actually found it more difficult to create a perfectly smooth line on my eyelids because the brush provided so much slip. While I’m sure this is great for pros who’re looking for something to give them perfect, precision applicator, I definitely prefer the Stila liner for everyday use.


Both of these eyeliners claim to be waterproof, and for the most part, I’ll agree. (I should note that I do wear both of these eyeliners on top of eyeshadow and primer. I can’t say how either would perform on bare skin.) I have cried hysterically while wearing both of these products, and both held up.

I have extremely watery eyes, and I notice that throughout the course of the day, the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner tends to crack and flake of at the very outer corners where my eyes tear up. I’m not sure how it’s able to withstand full blown ugly crying and not allergy-induced watery eyes, but I guess that’s just how it is…

My Stila liquid liner, on the other hand, stands up to just about anything: accidentally rubbing my eyes, sobbing through a movie, walking through pouring rain, the zombie apocalypse… Okay, maybe not the last one, but I’m telling you: It doesn’t budge.

As for color and finish, Kat Von D takes that round. It is a blacker black, and it dries completely matte, though I find it takes noticeably longer to dry. However, the Stila liquid liner is a strong contender, and I probably would never have noticed a difference in color or finish if I hadn’t tried them side by side.

The short Version

So, who’s the winner in each category?

  • Long Lasting/Waterproof: Stila
  • Matte Black Finish: Kat Von D
  • Ease of Application: Stila
  • Pricetag: Tie (Okay… technically Kat Von D is $1 cheaper, but that’s not exactly going to break the bank.)

While I’d consider these two products extremely comparable,  I think the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is still my favorite. I’d definitely recommend it over other liquid liners to beginners, and maybe even for seasoned veterans. Maybe it’s out of sheer loyalty, but at the end of the day I want something quick and easy.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this! Hopefully this has been helpful to those of you looking to try out a new liquid eyeliner. I think the  one from Eyeko is the next on my list…

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything I didn’t consider! (Or, if I’m missing out on the world’s best liquid liner!)