Types of Eyeliner and Which is Best for You?



Eyeliner is definitely an option, not a must when applying your makeup. There are definite benefits to wearing eyeliner, but only if you choose the right formula for your desired effect. Poorly applied eyeliner will make you look older and your eyes appear smaller, whereas properly applied eyeliner opens up the eyes.

pencil is the most commonly used eyeliner, simply because it is the easiest to control, and if you make mistakes, they are easy to fix. There are many pencil textures available. Some are dry and hard, some are creamy and glide on effortlessly. In the past, many women felt the need to soften their hard, dry pencils with a lighter or a match. Thankfully, most pencils now contain silicone, which enables them to glide on smoothly and makes them easy to smudge and blend. The best choice is a pencil with just enough silicone to glide on easily, but not so much that it smears or travels. Be sure your pencil is at least water-resistant, so it will stay put and not smudge. Pencils come in mechanical and wood types. A mechanical pencil does not need to be sharpened; simply twist to extend the product, then apply. If your pencil is wood, you control the point; sharpen before each use, because the sharper the point, the better the application.

liquid eyeliner is a colored liquid that is applied with a fine-tip applicator for perfect precision. You will find multiple applicator options, depending on the brand and formula—everything from a fine-tipped brush (the most common) to a felt-tip pen or pointed, sponge-tip applicator. Liquid liner is usually long-wearing and looks the most dramatic. Because of this, it might not be the best choice if you want to create a soft definition along your top lash line. Liquid liner is a good choice to use with strip false eyelashes because it can successfully conceal the band of the false lashes. Liquid eyeliner should only be applied along the top lash line, never along the bottom lash line, because it looks too harsh and unnatural.

crème or gel eyeliners are usually packaged in a pot and are applied with a fine-tipped brush. They provide a similar effect to liquid eyeliner, which means they can be quite dramatic. Also, because they look much like liquid eyeliner, you should only apply them along the top lash line, never along the bottom lash line, where they will look harsh and unnatural. One big positive is the fact that they dry much quicker than liquid, which makes it easier to use without smearing the liner all over the place. They also tend to be long-wearing.

cake eyeliner is a pressed powder–like a product that is usually applied with a damp eyeliner brush. It may look like eyeshadow, but it is actually more heavily pigmented and denser in texture. Most formulas (the classic versions) work best when using a damp brush, but with some formulas, you can use your brush dry. Using a cake formula with a dry brush provides a subtle effect. When applied with a damp brush, it provides a more dramatic definition. Dampened cake eyeliner gives a similar effect to liquid eyeliner, but it’s much easier to control.


You can use any powder eyeshadow as eyeliner; all you need is the perfect brush to create the effect you want to achieve. This will give you the absolute most natural and subtle definition along your lash line.


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