Makeup » Main Types of Eyeliner: Which One Is Right for You?

Main Types of Eyeliner: Which One Is Right for You?

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Your first task in your foray into the world of eyeliner? Deciding what format will be most appropriate for your lifestyle and your beauty needs? Today, we will explore the multifaceted world of eyeliners, taking a closer look at their many forms, from gel to liquid.

Do you have sensitive eyes? Do you want subtlety or impact? While many women choose a formula and stick with it, we encourage you to experiment. All of these eyeliner types are adaptable and easy to apply with a firm and steady hand.

In this article:

Liquid Eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner pulls back the curtains on a show of drama, spectacle, and allure. Liquid eyeliner is a go-to for evening dates, midnight soirees, and rock and roll day ‘n’ nights. We love liquid eyeliner because it is statement-making and creates a crisp and clean line.

Liquid eyeliners come in matte, shimmery, satin or sparkly finishes, allowing for a customizable look. You are able to create a romantic touch of darkness around your waterline or create a thick and forceful style. Marker type liquid eyeliners are a fun and enjoyable formula that makes liquid products more approachable.

Liquid eyeliners can create a flawless line, which is perfect for making an unapologetic sartorial statement. A word of caution to this end, however: liquid eyeliner is not amenable to a smudged, smokey look. You must be patient and intentional with your application. Any deviations will look messy and flawed.

Insider tip? Use a spoon to help guide the perfect cat eye shape! Liquid eyeliner is best complemented with a full coverage look, including foundation, contour, and mascara.

A liquid eyeliner on its own may look stark and unappealing when paired with a natural makeup style, but looks beautiful when paired with gradient eyeshadow and thick eyelashes. Keep in mind that a gel eyeliner can flake off, and it is valuable to spend more time and money looking for a longer-lasting product.

Gel Eyeliner

Gel eyeliner certainly takes some of the guesswork out of the application process! Gel eyeliners traditionally come in pots and can be applied with an eyeliner brush or a Q-tip if necessary.

Gel eyeliner straddles an appealing line; it can create a precise and thick eyeliner look or can be applied light handedly to create a subtle smokey style. You can smudge the gel as you go to create a less dramatic look. You also have the freedom to choose whether you want to use a thin, angled brush or a more tapered one to control the outcome of your style.

We love gel eyeliners because they are a concentrated product, and a little goes a long way. This makes them stars on the layering and blending front.

A negative element of gel pots is that they can dry out quickly when exposed to air, and the eyeliner brush can become crusty if not cleaned regularly. Regular use of an eyeliner brush can increase the likelihood of an eye infection, so regular washing is a necessity.

Creating a neat waterline can be more challenging and requires a skilled hand with gel products. Gel eyeliners can also tighten as they dry, tugging on the delicate skin of your eyelids.

Kohl Eyeliner Pencil

The queen of eyeliners, kohl goes back through the centuries, where it was historically used to create an inviting and feminine appeal. Kohl eyeliner is the perfect frontrunner for creating a wildly sexy smokey eye look.

The ideal pencil eyeliner will be well composed enough to create an even line but soft enough that it doesn’t drag. The best kohl eyeliners will be soft enough for smudging. A tender and gentle flick around the lash line can create an imperceptibly defined and feminine look.

Pencil eyeliners are still one of the easiest and most effortless formulas for creating a well-defined and clean waterline look. Creating a tight-lined look with a kohl pencil promotes the appearance of rounder eyes and fuller, lusher eyelashes. Just ensure that your pencil is not too sharp to avoid any mishaps!

Pencil eyeliners are generally less waterproof and stubborn than gel and liquid eyeliner and often require more frequent reapplication. They are also more prone to creasing. A thick under-eye concealer and primer will assist you in creating a more seamless beauty look.

Solid Gel Automatic Pencil

A newcomer to the beauty arena, gel pencils combine some of the best features of a pencil and a gel in a portable and effortless format. Gel pencils enable you to easily create a smudged, densely colored line without toting around a gel pot and eyeliner brush.

Keep in mind that gel pens are best for creating a hazey, smudged look and are not appropriate for sharp, clean lines or cat eye styles. Gel pencils are also a flexible choice for creating a rock and roll thick line around the waterline and lash line.

We love gel pencils for beginners who want a product that is creamier than a pencil but easy to blend and control.

How to Apply Eyeliner According to Eye Shapes

Eyeshadow Eyeliner

Whether you’re in a pinch or prefer a subtle, less pigmented look, an eyeshadow can be used as an effective stand-in for traditional eyeliners. Eyeshadows can create an understated halo effect that creates subtle definition. Eyeshadows are perfect for nailing a soft, intriguing look.

Dip the brush in water for a denser dose of pigment. Be aware that eyeshadow will irritate your waterline so is best used along the rim of your upper eyelashes and under your lower lash line.

Waterproof Eyeliner

Just when you thought the plethora of eyeliner options was intimidating enough, a new element is thrown into the mix! Many popular eyeliners now come in waterproof formulas.

Waterproof eyeliners are not for everyone but they can be essential for women who engage in athletics, love late night dancing, or who have a busy jet-setting schedule. We love waterproof products because they allow you the freedom to forget about reapplication!

While they are more challenging to remove, there are many gentle makeup removers on the market, and this should not dissuade you from experimenting. A waterproof gel or kohl pencil is a perfect union that results in a long-lasting smokey look. This is a good choice because these formulas are traditionally more prone to smudging and migrating into the crease of the eyes and lids.

The Significance of Skin Type for Choosing Eyeliner

While eyeliner does not sit specifically on the skin, your skin type does impact the longevity of your eyeliner.

  • Dry skin types enable eyeliner to last longer but drier skin commonly comes in tandem with a more sensitive skin profile. Be cognizant of choosing a product that is designed for sensitive skin and eyes. You want to ensure that you don’t experience eye irritation or redness. A soft gel or delicate and fast drying liquid formula will create a crisply lined appearance. Pencils and powder eyeshadows may dry out your eyes and increase the likelihood of redness.
  • Women with oilier skin types need to keep in mind that eyeliner reapplication will be a part of the deal. Oilier skins promote the migration of eye products. Carrying a few Q-tips will be beneficial in maintaining a clean and flawless eye look. Kohl eye pencils will be the best for oily skin types because they are formulated with less moisture than gels and gel pencils. An eyeshadow powder is a great option for soaking up excess oil. Nowadays, wonderful setting products and primer shadows can be used on the lid to promote longevity.
  • A word of caution that we must address. For women with blemishes, or an uneven skin tone, a more dramatic and thick eyeliner look can draw more attention to your imperfections. A smudgier and understated eyeliner look will be more appealing and effortless and will actually draw attention away from your imperfections. A crisp liquid eyeliner can come across as harsh and disjointed when paired with an uneven skin tone or poor skin quality. We do not want to discourage women from choosing their favorite product based on their own preferences, but we do feel like this caveat should be mentioned.

Photos via @_joanh, Instagram