Eyeliner Basics

Eyeliners are an essential for any makeup box, but when it comes down to deciding on a type of eyeliner, you have to take certain things into consideration. 

How precise do you want your lines? How bold do you want the lines to be? In what style do you intend to wear the eyeliner (everyday, cat-eye, drag, etc.)? Where are you going to be wearing it (work, clubbing, etc.)? Will you be wearing it on the top or bottom eyelids? 

Welcome to Eyeliner Basics, a handy-dandy little guide where you can figure out the pros and cons of each type of eyeliner before making any purchases.

Eyeliner pencils

Eye pencils are the most fundamental types of eyeliners, and also are the cheapest. Every makeup brand – from cheap dollar store lines to luxury cosmetics – has a selection of eye pencils in at least a handful of colors. Some are 24-hour wear, some are gel liners, some are kohl, some are retractable, some are metallic and there are plenty more options in between.

Pros of eyeliner pencils:

  • Can be smudged with a fingertip or brush for a more dramatic/smoky effect
  • Usually cheaper in comparison to liquid liners
  • The pencil itself won't dry out and become unusable (if stored correctly)
  • Perfect for applying color to the water line to enhance the appearance of the eyelashes (a.k.a. tightlining)
  • Easier to remove, making mistake correction a little simpler than liquid liners
  • Some can double as eyebrow pencils
  • Dries quickly when applied (if drying is necessary, such as with gel pencils)
  • Generally a better choice for everyday wear or more subtle application 

Cons of eyeliner pencils:

  • Can be smudged on upper eyelids due to sweat or tears
  • Not as bold as liquid liners
  • Fade more easily than liquid liners
  • Not precise
  • Require sharpening (sometimes)
  • Tips can break off if sharpened too much or if pressed too hard against the eyelid
  • They can tug on the eyelids, making application uncomfortable 

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner
Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner is a unique gel-based pencil that delivers richly pigmented color and precision lining with resistance to sweat and humidity for 12-hour wear. It has a twist-up design that lets you apply on the go, while a built-in sharpener ensures the most precise application every time. This Eyeliner features super-saturated color that doesn't flake and stays color true all day. Plus, its silky-soft and creamy texture gives it a lightweight, comfortable feel without tugging or pulling.

Liquid eyeliners

You can find liquid eyeliners in a variety of forms too: brushes inside of bottles or felt-tip. Some brushes are flat while others have a more tapered edge, and certain brushes are better suited for certain applications. A flat brush is going to be better for simple lines, while a tapered brush (such as a felt-tip one) will work considerably better for a cat-eye look. Much like their dry counterparts, liquid eyeliners have their own upsides and downsides.

Pros of liquid eyeliners:

  • Precision
  • Bold colors
  • Last longer than pencils before fading or smudging
  • Felt-tip eyeliners offer a constant stream of ink, making for consistent lines
  • Great for the cat-eye look or much more dramatic looks, such as drag / stage makeup
  • Better control of line thickness (more so for felt-tip)

Cons of liquid eyeliners:

  • Some don't dry very fast once applied and can easily smudge if you blink
  • Creates a more noticeable mess if your eyes tear up
  • Felt-tip eyeliners can become clogged with eyeshadow and stop working
  • Messier than pencil liners (and thus more difficult to correct mistakes)

SK-II Color Clear Beauty Liquid Eye Liner
SK-II Color Clear Beauty Liquid Eye Liner

SK-II Color Clear Beauty Liquid Eye Liner is so smooth and draws fine lines which fully fill the area between lashes, creating different looks and gives long-lasting and anti-smear color. It contains clear Radiant Complex E formula, which moisturizes fragile eye skin, making eyes look bigger and more radiant.

As you can see, each type of eyeliner has its advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on where and how you intend to wear the eyeliner that will determine which type you should go with. 

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