Eyeliners explained

Thursday, 4 July 2013

From a simple black pencil to a metallic pot of gel, eyeliners have become as varied as your favourite lip product. Despite the variety out there, many of us still struggle to make a choice between liquid, gel, pencil or pen.

Eyeliners explained

Here, our quick guide to understanding the different types of liners.

Pencil:
The most popular form of eyeliner, the pencil eyeliner resembles just that – a pencil. It comes in a vast variety of colours and must be sharpened regularly. Because of its texture, it can be applied to both the top and bottom lash lines, and smudges easily. As it is soft and blends nicely, it is not recommended if you want a precise line. We recommend OFRA Eyeliner and Elizabeth Arden Smokey Eyes Powder Pencil.

Pen:
Similar to the pencil but more precise, the pen eyeliner resembles a felt-tip pen and draws a neat line. The tip draws a slightly wet line but it is less messy than a liquid liner, as it cannot drip or spill. It’s convenient to carry around and the easiest way of getting a neatly lined eye. Think along the lines of your favourite felt-tip black Koki pen and voilà! Try Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen or Essence Eyeliner Pen.

Liquid:
Considered the most tricky to apply, liquid eyeliner comes in a tube with a thin brush. It is bold and slick once applied, and the product of choice for popular looks like the cat eye and Egyptian-style eyeliner. Designed to be applied to the upper lash line, it requires a steady hand, but leaves you with a well-defined line that’s both modern and retro simultaneously. For a precise line, use NYX Collection Noir Liquid Black Liner or Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner.

Gel:
Popular with professional make-up artists, gel eyeliner usually comes in a small pot or jar and requires a thin or angled brush for application. It has a creamy texture and glides onto the skin easily. Many women prefer it because of its versatility – it can be used to draw a defined line, but smudges equally beautifully when you use it for a smokey eye. Our team loves Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner and Stila Smudge Pots.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Choose the perfect mascara
Choose the right shadow for your eyes
Foundation types explained: Powder
Foundation types explained: Liquid
Foundaton types explained: Cream

Written by

Anien studied English and journalism before heading off into the world of beauty. An undercover "tree hugger" and fashion lover, she's usually found with her nose in a magazine. She has far too many bottles of nail polish and is completely lost without her lip balm. Anien on Google+

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  1. Jeanine

    I love NYX’s liquid liner pen in super skinny. So easy to use, a rich black colour and it lasts!

    3 years ago •

  1. Lah

    I only use eyeliner pens now. I love the Catrice one. When it gets dry (which they do quite easily), I just dip it into normal liquid eyeliner and use it as a brush. It is much easier to use that a normal long brush.

    5 years ago •

  1. Nadine

    Wish I had a steady enough had to be using gel or liquid, I’m sticking to my pencil – thanks.

    5 years ago •

  1. Moodley

    I love eyeliner. I use liquid eyeliner but I think I will try the gel eyeliner next time around.

    5 years ago •

  1. Karentjie

    Thanks, this has clarified eyeliners for me. I always end up looking like a panda when I use certain eyeliners.

    5 years ago •

  1. LauradT

    Love this article. I love gel liners as they last longer and are easy to apply.

    5 years ago •

  1. Rookaya

    Great article! Eyeliner is a must for me. I use the eye pencil to practice new looks and once I’m happy with my work I switch over to the liquid eyeliner.

    5 years ago •

  1. Dyibishe

    I want them all. I’ve got big eyes and it always helps to add colour and liner to them.

    5 years ago •

  1. StephanieM

    I love all liners great and small. Thank you for the usage clarification…

    5 years ago •

  1. anisha

    I have tried every type of eyeliner to no avail. I was left with panda eyes. I bought the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner and I am left with beautiful eyeliner which lasts!

    5 years ago •

  1. ChantelleMarais

    I love my pencil and charcoal eyeliner :) I battle with the liquid eyeliners.

    5 years ago •

  1. Lorraine

    I can’t go without my eyeliner but I only use the pencil ones as I don’t get it right with liquid eye liners. The gel liners seem good to try.

    5 years ago •

  1. McPherson

    I love any kind of eyeliner, but I find that the gel eyeliner works best

    5 years ago •

  1. Lucy

    i can do the pencil eyeliner perfectly – but the liquid eyeliner is still a huge struggle for me

    5 years ago •

  1. Heidi G

    I love liquid liners, and the latest products are so easy to use.

    5 years ago •

  1. voges

    I still can’t master the liquid eyeliner

    5 years ago •

  1. Sammy

    Such a variety to choose from, the pen is a steal!

    5 years ago •

  1. Azraa

    I have tried the Essence pen. It dried up really quickly, so it wasn’t worth it. I prefer pencil liners or gel liners.

    5 years ago •

  1. fay

    Essence eyeliner pen is such a steal, I love it!

    5 years ago •

  1. TJK

    I’ve never used a pen before! The gel appeals to me the most because of its diversity

    5 years ago •

  1. RoseAngel

    I only use the Bobbi Brown gel with a brush to apply. And you can apply it inside the lower lid as it does not burn.

    5 years ago •

  1. Cupcake

    I’l sticking with the eyeliner pen.

    5 years ago •

  1. Nicksta

    My favourites have to be the pen and gel liner. With the pen it’s much easier to create a winged out look.

    5 years ago •

  1. Abby

    Essence has a powder liner these days, I absolutely love it! The one I have is black with a little bit of blue glitter in it, it is stunning!

    5 years ago •

  1. Carlene

    I always wear eyeliner and am fond of both pencil and gel liners as both work equally well (I’m a contact lens wearer).

    5 years ago •

  1. Khensani

    I always thought eyeliner pens and liquid eyeliner were the same thing! But pencil and gel are really great for your water line. The Essence eyeliner pens are fantastic, they come on in a strong, solid black and last for hours!

    5 years ago •

  1. me

    Pencil the easiest for me to use. Found it is like graphite pencils, some are more soft than others and it is used for different effects.

    5 years ago •

  1. foreverGLAM

    Thanks. The others are tricky, I’ll stick to the pencil for now.

    5 years ago •

  1. ABeauty

    Hmm I hardly wear eyeliner only for nights out as my eyes are quite sensitive

    5 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    Gel liner is my favourite type. I am not too keen on the pen, and pencil is always there as a back up :)

    5 years ago •

  1. Pannack

    Love eyeliner but sometimes my contacts make my eyes too sensitive so it depends on the day! But I love a pencil with a smudger on it!

    5 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    The Maybelline Master Precise is amazing for fine lines and really accurate application. My only disappointment is that the tip stops absorbing colour after a month or two because of the build up from touching your eyeshadow. Haven’t found a solution to prevent it just yet.

    5 years ago •

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