Eyeliner Types

Jul 22, 2019 | Eyes

What eyeliner types are there and which one is the best for you?

Everyone agrees that perfectly applied eyeliner can make all the difference to elevate your whole look. It brings focus to your eyes and makes them look bigger and wide awake, if applied properly. But How do you know which eyeliner type to use?

Eyeliners mainly come in five types—Pencil, Gel, Cream, Liquid and Cake. While liquid, gel and cream liners give a bolder and more striking finish, they can be uncomfortable to work with as a beginner. On the other hand, Pencil liners give a more of a natural finish. They give you a great control and are thus recommended for beginners. Cake liners are also great for beginners because they are eyeshadow-based which makes them less messy and more controllable. The best tip to keep in mind is that practice and preference is always key to mastering any eyeliner look. To take it a step further, you could also use eyeshadow with a precise brush as a substitute for eyeliner.


The Five Basic Eyeliner Types:




Pencil Eyeliners

Pencil eyeliners take two forms, wax-based and powder-based.

Wax-based pencil eyeliners have a softer tip which makes the line go smoothly. But they smudge fast, and that makes them ideal to smoke out lines.  A great option for experts.

Powder-based eyeliners have a hard tip which is better for a natural looking line. However, they are less pigmented than creamy liners. A better option for beginners.

Examples of Pencil liners include Kohls, Kajals and Mechanical twist pencils.


Gel Eyeliners

Gels have an amazing creamy consistency which makes them glide effortlessly against the lid. Usually they come in pots and dry out fast. Sometimes they come in pencil shapes which are great to use in the waterline because they’re long lasting and don’t smudge once they dry. The Pencil shape gel liner is a favorite for beginners because of its ease to apply than the liquid liner.

Cream Eyeliners

Cream eyeliners are great for achieving eyeliner wings but unless they are waterproof they tend to rub off and smudge more than the other formulas. Thus they are not advised for beginners.


Liquid Eyeliners

They come in three forms: brush tip, felt tip and cushion liners.

Liquid liners have a water- like formula. They are the most advanced among all other types. They are unforgiving when you make a mistake but the best cat eyes are done with them. Felt or Pen based liquid eyeliners are easier to use than the ones with a brush. They dry faster than the brush liquid liners. A Cushion liner is basically a container that has a fully saturated sponge in it, and you use it by simply pressing your eyeliner brush into the sponge to pick up the product.


Cake Eyeliners

A Cake eyeliner is like an eyeshadow in a pot. You need to wet your eyeliner brush before you dip it into the cake liner pot and then apply it as an eyeliner. You can also smoke the liner out easily with it. Cake Eyeliners are great for achieving precise lines thus they are preferred by professionals. They are long-lasting and you can blend them out before they dry.

If you’re a beginner with eyeliner, I suggest you start with a pencil. Once you get more confident with using an eyeliner pencil you can switch to a gel pot and brush. The liquid pens are much more advanced and are better used when you master everything else.


The key things to remember when picking eyeliners are:

  • Liquid formula eyeliners are great for a sharp wing. They can be a bit messy with your first attempts, but you can clean up the mess easily with a wet tissue or cotton swab.
  • Cream-based eyeliners are good for smudging either on the lid, or on the waterline.
  • Gel-based eyeliner pencils glide on and stay put in the water line.
  • kohl eyeliners are good for pigmentation, and are great for smudging and darkening the water line. Also great for a smokey eye.
  • The liquid, cream and gel-based formulas that come with pots and angled brushes are best for the winged eyeliner looks.

If you feel confused on what’s the perfect winged liner for your eyeshape, check out my post about it here.


What kind of eyeliner you used when you drew your first winged liner?


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