top of page

Makeup Master Class: Eyeliner


Eyeliner is an option, not a have-to, when applying your makeup. There are definite benefits to wearing eyeliner, but only if you choose the right formula for your desired effect. Badly applied eyeliner will make you look harsh and make your eyes appear smaller, whereas properly applied eyeliner will open up your eyes, making them look bigger.

Pencil Eyeliner

Pencil is the most commonly used eyeliner, simply because it is the easiest to control and mistakes are easy to fix. There are many pencil textures available. Some are drier and harder, and some are creamier and glide on effortlessly. In the past, many people 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. Make sure your pencil is at least water-resistant, so it will stay put and not smudge. Pencils come in both mechanical and wood formulas. A mechanical pencil might not need to be sharpened, depending on the brand; simply twist it so the product extends out and apply. If your pencil is wood, you control the point. Sharpen it before each use to get the best application. The sharper the point, the better the application.

Liquid Eyeliner

This is a colored liquid that is applied with a fine-tip applicator for 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 to a 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 for you if you want to create a soft definition along your top lash line. Liquid liner is a good choice to use after you apply strip false eyelashes because you can successfully conceal the band with it. Liquid eyeliner should only be applied along the top lash line, never along the bottom lash line, where it looks too harsh and unnatural.

tip: You can turn any eye shadow into a liquid-looking eyeliner. Simply dampen your eyeliner brush and it sweep it across your favorite eye shadow.

Crème or Gel Eyeliners

These eyeliners are usually packaged in a pot and are applied using a fine-tipped brush. They will give you a similar effect to liquid eyeliner, which means they will appear 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 too harsh and unnatural. One big positive is the fact that they dry much quicker than liquid, which makes them much easier to use without smearing them all over the place. They also tend to be very long-wearing.

Cake Eyeliner

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

tip: You can use any powder eye shadow to line with; all you need is the right brush to create the effect you want to achieve. This will give you the most natural and subtle definition along your lash line.

I am affiliated with the brand ads in this article. What does that mean? It means that if you click on this link and make a purchase then I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. This allows me to maintain this website and provide for my babies.


bottom of page