Eyeliner is a powerful tool. It has the ability to completely change the look of your eyes depending on how you style it. Whether it’s a signature Amy Winehouse flick or a Bridgette Bardot smoky eye, eye liner truly is a girl’s best friend. Getting that perfect eyeliner look is no easy task, however, and may take you several attempts (and a few YouTube tutorials) to get your signature look. Whatever style it is you’re going for, knowing what type of eyeliner you’re after will make this process a lot
There are four main types of liners to choose from:
- Gel Eyeliners - Gel eyeliners are often seen as the easiest to apply due to their soft texture and intense color. Gel eyeliners are applied with a brush and, once dried, are resistant to smudging, smearing, or fading. Gel liners are also super versatile and can offer the user a range of looks, from sharp lines to a blended smoky eye. The downside to gel liners, however, is that they can take a while to set and aren’t overly portable.
- Pencil Eyeliners - Pencil eyeliners are made from waxy sticks of colored pigment. These eyeliners are much more affordable than other styles and create longer-lasting lines. Pencil eyeliners are a great idea if you’re looking to experiment with a variety of colors, offering blue, pink, green, and any other color you can imagine!
- Powder-based / Eyeshadow - Although not technically an ‘eye liner’, eyeshadow pallets offer many of the same characteristics and style options. Powder-based eyeliners are very easy to apply and come in a variety of intense shades, too. Applied with a thin, flat brush, eyeshadows are perfect for a subtle daytime look that’s not too overpowering, or a dramatic smoky eye for a night out on the town.
- Liquid Eyeliners - Liquid eyeliners are ideal for dramatic evening looks due to their high pigmentation and long-lasting technology. They’re usually applied via a wand or brush that’s attached to the cap of the eyeliner tube, making it portable and easy to apply. Unlike gel, pencil, and powdered liners, liquid liners leave a sharp, defined look that can’t be achieved any other way.
Let’s take a closer look at liquid eyeliners, shall we?
In comparison to other eyeliners, liquid liners are ideal for the fashion savvy amongst you looking to pair their makeup with vintage styles and contemporary looks. Although it can be difficult to apply, the struggle is well worth it once you see the results. Many brands have also made attempts to make their liquid liners easier to apply with quick-drying formulas and simpler applicators. When selecting the best liquid eyeliner for you, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before making a purchase.
Firstly, you’ll want to take a look at the different liquid eyeliner formulas available to you and which one will suit your lifestyle and makeup preferences the best. The majority of liquid eyeliners are black and highly pigmented for a bold and dramatic look. They are, however, available in a variety of other colors and finishes.
If you’re new to the liquid eyeliner game, then you may want to start off with a neutral, matte style that will allow you to practice your technique beforehand and then move on to bolder styles once you’re more familiar with the product. If you’re looking for a subtle daytime look or have fair skin, you may want to opt for a gray, navy blue, or brown color instead, as black may be too harsh. More vibrant colors are also available for the more adventurous, creating impressive looks that are perfect for festivals or fancy dress.
Liquid eyeliners also come in three different finishes: matte
, and gloss
. The most common form of liquid eyeliner is gloss, creating a painted-on look that will remain long after the product has dried. Matte eyeliners are more natural in style and well-suited to daytime use. Shimmer eyeliners, on the other hand, are ideal for nights out or events as they contain a metallic pigment for a bolder, fashion-forward look. Many users also prefer to use a waterproof liquid eyeliner formula due to its staying ability in sweaty and moist conditions (think holidays in the sun or watching the Notebook…).
Finally, you’ll want to have a think about the applicator in your liquid eyeliner that will give you the best results. Originally, all liquid eyeliners came with a small brush that was used to paint on the product. Today, however, technological advances offer greater control and more precision when applying liners. There are three main types to choose from:
- Pens - Eyeliner pens are very similar to eyeliner pencils in the way they’re applied. The main difference, however, is that eyeliner pens offer sharper and cleaner lines. Their felt-tipped design offers the same look as if you were using a brush, but is much simpler to apply. If you’re just starting out using liquid eyeliners then a pen applicator will probably be the best choice.
- Felt-Tip Points - This is a more traditional way of applying your liquid liner, with a felt tip point attached to the lid of the liner bottle. As the liner doesn’t flow through the product like it would with a pen application, the liner is much more pigmented, creating a more intense look.
- Brushes - If you’re a fan of cat-eye styles and flicks in your eye makeup, then a brush is definitely the way to go. Brushes can create very small lines, offering the user precision and ease of use. If you’re looking for versatility in your liner, this is the applicator for you.
The cost of your new liquid eyeliner is going to depend on a variety of factors, including the size of the product and how many features it contains. The size of liquid eyeliners varies from 0.3 ounces to 2.5 ounces, with larger products tending to be more expensive. If a liquid eyeliner has multiple color options, this can also bump the price up as it offers the user more variety.
These days, it’s becoming more and more popular to use products that are more natural as well, meaning the product uses less harsh ingredients, making them suitable for those with sensitive eyes and those who are concerned about animal testing.
If you’re after a high-end product, then you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $25 for a liquid eyeliner. Less expensive models ($5 – $15) are still just as good, but may not offer the user handy features like waterproofing, sensitivity, and color variety. There are cheaper liquid eyeliners available on the market ($3 or less) too, but be aware that these liners may not look as good, last as long, or be as kind to your eyes.
When it comes to the features included in your new liquid eyeliner, this depends on your personal preferences as well as the look and style you’re after. To help you choose the best liquid eyeliner for you, we’ve created a list of handy features to look out for to ensure you select a high-quality product.
Here are some important features to look out for…
- Color Variety
- Smudge Resistant
Construction and Design
When attempting to select a high-quality liquid eyeliner, we recommend selecting a product that’s designed with sensitivity in mind. A sensitive eyeliner usually contains no fragrances or harmful ingredients that could irritate the user’s eyes. This is particularly useful if you use contact lenses and want to prevent the likelihood of smearing and smudging.
Another handy feature to have included in your new liquid eyeliner is waterproofing. Most liquid eyeliners contain oils or waxes that will make the eyeliner naturally water-resistant anyway. There are some new designs, however, that are resistant to water and sweat. This makes them perfect for holidays or music festivals, where you may be sweating a bit more than usual.
As we mentioned previously, getting the right color of liquid eyeliner is crucial to the look you’re after. By choosing a brand with multiple color options, you can choose a product that’s perfectly catered to you, your skin tone, and your eye color. If you have green eyes, then purple and violet tones will really make your eyes pop; blue eyes suit bronze and brown tones; light brown eyes go best with dark blues and greens; and dark eyes go well with black and grey tones.
Finally, we recommend selecting a product that’s advertised as smudge-resistant. Although liquid eyeliners are naturally more smudge-resistant than gel and pencil liners, they’re still prone to smudging after long-term use. Look out for products that are described as ‘all-day-wear’ for maximum staying power and preventing the dreaded ‘panda eye’ look.
Performance and Ease of Use
Caring for your liquid eyeliner couldn’t be simpler. Like any makeup, you’ll want to make sure the lid is always screwed on tight to prevent annoying leakages and damage to the product. Liquid eyeliners are prone to drying out if left open too long, so ensure you always fasten the product properly after you’re finished using it. Liquid liners are also prone to melting if left in the heat too long, so ensure you store your product in a cool, dry area.
If you’re after a particularly high-end product, we suggest using a product that isn’t tested on animals. Firstly, it’s better for our environment, and better for your little eyes too! Products not tested on animals tend to be more sensitive in design, using natural, good-for-you products that nourish and moisturize your eyes at the same time.
Keep an eye out for products that contain a ‘clicky’ pen top, as well, that allows the user to pump more liner through the product to ensure an intense, dramatic look every time.
We hope that after reading through our buying guide, you’ve figured out what type of liquid eyeliner is most suitable to your needs and what you most want out of it. This will make it a lot easier to narrow down your options and select the ideal liquid eyeliner for you and your next big night out! So, let’s go ahead and look at our top 5 picks!
By now you should have a better idea of what type of liquid eyeliners are available and what it is you’re looking for in your new product. If, however, you aren’t a fan of those we featured, don’t panic! All the brands we’ve chosen have a wide selection of liquid liners to choose from, so you can simply scroll through their other products to find the best liquid eyeliner for you. All that’s left to do now is select your favorite and start practicing those flicks. Good luck!