Recently I was asked about eyeliners – there are so many different types of eyeliners and choices, which ones should be used for what? It definitely can be rather complex so here are the different choices simplified.
There are 3 primary eyeliners categories: pencil, liquid, and compact. Simply, these are the different uses for each:
– pencil: everyday looks
– liquid: dramatic liner or lash looks (for example a cat eye)
– compact: smokey eyes
It’s actually on a tad bit more complex than that – there are different types of eyeliners within each categories and a few additional uses. Here they are based on my experiences:
Pencil: The main benefits of pencil eyeliners are: they are the easiest to control and apply and that they come in the most number of colors. They come in both manual (which needs to be sharpened) or automatic. Originally the automatic options were ideal to get creamy, smudge-proof, or waterproof eyeliner (and of course to avoid sharpening). These days you can even find some great manual eyeliners that are creamy and waterproof. You will get a more precise application with a manual eyeliner – just remember to sharpen!
Liquid: Liquid eyeliners are typically for more dramatic looks but are more difficult to apply. They come in two forms: brush or pen. The pen is great because it’s fairly easy to apply and you can even use it for a less dramatic look by using it close to the lash line to strengthen the lash line and give the illusion of thicker lashes (check out my minimalist eye makeup tutorial). Win! The pen also tends to give more color than the brushes – be sure to wait for your eyeliner to dry before applying mascara.
Compact: Compact eyeliners is typically a more advanced technique and probably for someone who likes to play with make-up. You will need an angle brush to use these. The eyeshadows tend to be better for a smudged look while the cream eyeliner compacts are better for a dramatic smokey look or to create a thick lash line. For a smoother application, use the Duraline serum to soften your compact (or in the case it dries out.)
eyeliners shown above (all available at Sephora):
manual pencil: Givenchy eye pencil, Dolce & Gabbana intense eye crayon, Urban Decay glide-on eye pencil
automatic pencil: Sephora waterproof liner, Smashbox sharp waterproof liner
liquid brush: Dolce & Gabbana intense liner, Make Up For Ever aqua liner
liquid pen: Sephora smart liner, Marc Jacobs magic pen
compact eyeshadow: Sephora colorful eyeshadow, Make Up For Ever diamond shadow
compact cream liner: Clinique brush-on cream liner, Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner