Eyeliner 101

With six years of experience using different kinds of eyeliners, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips on choosing the right one. I'll also recommend some brands that carry the best products in my opinion, so keep reading!



I actually started out using pencil eyeliners in 8th grade because that's all my mom had at the time. Personally, this is my least favorite method for several reasons. It's not the best thing to use for lining your upper lash line because of the imprecise tip, so the most practical way to use it is for tight lining or applying on the waterline. Moreover, great quality pencil eyeliners hardly exist in drugstores, so I'd say that it's also the priciest. I've used Covergirl, Maybelline, Revlon, and L'Oreal, and none of them were pigmented enough nor long wearing. With that said, I would definitely look into mid-to-high-end brands like Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, which is highly pigmented and the best one I've tried by far, and Make Up For Ever's Aqua Eyes, which is another waterproof crayon with a great selection of colors. I don't recommend using the actual pencils because they're never opaque enough and they often hurt your waterline during application. Instead, go for the soft crayon formula that goes on a lot smoother and bolder.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil ($20)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes ($19)
Glides on waterline
Good for smoky, smudged look for the upper or lower lash line
Easiest to use for beginners

Poor drugstore products - good quality ones are most likely high-end
Can't create crisp winged eyeliner
Not as long-lasting
Usually smudges easily


I slowly transitioned to liquid eyeliner when I learned more about applying makeup, and I prefer it a lot more than pencil/crayon. In my opinion however, it's the least versatile because it can't be used on the waterline, but I think it works best for creating perfect cat eyes, which is probably why most girls prefer it over anything else. Another advantage is that good quality liquid eyeliners can be found everywhere. With that said, it's best to buy the inexpensive drugstore ones because they all pretty much work the same. My first liquid eyeliner actually only costed $1 in some local clothing store, and it worked perfectly for me. Liquid eyeliners are also convenient in a way that they come with different brush tips, so you can find one that works best for you. For instance, Maybelline's Ultra Liner below has a very small and flimsy brush, which might be easier to apply since you can use small strokes and control the thickness of the line more steadily, while NYX The Curve has a long felt tip, which might provide more precision. Both are great, and it's simply a matter of personal preference with the way you want your eyeliner to look or what you think is easiest to work with.
Maybelline Ultra Eyeliner ($5.99)
NYX The Curve ($14.99)
Best for creating perfect winged eyeliner
Great for minimal or light eye makeup
Easiest and least messy to remove
Different brush tips to suit your preference

Can't be used on waterline
Ends up patchy after a few hours if not truly waterproof
Might be difficult to apply - takes more practice


Gel eyeliner is my personal favorite because it can be used on the upper lash line, waterline, or even the lids as eyeshadow. It's also the most long wearing due to the thick wax-based formula. Perhaps the biggest downside about it is finding one that doesn't dry out easily. I initially wasn't a big fan of it because the first couple gel liners I owned (clothing store brands, Wet n Wild, and L'Oreal HIP) hardened in a matter of weeks. However, I gave it another try and purchased from a different brand and got the e.l.f. Studio Cream Eyeliner, a $3 pigmented gel liner that came with a small angled brush. It lasted me a good couple months before it dried up, but it didn't have much left by then. I decided to try out another brand and got the L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner, which is the absolute best. It's a lot smoother and even more pigmented than e.l.f.'s! I've had it for several months now, and it still hasn't dried up one bit. I don't use the brush it came with because I think e.l.f.'s small angled brush gives a much more precise application. I highly suggest to go for this one because it's definitely long wearing, opaque, smooth, and packed with a lot of product. Forget about high-end brands because I'm sure they're just as good as drugstore ones like L'Oreal and Maybelline.
e.l.f. Studio Cream Eyeliner ($3)
L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner ($8.49)
Good for tight lining and applying on waterline
Creates intense cat eyes
Most waterproof and long wearing
Contains the most product
Doesn't smudge or fade

Thickness/thinness of line is not as easy to control
Might have to buy a separate brush
Most difficult to remove
Dries out over time (depending on the brand)

All three eyeliners have their pros and cons, and it's really just a matter of preference on what makeup look you want to achieve. I personally prefer gel eyeliners only because I like intense winged out eyes and dark waterlines. Some days I go for liquid because I want a more subtle and precise look, and sometimes I wear pencil/crayon when I only want my waterline filled in. Feel free to try out my recommended brands if you're having trouble finding a good one.

I hope this guide was somehow helpful! 
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  1. nice post love eye lyner and recently i try the gel its realy nice :)


  2. Thanks for sharing all your tips about eyeliners!
    Pencil liner was also the first type of eyeliner i used when i began to wear makeup, its probably my least liked liner too, i find that it smudges a lot even if it's high end :(
    Liquid liner is my favourite, you should definitely try out Etude House's eyeliners, they're really good and they last all day!


  3. where are you located if we send you some products

  4. @randescott i'm in the San Fernando Valley area. Feel free to contact me on s.delicana@yahoo.com

  5. @Fifi ♥ oh thanks! i've heard about that brand and they have stunning packaging as well! i'll definitely look into it! thank you! :*


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An Irvine-based style & beauty blogger

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