The Different Types of Eyeliners, Explained

Different Types of Eyeliners

There are different types of eyeliners. Depending on your choice, you can either save yourself 20 minutes in the morning or waste a $20 product. I know, we all like to blame our lack of fine motor skills or our inability to perform well under pressure for not being able to do the perfect cat-eye.

But in reality, using the right type of eyeliner for your level of expertise makes a huge difference in how easy things can get during makeup application. And learning which type of eyeliner is the best one for you can help you up your eye makeup game and save you some time.

Below we’re going to dive deep into every single type of eyeliner, its advantages, and drawbacks so that you can find the right one for you and learn how to use and apply it.

Different Types of Eyeliners

Different Types of Eyeliners with Images and Names
Types of Eyeliners

1. Pencil Eyeliner

Pencil eyeliner is the most common type of eyeliner. Pencil eyeliners are beginner-friendly as they give you more control over the application. You can take your time and color up your eyes one tiny stroke at a time.

You can smudge things out with a brush or thicken your eyeliner by layering. There’s a pencil eyeliner for every eye shape. Whether you have almond eyes or need eyeliner for hooded eyes, pencil eyeliners are universally practical.

They are also the most versatile. While other ones simply work for lining the contour of the eyes, pencil eyeliners are the ones we use to tightline.

In case you don’t know, tightlining is applying an eye pencil on the upper or lower waterline. It’s like an inner eyeliner. It defines your eyes, makes your lashes look thicker, and makes your eyeliner look even more dramatic.

Pencil eyeliners can come in different forms such as retractable pencils, mechanical pens, or regular sharpenable pencil eyeliner. There are waterproof options and they are available in all colors with different finishes such as matte or shimmery.

Additionally, there are kohl and kajal, which look like regular pencil eyeliners but they have a more creamy feel to them. So when you’re buying kohl eyeliner, in any shape or form, know that the application is a breeze as the pencil practically glides on the eyelids.

In sum, pencil eyeliners make the best types of eyeliners. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, pencil eyeliner is a must-have for anyone who wears makeup.

How To Apply Pencil Eyeliner

  1. Draw a small, thin line starting from the outer corner of your eye toward the center
  2. Then draw another small, thin line starting from the inner corner toward the center
  3. Connect the lines
  4. Go over the lines if you wish to thicken your eyeliner or add a little flick
  5. Depending on your preference, you can use your eyeliner on the waterline to achieve a more defined look
  6. Using a smudging brush, you can feather out the edges and achieve a smoky eye

2. Liquid Eyeliner

This is the eyeliner type that is associated with winged eyeliner. Liquid eyeliner is for lining the upper and or lower eyelid for a sleek eye makeup look. It usually comes in a small jar with a dipper and has a brush tip.

Liquid eyeliners tend to be more pigmented than pencil eyeliners. Their rich colors are great for achieving that high impact, glossy finish eyeliner in various thicknesses with various shapes.

They’re not always beginner-friendly because they can spread out easily and start to bleed as soon as you start applying. It’s all because of the liquid texture and the brush tip.

Even though they’re great for very precise wings and lines and different eyeliner styles, they require practice and steady hands for proper application.

How To Apply Liquid Eyeliner

  1. Ideally, you want the lines to be thinner on the inner corner of the eyes and thicker on the outer corner of the eyes
  2. By using small strokes or even tiny dots, start by drawing a thin line from the center of the eyelid toward the outer corner
  3. Then start drawing a very thin line from the inner corner and connect the dots at the center
  4. Apply the eyeliner as close to the lash line as possible
  5. Once you’re done lining the eyelids, experiment with different eyeliner wings and styles by making the tail longer

3. Pen Eyeliner

Pen eyeliner or eyeliner pen is a type of liquid eyeliner that comes in a pen and has a felt tip. Because of the tip, pen eyeliner is also called felt-tip eyeliner.

The most important benefit of an eyeliner pen is that it allows you to benefit from a liquid eyeliner without the difficulty that comes with using a brush tip. So you can define your eyes and create more dramatic looks.

Eyeliner pens dry down relatively faster and don’t spread out as much as brush-tip eyeliners. So they’re more beginner-friendly.

How To Apply Pen Eyeliner

  1. Start from the outer corner of the eye and using your eyeliner pen, draw a line on the upper eyelid close to the lash line
  2. Bring the eyeliner close to the inner corner of the eye
  3. Draw an angled line on the outer corner of the eye to achieve a winged liner look

4. Gel Eyeliner

Sometimes called cream eyeliner, gel eyeliner usually comes in a small pot. Gel eyeliners basically fall between liquid and solid. They require a brush for application, which is sometimes sold together with the eyeliner.

They have a very creamy, waxy feel to them. You dip your brush, preferably an angled or pointy brush, into the pot and get a small amount. And you apply it the way you apply a pencil liner.

In terms of beginner friendliness, this type of eyeliner can fall anywhere on the spectrum. But the most important advantage of gel eyeliners is that you have control over the amount you apply, which prevents mess.

The downside is that you can’t tightline with them. The waxy substance tends to get dry and clumpy, which makes it difficult to color up the waterline and it can be irritating.

How To Apply Gel Eyeliner

  1. Use an angled brush to apply cream/gel eyeliner
  2. Dip your brush into the gel and get a small amount
  3. Start lining the eyelid by using small strokes
  4. Slowly build up the lines to achieve whatever look you’re going for

So these are the most common types of eyeliners out there. Honestly, there’s no such thing as bad eyeliner anymore. If you’re having trouble making peace with liquid eyeliner, you probably haven’t found the right one yet.

If you don’t like the matte finish of pencil eyeliner, maybe you haven’t tried a satin finish. If black is too mainstream for you, try colorful options like burgundy eyeliners for a more dramatic effect. So get to experimenting with different types!

Read Next: Best Drugstore Waterproof Eyeliners


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