Be an Eyeliner Pro – A Guide to the Different Types, Tips and Top Product Picks

by | Read time: 4 minutes

Want to draw attention to your eyes? Eyeliner is a wonderful way to emphasize your pretty peepers—if applied properly. Read on to learn about the different types of eyeliner, get tips for application and check out a few of our favorite product pics!

Side View of Short-Haired Woman Experimenting with Eyeliner Types Drawing on Eyelids with Black Eyeliner While Looking in Mirror  |

Types of eyeliner

There are three types of eyeliner:

  • This is the most common type of eyeliner and typically, it’s the easiest to apply. Eyeliner pencil must be sharpened regularly to ensure application is accurate (i.e., as close to the lash line as possible).

  • This type of eyeliner usually comes in a pot and must be applied with a special brush. It has a creamy consistency, but may dry out fast, depending on the formula. Gel eyeliner is slightly trickier to use than eyeliner pencil because the wearer must determine how much liner to apply.

  • Many people believe that liquid eyeliner is the most difficult type to use because it can be messy and unforgiving. But once you have mastered the delicate art of applying liquid liner, it is unmatched at creating dramatic shapes, such as cat eyes.

Tips for application

Eyeliner can be applied on the inner rims of the eye or just above and below the lash line. Be sure to stop short of your tear ducts. Your eyes naturally water throughout the day, which can cause any liner coating these ducts to clump, smear and smudge.

Following are some additional recommendations for flawless application:

Choose color with care. Although you can’t really go wrong with classic black, brown and light gray are less stark and more forgiving should you make a mistake during application. You can also use color-enhancing shades to really make your peepers pop. For instance, copper, bronze and brown hues can bring out the best in blue eyes. Green gazes can be enhanced with purple tones, and those with brown eyes can count on navy or electric blue to brighten the windows to their souls. Finally, those with hazel eyes can bring out the browns with gold, green and earth-toned shades or play up the greens with bronze or purple liner.

Line your inner rims in nude. Using a nude shade instead of a darker color along the inner rims of your eyes can help brighten them and make you appear more alert.

Stay sharp. In addition to helping ensure an accurate application along your lash line, sharpening eyeliner pencil regularly can help it remain clean and free of potentially harmful bacteria.

Apply in the proper order. Eyeliner should be applied between applying your eye shadow and your mascara. If used before your eye shadow, the shadow may cover your liner. If applied after your mascara, the combination of mascara and eyeliner may appear too dark.

Hold the eye for better control. Gently tug on the skin above your eye to help create a smoother canvas for your eyeliner to glide across. If you get a little shaky, you can steady your hand by propping your elbow on your bathroom counter.

Let your liquid liner dry. Liquid eyeliner takes about 30 seconds to dry. So, to avoid smudging, close your eyes for at least that long after you apply it.

Correct with cotton swabs. Eyeliner application can get messy, but not to worry! Rather than starting from scratch, simply dip a cotton swab in some makeup remover and erase any errors. Just keep in mind that it’s easier to correct mistakes while the liner is still wet and hasn’t fully set.

Set liner with loose powder. To really lock in your liner, dip a small eye shadow brush into translucent powder and dab it gently over your dried lines.

Product picks

One final tip for applying eyeliner—don’t be afraid to have fun! Experiment with different types and shades to achieve your desired look. Following are a few fabulous liners to try:

Mineral Fusion Eye Pencil Coal |

Mineral Fusion Coal Eye Pencil. Achieve a smoky look with this exceptionally rich, velvety liner that “glides on smoothly to line, define and enhance the eyes.”

Ecco Bella Soft Eyeliner Pencil Seal  |

Ecco Bella Seal Soft Eyeliner Pencil. This lush liner made from vegetable waxes “gently draws a smooth line to define your beautiful eyes, softly, without pulling or tugging.”

Gabriel ZuZu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner Raven |

Gabriel ZuZu Luxe Raven Liquid Eyeliner. Boasting a fine calligraphy tip, this quick-drying luxe liner “has a water-resistant, gluten-free formula that delivers ultimate precision to line, shape and define your eyes.”

Mineral Fusion Liquid Eyeliner Ebony |

Mineral Fusion Ebony Liquid Eyeliner. Not only is this hypoallergenic liner easy on the eyes with soothing aloe and chamomile, its “pure mineral color glides on smoothly with a precise felt tip applicator and stays in place all day.”