Eye-liner 101


When it comes to eye-liner, you have several options: liquid, pencil, gel/cream and the option of using eye shadow as an eye-liner. Here’s the low-down on which eye-liner is right for you and all your options.

Liquid Eye-liner:

Liquid eye-liner is generally the one for those who desire sharp, precise lines with a matte finish. I find that the eye-liner pens are easier to use when it comes to using liquid liner because they’re easy to remove if you make a mistake, don’t flake overtime, and don’t take as long to dry as the traditional brush-tip liquid liner. Furthermore, they usually come in waterproof formulas, great for those like me with oily eyes.

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  • Easy control
  • Quick precision
  • Great for oily eyes (Waterproof formulas)
  • Matte finish


  • Need to layer, sometimes they’re not very opaque
  • Tricky to use for first timers

Brush Tip Pen

The brush tip pen is my personal favourite, if you saw my 5 Minute Make Up post, you’ll see I mentioned my favourite brush tip pen, the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner. The formula is waterproof, smudge proof and is easy to remove. This liner is the best for thin, precise lines, as used in cat flicks. A thing to watch out for with brush tip pen liners, is the formula of the product. Although majority of products work well and are easy to use, some formulas are too watery to use for example, the Tony Moly Perfect Eyes Long Kinny Gel Pen Liner.

Felt Tip Pen

Felt tip pens are easier to control than their brush tip counterparts and are great for those who are new at the liquid liner game.However, do be weary that the tip often ends up fraying.  In the past, I’ve used the Tony Moly Easy Touch Brush Pen eye-liner and the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Eye-liner, the Tony Moly one for many years.

Gel Eye-liner

Traditionally, gel/cream eye liner has come in pots, meaning that the need for a separate fine tip or an angled brush was generally necessary. Gel liners are creamy and tend to glide right onto the skin and also range in thickness depending on your application which makes the process for those who want a cat-eye, but aren’t proficient enough yet with liquid, easy. The problem I find with gel liners though is that with gel liners, I can’t get a precise and really thin line,  however, it is great for quickly covering surface area on your eyes when you want a nice thick line.

The texture is generally great for those who want a liner that stays on all day, the Benefit They’re Real! Push Up Liner, for example, is one I have used on occasion for about a year now. The liner does not budge for anything (maybe except reaaaaal oily eyelids, so if I use it, I set it with a lot of eyeshadow), and dries matte. The Benefit liner is great because it doesn’t really move but the problem I find it because of the silicon slanted tip, it’s difficult to manoeuvre and you need a lot of  patience with it while you try to learn.

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  • Creamy
  • Great for smoky eyes
  • Usually come in waterproof formulas
  • Generally stays put


  • Easy to smudge, less oil-proof
  • Gel pots aren’t as portable as pens or pencils
  • Can tug skin on upper lash line
  • Cheaper gel pots dry out quickly

Pencil Eye-liner

Most commonly used, the pencil eye-liner is the easiest to manage and control. Pencil liners are just like any other pencil, you generally need to sharpen them for a sharper line (except for automatic pencil liners). Generally, these are the best types to use when you want to have colour on your waterline. Most pencil eye-liners have rich colours and a matte/pearl finish and are one of the best products for beginners to use. Pencil liners aren’t best known for their waterproof nature though. I definitely recommend Rimmel Eye-liners, all of which have lovely, creamy formulas that glide on like a breeze.

Pictured: Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer 211 Sable, Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof 001 Black



  • Great range of colours
  • Very common
  • Easy to control
  • Good to smudge and use as a base for darker eye looks


  • Smudges easier
  • May tug on skin or upper lash line if it’s not creamy enough
  • Unless you sharpen the product, you won’t have a precise liner

Eyeshadow as Eye-liner

 This is the easiest, and fastest ways to apply eye-liner. Using eye shadow as eye-liner is the hands down, best way for those brand new at trying to apply eye-liner or who want to experiment with new liner shapes. All you need is a stiff, dense pencil or angled brush and maybe a eye shadow primer. To apply, pat it onto your eyes or just smudge it across your eyes to your desired shape. This eye-liner type is definitely more of a day-time look though because it is a lot more subtle than the other types of liner. You CANNOT use this on your waterline though, it’ll irritate your eyes and can give you a nasty infection. Nasty.


  • Many colours to choose from
  • Great for experimentation
  • Easy to control and apply


  • Does not last as long
  • Can not be used on the waterline

What to consider when choosing eye-liner:

Oilyness or dryness of your skin

As you can probably see by now, I have oily eyelids. Not oily enough to the point where you can grab that oil and cook some fries, but oily and because of this reason, I have to watch out for the types of eye-liner I wear.

For those with oily eyelids like me, make sure you wear primer, but other than that, to decrease the likely-hood of you getting raccoon eyes, lean towards formulas which dry matte such as liquid liners. If you were wanting to use gel, or pencils, make sure you set the liner with a eye shadow so it stays in place all day.

On the other hand, for those with dry eyelids do not, for heaven’s sake, do not, use drier products such as stiffer pencils or gel products. Make sure your eye-liner is a creamier formula so it just glides onto your eyelids seamlessly without the need for tugging at your eyes.

Do you have a favourite eye-liner or a blog post request? Let me know in the comments below!



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