October 26, 2011

Battle of the Eyeliners - Pencil vs Liquid vs Gel Vs Powder

There are so many different types of eyeliners out there, so how do you know which one to use for what look? What's good to create a cat eye with? Or to give you that rock chic look? How about something for an easy smokey eye? Read on to find out.

Pencil Eyeliners
This is a cosmetic bag staple, and is especially good for beginners or people like me who are crap at doing straight lines. I mainly use them to line my waterline, or do a smudged lived-in look. They are generally not as dark as your liquids or gels, however they are the easiest of liners to use. Mila Kunis is known to define her gorgeous eyes by lining her waterline, and soft pencils are perfect for it. My favourite pencil is Jordana Color Extend Waterproof in Black.
Image of Mila Kunis from Google Images, collage my own.

Liquid Eyeliners
These are great for giving a sharp cat eye look. They are good for drawing clean crisp lines along the upper lashlines, and look fantastic when doing the flick. This is probably the most difficult type to use and requires a steady hand, however the sharp wing that you can create with this is worth the effort. Angelina Jolie is well known for her sharp cat eye looks, which you can recreate with a liquid liner. Face of Australia Liquid Eyeliner* in Black is perfect, as it has a super thin brush perfect for a precise application.
Image of Angelina from Google Images, collage my own.

Gel Eyeliners
This is my favorite type of eyeliner. It gives a super dramatic dark line, doesn't tug at the delicate eye area, and you can also use them as a base for dark smokey eyes. With a good stiff angled brush these are almost as easy to use as pencil liners... I say almost, because they are not as practical for carrying around with you as pencils are. And if you find gel eyeliners dry up to quickly, here is a previous post I had done on how to fix dried up gel eyeliner. Beyonce does super dramatic black lined eye makeup, which you can achieve with gel eyeliners. My favourite is the Maybelline Eyestudio Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black.
Image of Beyonce from Google Images, collage my own.

Powder Eyeliners
These are a new breed of liners, giving you the convenience of a pencil (they are easy to use!), with the smudged lived in look of a black eyeshadow. These are perfect for lazy day smokey eyes, as you get a smudgy effect without even trying. My favourite way to wear them is by drawing with a normal pencil first, then softening the line with the powder eyeshadow. I love the smudged eye looks that Alexa Chung rocks sometimes, and eyeshadow pencils are great for it. The Models Prefer Powder Black Eyeliner* is one of the easiest to use I have come across.

Here are the swatches of the liners I mentioned above.

Jordana Color Extend Waterproof Eyeliner in Black - This is my favourite pencil liner of all time. It is so soft and easy to smudge, and best of all it stays put in my waterline all day. They are around $3 at Cherry Culture.

Face of Australia Liquid Eyeliner in Black* - These are great value at $8.95AUD, with a thin brush gives you a super fine and sharp line. I'm really bad at using liquid eyeliners, but I'm more than happy to practice with this one because if I make a mistake with this, I can wipe it off quickly before it sets with a cotton bud and start again.

Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black - this is one of my favourite liners to use when I want a more defined look. It stays put all day, but at the end of the day washes off easily.

Models Prefer Powder Black Eyeliner* - this is a limited edition product from the Smouldering Eyes collection and costs $9.99. There is a hint of pearly sparkle in this which makes the line less flat and boring than a matte black might make it. It's very long lasting, and so easy to blend for an fast smokey look.

What type of eyeliners do you prefer using?

Disclaimer: items marked with * were sent for review. I don't get paid to blog, my views are as always honest and all opinions expressed here are my own.


  1. Wonderful post! I personally like pencil liners, purely because I am terrible at applying liner! Oh dear!

  2. This is such a great post! Really indepth, I love gel liner but sometimes I just prefer the slick look of a liquid!xx

  3. Wow!! I never heard of eyeshadow eyeliner!! Never knew they existed haha!

    I love all types of eyeliner! I can't pick a 'most favourite'!


  4. I seriously envy anyone who can use a liquid eyeliner. I've tried so many times and end up covering half my eyelid with it. Pencil always seems the safest bet for me.....

  5. Amazing post Lilit! I prefer to use gel liners with an angled brush, but I do like pencil liners as well. I've got so many liquid liners, but they are the most difficult for me to use. I have quite long lashes and the brushes always get tangled in them leaving an uneven line.

    Kisses, Melanie
    Beauty and Bows

  6. I love the look of liquid, but I am sooooo terrible at it, that i need to take a cotton bud with eyeliner to tidy it up all the time..
    I love Rimmel Kohl eyeliner for a smokey lower lash line - its nice and creamy.

    Great post love!

  7. Hi Lilit, great post.

    Recently i've been using regular old eye shadow as liner, particularly on the bottom lashline, without any other eyeliner on the bottom and I've found it creates a really soft foussed and pretty look to the eyes. It's exciting that you can get 'eye shadow liner'!

  8. Candice - I'm with you on that one, pencils all the way!

    Lauren - you're so amazing with liquid liners, every time I see an FOTD from you I want to burst out my liquid liners and have a go... only to end up smudging with eyeshadow because I couldn't draw a straight line!

    Tram - I love when new products are invented, and yep, shadow liners are fab!

    Michelle - LOL that sounds like me! Give me the ease of pencils or shadows any day.

    Melanie - thanks hun, and that's a good problem to have, long lashes!

    Giana - Ooh thanks for the tip, I'll have to check out the Rimmel one when my current pencil finishes.

    Cally - I do that all the time too, it's good for those day when you don't want to look overly made up but still want some definition.


  9. Oh how I wish I had eyeliner skills... Not even amazing, I'd settle with just fine. BUT, I am so terrible with all eyeliner!
    All I can do is apply eyeliner on my waterline.
    I like experimenting with liquid eyeliner, even though I'm terrible at it :)

  10. Ooo interesting post! I've never heard of eyeshadow pencils!
    I prefer using liquid liner, even though it's easy to stuff up, I just like the precise and sharp lines it makes!

  11. Great post! I love gel liners but only if I have time to get ready will I use it since I like to take my time getting a perfect wing. I love pencil liners for that smudgy, smoky casual look. I find Liquid liners the most difficult to use but I love how black and glossy they look compared to gel.

  12. I am a recent convert to gel liner but I have no idea why I didnt try it sooner (well the price i guess...) but its much easier then liquid eyeliner! My fave eyeliner though is a felt tip liner (which isnt mentioned here...maybe its a brit thing?) for everyday flicks. :) xxx

  13. I do enjoy all of them! But I prefer the gel eyeliner the most!


  14. DibDabs - we have felt tip liners here too but I've never come across one I've liked, hence didn't have a good one to include in this post. Let me know what you use, I'd be interested in seeing if it's available here.

  15. Haha, you'd think so - but it gets really frustrating!

    Kisses, Melanie
    Beauty and Bows

  16. I've used all 3, and of course felt tipped liners which I didn't particularly care for (not dark enough!) I've never used an eyeshadow pencil and it really really piques my interest!

  17. Lately I have really been loving cream liners, which I'm pretty sure fall in with gel. I'm just recently starting to get good enough with liner that I wear it on a regular basis. The learning curve is phenomenal, but it makes for an excellent look! I'll have to try the eyeshadow liners, they sound like an easy way to finish your eye makeup!

  18. Eyeliners are my must have beauty item. Can't live without it! I'm a liquid liner girl tho, haven't quite tried much from gels admittedly but don't really like pencils. I love the sharp crisp look liquid liner gives!

  19. I have been hearing so much about Jordana pencils lately. I have yet to find an eyeliner that truly stays in my waterline for more than a few hours, so I might have to give this one a shot. Shopping at Cherry Culture will also give me an excuse to grab some more NYX lipglosses!

  20. Great post! I normally use a soft retractable eyeliner pencil but am getting into liquid eyeliner after ABBW. Ive never seen a powder shadow before.

  21. Thanks for your comments everyone.

    Nalina - ha ha that sounds like a great plan to stop up on some glosses too! Well since you're paying for postage you gotta make it worth it. LOL

  22. Great post - loved reading it! I really need to try the FOA and Models Prefer eyeliners! They look so good for the price! xx

  23. great post...i like pencil and gel liners...

  24. Maybelline gel eyeliner - LOVE! Easy to draw the line and it stays on forever!

  25. I'm looking for an eyeliner gel pencil that goes on really easily -- I don't like the tugging because it's giving me wrinkles. Which gel eyeliner pencil do you think tugs the least?

    1. hi Zoe, my favourite gel eyeliner is the Rimmel one, it's quite creamy so it doesn't tug but it also dries really fast so it doesn't smudge. It's in a pot format though, not a pencil.



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