I'm a huge eyeliner fiend, as I've gone through something like 15 eyeliners in various forms over the past four years or so. When my friends who prefer wearing less eye makeup often ask me why I bother having more than one type in my collection, I always answer that each type serves a different purpose. While it's possible to achieve similar looks (at least from afar) with a black pencil eyeliner and a liquid liner, the application and stay-on power will change according to each type.
I'd say it's important to experiment with eyeliner to figure out what suits your needs, but let's face it, this stuff isn't exactly cheap if you're willing to splurge a little more for quality (and you should - this stuff goes right on the most delicate part of your face!) If you're new to eyeliner, I hope this little guide will help you save some time and money as you go on your search.
There are four basic types of eyeliner popular on the market right now: pencil eyeliner, gel eyeliner, liquid liner, and kohl.
This is your basic makeup staple, and one especially good for beginners as it's easy to apply while you develop a steady hand. I'm not a huge fan of pencil because it's a little difficult to smudge and spread around for that sultry, dramatic look I love so much. Be careful about sharpening the pencil too much - having the sharp end pull on your eyelids can't be good for them!
This is my favorite type of eyeliner. It not only blends in smoothly, but it's thick enough to make your eyes pop. Gel/cream eyeliners are also extremely flexible; you can apply it heavily with ease (no eyelid-tugging here!), or you can smear it a little. I recommend drawing a heavy stripe across your upper lash line and filling your bottom lash line 2/3 of the way starting at the outer corners. Make sure you use a quality brush (I use a stiff angled one from Sephora.)
Liquid liner works great once you've developed a steady hand. This type applies much more smoothly than pencil and gel, which allows for a sharp wing-tipped or cat-eye look. I recommend using liquid liner for evening events as it's a lot more stark than pencil and gel. If you prefer the neat, yet dramatic, look over the smudgy smokey-eye, this one's for you.
This type of eyeliner was traditionally used in the Middle East, Egypt, India, and during the Roaring Twenties. While kohl liner resembles pencil eyeliner, this "crayon" goes on a lot more thickly and is a little bit softer in texture. While kohl glides on pretty easily, be careful about putting it on too fast, lest you end up looking like a panda. Again I'd definitely recommend kohl for nighttime events over, say, church or going to class, as it's rich but pretty imprecise.
There are several other types of eyeliner out there - sponge, cake, and powder, to name a few, but I haven't tried them yet so I hesitate to say anything. If anyone has tried eyeliner other than the types I've outlined here, please chime in with your review! I'd love to know what else works well (or doesn't.)
What type of eyeliner do you use?