Five Different Types of Eyeliner and When to Use Them

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Eyeliner is one of those tools that you’ll always find in a makeup bag. It’s a beauty necessity. That’s because it has the power to make your eyes look bigger, give you a more dramatic look and detract from fine lines and wrinkles. However, with so many different types of eyeliner out there—gel, pencil, liquid, powder, pencil or cream—it’s hard to know when to use each one. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with these expert tips.

“The look I am going for and the skin type I am working with makes my decision,” says glo minerals makeup artist Kate McCarthy. If you tend to have a lot of moisture on your eyelids, gel or powder eyeliner is your best bet. “They both set quickly and stay put once placed, and the looks you can get are endless. From a tight line on the lashes, to a cat eye or kitten eye, to a thick winged line…you can achieve anything with a gel or powder and a liner brush!”

For an easy, everyday look, pencil eyeliner is the tool for you. It’s foolproof and can easily be smudged in case you make a mistake. Pencils are also perfect for those who tend to have dry eyelids.

Liquid eyeliner is your best friend if you’re going for a dramatic look. They can help you create the perfect cat eye and are best for those with dry eyelids. One tip, never use liquid liner on your bottom lash line. “Applying heavy color under the eye can emphasize sagging and deep lines in eyes if not applied properly,” says celebrity makeup artist Lusine Galadjian.

Cream eyeliners, however, are best to use as a base. You can get an amazing smoky eye makeup look by using a black cream eyeliner as a base. Plus, cream liners tend to have great staying power.

McCarthy, who prefers to work with gel or powder eyeliners, says “Gel stays all day and never loses depth, or texture. Powders are great because you can create any color just by wetting a brush and grabbing your favorite deep toned eye shadow.”

McCarthy’s favorite eyeliner at the moment: glo minerals Micro Precise Eyeliner ($12) in navy. “The texture is like a cross between a gel and a kohl. It stays like a gel, but you have a little more time to blend, smudge or smoke it out before it sets. The micro tip allows you to create anything from a basic line to a cat eye and anything in between.”

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