Do You Know the Difference Between All the Eyeliners?

With the multitude of different eyeliners out there, it’s hard to tell which one will work the best for your look. The popular MAC cosmetics line has six different kinds, and those are just the pencil liners! Let’s break it down into basic categories and sort through the terms.

Pencil liners come in two basic forms, with variations on each: soft and hard. A hard pencil gives you a straight solid line with little to no smudging and is excellent for lining hard to reach areas such as the waterline of both the lower and upper lids. These liners are designed to give you a clean precise line similar to liquid liner, but can be difficult to use or tug on gentle eye skin. Soft pencils generally have some form of emollient, such as wax, to ease the application process. These pencils are designed to give you a medium-thick line which is easily smudged for a more smokey look. Sometimes they wear off quickly, which can be a problem.

Liquid liner is all about intensity. It gives a very precise line, anywhere from thin to thick, and can be especially useful for the cat-eye look. There are many types of liquid liners on the market, from matte black to sparkly glitter. Many people find these liners a bit intimidating to use, especially at first, as the application process can be tricky. But practice and a good technique can get even the shaky-handed a great look.

Powder liners are fairly new on the scene, and are often found in mineral makeup lines, although many people have been using eye shadow as powder liners for years. Applied with an angle brush, these have amazing versatility; you can create a soft wash of liner or go for a more hard-edged look. These are generally not appropriate for wear on the waterline, as the powder could irritate the eye.

Soft pencils can offer versatility, while liquid and hard pencils are good for dramatic precise looks. Powder liners, such as L’Oreal’s new Bare Naturale are excellent for those who want a natural look. The truly savvy beauty junkie will probably have several of each kind in her makeup stash!

Photo by dreamglow on Flickr.


Unknown said...

I love eyeliner, especially when it's not blocked by reading glasses. It can change your entire look! If you're tired of your clumsy reading glasses go to to learn more about multifocal contact lenses.

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June 3, 2009 at 10:05 AM

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Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites and She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.