The Different Types of Eyeliner and How to Choose the Right One for You

No makeup kit is complete without at least one eyeliner! This product has been a staple for hundreds of years and it’s been around that long for a reason. Liner helps you to emphasise your eyes, define their shape and create a dramatic effect when you need a little more oomph. The right liner is going to come in handy pretty much every day, so you’re right to be doing some light research before you proceed to purchase! Read on for a breakdown of all the different liner formulas, and how to choose the right one for you…


Your liner’s formula makes all the difference to literally your whole makeup look! The most popular eyeliner formula options out there are:

Pencil: This is such a classic! Pencil eyeliners are perfect for creating soft, smudgy and sultry eye looks. A hard, sharp liner will help to draw clean, subtle lines that are great for your day to day makeup. A kohl or kajal formula will be better for smudgy and smokey liner that looks awesome on a night out. Line your lash line, draw a subtle cat flick or define your water line for completely different looks!

Gel: A gel liner is one of the most forgiving formula options and therefore is best if you’re just starting out and experimenting with drawing lines. Gels tend to be very long-lasting and can double up as an eyeshadow base for your smokey eye when needs-be. Just be sure to have the right brushes handy, the angled shape is best for flicks whereas a pointed, micro liner brush is best for subtle defining.

Liquid: Liquid liner is perfect for those who just can’t leave the house without a cat eye on! This is a makeup artist favourite for workability and precision, however, liquid liner often does require a pretty steady hand. Opt for liquid formulas if you’re confident in your line drawing skills and you’re ready to take your flick game up a notch or two. Keep in mind that this product is less versatile than other options and when it goes wrong, it can really mess up the rest of your eye look so proceed with caution.

Pen: A pen liner is basically the formula of a liquid liner, only in a pen tool. The pen shape of this liner makes it so much easier to use! Tight line your upper waterline, define your lash line and experiment with your cat flicks with this product. Again, a pen liner is really only going to give you that clean and crisp line, smudging just doesn’t work with the formula. Pen eyeliner can be incredibly long-lasting depending on the type that you pick up, search for waterproof products to keep it there all day (and night!) long.

Colour and Finish

Now that you’re schooled on what makes an eyeliner, you can start to pay some thought to the colour and finish you’re looking for! Colours come far and wide in this product category. Of course, the classics are black and brown which are staples that you should look at starting with. Other popular choices include navy, deep purple, green, bronze and red-brown, however, there’s been a real colourful trend going on recently. Check out fun tones like white, silver, pink, lilac and blue to let your inner creative out!

Finish options include shimmer, matte and glitter. For day to day, matte is the best and most natural choice. Shimmer and glitter finishes look ridiculously cool for nights out on the town – extra points if it’s in a fun colour!