All About Eyeliner Formulations

All About Eyeliner Formulations

posted on: 8.01.2014

eyeliner, gel eyeliner, liquid liner, pencil eyeliner, cake eyeliner, cream eyeliner, difference between eyeliners, how to find the right eyeliner for me, all about eyeliner formulations
When I was in middle school, the only makeup my mom allowed me to wear was powder foundation and eyeliner. Back then, I thought I looked awesome only applying eyeliner on the outer half of my lower lashline, but looking back, I looked terrible! I guess the positive aspect to come out of that is that I've now been practicing different ways to do eyeliner for about ten years now. I don't want to brag or anything, but I'm ~~kiiiiinda~~ a pro at doing eyeliner. Throughout the course of the ten years I've been using eyeliner, I've experimented with all sorts of eyeliner, and have discovered my favorite formulations to use on both myself and on clients. If you're overwhelmed by all the eyeliner options out there, have no fear! I'm here to break it down for you and dole out my recommendations. Read on for the full breakdown!


PENCIL EYELINER
I think just about everyone is familiar with this eyeliner formulation, and for many, myself included, this is what you start with. The great thing about pencil eyeliners is how smudge-able and blendable they can be, but the downside to that is that if it's really hot out or if worn for a long amount of time, you may or may not get raccoon eyes. This is why I tend to favor waterproof pencil eyeliners, such as the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil Eyeliners. While not completely waterproof as they claim, they fair much better in warm weather than non-waterproof formulas. I also really like the Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes pencil liners. They're the same price as the Urban Decay pencils, so it's just a matter of brand preference. Milani also makes a great pencil eyeliner if you don't want to drop a lot of money on a pencil eyeliner. If you're looking for a green/organic friendly alternative, I also really like the one Vapour Organics makes.

Professionally, I use pencil eyeliners A LOT. Smoky eyes are the most heavily requested makeup look for just about everything (from weddings to photo shoots), and using a black pencil liner helps with the smoky eye effect. I've done two tutorials that show this method for smoky eyes: this purple smoky eye and this brown smoky eye. Pencil eyeliners are also great for applying to the waterline, although if you have sensitive eyes like me- you may want to avoid doing this.

LIQUID EYELINER
The next most popular eyeliner formulation (from what I've observed) is liquid eyeliner. Liquid eyeliner generally come with a felt tip (like my favorite Eyeko one) or a brush tip (like the Urban Decay one). If you like doing a winged eyeliner or generally prefer a crisp edge, then a liquid eyeliner may be just for you. My favorite kind of liquid eyeliner is a waterproof liquid eyeliner, because typically, they will not budge. The best waterproof liquid eyeliners that I've used are the Urban Decay liquid liner and the Make Up For Ever liquid eyeliner. I've also heard positive reviews of the Stila liquid eyeliner. The Eyeko liquid eyeliner isn't waterproof, but it is very pigmented and lasts a long time.

Since I'm a slave to the winged eyeliner, I find that liquid eyeliners are easiest to use when traveling. I just throw a liquid eyeliner in my makeup bag, and that's it. I don't have to worry about it melting, breaking, and I don't have to worry about bringing a separate brush for the eyeliner (like I do with gel eyeliner). I don't use liquid eyeliners on clients, since it's a lot harder to keep liquid eyeliner hygienic. But every makeup artist is different in this respect!

GEL EYELINER
Now we are at my favorite kind of eyeliner- the gel eyeliner. Gel eyeliners typically come in little pots that you dip a brush into and then apply to your eye. I think that gel eyeliners are the most versatile formula on the market- you can use it for a crisp, winged eyeliner, or you can blend it out like a pencil eyeliner for a smoky eye. Gel eyeliners aren't always waterproof, but they are definitely long wearing. The blackest gel liner I've come across is the MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, but I am also supremely impressed with Maybelline's gel eyeliner. The only downside to gel eyeliners is that they can dry out quickly if not closed properly. Benefit has come out with a gel eyeliner that looks like a liquid liner, but I'm not 100% sold on that one yet.

To accompany my gel liner, I always use a small, pointed brush from the craft store to apply the liner. Most people favor angled brushes, but I'm not a fan of those. I also really like using this flat brush by Make Up For Ever for eyeliner, as well. Real Techniques has a great silicone eyeliner brush, too, that looks like it would make applying gel eyeliner pretty easy as well.

OTHER FORMULATIONS

Of course, there are more formulations of eyeliners out there that I'm not going to cover in-depth. There are cream eyeliners, which are very similar to gel eyeliners. Cream eyeliners, such as this one by Urban Decay, tend to be more pigmented and also tend to be waterproof. These, like gel liners, come in pots and can dry out very quickly if not closed properly. These also can be a bit more finicky to work with. I definitely prefer the smooth application of a gel eyeliner.

There are also cake eyeliners, which is kind of the OG eyeliner. It looks like an eyeshadow, but is activated with water, like this one by Laura Mercier. A lot of people swear by cake liner for tightlining, since they are more long lasting than pencil liners. I'm not super familiar with this kind of eyeliner, as I've only used it a handful of times.

Of course, you can always make your own eyeliner using a loose pigment or eyeshadow. I'll be posting more about this in the near future, so keep an eye out for that! What's your favorite eyeliner formula? Is there a formulation that I left out? I'm all ears!

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20 comments:

  1. I'm terrible with eyeliner but I want to learn! Thanks for the breakdown here... I'll definitely be coming back armed with different pencils and gels and liquids!

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    1. No problem, Krystal! Glad this was of some help to you!

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  2. I love gel eyeliner as well, and I have bene using a pencil gel liner from Essence for tightlining - it's easier to get in between the hairs but dries rock solid and won't budge at all!

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    1. Ooh I didn't even know about that! I'm going to have to check it out.

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  3. This is such a helpful post - Thank you!

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  4. I freaking love eyeliner. Great breakdown!

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  5. Gel eyeliners are my favorite too!

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  6. I'm only good with eyeliner if it's a pencil! haha

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  7. I usually go with liquid - but I've been tempted to try gel!

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    1. Liquid is better if you're pressed for time... But if you have plenty of time definitely try gel!

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  8. I like it all... it depends on the look i am going for.

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  9. Eyeliner was pretty much my first makeup product, too! I love it and think after 14 years, I'm getting pretty good at it! ;)

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  10. I like pencil, gel, liquid. Ok, I want 'em all!

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