Should I Use Liquid Eyeliner or Dry Eyeliner?

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated February 4, 2022)

If you're a novice to wearing makeup, perhaps you're conflicted as to which type of eyeliner you should wear. After all, not only are there several categories, including cream, gel, cake, pencil, and liquid, there are several types of eyeliner within those categories. Dry eyeliners encompass pencil and powder (or cake) eyeliners, while the liquid eyeliner category is comprised of gel, cream, and liquid eyeliner types. To help you decide while category of eyeliner will suit you best, let's take a look at each:

Liquid eyeliners start out as a liquid, and dry quickly, so you have to apply them quickly and with a steady hand to achieve a smooth result. Cream eyeliners come in a self-contained tube and usually have a microfiber or sponge applicator sold as one unit. Liquid eyeliner comes in a tiny bottle, with a brush or microfiber applicator built into the handle. Cream and gel liners are manufactured in tiny pots, and you need a liner brush to apply them. When applying any of those liners, you must start with a fresh and prepared palette, applying an eye shadow or foundation base to the lid first. Remember that liquid eyeliners, once applied, will not smudge, so you cannot soften the edges and blend into your eye shadow. Liquid eyeliners create a more dramatic look, and the thicker the line, the more dramatic the eye will look. If you want a more natural look, simply dot the liquid eyeliner directly into the lash line—not on the lid—to crate the appearance of fuller lashes.

Dry eyeliners can create a softer look, but they can also be dramatic, depending upon the method of application. The most popular form of dry eyeliner is the pencil. The reason that they are so popular is because they not only come in any color imaginable, they are easy to apply. Eyeliner pencils are manufactured in varying hardness, with soft being the easiest to apply, smudge, and blend. Cake (or powder) liners come in a small compact and look much like eye shadow. Dip a wet liner brush into the cake and then apply the liner as you would a liquid or a pencil. The advantage to cake liner over liquid is that you can blend it easily, since it doesn't dry as quickly as liquid. For a completely natural look, you can use a soft pencil liner in earth tones. For an evening look, you can use a cake liner to add a hard/soft line to your upper lids, sweeping the line up at the outer edge of the eye.

If you make a mistake, use a cotton swab and petroleum jelly to clear it away.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


Choosing Your Easter Dress

Choosing an Easter dress entails more than simply buying or making the dress. No Easter dress is complete without ...

Discover More

Making an Herb Garden

Whether you live in a small apartment with no room for a garden, or a large home with plenty of back yard, you can grow ...

Discover More

Stuffed Green Peppers with Cold Pasta Salad

The key to creating great stuffed peppers is knowing how long to cook them. Since oven temperatures vary, test your ...

Discover More
More Beauty Tips

Applying Eyeliner

Eyeliner can be used to create a Halloween costume or more preferably animated eyes to complement the rest of the face. ...

Discover More

How to Apply Liquid Eyeliner

Applying liquid eyeliner can be tricky and requires a great amount of practice and patience to get the right look. It's ...

Discover More

Picking the Right Eyeliner

Just as with the rest of your makeup—foundation, eye shadow, blush, and lipstick—choosing the correct ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)