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.
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