Is It Better to Use Liquid or Pencil Eyeliner?

There are reasons for and against both liquid and pencil eyeliner. Pencil eyeliner is better for beginners, as it’s easier to apply. Liquid eyeliner gives a more precise line, but is harder to use. To choose, you need to consider both your skill level, and the look you wish to create.

Pencil eyeliner is a handy item to have in the makeup bag. It’s a really quick way to take a look from day to night. Pencil eyeliner adds definition quickly, but is also forgiving to an unsteady hand. 

Another advantage of pencil eyeliner is that it will last for a long time. A pencil eyeliner won’t dry up, nor will it start to thicken.

Not to mention, as a pencil eyeliner needs to be regularly sharpened, it doesn’t collect germs. Anything that settles on the tip gets thrown away when the pencil is sharpened.

A pencil eyeliner can be used to give a bold line, but it’s better for softer looks. Because the pencil can be blended and smudged, it can create an amazing smokey eye.

Pencil eyeliner can darken the eyelid for a sultry effect, without any harsh lines. Pencil can be applied to the top of the lashes and blended out, bringing attention to the eyes.

However, this is what leads to the main disadvantage of pencil eyeliner – the smudging. After a long day, you may have found your precise eyeliner has migrated from the top of the lids to the under eye. That once crisp look now seems to be a raccoon impression. Even a heavy application of eyelid primer can’t stop the fall of the pencil eyeliner.

Thankfully, pencil eyeliner can be easily wiped away and reapplied. This does mean you may need some upkeep for a look that lasts the day.

Liquid eyeliner is best used to create a clear and vivid finish. The color of liquid eyeliner is bold, and the line edges are crisp. Liquid eyeliner can add a real ‘wow’ factor to a look.

Liquid eyeliner is also good for day to day use. Although the lines are stronger, a steady hand can apply a thin strip of liquid eyeliner. This defines the eye shape. Even a small application of liquid eyeliner can create a finished look.

You may be surprised by how often people think you’ve made an effort, when all you’ve done is mastered the eyeliner flick.

It’s in creating that flick, or wing shape, where liquid eyeliner really shines. Even the sharpest of pencils lack the definition of a liquid wing. Liquid eyeliners offer great control to create a shape that flatters the eye. And unlike pencil, liquid rarely budges. (In fact, you may struggle to get it off in the evenings.)

The major downfall of liquid eyeliner is you need to learn to control it. Liquid eyeliner is a tricky one to master, and even when you think you’ve nailed it, there are still occasions when the lines just won’t work.

For beginners, start with pencil. This is ideal for softer looks. Use liquid if you want a sharp eye and have a steady hand.

Is brush or felt tip eyeliner better?

Brushes and felt tip liners are both forms of liquid eyeliners. They can be used to create sharp and bold looks, but require a steady hand. Felt tip liners are easier to use, so are preferred by many.

Felt tip liners are just like felt tip pens, only they’re used on the eye. They’re held in the same way as a regular pen, which means that even eyeliner beginners can adjust fairly quickly.

The pointed end can be used to create thin, clear lines. However, there are a multitude of tips available. From chunky and thick to incredibly thin, rounded to pointed.

For many, the felt tip liner can’t be beat for the precision and control it gives. Even the tiniest point of an eyeliner wing can be crisp when using a felt tip liner. The color payoff is fantastic as well. A felt tip eyeliner gives a solid black that stays strong.

The main disadvantage of using felt tip eyeliner is its uncanny ability to run out when you’re halfway through a wing. Then, you get stuck shaking it up and down like a white board pen, hoping that something will come out. At which point you’ve lost the steady hand you were using.

It can be almost impossible to tell when a felt liner may decide to dry up. Although many will slowly lose their vividness, there are occasions when they just stop.

Brushes are another popular form of liquid eyeliner. These are dipped into the liquid pot, and then applied across the eyelid. Brushes are harder to control than the felt tip.

Also, due to the strands of hair that make up the brush, they don’t give as neat a line. Brushes also need to be cleaned and taken care of, otherwise they can clump.

However, there are advantages to using a brush. For a start, it’s less likely for a pot of liquid to run out without you noticing. If it does run low, it’s easier to add more liner to the brush than it is to get a pen running.

Brushes also allow you to build up a look more. Felt tips work best when used in a consistent application. It’s easier to slowly add to the effect with a brush, and to step back and assess.

Brushes can also be used with gel eyeliner. Gel liner is the longest lasting of the eyeliners, and gives the strongest look. They only come in pots with a brush. For a confident eyeliner user, these are the best option. But they definitely take some getting used to.

Whether you use a brush or a felt tip is a matter of personal preference. For some, nothing beats the control of the felt tip liner. However, others will find the brush gives a stronger finish.