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The makeup world is ever-growing, often making it hard for those who simply dabble in beauty to keep up! Eyeliner is one particular category that seems to have expanded beyond belief in the past few years, especially with the rise of winged liner looks. Discovering the best eyeliner formula for the looks you want to create is no longer a simple feat.
Thankfully, with choice comes the ability to hone in on the perfect product for you, and build your kit accordingly. Wear a lot of smoky eyes? We’ve got the best eyeliner formula to help you out. More into wings or even eyeliner art? Check! Keep on reading to discover the best eyeliner formula for your unique makeup needs, according to our team of RY beauty experts.
Best eyeliner for: ultimate precision, long wear, wings/cat eyes
What it’s about: Gel eyeliner typically comes packed in a little pot, and must be applied using a brush, such as an angled eyeliner brush. Although it’s great for a multitude of purposes, we love it for total control over our liner look — applying with a brush makes it easier to achieve precision. The gel formula also dries exceptionally well, meaning it won’t budge throughout the day (perfect for girls with oily eyelid probs).
How to use it: Gel is a versatile formula, but generally is best applied just on the upper lash line, as it’s quite pigmented and doesn’t smudge well. It’s perfect for winged eyeliner looks! Take an angled brush, such as the nude by nature Angled Eyeliner Brush, and dip into the pot. Start by using the angled edge to create your wing — this means less finagling for you, as all you have to do is essentially press the side of the brush in the angle and spot you want. Close your wing, fill in and then drag gently along the upper lash line towards the inner corner of the eye.
Best eyeliner for: intense pigment, long wear, wings/cat eyes
What it’s about: Liquid eyeliner in brush form is notoriously tricky to use, but when done properly, can look absolutely stunning. We wouldn’t recommend this formula for beginners, but it’s ideal if you’ve got a steady hand and a little experience with using liner. Benefits include how deep the pigment applies and stays, and how long your application will last — seriously, it’ll still be jet black after a 12-hour day. Although the brush takes a little to get used to, it’s great for precision when you’ve practiced a bit.
How to use it: Start off by lining the upper lash line, tilting the brush head to it’s horizontal and can essentially be pressed for a clean, dark line. If you prefer a little more precision, you can use the brush tip and draw a line, but this also requires a steadier hand. Then, take the tip of the brush and extend your existing line into a wing (of course, only if that’s the look you’re going for!). Draw another line extending from the lower lash line and connect it with the top line before filling in.
Best eyeliner for: quick and easy application, intense pigment, wings/cat eyes
What it’s about: If you’re a little less au fait (read: pro) when it comes to eyeliner, a liquid liner in pen form is definitely your best bet. Not only are they easy to use for everything from cat eyes to designs, but they’re also intensely pigmented and stay well on the skin. They leave very little possibility for error, and are usually quite easy to wipe off in the moment if you’re still getting the hang of things. So many brands have pen liners out on the market, but we always make sure to look for something with great colour payoff and a tapered nib that comes to a very skinny point.
How to use it: Just like you would with your liquid brush liner, we recommend starting with lining the upper lash line, using the thick side of the nib on an angle to quickly sketch everything out. This is a great way to lay the base of your line — then go in with the tip of the pen liner and fill in any gaps. If you want to create a wing, take the tip and extend the line you’ve drawn outwards and upwards at the angle you desire. Then, close your wing and fill using the tip of the pen liner.
Best eyeliner for: easy application, smoky eyes/smudging
What it’s about: Where liquid formulas are all about a sharp, clean look, pencils are your best bet for something a little smokier. They’re incredibly easy to apply, making them a great choice for beginners, and can be smudged out using a brush for a softer look. They’re also longer lasting in the packaging than a liquid formula, which can easily dry up if stored incorrectly — thankfully, all you need to revive your favourite pencil is a sharpener on hand!
How to use it: How you decide to use your pencil eyeliner is essentially up to you, but say we’d want to create a stunning, smoky look — here’s how. Start off by running the pencil along the upper lash line to your desired thickness. If you want to go for a wing as well, create this as you usually would, starting by extending the top line and then matching with the bottom to a point. Fill in your wing. Then, gently run the pencil along the lower lash line to frame the eye. Finally, grab your favourite small brush (a shader or pencil works!) and smudge out to your heart’s desire.
Best eyeliner for: easy application, intense pigment, smoky eyes/smudging
What it’s about: Crayons are another fab formula, and perhaps are the most versatile of them all. They generally combine excellent pigment and an easy-to-apply formula, meaning they’re perfect for smoked looks or slightly less ‘done’ cat eyes. However, the tips are usually quite blunt and thick, meaning it’s harder to achieve precision. Like a pencil eyeliner, they’re easy to maintain and don’t go dry or clumpy, meaning you can refresh ’em whenever you want.
How to use it: Crayon eyeliner is our number one choice for a smoky look, as it’s easy to retain good pigment but the formula will smudge easily. They’re a little tougher to get a sharp wing with, so if this is your go-to, perhaps another formula would suit your needs. Start out by running the crayon along the upper lash line, then creating a small connection in the outer corner and moving onto line the bottom lash line. Grab your favourite brush, once again, and smoke out. If you want to create a quick and easy eyeshadow look, take your favourite colour of crayon and draw roughly on the lid, then blending out with a brush for no harsh edges –voilà , you’re done!
Will you be picking up a new eyeliner? If you’re already super savvy, tell us your favourite eyeliner formula over on Facebook or Twitter!
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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