Gel, pencil, liquid, pen…which eyeliner should I use?

I get asked this question a lot and I also ask myself this question…what type of eyeliner should I use? Does one work better than the other? How long do they last? Well, I am going to do my best to answer these questions based on my own experience 🙂 I will list what I think works for each product and what I think doesn’t work as well as my suggestions for products to buy 🙂

Gel liner

What works:

  • Smudge proof
  • Super creamy
  • Easy to apply
  • Lasts all day
  • GREAT for winged liner
  • Very pigmented

What doesn’t work:

  • more expensive than other liners
  • dries out really fast
  • have to use a separate brush for some (some drugstore gels come with an applicator)
  • hard to apply on water line
  • great for smudging (I know I said it doesn’t smudge, but that is after it dries)


  • Maybelline eye studio lasting drama gel liner
  • MAC “black track” (for a black gel liner)

Liquid liner

What works:

  • very precise
  • usually good color payoff
  • depending on the brand, lasts all day (from my experience)
  • GREAT for strong eyeliner (winged, shapes, bold)

What doesn’t work:

  • hard to apply (takes a lot of practice and it’s easy to mess up)
  • can crease, depending on the brand
  • takes more time to dry
  • have to keep dipping applicator in the tube just for one eye


  • NYX “the curve” (this is great for beginners because the packaging is curved and easy to reach around your eye)
  • Maybelline line stilleto


What works:

  • easy to apply (it’s like drawing…on your face)
  • doesn’t smudge
  • GREAT for winged liner and really precise liner shapes

What doesn’t work

  • usually creases (from my experience)
  • dries out really fast (not dipping into any product. it works just like a pen)


  • Maybelline eye studio master precise ink pen eyeliner
  • Revlon colorstay liquid eye pen

Pencil (Kohl and Waterproof)

What works:

  • GREAT for smudging (kohl)
  • can be used for different purposes (you can double as a cream shadow)
  • a more soft look
  • easy to apply (if the formula is really buttery)
  • you typically get more product compared to other liners

What doesn’t work

  • can crease (some pencils are awful and crease really bad…to fix this, set with a black eyeshadow on top)(kohl)
  • not as precise
  • have to keep sharpening to get the finest point


  • Urban decay 24/7 glide on eye pencils
  • Rimmel special eyes eyeliner pencil (need to set with a black eyeshadow)
  • Milani liquif’eye metallic eye pencil (this is my FAVORITE and it is super buttery…not good for really thin liner because it is so creamy and thick)

I hope this was helpful and let me know of any liners that you really like. I would love to try them!

XO Alexa


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