Decisions decisions… there are so many options out there nowadays when it comes to lining our eyes, which is so great, but can be a little overwhelming too. Hopefully this will help a lot to find the right type, even though you don’t have to pick just one (I personally could never give up using the other three!). All four can be found at your local drug store, beauty supply or department store.
KOHL LINER: This is the original classic. It glides on with ease and now comes in metallic finishes as well as matte solids. Because of their consistency, kohl pencils are amazing for smudging with your finger or a cotton swab, creating less of a “line” and more of frame. Try to really get in there between the lashes and even into your waterline for a more piercing look. Choose this type for the expansive color options, a softer look, blendability and as the only liner type that is truly safe to rim your inner waterline. ** Tip: for a thin line, use the point of the pencil, holding it almost perpendicularly (90-degree angle) to your eye. For a thicker line, slant the pencil to a 45-degree angle, using more of the side of the tip of the pencil. Don’t be afraid to try holding your pencil at different angles — make-up is temporary and you can wipe it off and try again as many times as it takes for you to get the hang of it. Also, you can adjust the width by how much you sharpen the pencil, so for more precise lines, sharpen it as far as you can to create a true point, and for more of a smoked line, heat up the tip with a quick blast from your blow dryer then dull the point on the back of your hand.
LONGWEAR LINER: These liners are newer to the cosmetic world but almost every brand has caught up and offers one now. They are usually self-sharpening and turn up from the bottom, so you don’t have control over how how sharp/dull the tip is, but in return, you get a defined eye that once set, won’t bleed, run or fade and will last for hours (hallelujah!). Like the kohl pencil, you’ll want to gently lift your upper lid up with your ring finger first to have greater access to your actual lash line, then drag the pencil back and forth in between your lashes. Once you’ve covered that area, go a little higher and line right above your lashes like you would with a typical liner then again along your bottom lash line if you so desire. You have 30 seconds or so to blend and smooth over the line to make sure it’s not jagged before it sets for the day.
LIQUID LINER: Liquid liners are the most intense and precise way to line your eyes with a straight line or to wing the line into a cat eye. Because the formula dries within five seconds, there isn’t a lot of room for error and this turns a lot of us away from even attempting it. But I promise you, like anything else that’s new and scary, if you just go for it and practice, you CAN master it! Especially when you realize that you can wet a pointed q-tip and easily correct any jags, taking off a lot of the pressure to make the line perfect on your first try. Liquid liners either come in a tiny container/pot with their own super skinny brushes or are “pens” that write like a felt-tip pen but instead with brush-hair tips. Both versions work beautifully but I would look for a waterproof formula so the liquid won’t feather or run. Watch Lauren’s Get Catty tutorial to see how light-handed you’ll want the pressure to be when you draw the lines.
SMUDGE POT: This little beauty, also known as a gel/cream liner, came on the scene around the mid-90’s as more of a grease paint and has been improving and evolving into formulas that wear for hours and come in an array of colors and finishes (matte and metallic). It usually comes with a little liner brush or you can invest in a longer liner brush that is pointed or angled. Pick this type of liner if you prefer using a brush over a pencil and desire a strong line that isn’t as intense as a liquid liner but more intense than a pencil. Like a liquid liner, I would use it only along the lash line but not inside on the water line because a lot of formulas burn and are for external use only. But once you find a brush that you love (and most likely it will be the one that comes with it!), this super user-friendly type of liner might become your favorite because you can paint on the line with ease and it won’t feather.
XO, Amy Nadine