Sunday, 9 March 2008

To define and bring out your eyes, eyeliners are the make-up of choice. From liquid to powder to pencil, eyeliners can be messy to apply, and expensive to find the right one. We learn more about buying and using eyeliners.


The Basics

  • There are different types of eyeliner to consider:

    • Pencils are oil-based with wax added to solidify the product and are popular for easy application. Doesn’t smudge easily (which is sometimes desirable), though new soft kohl pencils give a powdery line.

    • Liquid liner is usually waterproof or water resistant and can be oily and harder to remove, but they don’t run or smear. The liquid is hard to apply (practice and a steady hand) and requires a solvent to remove at the end of the day.

    • Pens are similar to liquid liners, but can be easier to use.

    • Powder are prone to caking and may cause eye irritation, but if used correctly, can give the most natural-looking lines and are easy to apply with a short-bristle brush.

    • Permanent is similar to the tattooing process. A local anaesthetic is often used and vegetable pigment is implanted with needles at the base of the upper and lower lids. It cannot be removed with laser surgery and the FDA is still testing health reactions associated with this procedure.

  • Different application methods give different looks. A pencil or powder give a more natural, softer look, whereas a liquid liner is more defined and pronounced.

  • If you are susceptible to infection, buy a pencil eyeliner and a good sharpener. Every time you sharpen, it’s clean!

  • Take your time and choose a color that compliments your eye color and your skin tone rather than contrasts it.

  • Test the liner out on the more delicate skin of your hand, the flat part between your thumb and forefinger knuckle. If the liner is to waxy and sticky, you’ll notice it pulls at the skin when depositing colour. Look for something that goes on smoother.


We rounded up a selection of brands and application styles and tested each out for a week with the help of some girlfriends:

Usage Test

  • The Cover Girl powder tended to flake and the applicator was difficult to use compared to the Elizabeth Arden, which stayed on better and was a little easier to apply.

  • The Cover Girl pencil was also more difficult to use than the Lancome, and it tended to smudge throughout the day. The Lancome stayed on better and had a smoother application.

  • The liquid liners (both brush applicator and foam pen applicator) all performed about the same. It was hard to tell the difference between the expensive ones and the cheaper ones, but they definitely took a lot of practice, and more effort to remove at the end of the day.


We learned that when it comes to eyeliner, test the product before you buy. As for which type to use, it’s a personal choice for style, application preference, and budget.



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