11 Types Of Eyeliners To Know

Eyeliner is a must-have for any makeup bag. Besides adding definition to our eyes, eyeliner can enhance the eye's shape, make lashes appear fuller, and even give the illusion of looking fully rested. Did you know that different types of eyeliner can completely transform your eyes? It's true!

We've pulled together a list of 11 different types of eyeliners that will best suit your beauty needs. Let's look at each in-depth to see how it's applied and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Keep reading to learn which eyeliner is the best choice for you.

A close up of a young woman getting liner applied to her eyes, 11 Types Of Eyeliners To Know

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1. Liquid

Liquid silver eyeliner isolated on white background

This eyeliner type comes equipped with a fine tip brush for precise application. Liquid eyeliner is an excellent option for creating winged and cat-eye looks or getting creative with bold styles.


  • Glides on smooth with little to no clumping
  • Go thick or thin with the precision brush
  • It stays on for hours without flaking


  • Liquid liner needs to dry first, or it tends to smudge
  • It can be unforgiving, especially with an unsteady hand
  • It takes time to master the perfect lines
  • Challenging to clean off if you make a mistake

Check out this liquid eyeliner on Amazon.

2. Gel

Eyeliner isolated on white background

Gel eyeliners are typically seen in small jars and are applied with an angled brush. This liner is highly pigmented and has a consistency between an eye pencil and a liquid eyeliner. Dab the brush in the liner and drag across the upper lash line for a smooth, polished look, or smudge to create the ultimate smoky eye.


  • A little amount goes a long way
  • It's a super smudgeable formula for perfect smoky eyes
  • Smooth, silky feel on eyelids


  • You'll need a makeup brush, making it not so travel friendly
  • It needs drying time to prevent smearing
  • The formula dries out quickly if the lid isn't replaced after each use

3. Cream

Smudge pot cosmetics

Cream eyeliners are an excellent choice for creating subtle, natural looks. It's similar to gel liner in that it comes in small jars and is applied with a brush. Dip your angled brush in the liner and glide along the eyelid to create neat lines or a more dramatic winged style.


  • Longevity: Cream liners have great staying power
  • The brush gives you control of your liner's thickness
  • It makes eyes look natural


  • Not suitable for creating smoky looks
  • Should only be worn with powdered eyeshadow, as cream shadows tend to smear
  • Cream liners are not available in a wide range of colors

Click here to see this cream eyeliner on Amazon.

4. Pencil

Make-up pencil

Pencil eyeliner is sharpened like a typical pencil, and many come with a tiny sponge on one end for smudging. Apply it to upper and lower lash lines, smudge for a smoky look, or keep the lines neat. You can also wear it on your waterline for added depth and definition.


  • Pencil liner is easy to smudge for a smoky look
  • You can create soft or bold looks
  • More suitable for mature eyes


  • It needs to be sharpened regularly for best results
  • It can potentially cause eye injuries if you accidentally poke yourself
  • Pencil liners can drag across your eyelid instead of producing a smooth line

Check out this pencil eyeliner on Amazon.

5. Felt Tip

Black cosmetic eyeliner with opened lid isolated on white background

Felt tip eyeliner is a smooth, liquid formula that looks like a marker. The precision tip helps to create dramatic cat-eyes and wings. Use it alone on eyelids or combine or combine it with lined lower lash lines for a bold evening look.


  • Glides on smooth with no dragging
  • Easier to use than brush tip liquid liner
  • The felt tip applicator has a higher color pay off than brush tip liners


  • Dries out quickly if not capped tightly after each use
  • It can be messy for beginners
  • It needs to dry thoroughly to avoid unwanted smudging

Click here to see this felt tip eyeliner at Amazon.

6. Eyeshadow (As Liner)

Palette of colorful eye shadows isolated on white background

Your favorite eyeshadow palette can also double as eyeliner. All you need to get started for turning your eyeshadow into eyeliner is a slanted brush or sponge applicator and a spritz of water. Spray a small amount of water on your brush, swirl it in the eyeshadow, and glide the brush along upper and lower lash lines. You can also use dry eyeshadow for a more subtle look.


  • A great way to use up old eyeshadow
  • Creates subtle or bold looks depending on how many layers you apply
  • A wide variety of colors available to customize your look


  • It doesn't have staying power compared to liquid and pencil eyeliners
  • You will need to use an eyeshadow primer for higher pigmentation
  • Not suitable for waterlines

7. Glitter

Cosmetic eyeliner thin brushes, set of six colors with glitter, beauty products isolated on white background

Glitter eyeliner is available in pencil or liquid form and adds a fun pop of color to your eye makeup. Wear it as a standalone liner, or pair it with black eyeliner for a two-toned look. In addition, glitter liner creates unique winged and cat-eye styles and so much more. Read 11 Glitter Eyeliner Looks To Try Out for some inspiring looks.


  • Most glitter formulas are fast drying
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Long-lasting


  • You will need to wear eyeshadow primer to prevent flaking and glitter fallout
  • Mistakes can be difficult to clean up; keep the micellar water handy
  • Glitter particles can be irritating if they get inside your eyes

Check out this set of liquid glitter eyeliner on Amazon.

8.Kajal and Kohl

Blue kajal eyeliner pencil and color swatch on white background

Kajal and kohl eyeliners are essentially the same things. This eyeliner is made from a combination of waxes and natural pigments, made especially to achieve the sultry smoky eye. It comes in a thick crayon shape for creating thick lines on lash lines and waterlines.


  • Authentic formulas contain natural ingredients, perfect for sensitive eyes
  • Glides smoothly
  • Best for achieving an intense, smoky look


  • It can get messy if you apply too much
  • The thick applicator tip isn't made for precise lines
  • Authentic kajals and kohls can be expensive

Click here to see this kajal eyeliner on Amazon.

9. Retractable (Mechanical)

Cosmetic eyebrow pencils with color stroke samples, five different colors of beauty product isolated on white background

Retractable eyeliners are self-sharpening pencil liners. Use the retractable pencil to sketch on the upper lash line and gently smudge for a natural look. You can also use this eyeliner to line the upper waterline (tight-line) to make lashes appear fuller.


  • They never need sharpening, unlike regular pencil eyeliners
  • Its plastic tube means less chance of breakage
  • They don't dry out as quickly as wooden pencil eyeliners


  • The blunt tip doesn't produce sharp, crisp lines
  • May break if you twist too much product from the tube

10. Stamp

Stamp eyeliner is an innovative way to create the perfect winged look. They are sold in a pack of two, one for each eye. Each eyeliner is double-ended: one end has a wing stamp the other end has a felt tip applicator. The wing is stamped on the eye's outer corner, and the liner is drawn on to complete the look.


  • An easy way for beginners to master winged eyeliner
  • The stamp transfers smoothly
  • Can make the wing longer by using the felt tip applicator


  • It can be challenging to make the stamp look right for hooded eyes
  • Challenging to clean from the skin if you make a mistake

See this stamp eyeliner kit on Amazon.

11. Cake

Cake eyeliners are similar to watercolor paints; they are activated with water and applied with a small brush. Cake liners come in packages resembling pressed eyeshadows. Spritz the eyeliner with water and swirl the brush in the formula. Gently dab off excess water from the brush and glide along upper or lower lash lines (or both).


  • Creates an intense line
  • A fun way to experiment with different brushes and colors
  • You can customize the color with how much water you use (sheer or opaque)


  • It can be difficult to know how much water to use
  • Challenging to master for beginners
  • Since you need water and a brush, it's not very travel-friendly

Click here to see this cake eyeliner on Amazon.

In Closing

We hope that you've enjoyed reading our list of different types of eyeliners. Have fun and go experiment with all the different types of eyeliner available! For more inspiring beauty advice on eyeliner, be sure to read the following:

Should Eyeliner Be Thick Or Thin? [A Complete Guide]

Can You Use Gel Eyeliner As Eyeshadow?

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