Liquid Eyeliner Vs. Gel And Pencil – Which Is Best?

Using eyeliner can dramatically change your eyes, but is liquid eyeliner better, or does gel win out? What about the not-so-humble pencil eyeliner?

Liquid Eyeliner Vs. Gel And Pencil

Whether you think liquid eyeliner is better, prefer a gel pot packed with color, or go for a pencil eyeliner will depend on what you’re planning to do with that eyeliner. The different kinds of eyeliner will create different effects, so it’s all about the look that you’re going for.

Types of Eyeliners

In order to decide your eyeliner preference, you need to know all about the different types of eyeliner, and what they’re usually used for. 

That way, you can make an informed decision about whether liquid or pencil eyeliner is better for you.

The different types will also require different techniques, and your make-up application skills can impact which eyeliner is best for you.

Liquid eyeliner

There are two main kinds of liquid eyeliner: There is liquid eyeliner that is applied with a ‘felt tip’ applicator, a bit like a pen, or there’s liquid eyeliner applied with a brush tip. 

It really depends on your preference as to which is best for you.

Felt tip liquid eyeliners are convenient and comfortable to hold. 

They can create dynamic, sharp lines that make a look more dramatic and intense. Felt tip liquid eyeliner is super versatile and will tend to be long-lasting, too. 

It’s a staple of most peoples’ make-up bag and is easier to use than brush tip liquid eyeliner. 

Brush tip liquid eyeliners require a degree of skill in the application. They can therefore be less popular than either pencil eyeliner or felt tip liquid eyeliner. 

However, they create an even more dramatic look than the latter and create super precise, thin lines. 

They also tend to come in both matte and satin finishes – you just need to remember to let them dry, as they can smudge easily.

Pencil eyeliner

Pencil eyeliner is a classic for a reason. 

It creates a softer, sexier, more smudged look than either kind of liquid eyeliner. As such, it’s better for blending and is therefore fantastic for those who are a fan of the smoky eye. 

However, pencil eyeliner can also create a more natural, demure look if that’s what you’re going for.

Pencil eyeliner can be used to line both the upper and lower lash line, unlike liquid eyeliner. 

Although you could use liquid eyeliner to line your waterline, you’re more likely to get some of the formula in your eyes, which might cause irritation. 

Pencil eyeliners do require sharpening, however.

As such, you might need to remember to carry one around with you if you’re wearing pencil eyeliner, so that you can easily do touch-ups on the go.

Gel eyeliner

Gel or cream eyeliners are another kind, but they tend to be best for those very comfortable using make-up, as they require some skill in the application. 

Gel eyeliners make bold lines and are particularly fantastic when colored.

However, you do need to use a brush to apply them, and they can easily dry out without daily use.

Is Liquid Liner Better Than Gel?

Is Liquid Liner Better Than Gel

Whether or not you think liquid liner is better than gel eyeliner will depend on you and the make-up look you’re going for, as well as your skill in applying eyeliner. 

Liquid eyeliner is more user-friendly and will create dynamic cats eyes or strong, intense lines. 

Gel eyeliner can add even more of a ‘wow factor’, but you do need to be confident when applying it, as you will need a brush.  

Is Liquid Liner Better Than Pencil?

Pencil eyeliner is best for those who like a soft, blended, smoky look. It’s also better than liquid liner if you’re regularly looking to line your waterline. 

However, pencil eyeliner does require a sharpener so as to stay sharp. 

Liquid eyeliner is better for clean, sharp, bold lines. You just need to avoid going overboard and creating ‘racoon eyes’, which look good on no one.

Reasons To Choose Pencil Eyeliner

Reasons To Choose Pencil Eyeliner

1. If you’re a beginner

If you’re a novice in the world of eyeliner or are even new to the world of make-up more broadly, then using a pencil eyeliner is your best bet. 

Liquid eyeliners require a certain amount of skill, patience, and ability to master. 

They also don’t easily mask mistakes – if you wobble with the line of liquid eyeliner, you’ll be able to tell. Pencil eyeliner is far more forgiving for newbies, as it’s designed to be smudged.

2. If you have shaky hands

Look, not everyone is destined to be a surgeon, and that’s okay.

But if medical school wasn’t for you because of your shaky hands (amongst other reasons), then it’s best to stay clear of liquid eyeliner. 

You need firm hands and a clear brush stroke in order to achieve the bold, beautiful statement lines of liquid eyeliner. 

If you’re particularly shaky-handed, then pencil eyeliner is best for you.

3. If you’ve got minimal time in the mornings

Liquid and gel eyeliners require time. Once you’ve got the perfect line, you then have to wait for it to dry. 

One smudge and it’s ruined, which isn’t exactly conducive if you have a busy morning with minimal make-up time.

Pencil eyeliner is far more forgiving, and won’t smudge as easily (unless you intend for them to do so)! 

What’s more, you can also go for a pencil retractable eyeliner, which is more convenient than pencils that need endless sharpening.

4. If you’re going for a more natural look

There’s a place for big, bold, statement eyes. But that place might not be work, in which case, liquid eyeliner is a no-go. Pencil eyeliner is easier and creates a more natural, softer look. 

5. If you want to line your waterline

As detailed above, you shouldn’t look to line your waterline with liquid eyeliner. You may end up with some formula in your eyes, which can cause serious irritation. 

Pencil eyeliner is appropriate for lining your waterline.

6. If you’ve got wrinkles

Wrinkles and crow’s feet are beautiful – they’re the natural process of aging. 

But if you’re worried about your eyeliner sitting strangely in your wrinkles, then you should go for pencil. Liquid can be unforgiving, whereas pencil eyeliner is a little softer.

7. If you want a smoky eye

Although pencil eyeliner creates a more natural look, it is also easier to blend into a smoky eye than liquid eyeliner. You can build intensity and make the look softer with greater ease.

8. If you want color options

Typically, pencil eyeliner will come in a greater colorway than liquid eyeliner. So if you’re a fan of using eye make-up to add a pop of color, then pencil eyeliner is the way to go.

Reasons To Choose Liquid Eyeliner

1. More precise

If precision is the name of the game, and you want strong, clean lines, then liquid eyeliner will deliver that in a way that pencil eyeliner just can’t. 

You may need to practice to get it just right, but once you’ve mastered the perfect cat eye, there may be no going back. 

Pencil eyeliners may be great, but they can’t create the precise lines of liquid eyeliner.

2. More dramatic effect

Liquid eyeliner will tend to have more pigment than pencil eyeliner, so it creates a bolder look. 

Typically, you can use both pencil and liquid eyeliner to create a super dramatic look. 

Building them both together will add dynamic layers to your eye make-up. 

Keep the liner at its darkest along the lash line, and use pencil eyeliner and eye shadow to blend the look outwards.

3. More applicator options

As described above, liquid eyeliner comes in two main applicator types – felt tip and brush. 

You can play around with both in order to determine which is your preference, and practice makes perfect, as the different applicators will create different lines.

No matter how great pencil eyeliner is, you just can’t beat a liquid eyeliner for clean, statement lines.

Can Liquid Eyeliner Be Harmful To Eyes?

Can Liquid Eyeliner Be Harmful To Eyes

Any liquid eyeliner that’s sold by a widely reputed brand should not be harmful. However, it’s still best to follow best practices with all eye make-up. 

Throw out any products that are beyond their best before date, and don’t share your eye make-up.

If you use a pencil eyeliner on your waterline, then take care you remove it properly, and do be careful not to overdo it, as this could cause irritation or dryness.