Eyeliner Buying Guide

Whether you’re a fan of natural makeup or you like to rock a bold look, eyeliner is key to making your eyes pop. Find the perfect tool for the trick with this eyeliner buying guide.

Eyeliner 101

There’s something undeniably memorable about eyes, like Twiggy’s exaggerated doe-eyed stare, Cat Woman’s winged glare, or Cleopatra’s thick, smoky gaze. All of these iconic peepers have one thing in common: eyeliner. This single piece of makeup can transform your look, whether you want to look natural, sultry, dramatic, or fresh and awake. Eyeliner can also change the shape of your eyes, making them appear smaller, bigger, closer together, or farther apart. Whether you’d like to add subtle definition or a bit of va-va-voom, there’s an eyeliner that can do the trick. All it takes is a bit of practice, and the right kind of eyeliner for the job.

Types of Eyeliner


Pencil Eyeliner

Like the name suggests, the pencil eyeliner looks like a pencil and works in the same way. This is the most common form of eyeliner because it’s easy to apply, incredibly versatile, and generally very affordable. Pencil eyeliners come in all colours of the rainbow, from basic blacks and browns, to shades of blue, purple, green, and more. You can use this type of eyeliner to draw soft, thin lines, or to blend and smudge for a dramatic, smoky look. If you’d like to add colour to your waterline, pencil eyeliners are usually the best type to use, however you’ll want to make sure to use one that’s ophthalmologist-tested.
Pros: Easy to use, portable, comes in a wide range of colours, and is generally inexpensive.
Con: Needs to be sharpened regularly.

Liquid Eyeliner

Mastering liquid eyeliner is no small feat, but once you do, you can create just about any look: from razor-thin lines to look wide awake, to a bold cat eye for a retro style. As the name suggests, liquid eyeliner is wet and goes on like paint with a small wand or brush. This type of eyeliner is long lasting and highly pigmented, so you can draw a rich line, whether thin or thick. It can be very tricky to apply, but it just takes some practice to find the right technique. One tip: start at the middle of your eye, close to your lash line, and slowly draw a line to the outer corner. Then start at the inside of your eye, and draw a line back to the middle of your eye. Don’t forget, liquid liner needs time to dry, but once it does, it’s virtually smudge-proof and can last all day.
Pro: Creates bold, rich lines, and is perfect for dramatic looks like a cat eye.
Con: Takes a steady hand and lots of practice to get it right.

Pen Eyeliner

Pen eyeliner is the best of both worlds: it’s similar to a liquid liner, but easier to apply like a pencil liner. This type generally dries faster than a liquid liner, but the colour can be less rich. This means you might have to layer your liner until you get the boldness you want, but you’ll have more control over the density of the colour, as well as the application.
Pro: Easy to apply
Con: Not as bold as a liquid liner

Gel/Cream Eyeliner

Gel or cream eyeliner is the best of everything: it has the saturated colour of a liquid liner but a thicker texture that makes it easier to apply, and like a pencil, it can be used to create a crisp line or a smudged look. This type of eyeliner comes in a little pot with a small angled brush to use for application. Once it dries, it’s virtually smudge-proof, but it can be used to create a soft, smoky look. Like using liquid eyeliner, working with a gel or cream does take some practice.
Pro: The rich colour of a liquid without the fuss, and it can be smudged like a pencil.
Con: Usually comes with a brush and a pot, which makes it easy to lose a piece.

Eye Shadow

Here’s a pro tip: your eye shadow can pull double-duty as eyeliner as well. You can use the powder with an angled brush to trace your lash line for a soft, smoky look, or you can use it over a smudged pencil or gel liner for a little oomph. However, it will blur the crisp line of a liquid liner. Any eye shadow can be used dry, but some shadows are made to work as a wet liner as well. Simply wet the tip of your brush then blend it with a bit of eye shadow to create a precise line of colour that’s more saturated than the powder. Eye shadow is generally not as long lasting as other eyeliners, but it is extremely versatile and easy to use to create dramatic smoky eyes, or a subtle natural look.
Pro: Easy to use with a wide palette of colours.
Con: Not as long lasting as every other type of liner.

Eyeliner Tips:

• Rule of thumb: for hygienic reasons, replace eye liner every 3 months
• Keep your brushes and tools clean
• Practice makes perfect! Practice applying the style you want
• Always remove your makeup before going to bed
• Make blue eyes pop with brown or bronze liners
• Make green eyes dazzle with violet liners
• Bring out brown eyes with dark blue, plum, and green liners
• Enhance dark brown eyes with black or navy blue liners

Eyeliner Features

Shimmer +

A little shimmer in eyeliner can go a long way. These types of eyeliners can be subtle, with small flecks that reflect light, or bold with big glitter that really pops. If you want to add a little glitter to your daytime look, it’s best to stick to subtle eyeliners that simply add shine, as glitter can be overpowering in bright light. Heavier shimmer is better suited to evening makeup, like for semi-formal or formal events, where lighting will be softer and the glitter won’t overpower your makeup.

Smudge +

Some eyeliners are made to stay perfectly in place, and others are made to smudge and blend. A little bit of smudge can be just right for softer daytime makeup, and a heavier smudge creates a sultry style that’s perfect for evening events. You can get this look by using cream or gel liners, or by using a pencil liner that you gently smudge with your finger, a cotton swab, or an eyeliner brush. Some pencils are specially formulated for smudging, with a small sponge on one end to help you easily build colour and blend.

Waterproof +

If you need your eyeliner to last from day to night without fear of smudging or budging, reach for a waterproof formula. Waterproof eyeliners are made to withstand humidity and moisture without flaking or running, so you can be confident that you won’t have raccoon eyes halfway through your day. Waterproof eyeliners might not withstand swimming or bathing, but a few tears at a wedding or an unexpected rain won’t ruin your look. Be sure to remove your makeup at the end of the day with eye makeup remover, or cleanser and water.

Self-sharpening +

Almost like magic, your eyeliner will always be on point if it’s self-sharpening. These types of eyeliners have built-in sharpeners so that every time you twist up, the eyeliner is automatically sharpened. Not only is it convenient, but it also helps to keep your eyeliner clean as bacteria are sharpened away.

Shop Accessories & Related Products:

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



Store details