Battle of the best eyeliner

Jennifer Cooke weighs up the liquid eyeliner vs pencil eyeliner debate for us...

Jennifer Cooke
18th March 2019

As a pen, a pot, a wheel or a stamp, liquid eyeliner is clearly the superior makeup tool. Unless you are going for an 80s grunge smoky eye (which you could, honestly, achieve with a thin eyeshadow brush and get a softer, smoked-out look), there’s nothing a pencil eyeliner can do that the liquid can’t do, but better. If you think of your favourite beauty influencers, how many of them still use pencil over liquid eyeliners? In this respect, definitely trust the professionals, and me.

For one, the line is darker in the traditional black. It is also smoother and allows for more control when doing a winged or cat eye. A pencil would have to be built up or fixed since pencils drag the skin more than its liquid counterpart does. Winged eyeliner is the biggest use of eyeliner in recent years, and I think everyone can agree that the liquid eyeliner creates bolder, more dramatic looks. With liquid eyeliners, you can make more intricate designs with the precise point that is on the liquid pens or brushes. Think the crease cut eyeliner look, the wavy look, underliner, stacked, and negative space. How many of those trends, whether you love or hate them, would even be possible with a pencil?

Additionally, liquid eyeliner is versatile and so easy to use! The different subtypes of liquid eyeliner make it so user friendly so that everyone can have their preferred application type, can you say the same for pencil? If the bottle with the brush attached is too daunting you can use the pen, and if both of those are too tricky, the liquid eyeliners have stamps and wheels for ease of use. A winged eyeliner in just the press of a stamp is a godsend for the more makeup-wary of us.

If you like colour in your eyeliner, guess what? Liquid wins there too. If you’re going to be using a colour eyeliner, I’d assume you would want it to be a bold look, and the colour to be vibrant. A coloured pencil eyeliner tends to diffuse out in the same way that eyeshadow does upon application. Liquid eyeliner stays the same colour whichever skin tone it’s applied onto. If you’re going for a bold look, surely you would want it to be the colour you expect, and to be able to apply it precisely.

Finally, liquid eyeliner stays on more easily. In my personal experience, pencil eyeliner wears off around the eyes throughout the day/night. Meanwhile, I’ve literally cried wearing liquid eyeliner and it’s stayed intact. I know that pencil eyeliner can be used to create softer looks, but like I said at the start, anything you want to use a pencil eyeliner for can be created, usually more successfully, with eyeshadow.

If you’re still using pencil eyeliner, I don’t know what to say to you. Other than head down to Soap & Glory and go buy my Holy Grail: Supercat eyeliner pen.

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