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With so many different ways to highlight and bring out your eyes, comes yet another dilemma: Is gel liner better than liquid liner? Or is it the other way around? We’ve got the details on everything you need to know regarding which of these eye liner types are best for you, and which brands of both gel and liquid liner are the best products to cop in today’s market.

Gel Eyeliner or Liquid Eyeliner

Maybelline New York Makeup Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner, Blackest Black, Waterproof, 0.106 Ounce,Pack of 1

Gel Eyeliner vs Liquid Eyeliner: Similarities

  • Used For Precision
  • Applied With a Brush or Wand
  • Ideal For “Cat Eyes” and Winged Looks
  • Can Be Tricky to Apply

Gel Eyeliner vs Liquid Eyeliner: Differences

  • Liquid Liner Often Comes With Its Own Applicator Brush
  • Gel Liner Is More Forgiving
  • Liquid Liner Requires a Very Steady Hand
  • Liquid Liner Usually Offers a More Glossy Finish
  • Gel Liner Is Ideal For Thicker Lines
  • Liquid Liner Is More Ideal For Thin and Precise Definition

Which Is Better: Liquid Eyeliner or Gel?

That depends largely on what you are using it for. The truth is that each liner, both liquid and gel liners, offer beauty buffs benefits that can help take their makeup to the next level. Having said that, depending on the look you prefer, you may find that gel liners may work best for you in some scenarios, while liquid liner might be the go-to for others.

Does Gel Eyeliner Last Longer Than Liquid?

This is a hard question to answer because it will depend largely on the type and brand of gel or liquid liner you pick up. Some gels and liquids are exclusively advertised to wear all day. If you are looking for a liner that lasts, opt for a liner that markets itself as being waterproof and check the reviews for added reassurance.

Gel vs Liquid Eyeliner: Best Eyeliner Easy to Apply

So, which of these two are the easiest to apply? Beginners should definitely opt for gel liners for practice before delving into the liquid liner game. Because liquid liners require extreme accuracy and tend to dry fast, there is little to no room for errors on your end.

On the flip side, gel liners are often more forgiving as you have more control over the thicker brush, and the product naturally gives itself to a smooth and easy glide over the eyelid. Want to go for a smokier look rather than a precise winged line? You can do that too with a gel liner. Thus, overall, gel liner is more versatile and user-friendly.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Epic Ink Liner, Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, Black

Gel or Liquid Eyeliner: Which Eyeliner Is Best For What?

Straight and Thin Lines: If you are looking for straight, thin and precise lines, or if you want a sharp wing on your eye, you’ll want to grab for liquid liner.

Smokier Lines, Thicker Lines or Practice Strokes: If you are looking for a smoky, smudged look go for gel liner.

It bears mentioning, however, that you can certainly achieve a “cat eye” with gel liner, and it often looks amazing when you do so. Just bear in mind that your cat eye will tend to be quite thick and bold, which many ladies like.

The other pro about gel liner? You can start with gel liner to practice making your winged or cat eyes before graduating to the more difficult liquid liner. If you really want a crisp line and still want to use a gel liner, go ahead and apply the gel with a thinner brush to achieve these results.

About Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline New York Makeup Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner, Blackest Black, Waterproof, 0.106 Ounce,Pack of 1

What Is Gel Liner?

Generally speaking, gel liner comes in a pot and is applied with a separate applicator brush.

You can achieve thicker or thinner lines with gel liner depending on what type of brush you use, and you have the versatility of being able to smudge gel liner to create smokey looks.

Is Gel Eyeliner Considered a Liquid?

Not really.

While a gel liner is, in essence, a liquid when compared to its penciled counterparts, gel liners are considered another category entirely from liquid eyeliner.

Nevertheless, much of their function is comparable to that of liquid liners, which makes “Is gel eyeliner better than liquid eyeliner?” tricky to answer.

Are Gel Eyeliners Good?

Gel eyeliners are great as long as you know what to use them for.

Gel liners are good for a variety of makeup looks, and deliver a deep, bold and opaque line in a variety of colors for those wishing to line their eyes with added creativity and sass.

Pros of Gel Eyeliner

  • Thicker Lines
  • Comes in a Variety of Colors
  • Can Be Smudged For Smokier Looks
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Don’t Dry as Fast as Liquid Liners
  • Buildable
  • Softer Edges

Cons of Gel Eyeliner

  • Must Use With a Brush
  • Can Be Messy
  • Still Requires More Technique Than Pencil
  • Doesn’t Offer As Sharp of an Edge as Liquid Eyeliners

How To Use Gel Eyeliner: How to Apply Gel Eyeliner

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Eyeliner, Blackest Black (Packaging May Vary)

Gel Eyeliner Tips:

  • When applying your gel liner, first think of the type of look you want to create, and then use a brush to achieve the look. For smudgier eyes, use a thicker brush and for more precise line, use a brush with a finer tip.
  • When applying your eyeliner to make a winged eye, start at the outer corner of your eye and draw a line out. Then, go to the middle of your eye and draw a line up and out to connect to the end of the first line you drew. Gently fill in what should now resemble a triangle at the outer corner of our eye. Repeat on the other side for a winged eye look.

*Pro Tip: Not feeling like you have a steady enough hand to achieve this look? Use a card or piece of tape to guide your outer corner eye line for more precise and less messy results.

Best Gel-Based Eyeliner

Best Longwear Gel Eyeliner: MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline

MAC Fluidline Eye Liner Gel DIPDOWN - Brown
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Most Affordable Gel Eyeliner: UCANBE Black and Brown Eyeliner Set
2 in 1 Black and Brown Gel Eyeliner Set Water Proof Smudge Proof, Last for All Day Long, Work Great with Eyebrow, 2 Pieces Eye Makeup Brushes Included

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Best Brush To Apply Gel Eyeliner

Best Overall Brush to Apply Gel Eyeliner For Winged Look: Sigma E06 Winged Liner Brush

Sigma Beauty E06 Winged Liner Makeup Brush
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About Liquid Eyeliner


What Is Liquid Eyeliner?

Unlike gel, liquid eyeliner comes with its own brush. Also, the packaging of a liquid liner will depend on the type and brand. For instance, some will come in a nail polish style bottle while others may come in the form of a pen, or other contraption. Whatever the case, liquid liner brushes are often pencil thin and flexible making them the choice option for sharp lines.

Pros of Liquid Eyeliner

  • Perfect For Precision
  • Creates Sharp Lines
  • The Choice Decision For Lining Close to Lash Line
  • Typically Long-Lasting
  • Comes With Its Own Brush

Cons of Liquid Eyeliner

  • Difficult to Use For Beginners
  • Dries Quickly
  • Requires an Ultra Steady Hand
  • Not Ideal For Smoky Eyes

How to Use Liquid Eyeliner

Almay Intense Liquid Eyeliner, Waterproof and Longwearing, Hypoallergenic, Cruelty Free, Fragrance Free, Ophthalmologist Tested, 224 Brown Topaz, 0.08 oz

Liquid Eyeliner Tips

For liquid eyeliner, you’ll have less room for error. Because of this, you’ll want to ensure that you have already practiced perfecting your eye makeup look prior to attempting to use liquid eyeliner for a fully made up face.

  • After you’ve made up your face and done your eyeshadow, dip your brush into the liquid eyeliner, and with a steady hand, begin to line your eyes. Do NOT use liquid liner in your waterline because the ingredients may irritate your eyes. For more information about what ingredients eyeliner is made out of, check this read on what eyeliner is made of.
  • To achieve the winged look, you will follow the same steps you would with gel liner. Start at the corner of your eye and draw a (steady) line outward. Then, starting from the middle of your eye, draw an angled line up to meet the corner of the line you already drew. Carefully, fill in the triangle shape that this method should have created.
  • If you do make a mistake, which can be highly likely, fix any botched winged liner with a q-tip dipped in makeup remover being careful not to get it in your eyes.

*Pro Tip: Want thin eyeliner lines but don’t have the time to practice? No worries. Try using a pen liner instead. This works much like a traditional eyeliner pencil, offering plenty of control while also providing definition. Just be aware that this product will still work like liquid in that it dries fast, so you’ll still need to be careful when using a pen liquid eyeliner.

Best Liquid Eyeliner for Winged Look

Best Pen Liquid Eyeliner For Winged Look: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Liner

Anastasia Beverly Hills - Black Liquid Liner
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Best Traditional Liquid Eyeliner For Winged Look: Kiko Milano Precision Eyeliner

KIKO MILANO - Precision Eyeliner | Easy to Use Liquid Eyeliner with Fine Brush Applicator | Long Lasting Eyeliner Black | Cruelty Free Makeup | Made in Italy
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Most Affordable Liquid Eyeliner For Winged Look: Wet ‘n Wild Megaliner

Wet & Wild Megaliner Liquid Eyeliner 871a Black, 0.12 Ounce
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Gel or Liquid? The Choice Is Yours!

At the end of the day, the choice of whether or not to use a gel or liquid eyeliner is completely up to you.

For thicker, bolder or smudgier looks, you may wish to give gel a try. This is especially true if you’ve never used liquid liner before.

Once you’ve mastered gel liner, you can advance to liquid liner for cleaner, sharper lines.

Both options look great!

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