A world without eyeliner is like brunch without mimosas. And since we’d never wish either situation on even our worst enemy, we figured it was time we explored one of our all time favorite beauty essentials. Pencil, gel or liquid; winged, smudged or clean ­– the options are plentiful, so today we’re breaking it down and giving you everything you need to know about eyeliner.
eyeliner types

Pencil Eyeliner

A basic eye pencil should be a makeup bag staple of every woman. Pencils are quick and easy to work with, and they’re the gold standard when it comes to versatility. Use pencil eyeliner to add definition to the top and bottom lash lines, line the waterline, or smudge it out to create a dramatic smoky eye. To get as close to the lash line as possible, make sure your pencil is always sharpened to a point. Look for a high-pigment pencil that is soft enough that it will not tug the skin. For the smoothest application, start by warming the tip of the pencil between your fingers and apply in short strokes across the eye.
Product Picks: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, Maybelline Eye Studio Master Drama, NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner

Cream and Gel Eyeliner

Creams and gels are a great alternative to liquid liner. They can be used to create the same precise lines, but the formulas are thicker allowing for an application that is more forgiving of shaky hands. Use potted cream and gel eyeliners with an angled brush to craft your cat eye or choose a smaller precision brush to create an ultra thin line. Cream and gel formulas are also ideal for tightlining the waterline because an eyeliner brush can really push the color into the base of the lashes. Whether you go defined and precise or smudged and smoky, choose a longwearing formula and set it by pressing eye shadow on top of the liner to ensure its staying power.
Product Picks: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Lancôme Liner Design, Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Crème D’Eyeliner

Liquid Eyeliner

The coveted winged eyeliner look can be achieved using any of the options above, but for the cleanest, most precise line, liquid liner is a must. Liquids tend to be the favorite of women with hooded eyelids and oily skin because although wet when applying, once dry they won’t budge. With that in mind, keep pointed q-tips handy to clean up mistakes as you go. With liquids, you can choose a formula that dries to a matte finish or a patent leather-like gloss. Look for a product with a small, thin brush or applicator. That will give you the most control, allowing you to create subtle definition as well as bolder lines. If you want a thicker line, apply more pressure to the brush or build up the line by layering your strokes.
Product Picks: Lancôme Artliner 24H, Sephora Collection Long-Lasting Eye Liner, Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
 
What type of eyeliner are you wearing today? Tell us below!
Photos: Urban Decay, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Lancôme, Thinkstock