The 411 The Basics On Eyeliner - All You Need To Know About Eyeliner - Kohl, Kajal, Gel, Liquid, Pencil

Eyeliner is one of my favorite makeup products, because eyes are after all, the window into the soul. Accentuating the eyes can completely change your entire look and add a sexy mysterious depth to your eyes. In order to get the eyes as beautiful as possible though, it does take some practice and learning, so today, I will teach you all the basics about eyeliner.

Formula & Ingredients

There are natural and mineral-based eyeliners, as well as chemical-based ones. Natural liners may be made with things like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, aloe vera, wax, and water. Chemcial-based eyeliners will include harmful ingredients such as heavy metals, benzalkonium chloride (BAK), formaldehyde, and aluminum powder.

Both types of eyeliners are made with mica, which are silicate minerals. These minerals offer the color and pigmentation to the eyeliner. 


There are traditional eyeliners, and then there are auto pencil liners. Traditional eyeliners have to be sharpened and are made from a wooden pencil. Auto pencil eyeliners come in a pencil form with an auto pencil sharpener built in at the end of it. The body of these pencils are generally made from plastic. 

Auto pencil liners are very convenient, fast, and easy to use, since you don't have to worry about sharpening them or the pencil being too sharp on the eye. Thus, they save a lot of time. 

Traditional, Gel, Vs Kohl

Photo by Jairo David Arboleda from Pexels

Traditional eyeliners have to be sharpened and they are wooden pencils, so the formula is not as soft and it does not glide across the eye as easily and smoothly as gel liners do. However, they do tend to smudge very little because the formula is not very oily and they stay in place quite well. 

Gel liners are what you get when you take gel liner from its pot, and put it into a pencil form. Gel liners tend to smudge more than traditional eyeliner pencils, but they are smooth, fast, and easy to apply.

Photo by Joy Deb from Pexels

Kohl is special because it is ancient, and it can be traced as far back in time as the earliest civilizations. Kohl is known for being an intense dark black color, darker than traditional eyeliners, and it was traditionally made by grinding stibnite, a gray sulfide mineral crystal, or galena, which is lead sulfideKohl today can be made from carbon black, oils, or iron oxide. 

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels

Kohl is associated with cultures and places like Istanbul, India, Egypt, the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Middle East (Arabs, Persians) where lining the whole eye was, and still is, very common for beauty/aesthetics and religious reasons. 

Photo by Maya Anggraeni from Pexels

In these ancient cultures, both women and men used kohl, but in some of these modern cultures today, only women wear kohl. Young boys may wear it though to protect their eyes and to protect them against evil. This is a common practice in India. 

Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels

Kohl is great and super easy to wear for many reasons: It is made with more natural ingredients; it is very easy to blend, so you could use it to line your eyes, and to smudge out your liner to create a smokey eye; it is a very dark intense color, so it will stand out prominently on various skin colors, and it glides smoothly and easily across the eye

3 Types of Eyeliner
Liquid Liner

Liquid liner comes with the liner in a pen form or with a pot, and the liner itself is wet in a liquid form. These liners often come with small thin ink pen-like felt tip to help give you a thin precise line. 

Liquid liner is not for everyone. I personally don't like liquid liner because it doesn't last very long, especially if you wear liner everyday or like heavy eyeliner looks. It can't be blended out for a smokey look because once it dries that's it; you can't move it and blend it out. Some liquid liners also dry out fast even when you don't use them, so they are not very cost effective sometimes. Liquid liners are also a bit harder to apply since they require precision and a steady hand, so they take more time to apply. Thus, they are not beginner-friendly. 

One good thing about liquid liner though is that once it is in place, it doesn't move, so it is great if you don't want smudging or if you are going to a place like a night club where you will be sweating a lot, and you want your liner to stay in place the whole night. 

I do feel that everyone should keep at least one or two liquid liners on hand at all times though for special occasions, since it is also great for smudgeproofing eyeliner or darkening it.

Gel Liner

Gel liner is my favorite type of eyeliner, and I go through a lot of them. Gel liner is a soft cream-like formula in a small pot. You need an eyeliner brush to apply gel liner since you dip the brush into the gel liner pot, and then apply it to your eyes.

I absolutely love gel liner because it tends to be very dark and pigmented in color, just like kajal; it is inexpensive and one pot can last you months, even with daily usage. I have sometimes used the same gel liner pot for a year. 

You can also gel liner to smudge out your liner to create a smoky eye before it dries. Another benefit is that gel liner is very fast and easy to apply since it glides across the eye. I can easily apply full eyeliner on both my upper and lower lash line in as little as two minutes.

Two downsides to gel liner is that it tends to smudge, and some formulas may irritate the eyes or become flaky. 

Eyeliner Pencil

Beginners often start with eyeliner pencils because they come with all that you need to start with makeup. You don't need to buy brushes to use them like you do with gel liner, and you don't need to have that steady fast precise hand that comes with practicing eyeliner over time, which is also required to use liquid liner.

I recommend beginners start with an auto pencil liner or a kajal pencil, since they don't require you to have a pencil sharpener, and they are easy to practice with and use. These will also save you time as you get the hang of applying makeup.

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