Even if you’re a seasoned makeup pro, achieving a flawlessly executed eye look takes practice. While liquid eyeliners will offer a super fine point and eyeliner pencils are best suited for a quick trace, some makeup artists believe that gel pot eyeliners, despite requiring a brush, tend to be the most versatile and user-friendly of the three. “They’re a lot easier to control and great for people that haven’t perfected a liquid,” says makeup artist Jenna Kristina, who works with celebrities such as Megan Fox and Zoey Deutch. “I love the control that the brush gives me, combined with a thicker texture of product to work with,” adds makeup artist Lisa Aharon, who counts Anna Kendrick as a client.
Another selling point is that gel liners tend to last longer than other formulas. “They should typically stay on for eight-plus hours and usually don’t smudge,” says makeup artist Renée Loiz. “And if you set them with a powder that’s the same color as the eyeliner, they’ll last even longer.” Unlike liquids or pencils, you can actually use the formula to create a variety of looks – from a soft smudged liner to a sharp wing, or even a smokey eye. “I like to use it for precise lines on the eyes and to also fill between lashes to give a thicker lash look,” suggests Loiz.
Just make sure you’re using the right type of brush. “If I’m filling in the lash line to get a thicker lash line effect, I like to use a flat, straight brush,” suggests Aharon. (Her pick is this Sisley brush.) For a cat-eye, I tend to use an angled brush to get a finer point both inside the eye and out” adds Aharon. If you are going for a sharp precise line or cat eye, makeup artist Amber Dreadon (who works with Angelina Jolie) suggests using thin liner brushes like the MAC #210 or #209. For a smokey eye, Dreadon likes a pencil-shaped brush like the Sigma E30 to apply the liner. “It’s a great way to cheat the look of a smokey eye but in only a minute or two,” says Dreadon.
The most important factor, of course, is the quality of the eyeliner. Keep scrolling to shop the best long-lasting, high-color-payoff eyeliner pots that the pros always have stashed in their kits and makeup bags.
Maybelline New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner
If you’re looking for an opportunity to experiment with colorful graphic eyeliner, take Ingot’s AMC Eyeliner Gel 77 as a sign. Inglot’s intense colors are a favorite of Kristina’s because the brand boasts a whopping 26 shades – more than any other we’ve found. “I love to use vibrant-hued pot liners to add a blast of color,” makeup artist and fellow Inglot fan Molly R. Stern, who works with Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler, says. With a lot of colored formulas, you have to layer, but this water-resistant one provides full coverage with just one application.