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Eyeliner Wars: Gel, Kohl, Liquid and More

If there's one thing we've learned from our lengthy experience with eye makeup, it's that not all liners are created equal. We called on a few experts—a celebrity makeup artist, a DIY beauty guru, and the director at one of our favorite L.A. beauty lounges—to help us separate the contenders from the true champs. Find out which formulas came out on top.

Classic Cat-Eye

If want to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn, use liquid eyeliner to create a super chic wing. "Avoid kohl pencils at all costs," notes Emma Willis, Director of Artistry at L.A.'s Blushington. "It will not give you the sharp, precise line that you want.” For a wing novice, Willis recommends stila's stay all day waterproof liquid eye liner in intense black for its thin felt tip pen applicator.

Everyday Eye

DIY expert, makeup artist, and beauty blogger extraordinaire Erica Davidson loves gel liner for her everyday look. "Using a brush helps me get a straighter line, and formulas like Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink stays put and is super dark," she says. To avoid looking overly made up during daytime hours, Davidson recommends replacing black liner with charcoal grey, dark brown, navy, or plum.

Super Smoky Eye

For a brilliantly bold eye, celebrity makeup artist Jenn Streicher uses stila's Kajal Eye Liner in Onyx to get stars like Emily Blunt, Claire Danes, and Bar Rafaeli red carpet ready. "It glides across the eye effortlessly and leaves a rich, deep, dark color that can easily be smudged to the start of a perfect smoky eye," she says. To achieve a truly smoke-show effect, Streicher recommends using a pencil that can easily blend with the touch of a finger. Noir’s Kohl eyeliner is a fantastic alternative that glides on like a dream.

Color-Lined Eye

"I love a colorful eye," says Davidson. "It's modern, fun, and is an easy update on a classic." For a bright eye, she likes highly pigmented formulas like Make Up For Ever's Aqua Liner. "It’s a gel-like formula that's easy to apply and dries to a matte finish. I avoid glittery or super shimmery liquids because it tends to settle in the creases of your lid." Eyeko's Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Turquoise is another favorite, for its vivid, fade-proof formula. If you're not quite ready to go super bright, PIXI's Lid Last Shadow Pen in Peach Pavé is a lovely bronze pigment that stands out without making too much of a statement.

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