Tuesday, July 1, 2014


^Accentuating the eyes is one of the key points in cosplay make up.
To do so, your number one tool would be the eyeliner.

Rakshasa Miku Hatsune cosplay by jaRoukaSama
heavy on eye liner cosplay

Eyeliner is one of the basics for any make up kit, but for newbies it can be difficult to use, especially now that it comes in so many forms.
Which type to get? What brand? Decisions, decisions, decisions!

At first, I was really against eyeliners as I thought it made my already small eyes smaller, but with practice and proper application, I have been able to manipulate how my eyes look for cosplay or for any other occassion for that matter.

So, let me share what I know about eyeliners: types and tips from a non-pro who learned from experience.

It is important to note that although some types are easier to use than others, learning to use as much as you can would be beneficial as different types also produce different effects. Apart from the eyeliner itself, you need PATIENCE to practice, practice, practice.

pencil eyeliners

The most common type of eyeliner. Easily found, mostly inexpensive and easy to use.
It looks like any ordinary pencil and just as with pencils, you have to sharpen it to get finer lines.

What's great about pencil eyeliners is you use them just like you use pencils, so you literally draw the desired result on your lash line. They also come in a great variety of colors. When you make a mistake, you can easily do something about it.

pencil eye liner and its effect

They smudge easily though and aren't as long lasting as other types, may need reapplication a few times a day... And if you sharpen them too much you may potentially poke your eyes.

tip: After sharpening, dull the tip a bit by drawing lines on the back of your hand.

Very convenient, just draw on, no need to wait to dry or set and you're good to go.
You can also just throw in your bag and head out, if you need a pen, you can use it as an emergency back up pen. XD

liquid eyeliners, in brush pen type and brush in little tube type

Liquid eyeliners usually come in two forms; (1) the brush pen type and the (2) brush-dipped in a little tube type.

Liquid eyeliners are great for fine, crisp lines and details.
The color is very bold and visible.
The finer the tip, the finer the lines it makes, some liquid eyeliners have tips so fine you can write and draw with them!

liquid eye liner and its effect

Some have hard tips and some have soft ones. I personally like the ones with soft tips as they glide smoothly on my lids. The ones with hard tips make me feel like I am using a runny permanent marker...

At first it is difficult to apply and needs time to dry properly. Since it is in liquid form, one needs a steady hand for application.
Mistakes are very hard to correct and can be a pain when it gets in your eyes.
But the effects are great and most are made to last long with out smudges once fully dried.

gel liner
my favorite, by Maybelline

Gel or cream type eyeliners well... are... creamy? XD
They come in small pots, sometimes with a brush (if you're lucky) but is best applied with a small angled brush.

Since it is basically in the middle of a pencil and liquid eyeliner, it has the benefits of both.
It is easy to apply, glides pretty well, lasts long and doesn't require long time drying.
I find gel eyeliners to be more expensive than liquid ones...
Before it dries, it is great when smudged too.

gel eye liner and its effect

The only thing I don't like about them is when they dry up, they harden and it may take some heating (blast with a hair blower for a few seconds or run through with warm water) to solve the problem.
Cleaning the brush is a chore I don't particularly enjoy as you have to clean constantly otherwise it hardens and it will be hard to use...

Over all, I have nothing but praise for the effects and convenience of gel eyeliners.

Pencil, liquid and gel are the the three commonly known eyeliners out there.
Gel eyeliners, as mentioned before, is kind of a cross between a pencil and liquid eyeliner. If that wasn't great enough, you could also find gel eyeliners in solid pencil form. Neat, right?

All three types side by side so you can see their effects
Please forgive my bad lighting and even worse lines as I did all this solo style XDD

Eye shadow as an eyeliner?
There is an increasing trend in using dark or black eye shadow as an eyeliner.
They look nice and smoky but unless you prep your lids well, using eye shadow as an eyeliner won't last very long.

Best uses for which type of eyeliner:
I mainly use pencil eyeliners on my lazy days or for when I am going for a more natural look.
For times like work, going out with friends and a bit of a dressed up mode, I use a liquid brush type eyeliner. I have mastered the use of this type and with a few fast swipes I am out the door.
Gel eyeliners, I reserve for special occasions and cosplay.

Although eyeliners are commonly found in black, they also come in a variety of colors and some even with some glitter in them!

Browns are great for an au naturale look or for drawing on shadows, wrinkles and other facial features.
Whites are useful for outlining guidelines, lining lower lash lines to make you look more awake / have bigger looking eyes.

To add fun and some pizzazz, try skipping on eye shadow and use colored eyeliners. Works great either on you upper, lower or both lash lines.
Some days I am just too lazy but want some color, I use colored eyeliners.

How I got the hang of eyeliners:
I only started using eyeliner after 18 years of my life.
Before that, I had very little contact with make up.    

I first started using pencil eyeliners, then I switched to liquid eyeliners because of cosplay reasons. It was very hard as I have shaky hands... and since I was a beginner, I made plenty of mistakes, not only did I have to clean up and start over, but there were times when some got in my eye and that was really painful... orz

pretty much how anyone feels when they make a mistake with their eyeliner

From pencil to liquid, I switched to gel because a friend of mine was using gel eye liners and I saw how nice and seemingly easy it was to use.
After using gel eyeliners for a few months, when I decided to try liquid eyeliners, I found that I actually got better with liquid, too!

I guess because of practice, I gained experienced and leveled up! hahahaha

For cosplay, here is how I typically go about defining my eyes:

1. After studying the character's eye, I use a white eyeliner for lining the lower part of my eyes and for guidelines when I need to draw something on my face, like for when making scars and fake tattoos.

2. I then apply a bit of black eye shadow, to save up on eyeliner and to see how the shape looks.
Eye shadow is easy to correct so if you don't like what you've done, you can still save everything.
Eye shadow as eyeliner serves as my trial guide and setting agent for the eyeliner.

3. Once everything is ok, I fill in/ line my eyes with gel eyeliner.
I use black gel eyeliner on the bottom half of my eyes, too, as they stay longer and don't run.

4. For points and tips, I use liquid eyeliners, I prefer the ones that need dipping rather than the brush types for this as I feel the dipping types make for cleaner and crisper lines.

5. Then I do something called tight lining. I use a dulled and thick pencil eyeliner for this.
tight lining
source and tutorial by makeup.com

6. For extra details like creases, I use pencil eye liners again and then I blend everything in.
Shikamaru Nara cosplay trial
eyes and hairline done with liquid eye liner
shadows around the eyes are a combination of eye shadow and pencil eyeliner
 blended and smudged together
again, this is a trial so my lines weren't done very neatly, I just wanted a rough idea of how 
I would look as Shikamaru

Lazy person's/cosplayer's shortcut a.k.a. the way of the Yuu XD :
I have admitted many times that I am lazy.
When I don't feel like making outlines or when I have cosplayed the character one too many times already, I usually draw the outer lines or wings or tips of the eye with liquid eyeliner then I proceed to fill them in. Eye shadow, the gel liner then pencil. Oh! And tight line.

Brands I like:
These are brands I like and have used.

  • *NYX
  • *Heroine Make (mostly found in Japan I think?)
  • *Dolly Wink
  • *Fashion 21's white pencil eye liner is really white and not sparkly or silvery
  • *Nichido 
  • *Eye liners from Saizen or Daiso hahahaha
  • *If I don't mention it, it is either I don't like it or I haven't tried it. 

Other uses of eye liners:
Eyeliners are awesome because of their multi-purpose-ness... what the word for it? hmmm.... Ah! Eye liners are awesome because of their versatility! hahahaha VERSATILITY!

  • *Can be used for coloring / filling in eye brows ONLY if you are in a pinch though
  • *Depending on the color, can be a substitute for lip liner
  • *Emergency pen
  • *Can be used for a smokey eye effect in place of eye shadows
  • *Drawing effects and details

More things to know about eye liners:
The rubber at the end is for smudging.

Line your eyes BEFORE you apply mascara or fake lashes.
If you line them after then you won't be able to draw as closely to your lash line because your lashes are in the way and as you struggle to get as close to make a nice line, chances are high that you may mess up your prettified lashes and would have to apply another layer to perk 'em up again.

Because people are lazy, of technology, more and more pencil eye liners are becoming retractable and don't need sharpening.

Use dark eye shadow (or match your eye liner) to sets the eyeliner and prevent it from smearing.

Gels last for a long time and can survive, heat, cold and humidity. Great for hot costumes in tropical Philippines XD

If you make a mistake, wait for it to dry rather than panic and wipe it off while still wet. If the line is still wet then it is more likely to spread and get inside your eyes and that hurts like hell.

Eye liner maybe be tough to master at first but be not afraid, my child. Go out there, get yourself an eye liner and practice.
If you ever need advice, you know you can always come back here and I'll try to help. ;)
Again, I am no pro. If you have tips, please feel free to share them.
I am just sharing what I know.

Related literature
I am guessing you are killing time, let me help you with that by providing further reading on this magical tool.
Click the link for more useful info about the eye liner.

thanks for reading!
 jaa! visit me again, ne!
     arigatou! (*^3^)/~


  1. Thank you for such a comprehensive article with useful tips and resources. And humour! :)