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Eyeliner is a cosmetic used to define the eyes. It is applied around the contours of the eye to create a variety of aesthetic effects, such as creating the look of a wider or smaller eye, and when it is coupled with eye shadow and mascara, eyeliner glamorizes the eyes.
Eyeliner was first used in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as kohl, a crushed black mineral powder worn as a heavy, dark black line around the eyes. The characteristic of having heavily lined eyes has been frequently depicted in ancient Egyptian art, and eyeliner has been thought to protect the wearer from the evil eye.
In the 1920s, the pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered, introducing the use of eyeliner to the Western world. The 1920s were an era commonly associated with many changes in women's fashion, and women were now able to apply makeup more liberally without being labelled as immoral.
In the late 20th and early 21st century, heavy eyeliner use was associated with the Gothic and Punk subcultures. Eyeliner of varying degrees of thickness were used by both men and women.
Eyeliner can be used as a tool to create various looks as well as highlight different features of the eyes. Depending on its placement in the eyes, eyeliner can be used to create different looks. Eyeliner can be drawn above upper lashes, below lower lashes or both, and even on the water lines of your eyes. Eyeliner is available in a wide range of hues, from the common black, brown and grey to more adventurous shades such as bright primary colors, pastels, frosted silvers and golds, white and even glittery colors.
Depending on its texture, eyeliner can be smudged or clearly defined. There are 4 main types of eyeliner available on the market, each one producing a different effect.
Liquid eyeliner like Acymer's Stay-in-place Eyeliner is an opaque liquid that usually comes in a small bottle and is applied with a tiny brush or felt applicator. It creates a sharp, precise line. Because liquid eyeliner gives a much heavier appearance, it is often only applied to the upper lash-line.
Powder-based eye pencil is eyeliner in a wood pencil. It is generally available in dark matter shades and is easier to apply than liquid liner, as it doesn't smudge as easily. Gives a soft finish.
Pencil eyeliner are eyeliner pencils that ease application and are great for beginners, as they don’t smudge as easily. They come in a wide variety of intense colors as well as paler shades such as white or beige. It is available in waterproof formulas.
Gel eyeliner is a softer gel liner that can be easily applied with an eyeliner brush. It can be precisely applied and is a hybrid of powder and liquid liner. Has great pigmentation and lasts long.
Tightlining is a unique eyeliner technique done by using eye liner tight against the water line under the lashes of the upper lid and above the lashes of the lower lid. Tightlining is a technique which makes the eyelashes appear to start farther back on the eyelid, thus making them look longer. Do not use liquid liner or powder liner for tightlining, as it will burn your eyes. Instead, use a gel or pencil eyeliner, preferably waterproof because of the liner’s close proximity to the water line of the eye.