I Wasn't Very Good at Eyeliner Until I Tried This $26 Product

I have to be honest here, I hate putting on eye makeup. Do I love how I look when I'm wearing eye makeup? Yes, of course. There is nothing better than a dramatic smokey eye, or just effortlessly lined eyes to make my peepers really pop. But do I love the process of applying eyeliner and shadow? Nope, would rather be doing anything else. 

I only dread it because I truly believe I'm not good at it. I don't know how many of my friends and colleagues have become skilled at applying eyeliner, or when they picked up this skill, but I must have been doing something else that day. I chalk it up to one of my greatest weaknesses in life: impatience. I'm not one to practice a cat-eye look in the mirror in my free time. And when it comes time to do my makeup for a night out, I never leave enough time to perfect my eyeliner. There is a lot of cursing and Q-tips that get tossed around during those moments—trust me. Because of all of this, I resigned myself to just having "okay" eye makeup for the rest of my life. There are worse things to have, I suppose.


(Image credit: @sarahayang)

All of that changed, though, a few months ago when I was shopping around for a new eyeliner and decided on a whim to try gel eyeliner. Firstly, the word "gel" always sounds good to me. Secondly, I read all the reviews on a particular Marc Jacobs gel eye crayon and was convinced it would make lining my eyes easier.

I was right. I didn't realize how game-changing gel eyeliner would be. It glides so easily onto my lash line. And because it's so smooth, it's easier to be precise. In fact, when I first tried the eyeliner I think I used 1.5 Q-tips versus the five I usually used with other liners. It also doesn't smudge and is long-lasting, so even after a full day of work or a long night, I don't look like a total wreck.

If we lived in a perfect world I would say that I line my eyes every day with my new holy-grail eyeliner and I'm now a genius at it. Well, the world is far from perfect, but I will say that the eyeliner doesn't make me dread putting on eye makeup anymore, and I get a little excited to use it when I do decide to go all out. I no longer consider myself "bad" at eye makeup, more like adequate (and honestly that's okay for me). Plus, it cuts my feelings of impatience and frustration in half (maybe even three-quarters, but I AM human).

All of this is to say I've found the product that actually makes my makeup routine a little more joyful, so thank you, gel eyeliner. I don't think I'll ever go back. And if my long treatise on the subject has left you intrigued, I've rounded up some more gel eyeliner picks below:


(Image credit: @sarennya)


(Image credit: @aishabeau)


(Image credit: @tamaramory)


(Image credit: @aysha.sow)


(Image credit: @cassandra.cadwell)
Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019.

In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot).

She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.