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Gel liner or eye shadow powder that doubles as an eyeliner provides dark, high pigment, dramatic lines. A gel liner is long lasting and the pigment is thick, crisp and opaque like a liquid liner, but it's easier to apply. For shadow eyeliners, the vast array of highly pigmented powders makes them a popular choice for women looking to branch out of their typical eye shadow boundaries. Unlike an eyeliner pencil, these products require the use of a brush and choosing the right one is of the utmost importance.
Angled Liner Brush
If you're the kind of girl who struggles with applying liner and runs away anytime you see anything that isn't an easily smudged kohl eye pencil, a slanted liner brush is the best place to start. According to Amy Nadine, makeup artist with the Beauty Department website, this is the best brush for beginners because it's bent to foster an easy self application. This product is best for everyday use because it's designed to be used on your eye when you're looking into a mirror and applying liner yourself.
Slanted Liner Brush
The slanted liner brush is somewhat of a multipurpose brush, though it's made strictly for the use of powder or gel liner. While the angled brush allows you to apply liner on the top of your lids, the slanted brush is good for use on your entire eye. You can line both your top and bottom lids, though if your gel liner is water based, it won't stick to your waterline. Instead, use a powder. "You can also dip [the brush] in black shadow and use it to color in the waterline," explains Nadine on the Beauty Department site.
Straight Liner Brush
A straight liner brush offers a thin crisp line similar to a liquid liner. If you're the kind of girl who wants a natural, thin-looking line that helps her eyes pop rather than a thick, bold smokey eye or cat eye, this is the best brush to use. But beware: If you're not a pro at putting on gel liner, it could be difficult to get a crisp line that's close to your lashes with this brush. If you can achieve it, though, it's a look that can't be matched by any other brush.
To achieve the perfect smokey eye, you'll need a smudge brush in addition to a liner brush. If you're using a kohl pencil liner, a smudge brush is crucial in helping you develop that smokey, perfectly undone smudgy lash line, and for years there wasn't a similar product. Instead of using your fingers to smear your eyeliner, this brush helps you get a more controlled, smokey look. "Look for one with a flat head, short and dense natural bristles as it gives you the best precision for smoking out lines," writes Nadine.