Eyeliner – Soft Line vs Sharp Line

by Sarah

Hello beauties!! I hope you all have a great start to yet another week.

Seeing as my last product review was all about eyeliners, I thought I’d do a series of posts covering all things eyeliner! Eyeliner has been, and still is, an integral part of makeup application as it can completely transform the eyes. With so many products in the market, we can achieve so many different looks but traditionally there are 2 basic liner styles: Soft smudgy line and the classic sharp line.

Lets go through the 2 basic eyeliner styles and the products we can use to achieve these looks:


I did my eyes with a soft eyeshadow liner on the left and the classic liquid liner on the right. I put them side by side to show you the difference and the effects each style provides.  Personally, lining my top lashline with an eyeshadow has been my signature look for as long as I can remember but I still love both looks – here are my reasons why:


There are so many products and new formulas when it comes to eyeliners; however  regardless of the texture and the finish, there are 4 basic products you can use to line the eyes:

1. Eyeshadow          2. Eye Liner Pencil          3. Liquid Liner          4. Gel Liner

*** Gel liner is the only one I didn’t cover in the pictures below, as I will be doing a separate how-to tutorial, covering all things gel liner soon; so make sure to check back ;)


1. Eyeshadow Line: This is by far my favourite product to line my eyes with. And I know you would have heard, especially makeup artists advise you against using the sponge tip applicators included in eyeshadow kits but I love them! – especially the ones with pointy tip on one end and flat on the other (as pictured). Sponge tip applicators distribute the most concentrated color onto the skin, as there are no bristles like brushes to dust away the powder. I usually use the pointy end to swipe the eyeshadow all the way along my top lashline, and use the flat side to go over it again to smudge it out. You can take the eyeshadow as far up into the eyelid as your prefer; the further up you go, the softer and smokier the look becomes.

2. Eye Pencil Line: Probably the most popular and versatile product. As per the picture above, what’s great about eyeliners, (especially if you have long lasting formulas like the Urban Decay 24/7 liners I covered in my last post), is that you have the flexibility of drawing a sharp line like the liquid liner effect, or smudge it out with a pencil brush to achieve the soft smokey look.

3. Liquid Line: Liquid liners have come a long way over the past few years, especially the ones with sponge tip applicators. They’re almost like calligraphy pens, which help draw lines from the thinnest to the boldest with minimal effort. The Maybelline Master Precise liquid liner is my favourite as it has the calligraphy type sponge tip, the color is also very rich and opaque.

Although I used black in all my pictures to keep things prominent and uniform, you can use any color you prefer to take your eyeliner look from everyday subtle to editorial glam if you wish ;)

What’s your favourite eyeliner style and product?



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Brenda Hatfield April 21, 2017 - 5:47 am

Hi Sarah,
your blog is really helpful, having been a lover of make up from mine teens, now mid 50′ s, would appreciat tips on applying make up in keeping with my age. Whilst remaing current.
X Brenda

Sarah April 22, 2017 - 11:17 am

Thank you so much Brenda. I actually had quite a few similar requests lately so I’ll definitely do a post soon. Stay tuned ;)

May June 23, 2016 - 8:04 am

Hi! Do you find that it is a problem with the eyeshadow smudging/dissaparing during the day when used as an eyeliner?
Best, May

Sarah June 23, 2016 - 9:00 am

Hi May, I find it depends on the eyeshadow and whether I apply a base or not. When I prime my eyelids, I try to bring it down as close to the lash line as possible and that really helps with the shadow line staying put.
Long wearing shadows such as Makeup Forever or Urban Decay also stay on much longer. You can use the same technique with long wearing eyeliners also. Just a thin line close to the lashes and smudge with a sponge tip applicator or brush. That gives the same look but also ensures staying power :)
I have a tutorial using only eyeliners to create a smoky eye if you want to check it out here: http://beautypointofview.com/makeup-tutorial-using-eyeliners/

Add These Few Makeup Tricks In Your Daily Routine. - Met Daan October 31, 2015 - 6:18 pm

[…] Source:beautypointofview […]

Jeanette January 5, 2015 - 2:23 pm

I too love a smudged, eyeshadow line and will definitely try using a sponge applicator instead of a brush. I also love a sharp line but it often looks too harsh on me, especially for day.

Sarah January 6, 2015 - 6:52 am

Hi Jeanette, happy new year! I usually get a shocked gasp from people that a pro makeup artist could recommend the simple sponge tip applicator but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quick and effective they are in doing smokey lines. I agree with you about the sharp lines; they can be quite harsh for day wear. Though…you can try different pencils such as grays, taupes and soft shimmer browns. They look much more subtle than black. Let me know how you go with the sponge tip applicator ;) xx

Kate April 23, 2014 - 1:41 pm

I’ve just found your blog and it’s simply awesome!!.. Especially as I have same eye colour as you – you’ve given me so many ideas and I’m totally getting all three Naked palettes (something that I didn’t see myself using as they seemed way too shimmery/pearly/frosty etc in the store), thank you!
Also, I love the neutral colours you used for the base and to line the eye for the soft effect – what are these? (Not sure if you get to read this as the original entry was posted quite a while ago.. But here is hoping! I seriously need to stock up on matte neutrals) K. xx

Sarah April 23, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Thank you so much Kate! I’m so happy you found the blog and that you’re enjoying it :) I’ll be posting a review and swatches of a MAC neutral eyeshadow palette very soon so that might also be a good option if you like neutral colors.
I don’t actually have a base color on my eyelids in these pictures. I just applied the leftover foundation from my brush and set it with my regular powder. As for the soft line, I used MAC eyeshadow in Carbon (a matte black) smudged it with a sponge tip applicator. Seeing as we have the same eye color, you can also use brown eyeshadows to do the same line…looks great for daytime ;) Keep me posted!! xx

Michelle February 3, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Hi Sarah,

Do you know of any good waterproof eyeliners that are able to achieve a soft effect? Most waterproof ones are too hard for me, e.g. Maybelline’s is super waterproof but waaay too hard :'( thanks very much!!!

Sarah February 3, 2014 - 2:19 pm

Hi Michelle, there are many brands such as Stila, Makeup Forever and Anastasia which have really good waterproof eyeliners, however for the price point and the quality, I would highly recommend Rimmel ScandalEYES Waterproof Kohl Kajal Liners. They apply beautifully, easy to blend or smudge for a softer look and stay put for hours – being waterproof. They come in a great variety of shades too :) xx

Michelle February 4, 2014 - 5:59 am

Thanks very much Sarah! :)

Sarah February 5, 2014 - 5:10 am

Any time sweetie, let me know if you try them and what you think of it ;) xx

Emily September 23, 2013 - 3:14 pm

I LOVE your blog! Great info and pictures and its just a fun site to visit

Sarah September 23, 2013 - 4:22 pm

awww thank you Emily, you’re very sweet xx


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