AskDefine | Define eyeliner

Dictionary Definition

eyeliner n : makeup applied to emphasize the shape of the eyes

User Contributed Dictionary



eyeliner, eye liner
  1. makeup put on around the eye

Extensive Definition

Eye liner is a cosmetic used to define the eyes. It is applied around the contours of the eye to create a variety of aesthetic illusions.


Eyeliner was first used in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as a dark black line around the eyes. It was then often used by Arab women.
In the 1960s, liquid eyeliner was used to create thick black and white lines around the eyes in the makeup fashion associated with designers like Mary Quant.
In the 21st century, heavy eyeliner has been associated with Gothic fashion. Eyeliner of varying degrees of thickness, particularly on males, has also become associated with the emo subculture and various "alternative" lifestyles.
In Japan, thick eyeliner is worn for festivals.


Depending on its texture, eyeliner can be softly smudged or clearly defined. There are four main formulas available on the market: each produces a different effect.
  • Liquid eye liner 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.
  • Powder-based eye pencil is eyeliner in a wood pencil. It is generally available in dark matte shades.
  • Wax-based eye pencils are softer pencils and contain waxes that ease application. They come in a wide variety of intense colours as well as pale shades such as white or beige. Wax-based eyeliners can also come in a cone or compact with brush applicator.
  • Kohl eyeliner is a soft powder available in dark matte shades. It it most often used in black to outline the eyes. It comes in pencil, pressed powder, or loose powder.
Less commonly found is gel eye liner, which is a softer gel liner that can be easily applied with an eyeliner brush. It can be precisely applied and is much softer than Kohl.


eyeliner in Danish: Eyeliner
eyeliner in German: Kajal
eyeliner in French: Khôl
eyeliner in Italian: Eye liner
eyeliner in Dutch: Eyeliner
eyeliner in Japanese: アイライン (化粧)
eyeliner in Swedish: Kajal (smink)
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