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What Is Felt Eyeliner?

By Judith Smith Sullivan
Updated May 21, 2024
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Felt eyeliner is a makeup product used to apply color around the rim of the eyelid. It is typically in the form of a pen, with a pointed felt tip used to apply the color. It is commonly manufactured in black, but there are some other colors available as well.

Because felt-tip eyeliner is similar to a felt-tip pen in looks and design, it is often called a pen liner. It works much the same way as a permanent marker, with a cartridge of ink encased in the body of the pen. If left uncapped, the ink will dry up. Sometimes it is possible to revive a felt-tip eyeliner that has dried for a short period of time by emersing it in water.

When compared with other types of eyeliner, a pen liner is usually easier to use than liquid eyeliner but slightly more difficult than pencil. A liquid eyeliner uses a brush to apply an ink-like product to the eye, and it takes a very steady hand to create a uniform look. Liquid comes in a variety of colors, however, and is more readily available than felt eyeliner.

The pencil style eyeliner is usually the easiest to handle. Its disadvantage is that it typically does not give a uniform line. Usually, the line has to be redrawn several times to achieve a bold, dark look. For women who want a more natural style eyeliner, the softer line of a pencil is actually an advantage. Pencil eyeliners come in the greatest variety of colors, from white to black and every color in between.

The best use for a felt eyeliner is to create a smoky eye or wing tipped eye. The smoky eye has a very dark rim, followed by increasingly lighter hues of the same color. Typically, a smoky eye is black, gray, navy, or purple. The wing tipped eye, sometimes called the cat eye, uses a neutral base on the lid followed by a bold application of eyeliner. The line extends past the outer corner of the eye and turns up.

Felt eyeliner is usually more expensive than pencil eyeliner, similar to liquid eyeliner. The determining factor is usually the brand name or designer. Designer brands are much more expensive than brands commonly found at a drugstore or other chain retailer. In some cases, the quality is related to the price. Often, inexpensive make-up manufacturers cut costs by reducing the amount of actual product in the encasement.

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Discussion Comments
By julies — On Apr 10, 2012

Using a felt eyeliner is probably the closest thing I will ever get to permanent makeup. If I had the money for this, I would choose eyeliner.

A good eyeliner makes your eyes look bigger and helps them really stand out. I think this would be perfect for me because I rarely change the color of my eyeliner.

I think applying eyeliner with a felt tip is by far the easiest way to apply eyeliner. I have much better results getting my lines even and after years of practice, it doesn't take very long at all.

By myharley — On Apr 09, 2012

I have been disappointed when I have used a felt eyeliner. Even when I buy an expensive brand, they seem to dry out too fast. I feel like I have really wasted my money so I don't buy them anymore.

I have the best results sticking with the eyeliner pencil. I do think the felt eyeliner is a good idea because you don't have to worry about keeping a pencil sharp all the time.

That is the biggest frustration I have with the eyeliner pencils. But the pencils last forever and come in so many different color choices.

If I can ever find a felt eyeliner brand that doesn't dry out so quickly, I would consider using one again.

By SarahSon — On Apr 08, 2012

I think eyeliner is the thing that puts the finishing touch on your eyes. The first time I used a felt eyeliner the only color I could find was black.

When I use eyeliner, I usually like to use a brown color since it doesn't have as harsh of a look as black does.

I liked the way the felt eyeliner went on, but didn't like the dark look of the black. Now they are available in more colors and I love using the brown felt eyeliner.

By LisaLou — On Apr 08, 2012

I have used all three different kinds of eyeliner and still keep one of each on hand. I use them all at different times depending on the look I want.

If I am going out and want my eyes to have more of a dramatic look, I like to use a felt eyeliner. This is perfect for using for a smoky eye and the liner does not fade away.

When I am going to work or want more of a casual look, I will use an eyeliner pencil which seems to create a much softer look that blends in better.

My favorite part about using a felt eyeliner is it is much easier to apply than liquid and is easier to control. The only disadvantage is because it is so smudge-proof, you want to apply it right where you want it the first time.

By OeKc05 — On Apr 07, 2012

@shell4life – Yes, felt eyeliner is much easier to remove than liquid or pencil eyeliner. It doesn't smudge when you wipe it off, like some other kinds that leave you looking like you slept all night in your makeup.

I can remove mine with just water and a washcloth. Since I usually use a makeup remover cream over my whole face, I sometimes use this on my eyelids because I need to get my eyeshadow off, but it really isn't necessary for taking off the eyeliner.

Once, when I went camping, I forgot to bring any washcloths. I was able to remove the felt eyeliner with just my finger and some water.

By shell4life — On Apr 07, 2012

Wow, I didn't even know felt eyeliner existed. I've been struggling with pencil liners for years, and now, I'm so glad to know that I have another option.

Pencil eyeliners are very difficult for me. They often skip over areas in a sort of skid pattern, and I have to fill them back in, which results in some areas being too dark. It really is a headache.

Then, there is the issue of removal. I have to scrub sometimes to get the pencil liner to come off. It sounds like a felt eyeliner would be much easier to remove. Am I right?

By wavy58 — On Apr 06, 2012

Felt eyeliners are the best kind for people like me. I have an incredibly shaky hand, and liquid liners end up all over the place when I try to use them.

The felt tip gives me good control over where I put the makeup. It makes it easy to slide it across the base of my eyelid in one steady swoop. I never have to worry about lumping it up too much in one spot or going over areas again to make them match the botched region.

I was so happy when I first discovered this type of eyeliner. It was the answer to my eyeliner problems.

By Perdido — On Apr 05, 2012

@burcidi – Not having to dip the applicator back in the tube is a big advantage! I remember dealing with this with a liquid eyeliner, and it caused lots of problems.

When I would dip it back in, it would get too much eyeliner on it, and it would run across my eyelid. However, if I blotted too much off, then I would have to dip it in again. The felt eyeliner eliminates those issues.

It's like a marker for the eyes. I recall using my old markers on my eyelids as a child. I had no idea that one day, I would be doing basically the same thing with real makeup!

By fify — On Apr 05, 2012

@alisha-- That's a good question. I'm actually not sure about that. I have been using a felt eyeliner pretty regularly for a couple of months and so far I haven't had problems. But it might be different for you since you have sensitive eyes.

The problem I get with felt eyeliners is usually the drying out part. I also hate it when I get a line that's too thin or too thick, or if it smudges before it dries. Finding the right felt liner takes some trying and failing.

I recommend that you read reviews from customers before going for a felt eyeliner. Reviews can tell you a lot about the application of the pen liner.

By discographer — On Apr 04, 2012

@burcidi-- I always have trouble applying liquid eyeliner, I get it all over the place! I should try an eyeliner pen and see if that works better for me.

I just have one concern about eyeliner pens, are they hygienic? I've always used a pencil eyeliner and hygiene is not a problem with it. But since you always have to use the same tip with the eyeliner pen, I think it might make it easier for bacteria to accumulate.

I already have sensitive eyes and if I don't wear hygienic eye makeup, I get eye sores.

By burcidi — On Apr 04, 2012

I think it was about six years ago that I bought a felt tip eyeliner for the first time. They were not as commonly found as they are now and there weren't as many options. Black was the only color available like the article said and only a few cosmetic brands made them.

I didn't have the best experience with my first felt eyeliner. I think it had dried up in the package because the liquid wasn't flowing freely from it. I didn't know at that time that I could tip it in water to get it going. I felt like I wasted my money and didn't buy another felt eyeliner until recently.

I have a new one now after a long time and I'm pleasantly surprised. There were so many more colors to choose from this time and almost every top brand manufactures one now.

The one I have works really well. I think it's easier to use than liquid eyeliner. I don't have to keep dipping it back in the pot. And I find it much easier to stabilize with my hand than liquid liners. It has become a staple item in my makeup bag.

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