Mascara vs Eyeliner, What’s the Difference?

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When it comes to cosmetics, there’s no doubt that mascara and eyeliner are beauty bag staples. Now if you are not all that familiar with makeup, or are just starting to use cosmetics, there’s a lot of confusion!

Especially nowadays when there are so many cosmetics products on the market, all of which are claiming that they are “must-haves”.

However, if there is one part of your face you want to highlight and accentuate – it’s your eyes!

In this article, we are going to take a look at mascara vs eyeliner. We’ll discuss what they are and how to choose the right eyeliner and mascara for you. We’ll also touch on some of our favorite picks for each.

After all, they say the eyes are the windows to the soul. So why not flaunt them?


Mascara vs Eyeliner – What’s the difference?

Both eyeliner and mascara are great ways to define and draw attention to your eyes. However, they are two very different products that serve different functions.


Neutrogena Eyeliner

Eyeliner has been used for centuries in different cultures and dates back as early as 10,000 BC when the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, both men and women, wore eyeliner.

It’s believed they wore it not only for aesthetics, but to protect their eyes from the desert sun, much like how football players use a stripe of black grease to cut down on glare.

It’s also thought that eyeliner was worn to protect them from ‘the evil eye’.

Back in those days, eyeliner was made from grinding together various minerals, lead, oil, and fat in a mortar and pestle.

Today eyeliner is made with much safer ingredients.

Eyeliner comes in a pencil, gel, or liquid form. It is applied on the eyelids, and sometimes under the eye, at the lash lines to define and shape the eyes and make them more prominent.


Mascara Maybelline

Though the origin of mascara doesn’t date as far back as eyeliner, it too has been around for a long time.

From around 3400 B.C., ancient Egyptians blended kohl with crocodile dung, water, and honey to create the first mascara. It’s no longer made with those ingredients. And no, it’s not made with bat poop either!

They used bone and ivory as mascara applicators. And much like eyeliner, the application and ingredients have changed a fair bit since ancient Egyptian times.

Mascara is used on the eyelashes to give them a fuller look. Mascara is used to lengthen, thicken and define the eyelashes while framing the eyes.

Mascara comes in a semi-liquid form in a tube with a rounded brush that is used to apply the mascara to the eyelashes.

What Goes on First: Eyeliner or Mascara?

Mascara should be the last cosmetic you apply.

If you attempt to put eyeliner on over already mascara-coated lashes, they may get in the way, making it difficult to line the roots. You run the risk of smudging your mascara.

Which Eyeliner Should I Use?

Choosing the right eyeliner is key to creating the look you want. Understanding the differences between different types of eyeliner is important so you can choose the right tool for the job.

Eyeliner Pencil

old school eyeliner ‘pencils’ were exactly that, like the coloring pencils you used to have at school! They are made of wood, and you have to sharpen them like a pencil.

Though you can still find eyeliner pencils in actual pencil form, eyeliner pencils have come a long way since then.

They’re creamier and most come in a mechanical plastic cylinder with a retractable pencil liner, so you have more control and don’t waste any of your eyeliner in shavings.

Liquid Eyeliner

As you may have guessed by the name, liquid eyeliner comes in liquid form with a fine applicator brush for achieving more dramatic looks like a cat-eye or wings.

A good liquid liner goes on much more smoothly than a gel and provides you with the precision you need to make perfectly defined strokes.

Gel Eyeliner

Gel eyeliner texture is kind of a cross between an eye pencil and a liquid eyeliner. The consistency is thicker than liquid liner, but it’s creamy like an eye pencil. Gel eyeliner comes in a little pot and is applied with a brush.

The brush allows you to make thick or thin lines, and you can even use the brush to smudge the line a bit before the liner dries into place.

In general, liquid eyeliners are your best bet for sharper, more defined looks while softer, smudgier looks can be made with pencils and gels.

Which Mascara Should I Use?

You only need to visit your local cosmetics counter or Google ‘mascara’ to see how many different types are available; from lash lengthening, thickening, volumizing, curling, waterproof, to smudge-proof, non-clumping, lash defining… list goes on and on.  

When picking out a mascara, the wand applicator is key.

The wand shape and bristles will, for the most part, dictate what effect your mascara will have.

A fat and fluffy brush will give you voluminous, fat and fluffy lashes. Now there are more wand shapes than we’ve listed below, but this should give you an idea of the difference a change in the wand shape can make.

That said, the mascara formula is also important.

Even if it has the perfect wand, if it goes on clumpy or starts running down your face as soon as you break a sweat, or you break out into an allergic reaction, that wand is not going to help you.

When choosing the right mascara for you, it’s going to be a matter of trial and error. But we have a list of our favorite picks below to get you headed in the right direction.

Luxe Luminous Mascara and Eyeliner picks

Check below for our picks for mascara and eyeliners.



Take Away

When it comes to Mascara vs. Eyeliner, both can be considered cosmetic kit staples for accentuating your precious peepers. While eyeliner is meant to line the eyes to define, shape, and accentuate, mascara is worn on the eyelashes to frame and draw attention to your eyes.

There are so many different types and brands of eyeliner and mascara, the ones that are right for you will depend on the look you are trying to achieve and your personal preference.

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).