By: Liz Washer
Done well, eyeliner is one of the most featuring enhancing (and feature changing) aspects of makeup – you can alter the shape of your eye, thicken your lashes, and make a fashion statement all at once! It’s also one of the trickiest to master, so if you’re struggling, here are some proven techniques:
1. Step away from the liquid liner! Liquid liner is one of the most difficult types of liner to master, so if you’re new to makeup, save this for later. Your key to mastering eyeliner is a quality eyeliner brush. You can choose an angled, flat, or pointed tip – whatever feels easiest to control. Armed with this indispensible tool, you can apply cream or gel eyeliner (which mimics the look of liquid but is much more forgiving to apply), you can use eyeshadow as liner, and you can create smoother, thinner lines with pencils as well. Brand new to lining with a brush? Try the flat tip and simply press it right against your top lashline – you’ll leave a perfect stripe of pigment and you can simply press the brush along the lashline until you get the effect you’re looking for.
2. Choose a cool color. Redheads should definitely experiment with a variety of colors – black and brown are classic, but coppery shades are gorgeous against blue eyes, aubergine tones will enhance green eyes and as for brown, take your pick of jewel tones – they’ll all create a gorgeous, striking contrast!
3. Start clean. When you’re starting out with liner (or just creating a particularly challenging shape like a cateye), you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration by doing liner first, and the rest of your eye makeup afterwards. That way you can clean up the edges with a pointed cotton swab and some makeup remover, without ruining the rest of your makeup.
4. Keep an eye on it. Our eyes change shape when they are open versus when they are closed – the creases in our eyes shift, and it’s enough to throw off the shape of liner that looked perfect against a closed lid. Most of the time, your eyeliner will be seen with your eyes open, so make sure to apply it that way too! Tilting your head slightly back and looking down your nose into a mirror can help with application. For winged and cateye liner shapes, experiment with drawing the outer wing with the eyes open, and then connecting it to the lashline in a sudden downward dip – the resulting “paddle” shape will look smooth when the eyes are open and will keep the lid liner from becoming unflatteringly thick.
5. Steady, steady… I like to rest my elbow against the table and the heel of my hand or my thumb against my cheekbone when I line my eyes. There’s no shame in it – do whatever you need to do to keep your hands steady. (And please, no lining behind the wheel!)
6. OK, now you can grab the liquid liner. Once you’ve drawn the perfect shape in with pencil, gel or powder, you can go over it with a liquid liner to give it a strong, sharp edge.