Tricks for Applying Liquid Liner for Beginners

Emily Rekstis
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Liquid Liner

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Applying liquid eyeliner is no easy task, even for seasoned makeup lovers. It takes a lot of practice and precision to get it exactly right. Just one quick twitch of the hand can mess up your entire eye makeup look. You end up having to wipe away all you’ve worked to create with one big exasperated sigh. Then that’s it, you’re swearing off liquid liner for good, right?
Just because you struggle with it doesn’t mean you have to completely steer clear. Using liquid liner can create bold, beautiful eye makeup that we should all show off every now and again. So, we talked to makeup artist Suzy Gerstein, who’s worked with celebrities from Christy Turlington to Leighton Meester, to get her best tips and tricks for using liquid liners.
Start with pencil liners
Gerstein claims she always starts with a pencil liner in order to achieve the shape. “The waxy formula is more forgiving than its densely pigmented liquid counterpart and therefore easier to correct quickly,” she explains. Using pencil liners also allows you to line right in between the lashes so you don’t leave any gaps between lash lines.
Her favorite pencil liners include MAC Coffee and Feline. She explains that these are on the drier side so they don’t get too messy. However, they do still allow for some smudging.
Use skinny Q-Tips
We all make mistakes. It’s knowing how to correct them that’s key. Gerstein recommends dipping skinny Q-Tips into Muji and Koh Gen Do Spa Cleansing Water when in need of a quick painless removal. “It acts like a magic eraser to help you quickly tweak the line without disrupting the rest of your makeup.”
Stare straight 
Gerstein claims that even if you are attempting to create a dramatic cat eye line, she always recommends staring straight into the mirror. Then, use the angle of your bottom lashline as a guide as to where your the feline flick of your line will go.
Trace line with concealer 
To really make the line pop,  Gerstein recommends tracing that outside line with a little bit of sheer concealer. The color you use should be slightly lighter than your actual skin tone. “It will just help make the line look cleaner and more professional.”
She loves Charlotte Tilbury’s Retoucher concealers and YSL Touche Eclat. The brush is included on both of these products, so you won’t need any additional tools. Also, the formulas are so sheer that it won’t look obvious you’re using concealer.
Resting the pen
Gerstein claims the easiest trick in the book when it comes to liquid liner is resting the pen against your top lashes. Then, you want to pull up slightly on your lid with the other hand to expose the bit of skin closest to the lash line and, working from the outside in, literally letting the pen do the work for you.
“I like to work from the outside in because the pen tends to deposit the most color where it is placed first, and I like a line that is slightly thicker at the outside and tapers off closer in towards the eye’s inner corners.”
Relax
Of course the tools you use help immensely, but half of the battle when it comes to using liquid liner is the fear or the liquid liner itself. “Try to think of something else that makes you calm,” suggests Gerstein. “A sort of meditation if you will.” You don’t want to put all of your energy into attempting to create the perfect line making it a bigger deal than it is and building the pressure.
“I think liquid liner brings out the inner perfectionist in all of us,” explains Gerstein. She references a quote she saw on Jouer Cosmetics’ Instagram: “You gotta act cool, calm and collected around liquid eyeliner. It can sense your fear.” I think we can all agree that’s the unfortunate truth.

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