Applying eyeliner like a pro takes a steady hand and a light touch, whether you’re going for a more natural look or your liner will be making a statement. For some guidelines on how to best apply liner, we talked to the pros. Keep these tips in mind!
Avoid Thick Lines
If you want to achieve a more natural, subtle liner look, don’t outline the entire eye or apply a thick line across the eye. Instead try a narrower line and only apply to the outer part of the upper lash line, skipping the bottom line entirely. Use a softer shade of black or brown or use a reflective light color, says Jill Marcordes, Executive Director of Cosmetology & Nail Technology at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture.
Tread Lightly On the Lower Lid
“Avoid lining the lower eyelid too much. This can make eyes look small and leave stray streaks of liner,” says Kerrie Quinby, Director of Artistry at Colorescience.
Color in the Lines
“A terrific way to get a smooth and perfectly placed line is to map out the shape with a white eyeliner pencil beforehand. Once it looks good, go over with a gel or liquid liner,” says Lori Leib, Creative Director for Bodyography Professional Cosmetics.
Avoid an Eye Pencil That’s Too Dry
A dried out pencil will tug at the eye and leave skid marks. Instead, choose an eye pencil that is creamy at first and dries to a long-lasting finish, says GLAMSQUAD’s Director of Makeup Artistry, Kelli Bartlett.
Objects Are Closer Than They Appear
Most women apply eyeliner looking straight into the mirror. This leads to crooked lines, gaps between liner and lash line and an all over sloppy look. Try looking down into a mirror instead this way you will make sure your liner is as close to the lashes as possible, says Leib.
Get Right to the Point
As in, a sharp point. Always use a sharpened pencil point, says Wendy Lewis of BeautyintheBag.com. Start with upper lash line first and the thickest line should start at the outer corner of your eye (towards your hairline). Gently smudge the line so there is no sign of a separation between lashes and lid. You can use the opposite end of the pencil if there is a smudge tip for blending, or a cotton swab. Then apply shadow, and lastly mascara.
Adjust for Weather
Really! For lower lids, waterproof liner will last longer, especially in humidity, says Lewis. Be careful not to use too much mascara on lower eyelids, as it can pull the lid down and make you look tired or older. Pencil may be sufficient, or a subtle use of mascara to accentuate lashes on outer corners.
…And For How You’re Feeling
If your eyes are tired, puffy or red, avoid using pencils or liners around your eyes that have a reddish tone – such as plums and browns. Blues make eyes look whiter, and blacks and grays are more neutral, says Lewis.
Liner Should Complement Your Shadow and Eye Color
Choose a product that goes on creamy and smoothly to avoid pulling eyelid skin when applying. Gel eyeliners in a stick are easy to use. Fine soft pencils have universal appeal. The thinner the liner, the more precision it offers, says Lewis.
Don’t Be Too Aggressive
Unless you are doing a photo shoot, thick jet black retro liners can make you stand out and not always in a good way. “They need to be perfectly applied with no jagged edges or smudged areas, or they just look like Flo in the Progressive Insurance ads!” says Lewis.
Never Curl Lashes After Applying Liner
This removes the product closest to the lashes. Instead, always make sure to curl lashes before you start the liner look, says Bartlett.
Never Pull on Your Eye While Applying Liner
This is a huge mistake, says Bartlett. Pulling on your eye as you apply the liner will morph the shape of your eye and also prematurely causes the skin to sag. The delicate eye area should be treated with care! Instead, while applying eyeliner, position your mirror at chest level, keep your chin up, and stare downwards into the mirror.