The golden rule for eyeliner has always been: practise, practise, practise. But still, it’s an acquired skill, one that requires a great deal of time and effort (and just a few hacks) to perfect. Most women have experienced at least once the horror of rushing out to work or an appointment with wonky or smudged eyeliner, or worse, having to wash it off without the time to reapply. There’s always a solution: read on if you want to know how to perfect your liner look!
- Figure out which liner works for you
Most makeup counters will offer you three variants of eyeliner: pencil, gel, and liquid liner. Pencil liners are easy to apply and come in a few formulations; they don’t really last that long, but are good beginner items. Gel liner is much harder to get rid of, is used for precise application, and might have to be applied with a brush. The most popular is probably liquid liner, which takes some practice, but once you’ve nailed it, it’s all worth it. You should work out what formulation and consistency works best for you and highlights your eyes.
- Use dots or lines for liquid liner
Liquid eyeliner can be tricky to perfect. Use little dots or lines along your eyelid to give yourself a guideline, and then draw a smooth line over the lid. This way, you’ll have a path to follow and it’ll give you some confidence. You’re less likely to make mistakes.
- Fix your smudges, don’t start over
Messed up your eyeliner, but don’t have time to put on a fresh coat? Use a q-tip or a cotton bud to try and correct the mistake; maybe soak it in some makeup remover or water. You can also try to put some concealer on it. Or, maybe embrace the mess and turn it into a smoky eye.
- Wear your liner according to your eye shape
Eye shapes come in all types, and you can match your eyeliner to your shape. You can also do this with eyeshadow. There are several guides out there to help you out.
- Use an eyelash curler
Even a liner look that’s on point can look a little average if you’ve got limp lashes. Bring out the eyelash curler and curl your lashes to give them a little flair. You don’t necessarily have to add lashings of mascara, but it always helps.
- Add a touch of white or nude eyeliner
This trick is old hat, especially when you look tired. Put a line of white or nude eyeliner (preferably pencil) on your waterline. This will make your eyes look wider and give you a much more finished look, and won’t broadcast to the world that you overslept, missed your bus, and had to run to work.
- Try tightlining
It might seem scary, but it’s really not. If you don’t feel like applying eyeliner on your lids, or are aiming for a more natural look, simply line your upper waterline, so that your eyes look fuller and the pigment catches at the roots of your upper lashes. Your upper lashes will look thick and full, and the overall effect will be more natural than just lining your lids.
- Get the right-winged liner look
A common trick to get the flick of winged liner right is to use a business card and hold it to the corner of your eye, so that you can trace the edge upwards to create the flick. You can also use the head and handle of a spoon to create a good cat’s eye; use the handle for the base line, and the curve of the spoon’s head for the flick.
- Rest your arm on a still surface
It’s your arm that’s doing the work, so rest it on a level surface, and sit (or stand) in front of a mirror that’s at eye level. Your hand is less likely to shake if your elbow is leaning on something steady, and your liner is less likely to smudge.
- If all else fails, use eyeshadow
If you just can’t master it and you want to throw in the towel, you might as well break out the dark eyeshadow. Eyeshadow is much softer and less precise, but if applied right, it’ll look just as glamorous. A bit of a messy look is in these days!
Eyeliner is always a bit of a hit and miss, even the pros have bad days. Although it’s a staple of every woman’s makeup routine, it can be frustrating. Hopefully, these tips will help you get from eyeliner amateur to eyeliner pro.