How to Apply Eyeliner

Learning How to Apply Eyeliner

Knowing how to apply eyeliner is the difference between looking glamorous and looking like a clown. While not every woman needs to wear eyeliner on every occasion, there are some times that call for perfectly lined eyes. The best eyeliners can work in any situation, from the most casual coffee date to the most formal evening-gown affair.

When to Apply Eyeliner

Though there are no such things as “hard and fast” rules when it comes to makeup, eyeliner should generally be applied after eyeshadow and before mascara.

If you jump the gun and apply eyeliner before eyeshadow, you’ll just gum up the whole mess and have to start over. Also — applying mascara before eyeliner just doesn’t make sense and will cause more confusion at your makeup mirror.

How To Apply EyelinerIf you are a “light makeup” user and just want to use eyeliner to define your eyes, that is perfectly alright too. Just make sure you aren’t about to encounter an emotional situation before your big night out, or your eyeliner could turn into a leaky mess.

In our experience, the best eyeliners to use are liquid eyeliners and waterproof eyeliners.

10 Steps to Applying Eyeliner

1. The first step in learning how to apply eyeliner is picking the right color for you. You should buy an eyeliner that matches your eye color. General rules are that brown, navy or even a dark charcoal eyeliner best accent a woman’s light colored eyes, and brown or dark purple shades of eyeliner are good for dark eyes. If you plan to use eyeshadow, you also have to make sure your eyeliner matches that color as well.

2. The choice between pencil style eyeliner and liquid liner is really a choice between what sort of “look” you are going for with your makeup. Traditional or “pencil” style eyeliner adds a softer level of eye definition/ If you want a more dramatic look (or need a more precise tool to get the job done), go for a liquid eyeliner version. Here’s a trick of the makeup trade — you can add a little water to a dark color of eyeshadow and use this as a dark eyeliner. You just need to learn how to apply it with a flat makeup brush.

3. This is an important step in applying eyeliner that many women skip — if you choose to use a pencil style eyeliner, you have got to sharpen the pencil correctly. Your eyeliner pencil should be sharp enough to resemble a fine point — or else it will look smudged and unattractive. Most women who don’t use a sharp enough pencil solve the problem by “smudging” the pencil line under the eye, but simply sharpening the pencil as sharp as you can stand will allow you to skip that step. Hold a pencil style eyeliner the same way you’d hold a regular pencil.

4. If you’re using a liquid liner, you need to make sure that you’re coating the brush very gently — you don’t need a ton of liquid liner to achieve an attractive look. Just like with a pencil liner, you should hold your brush the same way you’d hold a pen for writing.

5. The proper head angle for applying eyeliner is the standard “makeup application” pose — you tilt back your head just enough to make your eyes appear “half open”. Do this for two reasons — first, you need to be able to see the makeup as it is applied to your face, and secondly the “tilting” of the head creates the perfect angle for makeup application.

6. Now you are ready to start applying eyeliner. Start by drawing a simple line across your top eyelid (directly above the lashes) from the inside corner of your eye to the outside corner. Pencil style eyeliners make this step easy, but if you’re using a liquid style eyeliner, make sure it had dried in full before you open your eyes up all the way/ If you open your eyes with wet liner, the color of the liner will stain the crease of your eye. Not a good look.

7. Soften the lines you’ve drawn by using a brush, cotton swab, or even a finger to “smudge” the line. The point is to make your eye makeup look more natural and less like a geometric line.

8. Now for the lower lids. Drawing from the outside edge of the lid inwards, cover the outer two-thirds of the lid. You could go further if you wanted a more dramatic look. Make sure to make your eyeliner slightly thicker at the outside corner, a line that gets thin as you move toward your nose.

9. Take stock of your eyeliner application job. If you used pencil liner and you want to start over, wipe off the pencil lines and start again. Liquid liner may be a bit more difficult to “wash” off.

10. Last second tip — many women who are afraid of eyeliner are afraid of getting “raccoon eyes” — big dark circles around their eyes that look foolish and amateur at best. If you are one of those women who is worried about the dreaded “raccoon effect”, simply apply less color and use a lighter hand.

Specific Eyeliner “Looks”

Cat Eye

This is a hip look for a night out on the town. Start by holding your upper eyelid tight, then dot liquid liner along the upper lash line as close to your eye as you can. Draw a line from corner to corner, extending the line upward at the outer corner of your eye. Let the liquid liner dry for a few minutes. Then hold down the lower lid and apply eyeliner only to the outside three fourths of the rim. Fade out the line as you approach your tear duct. Finally, extend the eyeliner upwards at the outer corners of your eyes.

The Smoky Eye

Holding your upper eyelid tight, apply your eyeliner from the inside corner of the eye outward. Draw strokes directly into the lash line. The middle of your line should be thicker than the line’s edges. Using a cotton swap to “smudge” the liner gives you the smoky look you’re going for. Take an eyeshadow brush and cover it with a dark colored eyeshadow and apply this color all over the eyeliner to establish the eye line.

Though most women wear it at some point in their lives, there are far too many who do not know how to apply eyeliner. Poor eyeliner application can ruin a perfect outfit or otherwise perfect makeup application. When you want to add shape and definition (or a little color) to your eyes, eyeliner is the perfect tool.

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