Eyeliner is involved in just about every type of makeup look, whether this may be in a bold or a subtle way. It can do everything from brightening up the eyes, making them look wider and more awake, to giving the eyes a seductive and smoky allure.
Of course, just like with every other makeup product out there, it takes time to master the art of applying eyeliner.
However, practice makes perfect, especially when you have the help of these six eyeliner tips!
1. Know the Difference Between Pencil, Liquid and Gel
There are three main types of eyeliner out there, and each one requires its own special technique and skill when it comes to application.
Each eyeliner type will provide you with different results, meaning that understanding the various effects of each one will help you to create the perfect look.
The three main types of eyeliner are:
- Pencil – these are the easiest type of eyeliner to use, but you need to make sure that you keep your pencils sharp. An eyeliner pencil enables you to create both thick and thin lines, and are easy to smudge for when you want a smokier look
- Liquid – liquid liners require a steady hand and can get quite messy if you make a mistake. However, when applied well, a liquid liner gives you beautiful precision and definition with its sharp and strong lines
- Gel – available as either brushes or pens, gel eyeliners also require a steady hand, but are more forgiving than liquid liners when mistakes are made. Their creamy texture makes them great for layering and building up definition, and they do this in a softer way than liquid liners
When it comes to eyeliner types, everyone has their own preference. This is why it is important to give them all a try, so that you can find what really works best for you.
2. Brighten Up Those Eyes
Looking for a way to create the illusion of brighter and wider eyes? Or need a way to cover up tired and red eyes.
All you need for this is a nude or white eyeliner...
Simply apply a layer of this nude eyeliner to your lower waterline, making sure that you have chosen a waterproof formula.
You can also experiment with lining your upper waterline too, which is a technique known as tightlining. This adds definition to the eyes, while hiding the fact that you are wearing eyeliner. It can also help to make the lashes appear fuller and longer. Tightlining can be especially beneficial for those with a hooded eye shape, as it enables you to emphasize your upper lash line, without your makeup smudging onto your top lids. (Read on for more smudge prevention tips!)
Why does the eyeliner you use need to be nude or white?
Because you want a shade that will mimic the natural color of your waterline. It is this emphasis of your natural waterline that helps to create the illusion of bigger eyes. Other light shades do work too, and if you want to experiment a bit then give a metallic rose or champagne shade a try.
3. Experiment with Colors
As you can see from above, using a nude or white eyeliner can really help to transform your eyes, showing you just how much of an effect different eyeliner colors can have.
Still, many people tend to stick to their go-tos when it comes to eyeliner shades, even though other colors may enhance the eyes more effectively.
The trick is to opt for shades that complement your natural eye color:
- Brown Eyes – brown tends to be the most versatile of eye colors when it comes to eyeliner shades, with so many different colors highlighting the lighter flecks in brown eyes. Bright and bold colors will work well on brown eyes, but so will an earthy brown, which will add a subtle amount of definition without being too obvious. A deep blue also works well on brown eyes as an alternative to black, which can sometimes look too harsh
- Blue or Cool Gray Eyes – look for shades that contrast with your eye color, such as copper, caramel and gold. Just about anything with an orange undertone will help to light up blue eyes
- Green Eyes – shades that have red undertones will work well with green eyes, such as garnet, bronze and plum. For more definition, try lining the eyes in black first, and then apply the red over the top of this. Alternatively, go for a deeper and darker red-tinted shade, such as a moody purple
- Hazel Eyes – both green and brown flecks can be seen in hazel eyes. A deep gray, purple or emerald will help to bring out the green, while a chocolate or gold will highlight the brown. You could even try combining two shades, using one on your upper lid and another on your lower lid.
4. Keep Some Cotton Swabs Nearby
No matter how much of an eyeliner pro you may be, mistakes will always happen, especially when experimenting with new products and styles. While these mistakes may be inevitable, they are still so frustrating, and seem to happen at the worst times.
But, don't worry, you don't need to start over with your makeup...
Simply dip a cotton swab into some eye makeup remover, and then dab this onto any mistakes to wipe them away. Depending on the eyeliner you have used, along with the look you are creating, you may need to twirl the swab against your skin instead of wiping it, to prevent smudging the rest of your makeup.
If you don't have any eye makeup remover to hand, try dipping the swab in some micellar water or a moisturizer instead.
The key here is to clear up any mistakes as soon as possible. Don't wait until you have finished with the rest of your makeup, as eyeliner is so much easier to dab away when it is still wet.
5. The Secret to Mastering the Cat-Eye
Do you sometimes struggle to achieve a truly flawless cat-eye?
Well, that's probably because you don't yet know the secret to creating winged perfection...
It isn't easy to draw on the perfect cat-eye freehand, but there are a few everyday items that could help you out with this:
A business card – grab a business card and hold this up at the corner of your eye, in a diagonal angle. Use your eyeliner to trace along the edge of this to create a seamlessly defined line
- A post-it note – these have the advantage of being sticky, and can simply be stuck to the skin at the angle that you desire, while you use the edge of this as a guide for drawing your line
- Tape – tape can be another good alternative to a post-it note. However, be careful that you don't tug or tear at your skin when removing the tape
- Small dots – rather than drawing a line, use your eyeliner to dab small dots onto your face, in the places you want your eyeliner to fall. Then, simply use your eyeliner to connect the dots, which will be so much easier than just going at it freehand
- Pencil underneath – if you don't like any of the above ideas, try creating your cat-eye with a light-colored eyeliner pencil first, or even a brow pencil. Once you have your pencil line in the perfect place, you can then use a darker liquid liner to go over this
6. Smudge Prevention
If your eyeliner tends to smudge quite a bit, then this is a tip for you...
There are several ways in which you can prevent your eyeliner from smudging, with the most obvious being giving your liner enough time to dry.
How long should you wait for?
At least 30 seconds, making sure that you keep your eyes closed during this time.
Once your eyeliner has dried, you can then use a powdered product, whether this may be a setting powder or an eyeshadow powder, to help set the liner even more. Dab a small amount of the powder over your liner, taking care to be gentle.
If you want to go the extra mile...
Give an eyeliner sealer a try. These are usually available in a liquid formula, designed to be applied in a thin layer with a brush over the top of dried eyeliner.
Of course, there are smudge prevention steps that you can take before you have even applied your eyeliner...
A primer is key when it comes to keeping a look locked in place for an extended period of time. However, make sure that the primer you use is one that has been designed for the eye area. Apply this before applying any eye makeup, and give it some time to dry before you continue on.
Eyeliner is a makeup product that you will likely use for years to come, making the art of applying eyeliner a skill definitely worth mastering. Whether you like to go smoky and dramatic, or subtle and understated, an eyeliner can really help you to make the most of your eyes.