Eyeliner is one of the harder cosmetics to apply and can take some practice, but the rewards are worth it. Eyeliner can make the most dramatic difference in the shape and look of an eye. Eyeliner options used to be slim. Liquid liners were too runny, and pencils were hard and painful to work with. The way I kept eyeliner on when I was younger was to burn an eyeliner pencil and wait for it to cool slightly before applying it. More than once I was in a hurry and burned myself. Luckily, such dangerous practices are no longer necessary. Today’s eyeliners go on smoother and stay on a lot longer than they did in the past. It just takes a little practice. Use eyeliner along the lash line to give definition to the eyes and the illusion of fuller lashes. Use only on the outer corners to give the eye a gentle lift. Apply to the outer three-quarters of the lid for close-set eyes to draw the eyes out.
Products & Tools
- Pencil Eyeliner – It’s a good idea to spend a little extra for a quality eyeliner pencil. Avoid pencil liners that are waxy and hard, as they pull at the skin and don’t deposit enough color. Pencils should be soft and go on smoothly. Smudge the line with an eyeliner brush and create a sultry, smokey eye. Set the liner with shadow to minimize bleeding, or use waterproof liner for defined lines that don’t smudge or smear. Pencils are especially great to define the lower lashline.
- Waterproof Liner – Most eyeliners of any type are available in waterproof form, which is great for women whose eyes tend to smear. The shape and skin type of some eyelids (mainly oily eyelids, monolids, and some thin lids) are prone to smudging, particulary along the lower lash line. When investing in a waterproof liner, splurge on one that goes on smoothly and doesn’t pull at the skin around the delicate eye area.
- Colored Cream Liner – Liner comes in so many colors now, from bright pinks to metallic charcoal grays. Try it instead of eyeshadow for a long-lasting, more intense eye. Since cream liner is heavier, it tends to last longer. Cream liners come in nice shimmers as well, which is great to create a dramatic look quickly. When using a vibrant color, add black or brown liner along the lash line to help neutralize the look. With colored liners, look for creamy textures that don’t crumble or are too waxy or hard. If it glides on smoothly and stays put, it’s a winner. If you find that cream liners smudge too easily, you might be better off with gel liners.
- Liquid Liner Brush Form – Liquid eyeliner is almost always found in a tube similar to mascara and comes with it’s own brush. Glide the tip of the brush along the lash line, pressing lightly for a thin line and increasing pressure for a thicker line. The newer brushes come in pen form with a brush tip. Clicking the pen allows the liquid to flow into the brush. These brushes tend to be shorter and easier to control.
- Liquid Liner Foam Form – This dense foam liner is more forgiving than a brush and gives the control of a pencil, without losing the defined liquid liner look.
- Gel Eyeliner – This is a newcomer to the eyeliner world. I, like everyone else in the makeup business, was skepticalat first, but now I can’t live without it! It’s a great tool to create a perfect sharp line and also works well on mature skin because it gives the eye a lined look without pulling at the delicate skin. Apply it quickly but as carefully as possible, as once it’s set, it doesn’t move.
- Corner Application – This soft daytime look is achieved by adding a little liner at the outer corners of the eye at a 45-degree angle and slightly extending the line to make eyes look wider and lifted.
- Half Application – Apply eyeliner only on the outer half or three-quarters of the eye when trying to make close-set eyes appear wider. Liner is applied thickly, creating more height.
- Full Application – Applying eyeliner along the entire lash line is probably my favorite technique for a natural look that is still defined. Apply a thin line of black eyeliner on the upper lid as close to the lash line as to slightly extend the liner to draw the eyes farther out.
Using Eyeliner to Create Eye Shape
Having small eyes myself, for decades I’ve played around with eyeliner and learned how it can totally change the shape of the eye. Here are three examples of eyeliner tricks that quickly transform the eye.
- Upper Lid – Applying liner to the upper lash line only is one of the best ways to add height to the eyes. You can also extend eyeliner out to give your eyes more length.
- Smokey – Apply eyeliner on the upper and lower lash line and blend it out. Applying eyeliner around the entire eye won’t make eyes appear smaller if the upper and lower lines are blended together.
- Thick – Eyeliner application creates a focal point. Eyes look larger and appear to be curved. Eyeliner helps create whatever shape you want to achieve.