How to apply eyeliner: expert advice for a groomed and flattering liner

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Learning how to apply eyeliner is one of those life goals that some of us would be happy to take one of the Three Wishes if we encountered a magic lamp. Peace in the world, unlimited champagne and the possibility of drawing perfect feline films every time? Yes, that sounds good to me.

Whether you are a habitual liner wearer or have been spooked by failed attempts, gaining solid eyeliner skills is an ambition that, unlike a free tap of champagne, is quite achievable for anyone. All you have to do is choose the right product, learn what look will flatter your eyes, and consider some professional application tips.

What if everything goes wrong? It’s good too. Much like loading up the best mascara, the road to eyeliner success is paved with smudges. Even the pros keep a cleaning kit handy when the inevitable happens, so just know that whatever happens, we’ve got you covered.

How to apply eyeliner: your complete guide

Choosing a liner – pencil versus liquid and gel

The first step in learning how to apply eyeliner is pretty much the same as learning how to apply concealer or choosing the best foundation – a lot relies on selecting the best eyeliner for the job. Generally speaking, liners fall into three categories; pencils, gels, and liquids, which then branch out into their own little subsets of felt-tip pens, ink pen pots, vinyl paintable gels, and more.

“Pencils and liquids are wonderful and depend on your choice of outcome. Just like you don’t wear the same clothes every day, it’s the same with makeup,” says leading makeup artist Ruby Hammer. Here’s how to decide which one is right for you:

  • Eyeliner pencil: “Pencils are more forgiving and can be mixed or set with matching eye shadow for longevity and more emphasis,” says Ruby. MAC Cosmetics artist Carly Utting agrees that pencils offer more room for error. “Eye contour with a soft pencil can give the same defined look as a liquid with a smoother, more romantic feel and without the fear” hold your breath and hope for the best “to use liquid.”
  • Liquid eyeliner: “Liquid liners are spectacular in nature, so once you get used to using them they are great, ”says Ruby.“ The striking simplicity of the liquid liner gives you complete control over the look you want to achieve, but maybe beginners could use a pencil to start and build confidence. ”
  • Gel eyeliner: Your third option, gel, offers the glossy, long-lasting pigment of a liquid, but is usually painted from a jar with a brush. While they look a bit more delicate than pencils or liquids, gels can actually be very suitable for beginners as they glide smoothly and work especially well on wrinkled or less firm eyelids.

As a general rule, the softer the eyeliner, the more you can afford to experiment with shades. Warm copper, eggplant, and forest green can be a bit extreme as an opaque liquid line, but they look gorgeous as a smoky pencil or creamy gel.

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How to apply eyeliner – three techniques

Whatever product you use, a steady hand will go a long way. “Don’t rush or hold the eyeliner too tight, stabilize your elbows on a surface or tuck them into your body. Keep your eyes open and use a magnifying mirror if that helps,” advises Ruby.

Technique one – pencil
Pencil pencils have a naturally smeared look than their flowing friends, making them more novice-friendly. “The great thing about using a pencil pencil is that it doesn’t need to be groomed! Explains Carly. “If you are using a pencil, just try to point or scribble along the lash line to fill in the spaces between your lashes, don’t try to draw a straight line. Then, gently run a brush back and forth. on your doodle to break up the product and soften the line. It gives definition in a quick and easy way. “

Technique two – liquid liner
“Hold the pen horizontally and flat over your eye with the tip facing your nose. Using the tip of the pen, start in the very inner corner of your eye. Gently slide the pen out of your eye and stop, ”says Carly. “If you want to create a film, this should be placed where your last eyelash would be. Change the angle of your pen so that the tip is facing your ear and draw your film, this can then be attached to your liner. “

Three technique — gel eyeliner
Gel eyeliner is the choice of many makeup artists for superior control. Follow Bobbi Brown’s protocol: “Start by tracing in the middle of the lash line and work towards the outer corner of the eye. Gently lift the eyelid to get closer to the eye. Apply the liner by light strokes. Then apply to the end. towards the inner corner of the eye. Make sure the eyeliner is thicker at the outer corner, gradually thinning the line towards the inner corner. Try not to leave any space between the eyeliner and the lash line. If there is a gap, fill it with the same shade of powder eyeshadow. “

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How to apply eyeliner on creased eyelids

Wrinkled eyelids can make the eyes appear puffy and make learning to apply eyeliner difficult, but not impossible. “If the eyeliner doesn’t highlight the shape of your eyes, you just haven’t found the right product or style,” Carly explains. “Makeup has to evolve like our faces. As I get older I use a softer brown pencil and place it in the upper outer corner rather than a full black line all over my eye. I still define my eye, but now I uses it as a way to look up and add a more floaty feel. ”

Ruby agrees that the basics can be tailored to suit any eye. “If you have wrinkled eyelids you can still wear eyeliner. Just keep it close to the lash line and between the hair and skin – no need for dramatic wings.” When applying hooded eye makeup, Ruby recommends a similar protocol: “Follow the natural shape of your eyes and kick them upward at the end to lift the eye. ”

Mastering how to apply eyeliner to your eye shape isn’t the end of the story, your liner should represent your personality as well. “Think about what you want your eyes to say,” Carly says. “Twiggy used eyeliner to create a doe look by bringing it lower on the outer corner. Adele uses liner in a strong film plus cat’s eye to lengthen her eyes, Sophia Loren’s liner made the shape bigger. of her eyes including a bottom liner. Have a game, try different styles and have fun! “

What to do if you make a mistake

Do not panic. You don’t have to clean everything up and start over, as tempting as that may be. Having a few tools on hand for a quick cleanup will make it less stressful when the inevitable happens. “If you’re like me, eyeliner and mistakes go hand in hand!” Carly laughs.

“Keep a few sharp Q Tips (I like Muji’s) and the best micellar water for storage,” Ruby advises. “Or you can clean the edges with a concealer and a fine brush.”

As with most things in life, it’s safe to apply the philosophy that mistakes will happen, but it’s how you deal with them that matters. So go ahead, try not to get upset and define those beautiful eyes!

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woman & home thanks Ruby Hammer, Carly Utting and Bobbi brown for their time and expertise

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