Eyeliner is a makeup bag staple that can take your eye makeup looks to the next level. Defining and enhancing your eyes with a bold eyeliner look not only makes your lashes appear thicker but also helps draw attention to your eyes. Acquiring knowledge of how to apply eyeliner can seem difficult at first, but we’ve put together a guide to help you get the ideal look.
However, applying eyeliner can be tricky, especially for beginners. With the right techniques and tools, though, anyone can learn to apply eyeliner.
Table of Contents
Getting Started – Eyeliner Tools & Supplies
There are a few key eyeliner products and tools you’ll want to have on hand before learning how to apply eyeliner:
- Pencil eyeliner – Pencil eyeliner is the best option for beginners additionally, as it is easy to blend and soften. It comes in various colours and finishes, like black, brown, navy blue, white, nude, and more. Pencil eyeliner glides onto the skin smoothly and can be smudged out with a brush or cotton swab to create soft, smoky looks.
- Liquid eyeliner – Liquid eyeliner creates very crisp, defined lines. It works especially well for creating cat eyes and winged liner looks. However, it can be more difficult to control than softer pencil liners. The liquid liner comes with a felt tip or brush applicators.
- Gel eyeliner – Gel eyeliner has a creamy texture and is typically applied with a brush. It glides on smoothly and is easy to smudge and blend. Gel liner is ideal for smoky eyes.
- Angled eyeliner brush – An angled brush is essential for applying gel eyeliner smoothly and precisely. Look for a brush with synthetic bristles at a fine point.
- Cotton swabs – Keep cotton swabs on hand to fix any eyeliner mistakes and create smoother lines. Gently run the cotton swab along the eyelid to pick up excess liner.
- Eye makeup remover – Makeup remover is useful for completely removing eyeliner to start over if needed. Use an oil-free, gentle formula.
- Primer/concealer – Applying primer or concealer to lids creates a smooth, even base for eyeliner application. This prevents skipping or pulling.
- Eyeshadow – Matte eyeshadow in similar shades to your eyeliner can be used to soften and blend pencil or gel liners.
- Setting powder & setting spray – These help extend the wear time of eyeliner and prevent smudging and transferring.
Prepping Your Eyes Before Applying Eyeliner
Before applying any eyeliner, it’s important to properly prep your eyes:
- Wash your face and apply eye cream to hydrate the eye area. A rich eye cream or serum ensures the delicate eye area is hydrated and primed for makeup application.
- Apply primer or concealer all over your eyelids up to your brows. A sheer, skin-toned primer creates the perfect smooth canvas for eyeliner application. Concealer can also work to neutralize any discolouration on lids.
- Using a spoolie brush, brush your eyebrows up and out of the way of your eyelids. Brushing brows upwards removes any stray hairs and prevents them from interfering with crisp eyeliner application.
- Apply a light dusting of translucent powder or skin-toned eyeshadow to the eyelids. This sets the concealer/primer and allows the eyeliner to glide on smoothly without skipping.
- Use an eyelash curler to curl lashes before applying any eyeliner. This opens up the eyes.
How to Apply Pencil Eyeliner
Pencil eyeliner is the easiest type for beginners to use:
- Sharpen the pencil to a fine point for precision. A freshly sharpened pencil tip allows you to draw thin, precise lines along the lash line.
- Begin lining your upper lashline, working in short, soft strokes from the inner corner outwards. Avoid pulling or stretching the delicate eye area.
- Start with light pressure in the inner corner, gradually pressing harder as you work towards the outer corner to create a definition.
- Repeat along the lower lashline if desired. Use a lighter touch and shade here.
- Use a cotton swab or brush to smudge and blend the liner for a softer, smoky look. For daytime, keep the lining soft and smudged.
- For hooded eyes, only line the outer half of the eyes to keep the liner visible.
- Apply liner with eyes open to account for any creasing and correctly shape the line.
How to Apply Liquid Eyeliner
Liquid eyeliner requires a steady hand but creates a sharp cat eye:
- Start by drawing a thin line across your upper lashline following its natural shape. Begin in the centre and work outward.
- Work slowly and deliberately. Don’t rush. It can help to brace your elbow against a table for stability.
- Work from the inner corner of your eye outwards. Create a smooth line before attempting to extend it.
- Let the liner dry completely before attempting to extend into a wing or cat eye. This prevents smudging.
- Use light, small strokes to draw the eyeliner past your lashline and extend into a wing. Flick out and upwards.
- Apply liner with eyes open to account for any folding and accurately shape the wing.
- Use an oil-free makeup remover on an angled brush to sharpen and perfect the wing edges.
- Set liquid liner with translucent powder or eyeshadow to make it transfer-proof.
How to Apply Gel Eyeliner
Gel eyeliner is creamy and easy to smudge for smokey looks:
- Dip an angled eyeliner brush into the gel eyeliner pot and wipe off any excess on the rim of the jar.
- Ensure the eyeliner brush has a precise point and is evenly coated in the product.
- Press the brush to your lashline and sweep it across in one smooth motion.
- Repeat the motion to layer the product and achieve an opaque, bold line. Build up intensity gradually.
- Avoid pulling or tugging eyelids. Let the brush glide across the lashline.
- Set with translucent powder or matte black eyeshadow to prevent smudging and transferring.
- Soften the look by gently smudging the liner with a brush or cotton swab.
Eyeliner Techniques & Styles
There are many different eyeliner styles you can achieve:
This basic eyeliner look enhances eyes for every day:
- Line the upper lashline only in black or dark brown pencil or liquid liner.
- Keep the line close to the lashes and thinner towards the inner corners.
- Soften with a similar eyeshadow shade (optional).
- Complete with 2-3 coats of black mascara.
The cat eye creates a subtle lift:
- Follow the upper lashline from the inner to the outer corner.
- Extend past the outer corner and flick up slightly.
- Fill in the wing shape.
- Complete with mascara.
Winged liner is bold and dramatic:
- Create a cat eye along the upper lash line.
- Draw a longer wing extending 1/2 inch past the eye or longer.
- Fill in the wing and sharpen the edges with a concealer brush.
- Curl lashes and apply mascara.
This sultry eyeliner is blended out:
- Line upper and lower lashlines with pencil or gel liner.
- Smudge with a brush or cotton swab to soften.
- Layer dark shadow over the liner.
- Finish with tons of mascara.
Spice up your look with vibrant shades:
- Try coloured liners in blue, green, violet, or gold.
- Focus bold shades on the lower lash line or inner corners.
- Soften the look with neutral shadows.
- Complete with black mascara.
Add sparkle and shine:
- Opt for pencil liners with flecks of glitter.
- Layer shimmery shadow like champagne over black liner.
- Press glitter liner gel along the lash line.
- Finish with volumizing black mascara.
Eyeliner Tips & Tricks
- Tightline along your upper waterline for enhanced, thicker-looking lashes. This technique is great for mature eyes needing definition. Use a kohl pencil and wiggle lightly between lashes.
- Use tape on the outer eyelid edges to create perfect, symmetrical wing shapes. Apply tape at an upward slant before lining the eyes. Remove carefully after applying the liner.
- Apply darker liner on the outer corners and lighter liner on the inner corners for a wide-eyed effect. This technique helps eyes appear more open.
- Soften harsh eyeliner looks by smudging with coordinated eyeshadow. Matte black shadow is perfect for softening heavy black liner.
- Always curl lashes after applying eyeliner to blend the products. An eyelash curler helps eyes look more awake.
- Have makeup remover and cotton swabs ready to fix any mistakes. Keeping the remover close by allows you to correct any uneven lines.
- Invest in a good sharpener to keep pencil tips precise. Sharpen before each use for best results.
- Allow the liquid liner to dry fully before closing your eyes to prevent transfer and smudging. Give it 1-2 minutes to set.
- Store gel eyeliners upside down to keep them from drying out and skipping during application.
Common Eyeliner Problems & Solutions
Smudging and uneven application are common eyeliner issues. Here are some solutions:
- Smudging – Use waterproof eyeliner formulas and set them with powder. Avoid oily moisturizers before application.
- Uneven lines – Use eye makeup remover and start over. Take your time and work slowly in short strokes.
- Irritation – Avoid lining the inner waterline. Use only gentle, hypoallergenic eyeliner formulas.
- Eyeliner transfers to upper eyelid – Allow the liner to dry fully before blinking. Apply eyeshadow on top to set.
- Eyeliner doesn’t last – Use a primer before applying and set the liner with a coordinating powder shadow.
- The eyeliner looks harsh. Soften the line by gently smudging it with a clean brush or cotton swab.
With the right supplies and techniques, eyeliner application becomes much easier. Keep going with practice. Remember to work slowly and use makeup remover whenever needed. Soon, you’ll be expertly applying flawless eyeliner to complete any makeup look!
How to Apply Eyeliner Over 50
As you get older, eyeliner application may need some adjustments:
- Use a primer to prevent skipping along crepey lids.
- Stick with pencil or gel formulas – avoid liquids.
- Softer colours like brown and burgundy are more flattering than harsh black.
- Avoid lower lashlines to prevent a tired look. Focus on the thin upper line.
- Keep the inner corner bare – start the line halfway in.
- Consider lash extensions for definition without liner.
- Apply liner with eyes open to account for extra skin.
- Use gentle, hydrating eyeliner formulas to prevent tugging. Look for ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E.
- Take your time – rushed application leads to unevenness.
- Use a magnifying mirror to see your eyes up close.
- Try stamping the liner by pressing the pencil into the lashline instead of drawing across.
With a few smart techniques, eyeliner can still be worn beautifully over 50 for defined eyes!
Applying eyeliner can seem daunting, but anyone can create stunning eye looks with the right tools and techniques.
Start off practising with a pencil liner, and work your way up to liquids and gels as you improve your skills. Prep lids properly, work slowly, and keep makeup remover handy for mistakes.
Experiment with different liner styles from classic to cat eye to smudgy smoky eyes. With patience and practice, you can apply eyeliner and become a pro in no time!