How to apply eyeliner
How to apply eyeliner
Eyeliner is a makeup bag staple, but even if you’ve been wearing it for years, it remains one of the trickiest to get right. Unlike a slick of Black Honey or a swirl of blush, applying eyeliner takes a little more time, technique and practice to master. However, that’s not to say you need pro-level skills to achieve a sleek liner look every time. In fact, a few quick tips and tricks can make eyeliner application a breeze.
If you’re wondering how to apply eyeliner or which eyeliner look to choose, you’ve come to the right place. There are so many different types of liner and myriad eyeliner looks to choose from, so we’re taking it right back to basics. Read on for our beginners guide to eyeliner application, covering everything from the best eyeliner for beginners’ to easy, fool-proof tips to up your eyeliner game.
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of eyeliner. It’s also arguably the most beginner-friendly eyeliner formula, as they are relatively simple to use and soften for a more natural, lived-in effect. Our bestselling Quickliner™ for Eyes is a long-wearing eyeliner pencil that’s ideal for beginners. The ophthalmologist-tested silky formula applies effortlessly without tugging eyelids and comes with a smudge tool on the other end so you can easily blend out any mistakes or create an easy smokey eye look.
If you love a classic cat-eye, liquid eyeliner is the one for you. A liquid eyeliner pen creates precise, graphic lines with intense colour payoff. They are a little trickier to master, but a little practice makes perfect. You can also create a variety of different looks with a liquid eyeliner, from natural definition to more dramatic feline flicks. Our High Impact™ Easy Liquid Liner is designed with a tapered, ultrafine precision brush to create a clean line in one steady swoop. It’s waterproof, smudge and budge-resistant and ophthalmologist-tested, and is great for creating lots of different liquid eyeliner looks.
A gel eyeliner strikes a happy medium between pencil and liquid, combining easy application with precise application and intensity. Gel eyeliner either comes in a pot with an angled brush or as a retractable gel liner pencil. They glide on seamlessly, are easy to correct and have great staying power. A gel eyeliner pencil is also very versatile – you can easily create a clean, graphic flick or you can smudge it out before it sets for a smokey effect. Gel formulas are generally intensely pigmented, easy to blend and long lasting, which makes them great for lining the waterline, too.
Step 1: Prep and prime.
As with every makeup look, preparation is key. Cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise with an oil-free hydrator like Moisture Surge™ 100H as usual, then apply an eye cream to the eye area, before following with an eye makeup primer on the lids. Expert tip: apply your eye makeup first, before moving on to the rest of your base. This makes it much easier to clean up any eye makeup mistakes, without having to re-apply your foundation, blusher and bronzer too.
Step 2: Dot concealer under eyes.
Apply a little concealer to the under-eye area to help prevent smudging. If you have oily skin, apply a light dusting of translucent loose powder on the lid and under-eye area to absorb excess oil and moisture and boost liner longevity.
Step 3: Curl eyelashes.
If you use an eyelash curler, always curl lashes before applying eyeliner to avoid smudging afterwards.
Step 4: Apply your liner to the upper lash line.
Now for the main event. If you are using a traditional pencil sharpen the tip for a more precise line, or soften it by drawing on the back of your hand – you can skip this with Quickliner™ for Eyes. Rest your elbow on a flat surface, then trace a light line working from the inner to the outer corner of the eye, staying as close to the lash line as possible. You can then trace over this line again to ensure all gaps are filled. Alternatively, some makeup artists suggest drawing dashes along the lash line and connecting them to create a smooth line.
Step 5: Line the lower lash line.
If you are applying eyeliner to the lower lid, trace along from the outer corner towards the end, staying close to the lash line. A softer line is more flattering on the lower lid, and anything too thick or intense can make the eye look smaller. For natural eyeliner looks, a good rule of thumb is to line three quarters of the lash line, avoiding the inner corner of the eye.
Step 6: Connect the two.
Connect the upper and lower liner at the outer corners, then using a built-in sponge tip, brush or fingertip, soften the line for a more flattering, lived-in look. Then repeat on your other eye. Before adding a touch of highlighter to the inner corners, and lashings of a great volumising mascara – you can’t go wrong with High Impact™ Mascara.
Follow Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 as above.
Step 4: Map out your liner.
Rather than drawing a single flick in one, mark out three dots along your upper lash line. Start with one on the inner corner, one in the middle, then one where you want your cat-eye flick to end.
Step 5: Join the dots.
Rest your elbow on a flat surface, to help keep your hand steady, then using short stroke motions, gently join the dots together, working from the inner corner towards your flick. If you are struggling to draw a straight line for the flick, hold a credit card at an angle to use as a stencil.
Step 6: Repeat and perfect.
Fill in any missing patches with your liquid eyeliner, then repeat the process on your other eye as symmetrically as possible. If you make a mistake, or one line is too thick, use an eyeliner eraser (see tips and tricks below) or a little concealer to correct for a clean, precise finish.
Try a different shade.
Though black eyeliner is most popular, a mid or dark brown eyeliner is great for creating softer, natural eyeliner looks. Our Quickliner™ for Eyes comes in seven shades so you can customise your liner look depending on your eye colour and desired effect. If you’re looking for a shade to complement your eye colour, look at the opposite side of the colour spectrum. Contrasting shades and undertones will make your natural eye colour pop.
Keep an eyeliner ‘eraser’ on standby.
Even if you’ve got your eyeliner flick down to a fine art, mistakes still happen. The top makeup artist tip to correct any slips and smudges? Keep a cotton bud soaked in Take The Day Off™ Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes & Lips or your favourite eye cream on standby. This is also a great way to tidy up winged liner flicks for a more precise finish.
Always keep elbow supported.
This is a simple way to ensure even, smooth application – particularly if you are new to eyeliner or have unsteady hands. Rest your elbow on the table as you apply your eyeliner to help stabilise your arm.
Warm up your eyeliner pencil for smooth application.
If you’re using a pencil liner, warming up the end slightly will help ensure smoother application and a deeper, more intense colour payoff. Either warm it up with a hairdryer for a few seconds or roll the tip between your fingertips until it softens.
Layer up your liner.
If you are drawn to the drama of liquid liner, but apprehensive about application, why not create a template using a pencil eyeliner or even eye shadow? Once you’re happy with the effect, re-trace the line with a liquid eyeliner to create a precise cat-eye flick.
Need more help with eyeliner application or not sure which liner to try? Ask one of our specially trained beauty experts via the live chat bubble on the bottom right of your screen, or book in for a complimentary Skin School consultation today.