How To Apply Eyeliner Correctly
How To Apply Eyeliner Correctly

How To Apply Eyeliner Correctly

‘How to apply eyeliner?’ is a question Google gets asked half a million times every month – which suggests many of us still aren’t sure how to get the perfect feline flick. From prepping the lids to understanding the shape of your eye, here’s what two make-up artists recommend…
By Rebecca Hull

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Prep The Lids 

“Before you even think about applying eyeliner, it’s worth prepping your lids properly – especially if they’re very oily. Most liners stay put, though, so unless your lids have a lot of slip to them, a primer isn’t always necessary. If they are prone to greasiness, use a primer and a smattering of powder over the top to mattify the area. A primer can also be useful if you want to smudge out a soft kohl pencil, but still want it to last. Both the Urban Decay Primer Potion and Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base will prolong the longevity of even the softest pencils.” Hannah Martin 

Take Your Time 

“Getting eyeliner right is all about practice. If you’re struggling, try sitting at a desk or a table, then put a standing mirror on the tabletop and make sure you look down into it, with your head tilted back slightly. This will ensure you can see the maximum amount of space on your lid when you’re drawing any lines. It also helps prevent smudging. I often joke that eyeliner can smell fear, so confidence is key. If it goes wrong, it’s often because you’re rushing. Take your time and always have some pointed cotton buds and make-up remover on hand to do a quick clean-up job if needed.” Jessica Kell

Trace Your Shape 

“Always start with a slim line – it’s easier to ramp up the thickness than it is to take it away. If you want to create a larger, winged effect, don’t be afraid to trace the shape first with powder or a pencil, then go over it with the gel liner once you’re happy. The key to a good, winged liner is to take the formula into the very outer corner of the eye, then pull the line up and outwards. Try doing your eyeliner first, then picturing where you want your flick to end so you can draw back from that point, pulling the liner in to meet the line you’ve already drawn along the lid.” – Hannah 

Perfect Your Flicks

“If it’s a feline flick you want, start in the inside corner of the eye, then pull it out to get thicker on the outer edge. Don’t worry about the flick until you have that ‘thin to thick’ line. Once that’s in place, map out your flick. The perfect point follows the bottom waterline up and connects in a triangle shape from the roots of your outer lashes. If you’re struggling to find where your flick should end, lift your mirror, look directly into it and from there, look for the point where you want the flick to end, always moving from the end of your lower waterline upwards. Draw a tiny dot at this point. Then, looking down into your mirror, connect the dot to the thickest point of the line.” – Jessica 

Know Your Shape

“Different eye shapes will dictate what liner look will suit you best. For example, if your eyes are close set, avoid taking your liner too far into the inner corners of the eye. Instead, apply a light shadow to the lids for a brightening effect, then focus on extending your liner just a little at the edges to create the illusion of more wideness. If your eyes are already wide set, take your liner into the inner corners to help them appear less far apart. For hooded eyes, try tightlining. This sounds complex, but really it just requires you to push your liner in-between the lashes rather than on top. If your eyes are rounder, try lining just the outer third to create a more almond-looking shape.” – Hannah 

Approach Your Waterline The Right Way

“Putting liner into the lower waterline can finish a look – especially when you’re going all out with a bold, smokey eye. If you want to create a bigger, brighter eye, try using a cream colour on the bottom waterline. White can be too harsh, whereas a lighter creamier tone can really enhance your eyes. Try Victoria Beckham’s Instant Brightening Waterline Pencil for an instant lift. It’s definitely more of a day look, but great for adding some definition. If you want extra depth, opt for a warm brown and smudge it through the lower lashes, too. This will define your eye shape and provide a great base for lower lash mascara to hold onto. If it’s an evening look, then a really black liner through the lower waterline will give you the most impact. Take it all the way into the inner corner and connect it to your liner on the top lid to really define your eye shape.” – Jessica 

Always start with a SLIM LINE – it’s EASIER TO RAMP UP THICKNESS than it is to take it away. If you want to go larger, trace the shape first with a pencil, then go over it after."

Don’t Neglect Powders

“If you find liquids and pencils too difficult to work with, try using a dark shadow to create a similar, softer effect. You can even wet the brush for a more intense look, then progress to pencils once you’re more familiar and confident with your application.” – Hannah 

Invest In Good Tools

“You can’t go wrong with a gel pot and a fine brush if the perfect feline flick is what you want. A fine brush will help you get close to and into the roots of your lashes, while a small, angled brush can help to perfect a wing. The Sigma Beauty E11 Eyeliner Brush is brilliant for precise work, while Trish McEvoy’s 50 Angled Brush will help you create an elongated wing.  Q-tips are also an essential – mainly because they can remove smudges so quickly. The ‘My On Point Buds’ from KitCo are great for tidying things up. If you want to smudge out your liner, a pencil brush will do most of the work for you – try Hourglass’s No13 Precision Smudge Brush or Smashbox’s Smokey Shadow Brush.” – Jessica

“Practice makes perfect, but there are some great tools that can help. For starters, you can apply surgical tape from your lower lash line out towards the temple and use that to create your wing. Simply apply your liner up to and over it, let it dry then remove the tape to reveal a sharp, clean line. Some brands also sell what look like guitar picks that you can place at the outer corner of your eye to master the same technique, but if all else fails, try Ciate’s Stamp & Drag product. It has a felt-tip liner on one end and a wing stamp on the other for ease. You just place the stamp at the outer corner of your eye, then use the other end to complete the look.” – Hannah 

Try Tightlining 

“Tightlining is one of my favourite eyeliner techniques. It’s great for those who want maximum definition. Take your eyeliner on the upper waterline and run it through to the base roots of your lashes. This adds instant depth and makes your lashes appear thicker and longer. Take your pencil, or even a gel, on a brush and lift your eyelid so the upper waterline is visible. Then, apply your liner as you would on the bottom, taking it all the way into the inner corner and along the lower waterline, if you want. It’s great for those with hooded eyes as it doesn’t drag the eye further down.” – Jessica 

Use Pencils On Mature Skin

“If you have more mature skin, fine lines can make it increasingly difficult to create exaggerated looks. My preferred liner look on a more mature eye is a little bit softer. Try smudging a kohl pencil (dark brown or charcoal grey) along the lash line, keeping the line thin towards the inner corners of the eye, and slightly thicker towards the other end. As you go, use your finger or a brush to buff the line out for a softly diffused finish – this is much more flattering . Then, apply a very thin black line, using either a liquid or gel, right at the base of the lashes to ensure the lash line looks as dark as possible. You can also use a dark powder to smudge everything together, but this isn’t always necessary.” – Hannah 

Take Your Flicks Higher

“One of the main mistakes people make with eyeliner is not taking their flicks or wings high enough. Use your lower waterline as a guide to show you the right angle. If your liner comes out too straight, or looks down-turned, then it can be unflattering. My final tip is to mix your formulas and try new ways to apply your liner. It doesn’t always have to be a flawless liquid flick. Try smudging a metallic blue kohl in the inner corners of your eye or add a micro flick to the outer corners. You can even take a black kohl and really work it into your lashes, finishing by blending a brown shadow over your lids for an effortless effect.” – Jessica 

Follow @JessicaKMakeUp & @HannahMartinMakeUp

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