Knowing how to apply eyeliner is a bit like cooking with chilli; just a smidge too much, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Even the most experienced among us can come undone with one rogue stroke. Turns out, there’s a lot to know when it comes to eyeliner, that’s why we put together this list to help you get it right every time.
But before we begin, a couple of golden rules: always start thin with any eyeliner along the lid, that way, if you make mistakes that can’t be removed, you can gently cover them by slightly thickening up the line. Secondly, always add mascara after liner application – never the other way around! OK now you’re prepped, follow these three easy steps.
Step 1: Choose the right texture
The great all-rounder: Gel pots
Gel pots are the new black when it comes to eyeliner! They combine the manageability of a pencil, with the drama of a liquid liner so they work well for day or night when a basic lined eye is called for.
The classic: Pencil
If in doubt, a simple lined eye using a pencil is always a good move. This one is my personal favourites and perfect for anyone revelling in the return of 90s fashion and beauty trends!
The all-out bombshell: Liquid
This one takes practice, a steady hand and a bucket load of patience; not the type of look to attempt when the Uber is already three minutes away! Give yourself time on this one and you will reap the beautiful benefits.
Step 2: Choose the right colour
Black: The go-to hue for defining your eyes on both your upper and lower lash line.
Brown: A smart addition to your makeup bag, brown pencils offer a more subtle look, perfect for day time.
White and silver: Try lining the water line (the area between lower eyelashes and the eyeball) with a white or silver pencil to extend the whites of the eyes and make them appear larger. A miracle worker if you’ve had a late night or you’re feeling under the weather.
Step 3: Apply with caution
Gel liner: Always apply gel liner with a fine tip brush from the inner corner out, using short, soft strokes – rather than attempting the perfect line in one go. And always arm yourself with a cotton tip so you can gently smudge any mistakes along the lash line. If you need more control, gently hold the outer corner of the eye slightly upwards to stretch out the lash line and tighten the skin. This helps avoid any grabbing of the brush on the skin.
Pencil: Apply directly to the lash line, gently holding the eye upwards from the outer corner for extra control. To really amp up the volume, use a pencil along the lower lash waterline (the area between lower eyelashes and the eyeball). This strengthens the colour of the eyes no end, making hazel, blue and brown eyes really pop.
Liquid liner: Slow and steady is the order of the day with liquid liner. I always apply a small amount of sticky tape from the outer corner of the eye up to the outer corner of the eyebrow to create my line to follow. Then, from the inner corner of the eye, I lock the tip of my Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Liner, $15.95, lightly into the lash line – not above it – lining along the lashes through to the tape. Then, once the line is drawn I come back with a liquid concealer pen and gently draw even out any bumps. Lastly, remove the tape and the scene is set for a super sexy layered look!