How to Apply Eyeliner Properly


Authored by Nickie Fleming in Makeup and Cosmetics
Published on 05-21-2009

Applying eyeliner needs a little bit of practice before you can become an expert at it. By following the tips offered, it will go a lot easier.

To start with, you need eyeliner, some cotton swabs, makeup remover, a soft shadow brush and makeup remover wipes.

Step one: Pick out an eyeliner that goes with your eye color (read my article on makeup tips for blue eyes). Brown and plum are great for lighter eyes, silver and charcoal look best on green and blue eyes, rich red browns is ideal for blue eyes and gold for green eyes

You’ll also have to consider the type of look you’re after. Pencil eyeliner gives the eye a soft definition, while liquid versions offer precision and drama.

Step two: Prepare to apply the eyeliner. If you are using a pencil, you better sharpen it. You can also warm and soften the tip of the pencil by heating it with the hairdryer. A liquid liner needs to be checked for clumps or excess spillage. A smudging pencil or brush should be dampened by one or two drops of water.

Step three: Now rest your elbow (of the arm you’ll use) on a hard surface and rest your wrist on your face. Then tilt your head back slightly and bring your eyes to a half-open state. This will create a good angle for application and will allow you to see what you’re doing.

Step four: Use your index finger to pull your eyelid gently to the side and slightly up, and draw a line across the upper lid (as close to your eyelashes as possible while still on the lid). This creates an effect of thicker lashes. If you use liquid eyeliner, allow it to dry before opening your eyes all the way. You can also soften the look by gently smudging the line with your brush, a cotton swab or your finger. If you want a straight line, as is the case with liquid liner, do not attempt to alter it unless it’s messy.

Step five: Line the lower lids. Some people put the liner just below the lashes, others prefer to put it on the rim of the eye, above the lashes, or even on the upper inner lash rim (if you’re super skilled). Always follow the shape of your eye, to make it look more natural.
Practice makes perfect, but there are some tips that can help.

  • Consider a wide variety of liner forms to decide which works best for you.
  • Only use eyeliner after you’ve applied eye shadow and before applying mascara.
  • Keep eyeliner pencils in the fridge. This makes sharpening easier.
  • Wash your brushes regularly with makeup remover or a mid gel shampoo.
  • If you’re older, use a really soft pencil.

And a word of warning: avoid sharing your eyeliner with others. This can transmit bacteria and infections from one person to another. Also, lining the inside of the lower lid may cause eye infections. Pencil eyeliners that are too sharp can get stuck in your eye.


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