Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Eyeliner 101

Eyeliner can be super tricky to apply, but it's one of my most coveted beauty items.  You can make your eyes pop with the right liner, and application isn't as scary as it might seem.

The first step is to choose the right color.  You definitely want to stick with darker colors, but that doesn't necessarily mean that black is the way to go.  Experiment with deep chocolate brown, plum or dark gray.  Those hues make your eyelashes look thicker and simply make your eyes look gorgeous.


Next, you need to decide what formula you feel comfortable using.  There are a bunch of different options and it all comes down to personal taste.

  • Powder eyeshadow works well as eyeliner as long as you use a small, fine-tip pointed brush so you can be precise. Using powder eyeshadow as your eyeliner can achieve a softer look than you can with other types of liners. This is good for people trying out liner for the first time because it's super blendable and you can avoid mistakes.
  • Pencil eyeliners tend to smear and smudge, unless you find a really good one that isn't too creamy or too slick.  This is the most difficult liner to find.  It's worth spending extra money for a good pencil liner, as it will be more pigmented and apply much easier.
  • Gel or cream-to-powder eyeliners offer superb application and deep color payoff. The look is quite bold, and most formulas last all day. Because they don't smear, they are especially great for anyone with oily eyelids or for use in humid climates.
  • Liquid eyeliner is the most dramatic and, typically, the most difficult to apply.  I still have difficulty with liquid liner and I've been wearing it for over 10 years! It takes a steady hand, but it also offers the most precise and defined line. Look for liquid liner that comes with a thin, fine-point or felt-tip brush. If you make a mistake with liquid liner, wait for it to dry, remove it with a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover, and try again.  This takes a lot of practice!


If you don't have a steady hand, bend down or sit down so you can place your elbow on a table or counter for balance and control. Some makeup artists suggest dotting eyeliner along the base of your lashes, others prefer to use one fluid stroke, following the curvature of the eye. Both methods can provide beautiful results and can be combined for an even more dramatic look.

My fave eyeliner is ELF's Eyeliner Waterproof Pen.  It's only $1 and is easy to apply.  You can get the liquid liner look with a lot more control.

Happy lining!

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