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How to Apply Eyeliner

That said, there are still some very general but important rules you need to know about how to apply eyeliner from a technical standpoint. You will first need to decide whether you want to use a pencil liner or a liquid liner. Both have their pros and cons.

Pencil Eyeliner

The main benefit of a pencil eyeliner is that it’s easy to control. But the downside is, it can lack smoothness. Therefore, when choosing a pencil eyeliner, try to go for a brand that’s creamy and glides on as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, those are usually the more expensive brands, but as they say, “beauty ain’t cheap.”

Start by placing the tip of the pencil about a quarter inch in on the upper lid, just above the lashes. Then use short, quick strokes to form a line that goes from the starting point out to the edge of your eyelid. If you prefer, you can also extend the liner about one-sixth of an inch past where your eyelid ends, for a little bit of a “winged” look.

For your lower lid, or what is often called the “waterline,” it's essential for the safety of your eye to use a pencil eyeliner. The waterline is the little “ledge” that holds your lower eyelashes.

This part is a bit trickier, because you’re getting a lot closer to the eye. First, use your index finger to smooth out the waterline by pulling the skin next to it outward. Again, use short, quick movements to apply the eyeliner. Start near the center of the eye and work outwards. You can also, if you choose, go back to the center and work toward the tear duct if you prefer a full line. Just be extremely careful not to get too close to your eye. Now just repeat the process on the other eye, and you’re ready for a night on the town.

Liquid Eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner is more difficult to control than pencil eyeliner, but it does go on more smoothly, creating a sleeker look. It’s very dangerous, however, to use liquid eyeliner on your waterline, so only use it on your upper eyelid.

To apply liquid eyeliner, you'll need an eyeliner brush, preferably an angled one. You can apply it essentially the same way you would apply the pencil liner, but it requires a little bit more skill, because the brush is harder to control than the pencil. Liquid eyeliner usually creates a thinner line also, making it acceptable to go all the way in toward the tear duct.

Once again, you’ll want to use short, quick strokes. While it may seem more logical to apply eyeliner in one fluid motion, this can be a problem if you go off course. If you keep the strokes small, you’re basically building a line gradually, so it’s easier to stay on track.

These are the basics of eyeliner application; if you want an edgier eyeliner look, start paying attention to the latest trends to see how others are pushing the envelope. Or if you want to really be bold, start your own trend!


Written by Arden Davidson

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