Believe it or not, I can't go to Target without getting beauty questions from strangers, and I love helping a sister out. The questions I get asked the most always revolve around eyeliner. Since eyeliner is a technique that takes a lot of practice, women are usually afraid to try it, or discouraged after a bad experience. I simplified 4 ways to wear eyeliner, with the product recommendations that I find work the best, so you can feel confident the next time you do your eyes.
And if you're still wondering "why eyeliner?" it is one of the quickest ways to bring out the eyes; the very part of our face where we connect with others. Why not frame our eyes with an liner and a coat of mascara to create contrast with the whites of our eyes?
The most minimal way to line the eyes and darken the lash line is to tightline. It adds dimension and thickness to the lashline, without adding any darkness to the lid. I always recommend this technique to women working in corporate environments, busy moms, and teens. It's a universal, simple way to make the eyes stand out.
Look for a pencil that is longwearing or made especially for tightlining. I used an Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in black. You can also try a cake liner from Laura Mercier (applied with a damp brush), a pot of Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Gel Liner, or the waterproof kohl kajal pencil from Rimmel.
The fastest way to tightline is to lift the brow and tilt your head back slightly as you look into a mirror. With the kohl of your choice, darken the water line, or the membrane right under the top lash line.
Tightlining takes practice, and it can cause the eyes to water. Be patient, and take a break if your eyes start to tear. Have a few Q-tips close by to clean up transfers to the lower lash line or blobs that fill up the tear duct.
For a thin definition of the upper lash line, I love to use a felt tip liner pen, like the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner. In this look I used the dark brown shade for a softer daytime look.
Start by putting the point of the felt tip pen almost flat against the lid to get a precise line. Short strokes are much easier to connect, rather than lining the entire eye in one swipe, so press the pen against the lid to get 4 or 5 lines that connect. This technique also prevents the liner from going on too thick. After each line, ensure that the color is as close on the lashes as possible. I line the very inner corner to the very outer corner, and slowly sweeping the liner to the outer edge of my eye and stopping there. This technique also works with a sharpened pencil. Keep in mind that a twist-up liner may look more smudged than this, so those pencils may not be the best option.
For a smoky look, use the thin liner look technique first, then using a smudging brush, apply eyeshadow in a similar shade over the liner. I always start on the outer edge of the eye with the eyeshadow smudging, and work my way to the inner corner so the brush has less and less product as it goes further in towards the nose. Layer the eyeshadow over the eyeliner until it looks smoky.
You can do this technique with any shade of eyeshadow, so it's a great technique to learn for a multitude of color combinations. Try dark brown, grey tones, bronze, deep purples, and shades of navy depending on your look for the day. An eyeshadow palette is very handy, especially one that has eyeliner-toned shades. The most practical palettes contain a few nude shades, a few medium shades, and a few darker shades that can be used as liner.
CAT EYE LINER
Cat eye liner is one of my favorites for a more glamorous look. I always feel super feminine and a little Old Hollywood when I wear a cat eye, so it is definitely a technique I have practiced many times.
I created a video tutorial for a cat eye liner back when I worked for Verily Magazine with step by step application of the technique which you should definitely watch if you need some motivation to try it out.
I prefer felt tip eyeliner pens for this because I find they look the most polished and tend not to flake off after hours of wear. A stylo pen is much easier to hold than a wet liner brush. I rounded up a few of my favorite felt tip liner stylos, from drugstore to department store, right up above!
Keep in mind that my eyes are hooded, meaning you cannot see the mobile part of the lid when my eyes are open, so these looks may not look exactly the same on you. More of the liner may be visible, where on my lids, it is slightly hidden by my brow bone.
SHOP THE TOOLS FOR THE LOOK
Disclaimer: These photos have not been photoshopped or edited for smoothing. Only the lighting has been adjusted. I do not edit my photos with blurring tools because I believe that natural skin, fine lines, and pores happen. Let's celebrate how we look in real life!