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Eyes are the window to the soul, and eyeliner is the curtain; the strategic frame around a masterpiece painting. Beauty is an ambiguous, multidimensional, and eternally versatile universe. Within this universe there are few constants. Eyeliner is one of these constants, a foundational makeup product that orbits through the beauty universe creating definition and intrigue in one strategic flick.
Today, we will explore the multifaceted world of eyeliners, taking a closer look at their many forms and uses and providing you with an overview of the best eyeliners. Eyeliners are a vital inclusion to your makeup bag, and today, we will introduce you to the best tips and tricks on how to apply eyeliner effectively and flawlessly.
How to Apply Eyeliner Correctly – Best Eyeliners to Get the Perfect Flick: Contents
- Eyeliner Types: Which One Is Right for You?
- 11 Best Liquid Eyeliners
- 11 Best Gel Eyeliners
- 11 Best Pencil Eyeliners
- 9 Best Cream Eyeliners
- 6 Best Powder Eyeliners
- How to Apply Eyeliner: The Basic Steps to Follow
- How to Apply Kohl Eyeliner
- How to Apply Liquid Eyeliner
- How to Apply Gel and Cream Eyeliner
- How to Apply Shadow Eyeliner
- Applying Eyeliner According to Your Eye Shape
- How to Remove Eyeliner Without Harming Your Eyes
- Extra Eyeliner Makeup Tips and Hack for the Perfect Flick
Your first task in your foray into the world of eyeliner? Deciding what format will be most appropriate for your lifestyle and your beauty needs.
Do you have sensitive eyes? Do you want subtlety or impact? While many women choose a formula and stick with it, we encourage you to experiment. All of these eyeliner types are adaptable and easy to apply with a firm and steady hand.
Liquid eyeliner pulls back the curtains on a show of drama, spectacle, and allure. Liquid eyeliner is a go-to for evening dates, midnight soirees, and rock and roll day ‘n’ nights. We love liquid eyeliner because it is statement making and creates a crisp and clean line.
Liquid eyeliners come in matte, shimmery, satin or sparkly finishes, allowing for a customizable look. You are able to create a romantic touch of darkness around your waterline or create a thick and forceful style. Marker type liquid eyeliners are a fun and enjoyable formula that makes liquid products more approachable.
Liquid eyeliners can create a flawless line, which is perfect for making an unapologetic sartorial statement. A word of caution to this end, however: liquid eyeliner is not amenable to a smudged, smokey look. You must be patient and intentional with your application. Any deviations will look messy and flawed.
A liquid eyeliner on its own may look stark and unappealing when paired with a natural makeup style, but looks beautiful when paired with gradient eyeshadow and thick eyelashes. Keep in mind that a gel eyeliner can flake off, and it is valuable to spend more time and money looking for a longer-lasting product.
Gel eyeliner certainly takes some of the guesswork out of the application process! Gel eyeliners traditionally come in pots and can be applied with an eyeliner brush or a Q-tip if necessary.
Gel eyeliner straddles an appealing line; it can create a precise and thick eyeliner look or can be applied light handedly to create a subtle smokey style. You can smudge the gel as you go to create a less dramatic look. You also have the freedom to choose whether you want to use a thin, angled brush or a more tapered one to control the outcome of your style.
We love gel eyeliners because they are a concentrated product, and a little goes a long way. This makes them stars on the layering and blending front.
A negative element of gel pots is that they can dry out quickly when exposed to air, and the eyeliner brush can become crusty if not cleaned regularly. Regular use of an eyeliner brush can increase the likelihood of an eye infection, so regular washing is a necessity.
Creating a neat waterline can be more challenging and requires a skilled hand with gel products. Gel eyeliners can also tighten as they dry, tugging on the delicate skin of your eyelids.
Kohl Eyeliner Pencil
The queen of eyeliners, kohl goes back through the centuries, where it was historically used to create an inviting and feminine appeal. Kohl eyeliner is the perfect frontrunner for creating a wildly sexy smokey eye look.
The ideal pencil eyeliner will be well composed enough to create an even line but soft enough that it doesn’t drag. The best kohl eyeliners will be soft enough for smudging. A tender and gentle flick around the lash line can create an imperceptibly defined and feminine look.
Pencil eyeliners are still one of the easiest and most effortless formulas for creating a well-defined and clean waterline look. Creating a tight-lined look with a kohl pencil promotes the appearance of rounder eyes and fuller, lusher eyelashes. Just ensure that your pencil is not too sharp to avoid any mishaps!
Pencil eyeliners are generally less waterproof and stubborn than gel and liquid eyeliner and often require more frequent reapplication. They are also more prone to creasing. A thick under-eye concealer and primer will assist you in creating a more seamless beauty look.
Solid Gel Automatic Pencil
A newcomer to the beauty arena, gel pencils combine some of the best features of a pencil and a gel in a portable and effortless format. Gel pencils enable you to easily create a smudged, densely colored line without toting around a gel pot and eyeliner brush.
Keep in mind that gel pens are best for creating a hazey, smudged look and are not appropriate for sharp, clean lines or cat eye styles. Gel pencils are also a flexible choice for creating a rock and roll thick line around the waterline and lash line.
We love gel pencils for beginners who want a product that is creamier than a pencil but easy to blend and control.
Whether you’re in a pinch or prefer a subtle, less pigmented look, an eyeshadow can be used as an effective stand-in for traditional eyeliners. Eyeshadows can create an understated halo effect that creates subtle definition. Eyeshadows are perfect for nailing a soft, intriguing look.
Dip the brush in water for a denser dose of pigment. Be aware that eyeshadow will irritate your waterline so is best used along the rim of your upper eyelashes and under your lower lash line.
Below we will introduce you to a new breed of eyeliners that mimic the traditional format and formula of eyeshadows.
Just when you thought the plethora of eyeliner options was intimidating enough, a new element is thrown into the mix! Many popular eyeliners now come in waterproof formulas.
Waterproof eyeliners are not for everyone but they can be essential for women who engage in athletics, love late night dancing, or who have a busy jet-setting schedule. We love waterproof products because they allow you the freedom to forget about reapplication!
While they are more challenging to remove, there are many gentle makeup removers on the market, and this should not dissuade you from experimenting. A waterproof gel or kohl pencil is a perfect union that results in a long-lasting smokey look. This is a good choice because these formulas are traditionally more prone to smudging and migrating into the crease of the eyes and lids.
The Significance of Skin Type for Choosing Eyeliner
While eyeliner does not sit specifically on the skin, your skin type does impact the longevity of your eyeliner.
• Dry skin types enable eyeliner to last longer but drier skin commonly comes in tandem with a more sensitive skin profile. Be cognizant of choosing a product that is designed for sensitive skin and eyes. You want to ensure that you don’t experience eye irritation or redness.
A soft gel or delicate and fast drying liquid formula will create a crisply lined appearance. Pencils and powder eyeshadows may dry out your eyes and increase the likelihood of redness.
• Women with oilier skin types need to keep in mind that eyeliner reapplication will be a part of the deal. Oilier skins promote the migration of eye products. Carrying a few Q-tips will be beneficial in maintaining a clean and flawless eye look.
Kohl eye pencils will be the best for oily skin types because they are formulated with less moisture than gels and gel pencils. An eyeshadow powder is a great option for soaking up excess oil. Nowadays, wonderful setting products and primer shadows can be used on the lid to promote longevity.
• A word of caution that we must address. For women with blemishes, or an uneven skin tone, a more dramatic and thick eyeliner look can draw more attention to your imperfections. A smudgier and understated eyeliner look will be more appealing and effortless and will actually draw attention away from your imperfections.
A crisp liquid eyeliner can come across as harsh and disjointed when paired with an uneven skin tone or poor skin quality. We do not want to discourage women from choosing their favorite product based on their own preferences, but we do feel like this caveat should be mentioned.
Best Eyeliners to Try
Now that you know how to create a flawless line let’s explore the best eyeliners! We are going to introduce you to our favorite products, crisscrossing the spectrum from luxury department store products to approachable drugstore eyeliners! Choose your favorite formula and dazzle the world with your gorgeous peepers!
1. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
Notorious for her edgy-glam silhouette and long-lasting products, Kat Von D is the queen of sexy and unapologetic beauty street cred. We love this liner because it truly does sit on the eye like a tattoo! Perfect for long days and all-nighterss, this eyeliner is ideal for creating a flawless and pigmented line that won’t quit.
This product is crack, melt, and budge-resistant and comes equipped with a thin brush tip that creates fluid and intentional lines without fraying or losing structural integrity. Choose tattoo liner for your next evening soiree! It’s available through Sephora.
2. NYX Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Liner
A leading choice for a captivating and bold line, this formula dazzles with its pigment and precision grade brush! The product is matte and complements a set of thick eyelashes, and classic high coverage foundation. The ultra-thin brush is perfect for creating a neat and strategically defined eyeliner application. The deep black color strikes like a starless sky at midnight! You can find it at Ulta Beauty.
3. MAC Liquidlast Liner
MAC is a favorite among makeup artists and beauty acolytes because of its high-powered products and long-lasting formulas. This liquid eyeliner is rich and non-smudge, perfect for creating a bold and intense eye look. The product does not flake and maintains its fresh and vibrant appearance throughout the day. We love the precise and high impact effect of this eyeliner. It’s available at MAC stores and online through Nordstrom.
4. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
A fan favorite, this liquid eyeliner keeps its waterproof promise! Easy to apply and proven to last day and night, this product is amazing value. The eyeliner dries quickly and glides on smoothly. The marker tip is thin and smooth, which enables you to have control over the thickness and orientation of the application. Without pulling on the skin you can create a look as thick or as fine as you desire! Get it from Sephora!
5. Urban Decay Razor Sharp Water Resistant Longwear Liquid Eyeliner
Urban Decay’s legendary liquid eyeliner is like a sexy stiletto of the beauty world! The product is as sharp as a razor (the name is no lie) and comes in a plethora of fantastic jewel-toned pigments! The consistencies range from mattes to lacquers to suit all of your beauty needs. The colors are dense and bold and not for the faint of heart!
The ultra-thin brush allows you to create a precise line and allows for artistic drawing. The result? A super sexy and unique look! Get your favorite color from Ulta Beauty!
6. Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner
We love a heady dose of glitter. It is unparalleled in creating a glamorous and radiant galactic look. These sparkling treats will glint in the light and catch the sun in the day. There is a stunning array of colors in this collection, and they are all water based. The superfine glitter flecks create a seamless and consistent blend. Layer over a basic black or brown for a dense and spectral effect or wear on its own for an energetic verve! This liquid eyeliner sells through Sephora.
7. Lancome Artliner Precision Point Liquid Eyeliner
This lush and elegant liquid eyeliner comes equipped with a soft felt pen that results in an approachable product perfect for daily wear. Shape and define your eyes with this tug-proof and smudge-proof formula. Deep and luminous pigments create a precise and intense final product. We love this liquid eyeliner for creating an intricate and professional winged line. You can find it online at Nordstrom.
8. Lorac Front of the Line Pro Liquid Eyeliner
Dominate the beauty front line with this dazzlingly precise and flexible product. The thin and moveable brush allows for customized application and assists you in creating the perfect flick. This liquid eyeliner boasts a unique polymer formula that ensures a long-wearing and smudge-proof wear. Go demure or go bold with this shape-shifting eyeliner that’s available at Ulta Beauty.
9. Tarte Sex Kitten Liquid Liner
Our top pick for creating a seductive cat eye, this liquid eyeliner will impart your look with an alluring intensity. The applicator is elongated and soft for a flexible and smooth finish. The pigment is a rich triple black that will see you from morning to night. The marriage between smooth brush and dark shade results in a crisp line that frames your eyes and defines your lashes in one fell swoop. Get yours from Sephora!
10. Guerlain Liquid Eyeliner
This luxe bottle is akin to a piece of touchable art and will look retro glam on display atop your makeup counter. This sexy little bottle imparts that same touch of beguiling luxury onto your eyes. It has been designed to resemble the delicate brush of a calligraphy pen, and this precision is evidenced in its smooth application. The ultra-fine brush creates an impeccable finish and will bring your eyes to life. One of the best liquid eyeliners, this one can be found online at Amazon.
11. Tarte Tarteist Clay Paint Eye Liner
This trailblazing product is formulated with Amazonian clay for a pigmented and waterproof wear. Cushion slide technology results in a silky texture and application. The liquid eyeliner contains vitamin E and is certified vegan for earth conscious beauties. The tube is portable, and a gentle squeeze will release product onto the surface of the tube. Paint on your desired portion of product with the strategically designed eyeliner brush. It is available through Ulta Beauty.
1. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
This product’s calling card? Its rich, densely pigmented texture and concentration! We love this smooth gel eyeliner for creating a black as night rock and roll look. It offers the precision and long wear of a liquid eyeliner without the learning curve. The product was designed to be resistant to sweat and humidity making it perfect for stressful afternoons or breezy days at the park. A cincher? This gel eyeliner has been voted an Allure Best of Beauty Winner three times! It can be found on Sephora.
2. MAC Fluidline
The mission of this gel eyeliner is to be a smoother and silkier version of a liquid eyeliner. It is ultra smooth and buttery and goes on like a dream. All it takes to create a beautifully rimmed eye is a delicate dip and stroke motion application. Available at Nordstrom, Fluidline comes in a variety of colors to suit your every mood and inspiration. We love that it has longevity without drying or becoming flakey.
3. Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Push-Up Eyeliner
This tongue-in-cheek product comes with a serious message: it will take your everyday eyes and make them spectacular! The gel eyeliner is touted as lash-hugging, ensuring it will help you achieve your sky-high eyelash goals in a subtle, vixen-esque fashion.
The matte gel formula is effective for everyday wear, and Benefit encourages its followers to rim their eyes close to the lash line to create a doll eye effect. We’ll sign up for a gel eyeliner that has the dual Benefit of brightening our eyes! It can be purchased from Ulta Beauty.
4. NARS Eye Paint
This lush and brilliant pot of magic will take your eyes from here to the moon. The high impact pigment is formulated with an innovative and weightless formula. It feels like velvet on your lids! Line, define, and sculpt your beauty look with artistic versatility and originality. This gel eyeliner boasts 18 hours of wear and it dries quickly upon application. The collection comes in a spectrum of shades, from ultra-pigmented metallics to demure earth tones, available online at Nordstrom.
5. Stila Smudge Pots
Available at Sephora and loved by many, this is one of the best gel eyeliners for creating sexy eyes. It has an inky consistency and applies smoothly, taking your smokey eyes to a whole new level. The brand advises to apply it as close to the lash line as possible to create dramatic looks that will make your eyes the focus of attention.
6. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Gel Eyeliner
Double Wear sets the standard for long-wearing gel eyeliner. It provides a satin smooth finish and comes equipped with a brush for flawless application every time. The product is creamy enough that you have a window of opportunity to blend and smudge to your preference. We love this for creating a delicately smokey eyeliner look that lasts as long as you desire. Get yours from Nordstrom!
7. IT Cosmetics Superhero Liner
IT Cosmetics has a unique claim to fame – its products are designed with plastic surgeons. The result? A product that targets women’s insecurities and ensures total beauty confidence! The innovative design allows for the construction of an ultra thin or ultra thick line – your choice. We love the definition this gel eyeliner imparts on your eyes.
The brush is designed with a hair top that won’t fray. The crowning glory of this gel wonder? It is formulated with a Triple Black Pigment complex for super saturated wear. It’s available online at Ulta Beauty.
8. Anastasia Beverly Hills Jet Waterproof Gel Creme Color
This jet-black formula will turn wallflowers into vixens. We love the silky texture and high pigment combination of this gel eyeliner. It will transform your eyelids and lash lines with a bold and heady tonic of deep raven color. This miracle worker is resistant to fading, creasing, or sliding, and withstands even humid temperatures. We love this product for creating a sultry eye that will endure hours of dancing into the night. It can be found at Nordstrom.
9. Pretty Vulgar The Ink Gel Eyeliner
This pot dazzles with its liquid gold touches, and sexy, glam rock aesthetic. We would just buy it to stare at it if it didn’t work so well. This gel eyeliner is densely pigmented and dries quickly, allowing for a high-impact look that resists migration to your creases. This luscious gel is formulated with vitamin C to condition the lids and create a more amenable environment for a smooth and transfer-resistant finish. Get your pot from Sephora!
10. NYX Professional Makeup Gel Eyeliner & Smudger
The perfect potion for seductive bedroom eyes, we love that this gel eyeliner is smudgeable and blendable while offering the precision of a liquid product. This best of both worlds eyeliner is perfect for women who like to change their look up and experiment.
An angled liner brush will showcase the best of this gel by creating an elongated and flattering line. For a smokey or simple look that won’t crease or fade, this is your go-to, and it can be found at Ulta Beauty.
11. Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner
A beautiful marriage of kohl eyeliner and gel, this crayon creates a deliciously smooth and silky line that won’t fade or tug on your eyes. This versatile pen comes in a wealth of colors and finishes: matte, satin, and shimmery. Glide on this pigmented pen and enjoy 12 hours of blissful wear.
The malleable formula allows you to create a dense line or a silky smokey eye that conjures up images of the gilded twenties. It includes a sharpener at its base and has been awarded an Allure beauty best product nod! It can be picked up from Sephora.
1. Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner
This smooth and luxurious pencil eyeliner allows for a silky application. This formula includes vitamin C and E, which make it the perfect choice for women with sensitive eyes. This waxy blend is waterproof and maintains a luscious consistency throughout the day. An added bonus? This collection comes in an array of natural and jewel toned colors, all available at Ulta Beauty.
2. Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner
Make Up For Ever is the makeup artists’ brand of choice because of its long-lasting wear and dazzling pigmentation. This product marries a smooth glide with instant color intensity. This pencil eyeliner won’t budge and will stand up against creasing and fading. Its high impact color glides onto the eyelid effortlessly.
Best applied with a light hand, this beautiful eye pencil is perfect for smudging or creating a tight and controlled line. You can find it online at Sephora.
3. Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil
The warehouse glam package of this fun loving pencil eyeliner hints at its fabulous party cred. Not only is it waterproof, but also it combines the light creaminess of a liquid pencil with the delicate and pigment-rich impact of a kohl pencil. Crushed pearl powder creates a luminous sheen. This supple blend melts into the skin and then dries, remaining in place for fourteen hours. Get yours from Nordstrom!
4. Urban Decay Cosmetics 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil
This creamy and long-lasting blend is waterproof and packs a one-two punch of spectacular pigment and high-impact longevity. This velvety formula contains moisturizing organic ingredients like jojoba oil, vitamin E, and cottonseed oil. The collection includes a rainbow of delightful and sophisticated colors. This is the perfect kohl eyeliner for a sultry and mesmerizing evening party look! And it’s an Allure beauty award winner to boot! Find it online at Ulta Beauty!
5. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil
Available at Nordstrom, this polished and natural pencil eyeliner is a gorgeous option for everyday wear. The long-wearing blend looks fresh and vibrant all day and allows you to define and highlight your eyes and lashes with ease. The lightweight formula glides on elegantly and dries immediately for desirable day-long wear. This pencil eyeliner will not feather or bleed, making it a reliable choice for an everyday beauty look.
6. NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner
Dramatic and intense, this smooth crayon eyeliner comes in an array of gilded and vibrant shades. The retractable eyeliner is a pinch to use and the built in sharpener makes your mornings that much easier. The creamy formula glides on like silk. Creasing and smearing be damned – this is a product that endures. Because of the dense pigment a little goes a long way, making this a buildable and customizable product with staying power. Find it at Sephora!
7. Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof Long Lasting Eyeliner
This eye pencil is a powerhouse! Resistant to tears, rain, and water, this formula will take you from early morning to late night. Not only is it reliable, but also it comes in a beautiful twist-up tube. Add on the petite smudging tip, and we have a user-friendly and elegant product perfect for touch-ups on the road.
We love that the smudging applicator allows you to create a smokier look without the use of other products. This pencil eyeliner is truly a standalone, and it can be purchased from Nordstrom!
8. Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner
With tons of positive reviews, one of the best pencil eyeliners comes from Smashbox, available at Ulta Beauty in six universally flattering shades. It’s a waterproof product that features an automatically-sharpening tip for a precise application. It’s long-wearing, hyper-pigmented, and cruelty-free – what else do we need to be sure this is the best ever kohl liner to try?
9. Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner
This luxe and gilded pencil eyeliner is a delightfully feminine addition to your makeup bag. Looks aside, it will revolutionize your beauty routine. The double-sided product comes equipped with a pencil, and a liquid waterproof formula. This is a double take of epic proportions and allows you to create a totally customizable and versatile wardrobe of looks with one perfect product.
Enhance your eyelashes subtly or go full diva with a thick swath of liquid eyeliner, and smudged kohl. When it comes to shapeshifting, this product has its competitors beat. Pick yours up from Sephora!
10. NYX Professional Makeup Slim Eye Pencil
This cheerful pencil eyeliner is a delight to both the eyes and the wallet! We love its simple design and array of festive and artistic colors, available through Ulta Beauty. They have a particularly comprehensive selection of gorgeous sky and azure blue tones. It is highly blendable and does not clump or tug on the lash line. This kohl eyeliner is formulated with coconut oil for a soft and silky texture that will appeal to women with sensitive eyes.
11. Bareminerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner
This twist-up pencil eyeliner delivers a heavy dosage of color with a few simple strokes. The mineral-rich product glides on and allows for stunning smudging. Available at Ulta Beauty, the eyeliner comes with an angled smudge brush to create an alluring and precise look that friends and strangers alike will covet. It is infused with a wealth of minerals, and moisturizing agents to ensure you have a sleek look that lasts.
1. Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner
This raven-esque shade is of the deepest and most seductive black cream eyeliners. Not only is it a creamy and blendable dream, but also its waterproof formula ensures enduring wear. It glides over the lids without pulling or tugging. This product is perfect for sultry blending or for a soft and pigmented line that will last all day. The product will not bleed or smear and will deliver high impact for hours. You can get one from Sephora.
2. MAC Modern Twist Kajal Liner
One stroke and you’re set! This impactful little cream eyeliner is petite but powerful. The depth of its color intensity will appeal to women who want to create a dazzling look with minimal effort. We love the petite twist-up applicator and how it creates a precise and strategic line. It is long-wearing and waterproof to boot. Pick up one of the cream colors from Nordstrom to brighten your eyes and add dimension and luster to your pretty little face.
3. Tarte Clay Pot Waterproof Shadow Liner
The best union of a liner and an eye shadow! This shadow-inspired creamy eyeliner comes in matte and metallic consistencies and allows you to create an artistic and crisp line or an opaque shadowed halo. Amazonian clay delivers longwearing results. The smudge-proof product allows you to craft a creative and provocative eye look. It’s available through Ulta Beauty.
4. Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eyeshadow & Eyeliner
This delectable creamy eyeliner pen feels like a soft cloud atop your eyelids. Its luscious texture ensures a creamy and blendable swath of color. The formula is foolproof and endlessly easy to apply. This cream eyeliner pen is perfect for blendable and buildable color and allows you to perfectly define and contour your eyes and lash line.
You can apply with your fingers or a Q-tip for a delicate and muted look or with a damp eyeliner brush for maximum impact. Get yours from Nordstrom!
5. E.L.F Cosmetics Cream Eyeliner
A budget beauty’s dream, this formula is soft and silky in texture, and comes equipped with a sleek and usable brush. The angled tip allows for precise application and enables you to create a faded smokey eye or cat eye flick. This vegan and cruelty-free blend is thick enough for a dramatic look, and delicate enough for a sheer hit of definition. It can be found at Ulta Beauty.
6. bareMinerals Round the Clock Intense Cream-Glide Eyeliner
Ready for a pigment-packed, high-intensity color? This is your new favorite cream eyeliner. Perfect for a defined waterline or tightlining, this creamy bullet will endow you with enticing Cleopatra eyes in a few simple swipes. We love that it remains vivid and punchy for hours, and is effectively sweat-proof, making it perfect for long nights dancing. Pick up one from Nordstrom!
7. Clinique Brush-on Cream Liner
This cream eyeliner imparts a smokey and lush dose of color. The mini eyeliner brush is an adorable addition that is easy to take on the road. It also allows you to create an uber-precise and controlled line. Smudge while damp for a smokey eye or let it sit for an impactful and electric look. Bonus? It is allergy tested and perfect for women with sensitive eyes and skin. It can be found online at Nordstrom.
8. By Terry Stylo Blackstar
Available at Net-a-Porter, this soft cream eyeliner comes in a variety of sparkling and effervescent shades. Light-reflecting mica creates a lustrous sheen that will highlight your eyes in the brightest and dimmest of light conditions. This product is a three-in-one treat: an eyeliner, eyeshadow, and contour definer in one. It manages to cover all your eye makeup needs while producing buildable and crease-free results.
9. Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color
This chubby cream eye pencil comes with a sleek sharpener and an approachable design. On Sephora, it comes in a wardrobe of earth tones and sandy colors that are flattering and natural for women of all eye colors. This long-wearing eyeshadow pencil creates a seductively hazy line, and comes in satin, and matte finishes. The formula is perfect for women with oily skin, as it glides on and stays put while producing an appealing definition. Nudestix wraps it up with a rich color payoff.
1. Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner
Packaged like a traditional eyeshadow, this little number is your perfect weapon when it comes to creating a tight-lined waterline look. The rich, multidimensional pigment creates a well-rounded and complex look. Retailing at Sephora, this eyeshadow liner is transfer-proof and smudge-resistant. This product delivers an opaque layer of color that is ideal for a provocative and alluring wink.
2. RMS Beauty Vintage Cake Liner
We love this kitschy, retro-futuristic packaging. It is tongue in cheek and unapologetically cheeky. The black hole richness of the powder eyeliner creates a flawlessly rich line. This shadow eyeliner is ideal for creating a smudged and dark rock and roll eye look or for creating the illusion of velvety midnight black eyelashes. Available at Nordstrom, this shadow eyeliner can be applied wet or dry, allowing for flexibility in application.
3. Guerlain Terracotta Kohl Loose Powder Eyeliner
This gilded fairytale packaging belongs behind glass! We love the romantic turn of the century aesthetic of this loose powder eyeliner. Call us superficial! This elegant liner is highly innovative: it consists of a thinly milled iridescent powder that creates a holographic and magical lustre. The outcome is a textured and multifaceted finish. We love the simplicity of the petite applicator brush. It can be picked up from Sephora.
4. Trish McEvoy Eye Definer Powder Eyeliner Refill
The depth and intensity of these forest and heavy metal-toned powder eyeliners cannot be underestimated. We love using a damp brush to create the most eye-catching and daring look possible. This is the perfect product for women who want a bold color with staying power. Line, shadow, and contour with this versatile shadow eyeliner. It will be a perfect ten every time! Get yours from Nordstrom!
5. Burberry Cat Eye Liner and Shaping Shadow
When a fashion powerhouse releases an eyeliner, beauty acolytes stand up and pay attention. The sartorial packaging reveals a liner pen and shaping shadow that complement each other beautifully. This powder eyeliner enables you to create a mesmerizing cat eye like a pro! Define your eyes with the liquid liner and intensify it with the calligraphy pen-shaping shadow. This dual-step process creates a rich and provocative sheath of color. It can be found online at Sephora.
6. L’Oreal Infallible Smokissime Powder Eyeliner Pen
This dome-shaped foam brush has to be one of our favorite applicators to date. It is rounded enough to eliminate harsh lines, but precise enough to create a lushly lined eye. Long-lasting smokey, sultry perfection will be within reach with this powder eyeliner, which was designed to create a flawless blended look. The gel-like powder is a tantalizingly innovative formula and feels soft and delicate on your lids. Get your favorite shade from Ulta Beauty!
Now that you are equipped with your luxurious and lusted-after new collection of eyeliners, it is time to apply like a pro to put your best face forward. Eyeliner intimidates many women because of the potential for disaster when misapplied. When broken down into manageable steps, a flawless eyeliner look can be achieved.
The trick is patience and a steady hand! Sharp, crooked lines can create a harsh and unflattering appearance so the foundation of a successful eyeliner look is symmetry.
Step 1: Prepping Your Eyes
Prepping your eyes is a necessary, and overlooked, step. Ensure you apply under-eye moisturizer to create a hydrated and smooth base for the eye products to follow.
Allow the moisturizer to sink in, and then follow up with a layer of under-eye concealer. This will create a flawless and even base for your eye makeup.
You can always apply more product after you apply your eyeliner. We caution against putting moisturizer on your eyelids, as this will exacerbate the natural oiliness and minimize your eyeliner’s staying power.
There is a reason that eyeliner creases and runs: did you know that the eyelids are the greasiest part of the face? A prepping powder applied to the lid will ensure that your eyeliner will stand up to the forces of nature.
We are fans of placing a weightless setting powder to lock the concealer in. Avoid heavy or dry setting powders in the delicate under-eye area, though.
Step 2: Tightline
To avoid the beady eye look that can be a consequence of heavily applied eyeliner, try the tightlining technique! It is the best ‘invisible’ technique that will create muted and understated definition.
Carefully draw your eyeliner along the inner edge of the eyelid, between the eyelash line and eye itself. Because this is a sensitive area, ensure you use an ophthalmologist-tested product. Dab it on gently to minimize dragging.
Step 3: Build It up Layer by Layer
Balance your arm on a surface and tilt your head upward to create an optimal angle for your eyeliner application. This will set you up for success. The true foundation of effective eyeliner application? Patience!
Eyeliner is designed to be buildable. Begin with thin, delicate lines around the lash line. You can build a progressively thicker look as you go. Beginning with lighter strokes will ensure your expectations are brought to life.
Close your eyelid and hold your lid taut with your non-dominant hand. A gently taut eyelid will allow for a cleaner eyeliner application.
To create a coherent and even look, draw small dots on the edge of the eyelid, the middle of the lash line, and the inner corner. This connect-the-dot method will give you a map by which to guide further application. This slow and steady approach will ensure you get the look right the first time.
Scotch tape can be an innovative tool in the creation of your best eyeliner look. Tap the tape against your arm to remove some of the stickiness. Apply a few millimeters above the eyelash line and then trace in the area under. This will create an even horizontal ridge that follows your lash line effortlessly.
Step 4: Customize
Begin with a symmetrical line that hugs your lash line. Once this initial layer has been applied, you can experiment with a cat eye or winged liner. Allowing your base eyeliner to dry will prevent smudging and stains.
The beauty of eyeliner? It is customizable. There is no one size, or one shade, fits all approach. You can create the subtlest of lines or create a forceful impact with layers of kohl.
Allow yourself room to customize and experiment with your preferred density and intensity. Remember that the more pressure you apply, the thicker and deeper the line will be.
Step 5: Create a Dream Cat Eye
Applying a perfect, symmetrical cat eye can seem like a tall order for novices. But that need not be the case. Creating a beautifully sculpted cat eye is achievable. It just requires the ability to work with the natural shape of your eye.
A line should extend with a slight horizontal uplift from the edge of your lash line. For a more dramatic upward flick, we recommend using a spoon under the eye to illuminate the perfect shape. Use the handle of a curved spoon to allow you to trace out a natural looking line. Map out the line with a thin line of eyeliner in the event that the shape is not immediately desirable.
In the quest for the perfect cat eye, the scotch tape stenciling technique has been making the rounds in the beauty stratosphere. Create a triangle at the outer corner of your eye with two criss-cross pieces of tape.
The lower piece should be placed directly under your lower lash line and end parallel to the end of your eyebrow. The upper portion of tape should tilt slightly upward while remaining reasonably aligned with your iris. Fill in the intersection with your liner for a perfectly triangular look. A more dramatic tilt will create a new wave wing, while a smaller tilt will be more understated.
Another easy technique of applying eyeliner to create a cat eye is the business card hack! Line a business card slightly diagonally against the end of your eye. Trace the liner along the ridge of the card to create a straight and crisp line.
Step 6: Apply Your Under Eyeliner
Apply your under-eye eyeliner (should you desire) with a light hand. Line on the waterline or slightly under the eyelash line, depending on the look you want to achieve.
A tightline will create alluring bedroom eyes, especially when paired with a smudged kohl. A line traced under the lash line will create a doe-eyed doll effect.
Step 7: Use Your Tools
Q-tips will be your friend throughout the eyeliner application process. They are easy and cheap tools that will aid you in creating the perfect smokey eye, and they are also your best defence in maintaining a smooth and symmetrical eyeliner look.
Dip your Q-tip in moisturizer, water, or primer to remove excess product or unintentional mishaps.
A perfect kohl eyeliner application begins with a sharpened tip. Ensure you are regularly sharpening your eye pencil for a more precise application. It need not be sharp or overtly pointed, but should be defined enough that you can target your application. A dull pencil will drag on your eyelids and create an uneven line.
Trace your eye along the lash line to enhance the natural shape of your eye. A thinner line will create a subtler style, while a thicker line will create a moodier and sexier bedroom eye.
Kohl eyeliner is our favorite choice for the construction of a decadently smokey eye. A Q-tip or eyeliner brush will help you in tapering out the line and creating a luscious and organic gradient.
Apply a thick dose and muss it up with a brush for a rocker girl appeal or apply a medium brown color for a softer wash of color. We love a light brown color for an everyday look, and a midnight black kohl for a daring evening look.
Patience may be your biggest ally in the quest for stellar eyes. Liquid eyeliner is user-friendly – it just requires a lighter hand. A felt-tip liquid eyeliner is particularly approachable.
Begin from the inner corner of your eye and create light brush strokes towards the outer corner. If you have close-set eyes, begin at the inner lash line as opposed to the deep inner corners.
Create a gentle tracing of color. Let the first layer dry before applying a second coat. Liquid eyeliner has a reputation of being messy but this is only the case when you don’t provide the product amply drying time.
To create a perfectly flicked eyeliner look, draw a guiding dot about 3 to 5 mm upwards toward the end of your eyebrow. This will provide guidance and allow you to trace a more even line. Look down slightly and raise your eyebrows for a subtle tautness.
A brush is an absolute necessity in the application of gel products. An angled brush will serve your purposes best. Remember to dip the brush into the gel and dab a bit off on a piece of cloth to keep the color consistent. Ensure you are closing the lid on your gel whenever it is not in use, as these formulas have the tendency to dry out.
An eyelid primer will keep your natural oils in check and will ensure staying power. Use light dashes to apply the gel eyeliner to the lash line. The key is using a sparse amount of product and building up where necessary. Excessive gel can be goopy and cakey and will promote smudging.
Cream eyeliner can be applied similarly to its gel counterpart. Because it is on the softer and more malleable side, it is a sound idea to use less product for the first round of applications. Let the product dry, and apply a second coat. Smudge it out lightly for a smokier look with a Q-tip or eyeliner brush.
Prep your eyes to ensure the easy removal of excess product! Makeup artists swear by placing translucent powder under the eyes to enable easy removal of fallout. Even a light swath of face powder under the eye will be effective should spare flecks of powder migrate as you apply the thinly milled shadow eyeliner.
Use a dry or damp eyeliner brush to dab on your eyeshadow liner. We love this format because it can be lusciously subtle or daringly bold.
Eyeshadow liner looks best when concentrated on the lash line, particularly on and below the lower lash line. Avoid your water lines and inner eyes.
For a comprehensive structured look, eyeshadow eyeliner is best paired with a kohl pencil or gel eyeliner.
Your eye shape should not dictate your look but should be considered a guiding star in choosing the best formula for your face. Almond shaped eyes benefit from softer, creamier blends that can smudge and play up the natural contours of the eye. Smaller eyes benefit from a smokey shadow eyeliner. Round eyes are flexible and can be defined effectively with liquid formulas.
Read on for our specific eyeliner application techniques!
How to Apply Eyeliner for Almond Shaped Eyes
If the inner and outer corners of your eyes are at the same level, then you have almond shaped eyes. A thick and smokey eye perfectly complements almond shaped eyes.
To accentuate your eye shape, draw a thin line from the inner corner out to the very edge. Extend the line slightly beyond the edge of your eye to create an alluring and wide-eyed appeal.
Women with almond eyes are lucky because they have room to be flexible in their eyeliner application techniques. For a twist on the traditional shape, try a multi colored flick. Add on a jewel-toned shade for a hit of unexpected and whimsical color.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Hooded Eyes
If you have a more prominent eyelid that hangs over your eyes slightly, you have what is considered a hooded eye. While the configuration of your eyelid may create the appearance of smaller eyes, eyeliner can create the illusion of roundness.
Creating a thick black line that covers a large portion of your lash line will create an intriguing and mesmerizing effect. This all-over liner look is daring and sexy and will create an intriguing bedroom eye appearance.
Begin by applying your eyeliner from the outside in to ensure that your flick extends past the hood, revealing the liner. Maintain a steady hand as you sculpt the perfect line, moving patiently towards your inner eye.
Flick your eyeliner out in a dramatic cat eye to create an elongated and uplifted eye. A subtler wing will be an understated way of playing up your natural eye shape.
Draw a thin line under your eyes to achieve a harmonious balance but concentrate the color on the upper lash line.
Keep the waterline along your lower lashes clear of product and limit the eyeliner to a subtle wash along your lower lashes. A tightline waterline effect will exacerbate the tired-eye tendencies that hooded eyes can fall victim to.
Top off the look with a curled lash for a wide-eyed and dazzling look.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Deep Set Eyes
If the distance between your two eyes is larger than one eye’s width, you have deep set eyes. To create the illusion of eyes that are closer together, accentuate the inner corner of your eyes with a thick treatment of eyeliner or an application of dazzling pigment.
Create a dense line around your top and bottom lash line but avoid flicking the eye liner past the outer corner. Apply mascara on bottom lashes and subtly brush them towards the nose to create the optical illusion of closer set eyes.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Round Eyes
If you have round, large eyes, you can use eyeliner to accentuate or minimize the natural shape of your eye. Rimming the lower lash line under the lashes will create a doe-eyed, ultra-feminine look. But round eyes are not destined to be wide-eyed and cutesy.
Begin by applying a cream eyeliner with an angled brush. Trace along your lash line, adding extra thickness as you go. A smokey look will ensure that your eyes are expressive without being disproportionate.
For a crisper look, use a liquid eyeliner and lengthen your eyes to create a cat eye look with a flicked out wing.
A square tipped edge is an unexpected geometrical hack that will create a boxier look with a cool abstract overtone. Smudge the pigment for a sultrier style. A jet-black eyeliner can also soften the appearance of wide eyes by making the eyes appear seductively narrower.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Smaller Eyes
Small-eyed women may want to use their eyeliner to create the illusion of having wider eyes. A double wing is a brilliant beauty hack that will create a bright-eyed appearance.
Paint on a line along the upper lash line and angle it outwards to create a sweet flick. On the bottom lash line, use an eyeliner pencil or angled brush to create a line just under the lower lash line. Extend the line past the outer corner for a lower wing.
Pat in some concealer or sheer eyeshadow between the two lines to create an appealing contrast. The hit of shimmer will brighten your style, and the two lines will create the impression of a larger set of eyes.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Monolid Eyes
If you have monolid eyes, i.e. eyes that don’t feature the natural crease, a thicker eyeliner application will be the most flattering. Cover your eyes in a swath of dark eyeliner. The key is to apply enough that you can see it peek through when your eyes are open.
A symmetrical wing will create a brighter, wide-eyed look. A liquid liner will be the ideal product through which to create this look.
Begin tracing the line in the middle eyelid, right above the pupil. Create small flecks outward and then fill them in progressively.
Makeup artists advise that heavy crease lining, in an effort to create a larger look, can be too harsh in day-to-day life and should be reserved for evening wear or dim lighting environments.
Brightly colored liners are a perfect and playful way of flattering a monolid eye. A pop of blue or orange liner brightens the eye and draws attention to the lids.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Elongated Eyes
Elongated eyes can be skillfully crafted to maximum effect. To widen your eyes, draw a petite and angled line away and upwards from the outer corner of your eye.
Utilize a white eyeliner along the lash line and waterline of your lower lashes to create a luminous and wide-eyed look.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Close Set Eyes
If you have close set eyes, you will want to create the illusion of a bit more distance with eyeliner. Use lighter shades in the corner of your eye to brighten your peepers and create a gradient look.
A dark brown in the center of the lash line should taper out into a jet-black color. Raise the flick slightly to create the illusion of length and draw attention to the outer corner of your eyes.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Upturned Eyes
If you have upturned eyes, you want to accentuate your alluring natural shape with eyeliner. Draw a thin line around your eye and connect this line with an artistically designed cat eye. This will accentuate the beauty of your seductive shape.
The benefit of this eye shape is that you can experiment with a super thin or thick bottom lash line, as both applications will flatter your natural eye shape.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Downturned Eyes
For women with downturned eyes, you must strategically manage the thickness of your liner. Create a thin line near the inner eye and paint it progressively thicker towards the outer edge of your eye. Extend the flick past your eye, and ever so slightly angle it upwards to create the illusion of wider eyes.
Angle the eyeliner upwards toward your crease to create the illusion of upturned eyes. Because of the natural downward shape of the eye, we encourage women with downturned eyes to exaggerate the flick upwards for the most flattering look.
A sheer shimmer concentrated along the upper eyeliner line can further open and widen your eyes. Coat your upper lashes and keep the waterline clean to maintain the fresh-eyed appearance.
How to Apply Eyeliner for Eyes with Crow’s Feet
Women with wrinkles should not be deterred from wearing eyeliner – they just need to be more attentive to creating a soft, non-harsh, look.
Begin coating your eyelid and crow’s feet with an eyelid primer to set the stage for a beautiful canvas. We would recommend avoiding black eyeliners and refraining from liquid eyeliners, as they can appear harsh. Gels and softer creams will glide on and create a more delicate look.
Pat it on to avoid dragging and begin in the inner corner of your eye. Create a thin line to avoid an exaggerated look. For a cat eye, keep the wing at an upward angle so it doesn’t settle in the lines at the outer corners of your eyes.
No matter how gorgeous and flawless your eyeliner flick has ended up looking, it’s always important to remove your eyeliner, just like the rest of your makeup, at the end of the day, before going to bed. To remove eyeliner without harming your eyes, here you have the most foolproof steps to follow:
• Get the best eye makeup remover to suit your skin type, as this is the most basic and quickest way of removing eyeliner. While cleansing water is great for taking off liquid liner, for waterproof products, turn to oil-based makeup removers.
Use a cotton pad saturated with the makeup remover and press it against each eye for 20 seconds, acting gently and trying not to scrub in order to avoid pulling off lashes. Using downward strokes, remove your eyeliner completely, and then wash your face using the best cleanser for your skin type.
• Alcohol- and fragrance-free facial wipes are good not only for removing your entire makeup, but also taking off eyeliner. Without tugging or pulling your skin, wipe along your eyelid outwards to remove any eyeliner residue. Again finish off with a fresh cleanser.
• If you prefer natural products, turn to natural oils to take off your eyeliner, whether it’s coconut oil, jojoba oil or olive oil. They are especially great for removing waterproof eyeliner. Apply the oil to your eyelid with your fingertips and gently message a few seconds to make the eyeliner melt. Use a cotton pad to wipe off the dirty oil from your eyes. Cleanse your skin, and you are good to go!
• Petroleum jelly is another universal product used in the beauty world. It acts as a great eyeliner remover, of course, if it’s a quality one coming from a trusted brand. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly on your cotton pad and gently wipe away any eye makeup. Wash your face with a cleanser to take off any remaining eyeliner and petroleum jelly residue from your eyes.
Now that we have perfected the basics of eyeliner application, let’s dive into the depths of expertise. These eyeliner tips and tricks will take your new flick to fantasy proportions.
Prepping for Eyeliner Application
• To avoid a waxy texture put your eye pencil in the freezer for a minute prior to sharpening. This will create a more precise and stiletto sharp line.
• Translucent powder centered around your crease will prevent the accumulation of a dark shadow over your eyes and will create a fresh, just applied look all day.
Eyeliner Application Tips
• A solid rule of thumb is to keep the lower lash line ⅓ of the thickness of your upper lash line. This will create an alluring and natural appearance.
• Instead of one monoline, the most successful way to create a flawless line is to create a series of dots and dashes and then connect them once dried. This technique is particularly applicable for liquid eyeliners, which can be hard to execute perfectly in one go.
• While you are welcome to lift your eyelids taut by placing a finger gently on the upper eyelid, avoid pulling on the skin around the outer corner of the eye. This region of skin is sensitive and can be susceptible to wrinkles.
• Black or dark brown eyeshadow can be layered over a pencil eyeliner application for a denser and more forceful effect.
• Line your eyes with pencil before applying liquid eyeliner if you are a newbie to the makeup world. The pencil will offer you a map on which to create your perfect liquid line.
Eyeliner Re-Application Tips
• When re-applying eyeliner, ¾ of your application time should be spent looking directly into the mirror. Excessive tugging and pulling your eyes taut when reapplying will promote creasing and smudging.
• Blotting papers can be used on your eyelid to remove the natural buildup of oil and creasing that will accumulate throughout the day.
• A double-sided cosmetic mirror will allow you to create precise lines and avoid mistakes or misjudgement. Always look down toward the mirror.
• Concealer can be your weapon of choice on the go when you confront eyeliner smudges. Just pat on a high-coverage concealer and dab until blended to cover the offending smudges.
• Use a makeup primer for smudges and flaws. Makeup remover can be too aggressive and may end up removing far more of the product than intended. Makeup removers have oils, which will impede reapplication as well.
Other Eyeliner Makeup Hacks
• Grey and white eyeliner should be included in your beauty arsenal! They both work to create a brighter and wide-awake look. Rim the waterline or the lash line to create a luminous and dazzling eye look. Lining your lower lash line with a nude or white eyeliner will also help you fake a wide-awake look on days where you would rather be sleeping.
• For a quick hit of color, draw your liquid eyeliner on, eschewing patience and rules, and then dab on petroleum jelly to soften the look and eliminate any harsh lines or deviations.
• Clear lip gloss can be used to remove unsightly eyeliner smudges in a pinch! Dab some onto a Q-tip to remove imperfections fast!
• The lazy girl technique du jour? Apply a pencil or kohl liner along the rim of your eyelash curler. While you curl your lashes, a light line will be stamped along your lash line. While the final product will rarely be perfect, it is an easy way to get the first draft line down, or when you’re in a hurry!
• Place a business card diagonally against the outer edge of the eye to help you trace an even and symmetrical cat eye. Just trace against the edge of the card.
• Want to experiment with a gel or creamy eyeliner but have nothing but an old pencil liner lying around? Heat up the tip by hovering it over a lighter to soften the eyeliner. The result? A smooth consistency that will mimic the feel of gel eyeliner!
• For a multidimensional and luminous look, try an ombre look. Concentrate lighter nude and white colors toward your inner eye and taper it out with a darker color in the mid-eyelid. Add a hit of black to the outer edges to create a vibrant look. Added bonus? This ombre eyeliner technique will mimic the appearance of almond eyes.
• For a sassy and smudgey smokey eye, draw a hashtag shape with your eye pencil and then blend it out with an eyeshadow brush or sponge.
• In a real pinch? Dab some mascara on your eyeliner brush and dab along your lash line for an extra dose of pigment and lusciousness.
• When donning a jewel-toned eyeliner, ensure that you are still rimming the waterline or lash line with a thin hit of brown or black liner. This will ensure definition. Pastel eyeliner colors can wash out your eyes without the structure of a darker line.
Photos via @_joanh, @wintervea, @lolaliner, @inngenue, @monicarosemua, @lastfeastofthewolves, @beautsoup