Even though eyeliner is probably one of the first makeup products you ever purchased, it's still, after all these years, somehow one of the hardest to apply. 'Cause unlike intuitive products like blush or foundation, eyeliner can go very wrong, very fast (and I'll be the first to attest to that, considering my f*cked-up eyeliner has made me late to work more times than I'd like to admit). That said, there are some game-changing tricks in the beauty community that'll help you apply eyeliner like a pro, and they're actually pretty easy to master.
Ahead, 12 tips and tricks for perfecting your eyeliner every time, along with my favourite products to get the job done.
1. How to Apply Eyeliner With Precise Lines
The problem: You're lining your eyes with a dull liner, rather than a sharp one.
The fix: If your eyeliner turns out thick and smudgy regardless of how carefully you apply it, it might be time to give your pencil a quick sharpen. Lining your eyes with a flat-tipped pencil will leave you with rough, uneven lines, so keep a sharpener in your makeup bag at all times.
2. How to Apply Eyeliner That Doesn't Transfer
The problem: Your liner transfers onto your eyelids, leaving behind a "stamp" of pigment.
The fix: Transfer is annoying AF, but also fairly common, especially if you've got smaller, hooded eyelids or oily skin. Try increasing the height of your eyeliner so the line is still visible when you open your eyes. That way, when your eyelid folds and opens, your liner will stay put.
3. How to Apply Coloured Eyeliner
The problem: You're sick of classic black eyeliner, but haven't totally figured out how to wear coloured eyeliner.
The fix: Keep it simple and accentuate your upper or lower lash line with a thin line of colour, rather than a full-on, super-intense block of it.
4. How to Apply Winged Eyeliner That Matches
The problem: Your lines aren't even.
The fix: Rather than starting with a thick line, apply your eyeliner as thin as possible. If it ends up being thicker on one side, it's easier to build up one side to match. But if both lines end up too thick, shave it down with a cotton swab (I usually dip mine in an oil-based makeup remover).
5. How to Apply Eyeliner That Doesn't Smudge
The problem: You're lining your lower lid with liquid liner and find that it smudges easily.
The fix: To keep your liquid liner from smudging and transferring, swap out your formula for a waterproof eyeliner. Then, top your eyeliner with a little black eyeshadow to lock it into place, finishing off with a sweep of translucent powder.
6. How to Apply Eyeliner With Curled Lashes
The problem: You smudge your eyeliner when you curl your lashes.
The fix: Always curl your lashes before you apply eyeliner to avoid any smudging. Don't love your lash curler?
7. How to Apply Eyeliner Without Any Gaps
The problem: You're lining your eyes at a bad angle, resulting in gaps.
The fix: Sometimes it's really hard to get close enough to the base of your lashes. Avoid an awkward gap between your lashes and liner by slightly pulling up on the lower half of your upper eyelid while lining your lashes. This gives you access to any bare spots next to your lashes that still need some liner love.
8. How to Apply Winged Eyeliner
The problem: Your winged eyeliner is too thick on one side.
The fix: Save yourself a little time and a lotta frustration in the morning by using the angle of your lower lash line as a guide for your winged liner. Then, place a dot on the outer corner of each eye before using your liquid liner to make sure the sides match up.
9. How to Apply Eyeliner That Looks Sharp
The problem: You pull your eyelid before drawing your line, but your eyeliner doesn't look sharp or precise when you release your skin.
The fix: Rather than pulling your skin, try looking to the side instead. So, if you're lining the inner corner of your eye, look to the outer corner to make your lids taut without any tugging.
10. How to Remove Your Eyeliner Fully
The problem: Traces of last night's eyeliner are still on your lids.
The fix: Completely removing your makeup at night is key, since leftover product can interfere with your eyeliner the next morning. To make sure you're starting with a blank canvas, clear away any residue with an oil-based makeup remover before you apply fresh eyeliner.
11. How to Apply Eyeliner on Small Eyes
The problem: Eyeliner can make your small eyes look smaller, which some people may not prefer on themselves.
The fix: If you have smaller eyes, you'll want to avoid lining your entire eye, since doing so can close them off and make them look even smaller. Instead, keep your eyeliner contained to the outer corners of your eyes.
12. How to Apply Eyeliner Without Looking Smokey
The problem: Your smoked-out eyeliner gives you dark circles under your eyes.
The fix: Line your eye as close to your lash line as possible, and then use a smudge brush, which is tightly packed and skinny enough that it won't blend the product too low.