Do you remember the first time you tried eyeliner? Was it in high school when you drew your mom’s blue pencil with a wobbly line a few inches above your real lash line? (Listen, listen.) Was it last week when you took a deep breath, followed the advice of your favorite beauty site (hey!) And finally got married? When eyeliner is first introduced to you, one thing is certain: it is a fickle beast that can put even the most skilled and stable people in trouble, but it will improve your life. Here – we said it. Knowing full well that we look like crazy and hyperbolic beauty journalists, we firmly believe that defining your eyes with a pencil, gel or liquid pencil is an important life skill, yes, crucial.
There is just one small caveat. Eyeliner takes patience and time to really get carried away – two things we definitely don’t have much of. So we thought it was the perfect time to share some of our favorite eyeliner tips, lazy style. Sad hand? It’s a ridiculously easy solution. Irregular wings? We got you. We met two of the best makeup artists to teach us all their eyeliner tricks: Fatima Thomas, Senior National Artist at MAC, and Melissa Mangrum, professional makeup artist.
Join your toes for precise application
If your hands are shaking when you try to apply eyeliner, try this makeup artist secret: squeeze your toes. Yes, really. It is a trade secret among artists with shaking hands. We have tried it and can confirm its effectiveness. The more you know.
Keep sharp sticks handy
Thomas says correcting eyeliner mistakes is easy if you use micellar water and pointed sticks because it allows for precise cleaning. We love L’Occitane’s Cleansing 3-in-1 Micellar Water ($ 24): it instantly glows without leaving a greasy residue.
Consider the Longevity eyeliner formula
When it comes to makeup disasters, an afternoon raccoon eye encounter tops the list. Mangrum recommends using an eyeliner made specifically for the waterline (she thinks kajal or kohlliner), as they tend to last longer at the waterline than other formulas.
First, design your film
The easiest way to check cat’s eye? Start with the movie first. Hold the eyeliner against the outer corner of the eye and carefully draw a line at a 45 degree angle. Then slide the liner along the lid, connect to the frame and voila! You have a wing.
Stop in the outer corner if you want to lower your eyes
“If your eyes are down, avoid bringing the upper lid lens to the outer corner,” says Thomas. “Stop lining about a millimeter from your natural outer corner.”
Widen the lines if your hands are shaking
My suggestion is to draw lines [with a drag and lift motion] all the way to the end. Then fill in all the blanks.” It’s a bit like connecting the dots, but with lines.
Slim with hood
Thomas says hooded, sunken eyes look great when eyeliner is applied very thin and placed at the base of the lashes or at the waterline. “Wider liners can mask these shapes, making them appear smaller and more sunken,” he says.
Draw a hashtag or crochet in a smoky outer corner
For a more precise technique, he draws a side “#” on the outer third of the lid and then blends. Or do like Mangrum and pin him. “First, draw a line along the lashline as usual. When you get to the outer corner, arc just above the rainbow-shaped notch and blend, blend, blend,” he says. Goodness? You can get creative with different shades to create the Smokey eye of your dreams.
Think about your eyeshadow
“If you have an oily lid and are concerned about smudging, applying eyeliner after powders can help keep the liner in place,” says Mangrum.
Open your eyes with nude eyeliner
The black eyeliner gets all the attention, but we want to make a strong case for its lesser-known sister: nude. Not only is a swipe of nude eyeliner along the waterline the easiest technique ever, but it will open your eyes in no time. In addition, the nude eyeliner line can be used over the black pencil and along the wing, making the end result very elegant and smooth. While you’re at it, pull a little under the brow bone and blend to lift the brows. Don’t mention it.
Avoid dense lighting with wooden eyeliner
Drawing a narrow line can be a scary thought, but Mangrum says using a retractable pencil (instead of a wooden one) can make all the difference.
Use a cream pencil for a softer look
“Some eyeliner pencils are creamy and makeup artists love them because they are easy to spread and blend to create soft looks,” says Thomas. “They also make a great base for applying powder shadows.” Try this product from No7, whose creamy, easy-to-apply formula stays dry as it dries.