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How To Apply Eyeliner Like a Professional

Updated on January 19, 2012

How to Apply Eyeliner

Eyeliner can make or break a look, especially if you do not know what you are doing. For example, Elisha Cuthbert's eyes pop from miles away because her black eyeliner is applied perfectly! This lens will provide you with several videos, tips, and images that will teach you to apply eyeliner and look good afterwards.

You will need a fresh eyeliner, preferably black to pull this off! Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

How To Apply Eyeliner - Video #1

Apply Natural Looking Eyeliner

Dramatic eyes are not an everyday thing. Here is a tip to applying eyeliner for everyday wear and tear.

Tip: For a natural-looking eyeliner and the illusion of lusher, fuller lashes, use a dark brown eye pencil and carefully press a series

of dots between your lashes following your lash line. Make the line minimal, as well.

The Blackest Black Eyeliners

These are my top picks for eyeliner. If you are new to eyeliner, I would suggest a pencil or felt tip pen. If you are steady and feeling great about your eye-lining skills, dare to use the gel.

How to Apply Eyeliner - Video #2

Applying Eyeliner Based on Eye Shape

This image is great for women because it details the type of application that works best for your eye shape.

How to Apply Eyeliner - Video #3

Eyeliner: Elegant, Sophisticated Application

1. To create a gorgeous nighttime look, use light, medium and dark eyeshadow shades in graduated tones. Apply the dark shade along your lash line, the medium shade on the crease, and a light shade up to the eyebrow bone but not beyond. Soften and blend any hard edges so one color seems to melt into the next.

2. To open up your eyes so that they appear livelier, place a dot of a light shadow in the inner corner of each eye.

3. For a sexy, smoky effect, trace the upper and lower lashes with a dark shadow then smudge with a blending brush. To optimize the look, this can also be done over eyeliner.

Smudging a little is sexy. Smudging a lot is trashy. And don't forget it.

Eyeliner Tips

3 Basic Decisions to Make Before You Apply Eyeliner

1. Choose Your Colors Carefully

One of the most beautiful things about eyeliner is how it adds depth to your lashes and makes them appear thicker. For best results, choose shades of dark brown, gray, deep plum, or black for the upper lid. For the lower lash line, use a softer variation of the same shade. Stay away from brightly colored or pastel eyeliners! They tend to draw attention to the color rather than to your lashes.

2. Use a Powder, Pencil, Gel, Cream, or Liquid Eyeliner

What type of eyeliner you use is purely a personal choice. Each has pros and cons you need to know before shopping:

Powder eyeshadow works well as eyeliner as long as you use a small, fine-tip pointed brush so you can be precise. Using powder eyeshadow as your eyeliner can achieve a softer look than you can with other types of liners. You can use the powder shadow either wet (for a more dramatic effect) or dry (for a softer look). Be sure to tap any excess powder off the brush before lining; that reduces the risk of getting specks of powder eyeshadow on your cheek.

Pencil eyeliners tend to smear and smudge, unless you find a really good one that isn't too creamy or too slick (go to for our recommendations). Opt for a retractable pencil versus one that requires sharpening. After applying the pencil eyeliner, apply a small amount of eyeshadow or pressed powder over it to help keep it from smearing. Pencil eyeliners tend to have the shortest wear time, so applying powder over it can help quite a bit.

Gel or cream-to-powder eyeliners offer superb application and deep color payoff. The main complaints are (1) that you have to wash the brush applicator after every use to prevent the gel or cream from hardening on the brush hairs and (2) that the look is too intense. If you don't find those to be problems, then gel and cream eyeliners are an excellent way to go. Because they don't smear, they are especially great for anyone with oily eyelids or for use in humid climates.

Liquid eyeliner is the most dramatic and, typically, the most difficult to apply. It takes a steady hand, but it also offers the most precise and defined line. Look for liquid liner that comes with a thin, fine-point or felt-tip brush for impressive results! If you make a mistake with liquid liner, wait for it to dry, remove it with a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover, and try again.

3. Determine if You Want a Thick or Thin Line

As a general rule, the thickness and intensity of the eyeliner should correlate with the size of your eyelid—the larger the eyelid area, the thicker yet softer the eyeliner should be. The smaller the eyelid area, the thinner and more intense the liner should be. If your eyelid doesn't show at all, you might want to consider forgetting about lining altogether. Instead, use a neutral deep eyeshadow shade to shape your eye (lid and crease area) and use an eyelash curler and several coats of mascara to define your eyes.

How To Apply EYeliner - Video #4

Application Tips for the Upper Lash Line:

Apply eyeliner as close to the lash line as possible, and place it between each and every eyelash. It's best to apply liner after your eyeshadow to create a defined, solid line. It's also best to use a magnifying mirror so you can be sure you get the liner between each eyelash. This is a time-consuming process, but the effect is sensational!

To start, keep the line as thin as possible. If you desire a thicker line, you can always build up to it, but it's much easier to add liner than it is to remove what's already there.

If the outer corners of your eyes droop, make sure the eyeliner turns up ever-so-slightly. This will create a more youthful look that de-emphasizes the downturned corners.

To add drama, line the outer corner more thickly. Start with a thin line on the inner corner of the lash line and gradually make it thicker toward the back third of the lid for an attractive, classic look.

Do not extend the liner much past the outer corner of your eye and don't hug the teardrop area of the eye. It's OK if the line goes just slightly beyond the corner of your eye, but much more than that makes it look too theatrical.

Eyeliner Don'ts

Avoid applying a complete circle of eyeliner around the eye. Circling all the way around your eye can make it look like you're wearing eyeglasses, emphasizing the eyeliner more than the eye itself.

Don't apply thick eyeliner to small or close-set eyes. It will only exaggerate the smallness or closeness.

Avoid lining the inside rim of the lids, the area between the lashes and the eye itself. That kind of application looks good only for about an hour or two; after that, it smears and goops up into the corner of the eye, creating a messy, unattractive look. As you might suspect, it's also unhealthy for the cornea when it happens on a regular basis.

Don't overblend your eyeliner onto the skin under the lower lash line. That will make dark circles look worse.

Comments from Readers

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    • Mariana Fuzaro profile image

      Mariana Fuzaro 2 years ago from São Paulo, Brazil

      I love natural, soft eyeshadow and eyeliner. I tend to cater to drugstore brands, that have a softer finish, ideal for everyday use. I love satin matte pinks, lilacs, whites, browns and nudes, brown eyeliner, and the classical colorless mascara, to define the lashes and keep my eyebrows in the place, without elongating or thickening them. Pastel and even white eyeliners are OK, but they are made to be used in the lower lashlines, to make small eyes appear bigger. Metallic or strong colored eyeliner should only be used by the young.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 6 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Thanks for the eyeliner tips! Blessed by a Squid Angel**