How To Do Eyeliner: A Make-Up Artist’s Tricks
5 minutes read
Despite its age-old popularity, few people know how to do eyeliner perfectly. Unlike lipstick or mascara, eyeliner application isn’t as straightforward as it seems. The learning curve is steeper and there are more factors to consider than you may be aware of. So, we consulted a make-up artist to put together the ultimate A to Z guide on how to do eyeliner correctly. Here’s what you should know:
Finding the right eyeliner for you
There are so many types of eyeliners you can play with. So how do you choose the right one?
Pick your tools wisely
There isn’t one single eyeliner that will suit everyone – it all depends on your needs and preferences. “You need to understand what type of product is suitable for the look you are trying to achieve,” says make-up artist Roseanna Velin. “For example, a pencil eyeliner will create a soft, blend-able smokey line, a liquid eyeliner will create a sharp, more precise line, and a gel liner can create both, depending on how it is used.”
Test the waters
Velin recommends trying out a few different options to discover what feels most comfortable for you. “People have different abilities and preferences,” she says. “For some, felt tip liners feel the most comfortable in their hands. Others find a pencil or a brush easier to use.”
She adds: “There’s no right or wrong choice. So, I would advise trying them all to see what is most comfortable for you.”
Try: The 3-Dot Liner has a clever triple point sponge applicator perfect for beginners. It helps you get close to the roots of your lashes and dot your way to perfectly lined lids.
Finesse your technique
Once you’ve picked the right eyeliner for you, it’s time to perfect your application.
Prime your lids
“Eyeliner often creases and smudges because the eyelid and the lash line are in constant contact,” Velin explains. “This means that the warmth of the skin and any oils being produced can sometimes loosen and break down your eyeliner.”
To remedy this, use an eyeshadow base to prime your eyelids. You could also apply a thin layer of concealer, and then set it with some translucent powder. “This functions as a barrier between the skin and the eye make-up, making it harder for any oils to come through and disturb the eyeliner,” Velin points out. If you still notice creasing and smudging, switch to a waterproof eyeliner.
Don’t forget to tightline
Lining the upper waterline (the line of skin between the eyelashes and the eye) can help ground your eyeliner. It also adds an invisible definition around the eyes, so if you’re going for a ‘no-make-up’ make-up look, you don’t even have to follow up with regular eyeliner.
Pro tip: Make sure your eyeliner pencil is well-sharpened before you tight line. There is nothing worse than stabbing your eye with the pointy shard of an unsharpened pencil. Similarly, avoid pencils that have dried out and don’t glide smoothly on the skin.
“Break down the eyeliner line into simple steps,” advises Velin. “Instead of drawing the whole line across your eye in one singular motion, try drawing it in smaller brush strokes – around 1cm at a time and connecting it as you go. This is easier, especially on a delicate area like the eye where the skin tends to move while you sketch the line.”
Get close to the lash line
Before building thickness, make sure your eyeliner is well-anchored to the lash line. Then, use your fingertip to gently lift the skin near your brow bone and colour close to the roots of your lashes.
Get both sides to match
“Rather than completing one eye and then moving on to the next, I often build up the eyeliner on both sides simultaneously,” says Velin. “This makes it easier to ensure they’re even.”
If you find that your eyes are shaped slightly differently, don’t worry. Almost no one has perfectly matching eyes and no face is completely symmetrical.
“We need to create the illusion of symmetry,” Velin explains. “Sometimes, when we draw winged eyeliner, it can be tricky when both eyes are not the same shape and size. It takes practice and attention to work out the most suitable shape for your eyeliner on each eye. If you’re stuck, I would recommend booking in a lesson with a professional make-up artist who can give you a personalised tutorial.”
You could also book a virtual consultation online, where a Clarins expert could give you one-on-one advice.
It’s practically impossible to always get your eyeliner right in the first go – mistakes are inevitable. Ease the pressure by learning how to correct them.
Keep a cotton bud dipped in make-up remover handy when attempting eyeliner, especially if you’re new to it. It’s the perfect tool to wipe away any errors, big or small. You could also use it as the last step to sharpen the edges of your liner if you’re creating a cat-eye.
Set creams with powder
Setting your eyeliner with a powder eyeshadow will make it last that extra bit longer. Use one that matches the shade of your liner if you don’t want it to alter the colour of your make-up.
Enjoy the process
If you have an eye shape that doesn’t suit a particular style of eyeliner, practice a few different placements to find the one that works for you.
But in general, forget the rules and have fun with eyeliner. “Make-up is very personal,” says Velin. “it’s more about what the person wants to achieve with their make-up and how it works with their overall look and style.”
Cover image credit: Courrèges Autumn/Winter 2022; Instagram @anthonypreel_