When explaining the art of eyeliner application, I’ll liken it to a relationship. Hear me out: Both require a ton of patience and persistence to make it work and can be super frustrating at times. However, once you put in the proper time and effort, the end result is totally worth it. Related to relationships, and also eyeliner, it helps to seek out advice from experts along the way. But since we’re talking about liner here, enjoy this free advice from makeup artist Patrick Ta, who tends to the faces of Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Shay Mitchell (and many more!), on how to apply yours like a pro.
Laura Martin is a Licensed Cosmetologist in Georgia. She has been a hair stylist since 2007 and a cosmetology teacher since 2013.
What type of eyeliner style do you recommend for a doll eye?
Highlight the center. To brighten your eyes, add a bit of light, shimmery eyeshadow to the centers of your eyelids. You can use any light, shimmery color that you want, such as a champagne, cream, or white color.
Pat the eyeshadow onto the centers of your eyelids using a small fluffy brush.
Avoid sharing your eyeliner with others as this can transmit bacteria and infection from person to person. If you must share, swipe the tip with a bit of makeup remover or rubbing alcohol and rinse the liquid off.
Also, replace eye makeup every 30-60 days to reduce the risk of infection. Lining the inside of the lower lid may cause eye infections, and it greatly increases the risk of getting makeup in your eye.
Be careful with how much liner you wear – none at all is better than too much.
That’s right! The wing should extend out beyond your lash line. To make the bottom of the wing, follow the curve of your lower lash line and extend up past the edge. Remember to go back over the wings to fill in any gaps. Read on for another quiz question.
Nice! It is easy to create even lines with pencil liner because you hold it like you would hold a normal pencil. Pencil liners also create a more natural look, so they provide a great base for layering on a more dramatic liquid liner. Read on for another quiz question.
10. You pull your eyelid out tight to apply liner, but when you release the skin, the line no longer looks sharp.
Start at the inner corner and work across. Begin lining the inner corner of your eyelid and move towards the outer edge of your eyelid. Make sure that you go slowly and use short strokes to create an even line.
If you want to make your eyes look bigger and more open, then you may consider applying a lighter color just to the inner corner of your upper lash line. For example, you could use a cream colored liner on the inner corners and a brown colored liner on the outer corners.
Use an angled brush for blending if you are combining more than one color.
That’s right! A warm, dull pencil liner will be softer, so it will create, thicker, more pigmented looks. To dull the liner, rub it gently on a tissue until it reaches the right level of dullness. To warm up your liner, use a hair dryer on its highest setting for a few seconds. Read on for another quiz question.
Is it okay to line smaller, hooded eyes with a somewhat thick line? What if it were in a more natural color than black, such as brown or a metallic bronze?
The fix: Line your eye as close as you can to your lash line, and then slightly pull up on the lower half of your upper eyelid. This helps to reveal any bare spots next to your lashes that still need some liner love.
The fix: Ta suggests starting out with thin lines. If it ends up being thicker on one side, you can build the other one up to match. If both end up being too thick, take some of the liner away with a precision tip cotton swab dipped in oil-based makeup remover.
Create a base. Apply a neutral tone of eyeshadow to your eyelids up to your brows to begin and then follow it up with a slightly darker color on just your lids and crease. For example, you can use a nude shade, followed by a light brown shade.
 Use a large fluffy brush to apply each layer of the eyeshadow all over your eyelids.
Not quite! Pencil liner is great for more natural, subtle looks. But you can smudge pencil liner to create a more dramatic effect. Another benefit of pencil liner is that it won’t run into your eyes like liquid liners can. Try again…
Correct! Draw a line from the inner corner to the center first, then draw a line from the outer lash line to the outer edge. Then connect the lines in the middle. If your eyelids cover up the liner, try applying the liner in an arch shape instead. Read on for another quiz question.
3. You want to switch it up, but you haven’t figured out just how to use colored liner.
7. Your liner travels down your face a few hours after you’ve applied it.
Yup! Gel liner is thick, which makes it great for a dramatic cat eye. An angled brush works best for applying gel liner. However, always remember to clean the brush often to avoid eye infections. Read on for another quiz question.
Only wear it if your parents are okay with it, and if you can make it look good. For 12, I recommend pencil eyeliner, with a soft line.
Shake the liner. To ensure that the liquid liner is well-mixed, you will need to shake the bottle. Make sure that the lid is secured first and then shake the liquid liner for a few seconds. When you are ready, unscrew the cap and pull the brush out of the bottle.
 If the brush seems to have too much liner on it, then swipe it across the edge of the liner bottle.
Don’t apply your eyeliner with big strokes; instead try smaller strokes as this gives you more control and creates a cleaner line. This trick works with any eyeliner. When applying eyeliner, don’t stretch the surface.
This can lead to early eye wrinkles, and you won’t end up with as clean of a line. If you are having trouble removing any eye makeup, you should try using baby oil and a cotton swab. If the eyeliner you are using won’t come off the pencil (not making a line), then heat it up using a hair dryer or old hair straightener.
It should apply very easily. Make sure you don’t melt it. If your skin is dry, you may have a problem with smudging, so you may want to use a light cold cream on your face and then wipe it off before applying.
This leaves just enough moisture to allow the pigment to move over the skin surface. Wash brushes regularly with makeup remover or a mild gel shampoo. Putting powder eyeliner over pencil eyeliner will help it stay in place while also softening the look.
Instead of white eyeliner, use a nude/peach color on your waterline, as this looks more natural. To wash the eyeliner off, apply a wet tissue to the spot and gently rub to clean it off. Don’t touch your eyes when you have eyeliner on, or it will smear on your eyelid and hand.
If you dip a black colored pencil in Warm water, it can make a pretty decent eyeliner pencil, but make sure to test it on your arm first to make sure you don’t have any kind of reaction to it.
12. You have small eyes and you’re lining your entire eye. Doing this can close them off and make them look even smaller.
Start in the inner corner, move to the outer corner, and then fill in the center.
The fix: Increase the height of your liner on your eyes so the line is still visible when you open them. That way, when your eyelid skin folds as you open your eyes, the liner won’t transfer onto your bare skin.
Use a soft, light touch if you want to look your age, using soft pencils, kohl pencils, or powdered eyeliner. Brown, metallic colors, and dark green are good color choices. Black liquid eyeliner can look over-the-top for everyday teen make up, but you can go for it if you like that style, or if you balance it with more natural makeup elsewhere.
Not exactly! Tight lining, or applying liner to the spaces between your lashes, produces a very natural look. It emphasizes your eyes without creating a dramatic line around them. If you want an even more natural look, tight line your eyes with light brown pencil eyeliner. Choose another answer!
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Line your upper lash line. Now that you have finished applying your eyeshadow, you can start to line your upper lash line with black eyeliner. Take the eyeliner and begin by applying it to the outer and inner edges of your upper eyelids, then fill in the center.
 If you are using gel liner with a liner brush, then make sure that the brush is evenly coated and that there are no clumps of liner stuck on the brush.
Not exactly! Liquid liners are known for their smooth, precise lines. You can create thin lines or thicker ones, but there is a better liner to use for a dramatic cat eye. Try another answer…
2. Your liner is transferring onto your eyelid. This is especially common in those with smaller, hooded eyelids or those with oily skin.
Use a pencil liner for easy natural or smudged looks. Pencils are easy to apply because you use them as you would any other pencil. You can lightly apply the pencil for a subtle, natural look, or you can smudge your pencil to create smoky or dramatic eyes.
It also won’t run into your eyes like liquid liners can. When using a pencil liner, you will need to occasionally sharpen or dull your pencil.
The fix: Line your eye as close to your lash line as possible, and then use a smudger brush, which is tightly packed and skinny enough that it won’t blend the liner below where it should be. Also, it should be diffused as you blend it out, rather than so intense (think: smoky, not solid black), for a sultrier look.
Fill in the center. After you have starter lines on the inner and outer edges, then you can fill in the gap along the center of your lash line. Use soft small strokes to create an even line along your upper lash line.
To ensure that the line is even, you may need to go over it several times. Get some more gel liner on your brush if needed. You may be able to complete one eye with the amount of gel liner that you applied to your brush, or you can add more if needed.
Try blending some eyeshadow along the edge of the liner to create a smoky or smudged effect.
Add eyeshadow to the outer edges of your eyelids. Next, apply some medium brown eyeshadow to the outer edges of your eyelids. This will start to enhance your outer eyelids and create a nice backdrop for your cat eye eyeliner.
Follow up the medium brown shade with some black eyeshadow over the same area. Apply some black eyeshadow to the inner edges of your eyelids as well. This will help to create the smoky effect.
It depends on what your parents say, and also on whenever you feel comfortable wearing it. Some people feel that young girls shouldn’t wear heavy–or any–eyeliner until they are older, but it should be your own choice when you start wearing eyeliner (again, as long as your parents are okay with it).
However, it’s probably best if you start wearing it in your tween or teenage years. Just be aware that there are some places where it’s more polite to avoid wearing extreme/very bright eyeliner (such as serious events like weddings and funerals, and possibly even school if your school has rules about makeup), but for the majority of situations, your eyeliner wouldn’t cause any issues.
Not quite! Cool, sharp eyeliner will create a thinner, lighter look. To cool the liner, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes before using it. Putting pencil liner in the freezer also helps prevent it from crumbling. Try again…
Start in the inner corner and move to the outer corner in one motion.
What kind of eyeliner is best to use if you are new at this?
Start in the middle and move towards the inner edge of your lash line.
What type of eyeliner style do your recommend for a mod or a cat eye?
11. You’re not removing all your eye makeup properly. Which means you’re not starting on a blank canvas when you next apply your makeup.
Nope! You should start in the middle of your lash line, but then you should move toward the outer edge. Also, remember to put the brush as close to your lashes as possible. Guess again!
You can take it off with makeup remover and a cotton ball, you can wash it off with water if the liner isn’t waterproof, or you can remove it with a makeup wipe.
8. You have a hard time getting close enough to the base of your lashes, so there’s a gap between your lashes and your liner.
Create your wings. Next, extend your eyeliner out past the edge of your eyelid and upwards. Follow the curve of your lower lash line to help you create the bottom of your wings. Go back over the wings to fill in any gaps in the liner.
 When you are done, you should have a dramatic, thick looking cat eye liner look.
The fix: Avoid being late to brunch, work, or anywhere by using the angle of your lower lash line as a guide for your flick. Then, place a dot at the outer corner of each eye before using your liquid liner to make sure the sides match up.
Highlight the center of your eyelids with a dark, smoky color.
Prepare your liner pencil. To ensure that your pencil liner goes on smoothly, it helps to get it to the right temperature. If your liner feels hard, then you might want to warm it up. If it feels soft, then you might want to cool it down.
A cooler pencil will provide a softer, lighter application. A warm pencil, which will be soft, will provide a darker, more pigmented look. To warm up your liner, turn on your hair dryer on its highest setting and aim it at your eyeliner for a few seconds.
This will soften up the liner enough to give it a gel-like consistency. Then, test the liner on your wrist before you apply it to your eye. To cool down your liner, try placing it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you apply it.
This will help to prevent the pencil eyeliner from crumbling.
1. You’re lining your eyes with a dull liner rather than a sharp one.
6. You’re curling your lashes after you’ve already applied your liner. This can smudge your liner.
The fix: To keep your liner from dripping down your face, Ta says to only use waterproof pencil on the lower lash line. That way you won’t see it traveling down your cheek midday.
Start in the middle. Place the brush against your upper lash line so that it is as close as possible to your eyelashes. Then, begin applying eyeliner to your upper lash line. Move out towards the outer edge of your lash line.
 If you are worried about getting an even line, you can line your upper lash line with pencil liner first and then go over this line with liquid liner.
Try gel liner if you want to draw dramatic lines. Gel liner comes in a pot along with a small brush. Its thicker formula looks great for dramatic looks like cat eyes and wings. The brush makes it easy to use.
You can use other brushes with your liner. You may find that an angled brush works best for applying the liner. Be sure to clean the brush often to help prevent eye infections.
Nope! You should start in the inner corner when you are applying gel liner. But you shouldn’t try to apply it all in one motion. To get an even line, you will most likely have to go over the line several times. Guess again!
Hold the outer corner of your eyelid. Place your fingers on the outer edge of your upper lash line and pull outwards gently so that the eyelid is taut. This will help to ensure that you create a straight even line along your upper lash line.
You may also want to close your eyelid as you pull it taut. Raise your eyebrows so that your eyelid does not block your lash line at all. It may also be helpful to rest your elbow on a table or countertop to keep your hand steady.
The fix: Clear away any residue from last night by using a precision tip cotton swab doused in an oil-based remover.
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Eyeliner can help make your eyes stand out or look bigger, and it can even change their shape. Even if you’ve never worn eyeliner before, all it takes is a little practice to take your makeup to the next level!
A chubby eyeliner pencil, powdered eyeliner (or powdered eye shadow applied with an eyeliner brush), or a cream liner are all good picks. A thin pencil is fine if it’s on the softer side. Liquid eyeliner takes a bit more practice.
Start at your inner and outer corners. Begin applying the gel liner to your inner lash line moving towards the center, but do not fill it in yet. Then, apply some liner to your outer lash line moving towards the outer edge.
 If your eyelids tend to cover up your eyeliner, then apply the liner in an arch shape. This will help to ensure that you can see the liner when your eyes are open. Another option is to create several dots along your lash line and then connect the dots to create a line.
Definitely not! You do want to create a base on your eyelids, but use a neutral color from your lids to your brows, and a slightly darker color on your lids and crease. Remember to use a big fluffy brush to apply the base. Pick another answer!
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The fix: Keep it simple and accentuate either your upper or lower lash line with a subtle pop of color rather than a full-on, intense look.
Try again! Starting in the middle and moving toward the outer lash line is the best way to apply liquid liner evenly. But gel liner is thicker, so it should be applied differently. There’s a better option out there!
I have very bad eyesight. How can I learn to apply eyeliner well without depending on my vision?
5. You’re lining your lower lid with liquid liner and find that it smudges and transfers easily.
Liquid liner is best for creating crisp, thin lines but it requires some practice to perfect a clean application.
Apply mascara and false lashes. You can finish your look with some mascara and false lashes if desired. Adding mascara will help to define your eyes and false lashes will give you an even more dramatic look.
 Try curling your lashes before you apply mascara to give them some extra volume and definition. You can also heat your eyelash curler with your hair dryer for a few seconds for a more dramatic curl.
Create wings by extending the liner up past the edge of the upper lash line.
The fix: Ta says to always keep an eye pencil sharpener in your makeup bag, so you can assure the liner is being applied exactly where and how you want it to. The goal with eyeliner is precision, and trying to line your eye with a flat tip won’t leave you with a smooth, even application.
Is/are there any simple ways of applying eyeliner for an every/each decade(s) style of eye makeup?
If your eyes are hooded, a thicker line in a softer color like brown is a great idea. Metallic shades like bronze are also good for small eyes, but if you have wrinkles it can emphasize them.
The fix: Ta has his clients look the opposite way of where he’s applying their eye makeup to make their lids more taut. So, if you’re lining the inner corner of your eye, look to the outer corner and vice versa.
Fill in the gaps. After you have finished lining the outer corner, line the inner edge of your upper lash line and connect this line up with the first line you made. Use small strokes to connect your lines and fill it out as needed so that you have one solid, even line on your upper lash line.
 If you make a mistake, dip a cotton swab in some liquid oil and use the tip of the cotton swab to fix it. You can wipe away excess liner or even out a crooked edge.
Six Methods:Choosing a LinerApplying Liquid LinerApplying Pencil LinerApplying Gel LinerCreating a Smoky Cat Eye LookPrintable Eyeliner StencilsCommunity Q&A
Line your lower lash line. If you decide to line your lower lid, place a finger on the outer edge of your lower lid and pull it taut. Then, begin applying liner using short strokes, just as you did with the top lid.
Line the entire bottom lash line for a dramatic look. Lining the entire lower lash line along with your upper lash line will make your eyes look even more dramatic, though it will also make them look smaller.
Line just the outer half of the lower lash line for a more subtle look. You can also use a lighter shade of eyeliner for the lower lash to make the effect a bit less dramatic. For example, you could use a light brown shade on your lower lash line.
Sharpen or dull your liner pencil if necessary. The sharpness of your eyeliner pencil will affect the way that the eyeliner looks. You can create a precise, thin line by sharpening your pencil, or you can create a more rounded, thick line by dulling the pencil.
To sharpen the pencil, use an eyeliner pencil sharpener to make the pencil as sharp as you want it to be. To dull the pencil, gently rub the tip of the pencil on a tissue until it is to the desired level of dullness.
Pick eyeshadow or eyeliner colors that complement the color of your eyes. Apply white or nude in your lower waterline. Avoid lining your entire lower eye with a dark color if you want to have brighter-looking eyes, because this can make the eye look smaller.
13. You’re smudging your liner too low. This can make you look like you have dark circles.
Try again! Gel liner is thick, so it would be hard to see the liquid liner on top of it. But gel liner is great on its own for thick, dramatic looks, such as cat eyes or wings. Try another answer…
Liquid liner creates smooth, swooping lines and a precise look. You can find liquid liner in either a marker pen or in a vial with a brush. To use it, you simply draw on your lines and fill in any gaps with a second application of liner.
You can create a wide range of lines from liquid liner, from thin, natural lines to dramatic looks. Liquid liner marker pens are very easy to use. If you use a vial and brush, it may take some practice to learn how to use the liquid liner.
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Not exactly! You should add a light, shimmery color to the center of your eyelids, such as cream or champagne. This will brighten your eyes and heighten the drama of your smoky cat eye wings. Click on another answer to find the right one…
Apply liner to one side of the liner brush. Gel line usually comes in a small pot and you will need a liner brush to apply it. When you are ready to apply your liner, unscrew the lid from the pot and dip your liner brush into the gel liner so that just the tip or edge is coated in gel liner.
 Gel liner can dry out quickly, so make sure that you replace the lid as soon as you are done using it. If I seems a little dry or stiff, then you may also want to warm the pot in your hands to make it easier to use.
If you’re using a pencil eyeliner, sharpen the pencil to create a thin, precise line, or dull the pencil with a tissue for a rounded, thick line. Once your pencil is ready, use your fingers to gently pull your upper eyelid until it’s taut, then apply the eyeliner across your upper eyelid using short, even strokes. Try to apply the liner as close as possible to your eyelashes, and create a smooth line all the way across your lash line. If you like, you can repeat the same process to line your lower lashes. If you need help applying liquid eyeliner, keep reading.
Follow lower lash line for a winged look. Wings are optional with liquid liner, but adding wings can intensify your look. If you want to create a winged look, then just follow the curve of your outer lash line upwards form the outer corner of your eyelid.
Then, fill in the wing as needed. Try creating just a small wing if you do not want to look too dramatic, or go for a longer wing for a high drama look. You can use the edge of a business card to help you create a straight line for the wing.
Just place the business card against the outer edge of your eyelid at an angle and trace along the edge with the liquid liner. You can also use tape to create wings. Place some tape on your lower lash line so that it is at an angle.
The tape should be right up against the outer edge of your lower lash line and extending up towards your eyebrow. Tape both sides before you apply the liner to ensure an even application. You can tilt the tape as much or as little as you want, but keep in mind that more tilt will look more dramatic.
If you want a less dramatic look, reduce the amount of tilt in your tape.
Français: appliquer de l’eye‐liner, Español: delinear los ojos, Português: Aplicar Delineador, Nederlands: Eyeliner aanbrengen, Italiano: Applicare l’Eyeliner, Deutsch: Eyeliner auftragen, Русский: нанести подводку для глаз, 中文: 画眼线, Čeština: Jak aplikovat oční linky, Bahasa Indonesia: Mengaplikasikan Eyeliner, 日本語: アイラインを上手に引く, العربية: وضع الكُحل, ไทย: เขียนอายไลเนอร์, हिन्दी: आइ लाइनर लगायें, 한국어: 아이라인 그리는 법, Tiếng Việt: Kẻ Viền Mắt
Consider tight lining for a more natural look. If you want a really natural look, then you might consider tight lining your eyes. To tight line your eyes, only apply the eyeliner to the spaces between your lashes on your upper lid.
 This will accentuate your eyes without creating a dramatic line. You can tight line your upper and/or lower lash line. For an even more natural look, try tight lining your eyes with a neutral shade, such as light brown.
Lean super close to a mirror, and rest a folded paper towel just above where you want the eyeliner to be. Then fill in the line with small strokes. Sometimes you might like to cut a paper towel to a certain shape and follow that.
Just be careful obviously.
The fix: Curl your lashes first, and then apply liner to keep from disrupting the liner application and making a mess on your eyelid.
The fix: Apply liner to the outer “V” corner only to open up your eye area (this is a good tip for those with close-set eyes too). Ta suggests using a black kohl pencil and then smudging it out with an eye shadow brush, like MAC’s #219.
The fix: Line your lower lash line with a waterproof eye pencil, and then top it with black shadow to lock it into place. Finally, apply a translucent powder under your eye to create a barrier. Ta’s favorite is Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil.