Among the long list of essential life skills, learning how to do your eyeliner is definitely up there! A killer wing is a complete game changer; it instantly lifts your eye and makes them look SO much bigger. But done incorrectly, it can make your eyes look droopy and tired – thank you, next!
Luckily, there are tons of hacks to help you along the journey from beginner to pro as quickly as possible – no panda eyes here! Here’re 15 tried and tested eyeliner tips that actually work.
Eyeliner tip #1: Get into position
Positioning yourself correctly before you start your liner can completely determine the end result. First, grab a handheld mirror: this will allow you to get up close and personal with your eye so you can see what you’re doing. Hold it slightly below the eye so that when you’re doing your liner, your lashes are down – it makes the process easier. Then, to steady yourself place your elbow (of the hand you’re using to apply the liner) on a table or surface. If your hand is shaky, tense your toes to steady yourself – we know it sounds crazy but it actually works!
Eyeliner tip #2: Use a pencil to create the shape
If you’re a beginner, start by tracing the shape of your wing using a pencil as this a lot easier to remove than liquid liner. Once you’ve worked out the shape, apply the liquid liner on top and neaten with a Q-tip wherever necessary.
Eyeliner tip #3: Draw the wing first
While it may seem strange to start with your wing, by beginning at the outermost corner, it’s a lot easier to get the angle right so that it lifts and snatches your eye instead of bringing them downwards. Chanel Temple, global makeup artist for Hourglass Cosmetics agrees, “I always start with the wing by marking the outermost corner of your eye and drawing a thin line angled slightly upward,” she explains.
Eyeliner tip #4: Grab a post-it
One of our all-time favorite liner hacks is using a post-it to get a clean straight wing! It’s so simple and makes the whole process SO much easier. Start by placing the post-it edge along the lower lash line and angle it so it meets near the tail end of your brow. Use this edge as a guide to create your wing. Wait for the liner to set, then slowly peel away the post-it. Next, draw along your lashline to meet your wing.
Eyeliner tip #5: Make sure lids are taut
One of our biggest frustrations when applying liquid or gel eyeliner is dealing with a brush that skips. This happens if the canvas – AKA your upper eyelid – isn’t perfectly smooth. Celebrity MUA Gina Brooke says, “It helps to hold the outer eye taut and apply the liner from inner corner straight to outer corner. By holding the skin taut it makes the drag on the liner super easy.” Keeping your mirror low and looking down helps as well.
Eyeliner tip #6: Smoke ‘n’ smudge
If you’re going for a softer look, we love to use a pencil. Use a pencil, like the one on our double-sided Huda Beauty Life Liner eyeliner and create a small wing at the outer corner of your lashes. Then smoke it out and along your upper lash line using an angled eyeliner brush or a smudge brush back and forth. The result is a soft, gorgeous, smoky eye.
Eyeliner tip #7: Try the dot-to-dot method
Celeb MUA Gina Brooke shared her fave hack for slaying a winged liner and it’s so simple, “I love the dot-to-dot method on liquid liners, especially the ones with flimsy brushes or if you have unsteady hands. Create a line of dots on the upper lash line that are close to each other and then connect them with a straight line to create the perfect liquid liner.”
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Eyeliner tip #8: Set your liner
Most liners are not intensely black, so to achieve a super matte black effect set your liner with a powder or pencil liner. This will help it stay in place all day long and fill in any areas where the pigment isn’t as intense. Simply use a sharpened pencil or a black eyeshadow with a flat angled brush and pack the shadow over the liquid liner. Alternatively, you can grab our Life Liner, $25, the formula is the blackest, mattest, and most intensely pigmented liner on the market, so there’s no need to set it for extra impact, plus it won’t budge for 48 hours!!
Eyeliner tip #9: Never forget to tightline
Tight lining your waterline on your upper lashes is another crucial step to achieving the perfect liner look. It helps create the illusion of thicker lashes, opens up your eye, and adds drama. Avoid going too far in and apply the liner to the center only, so the liner won’t smudge or run. You can also use a nude pencil along the lower lash line to open up the eye.
Eyeliner tip #10: Find the right wing for your eye shape
One of the most important rules when it comes to applying winged eyeliner is getting the angle of the wing right. What a lot of people don’t realize is this is completely dependent on your eye shape. For example, to accentuate round eyes, you want to create the illusion of added width by adding a liner to the outer corners. Whereas, if you have small deep-set eyes, it’s best to use a thin line with a horizontal flick, as close to your lash line as possible. Check out which wing style will flatter your eye shape here.
Eyeliner tip #11: Line your tear duct
If you’re a liner pro and want to go for a super dramatic liner look, we love to take inspo from our Middle Eastern heritage and take the liner all the way into the tear duct. If you’re a liner newbie, this can easily go wrong; so be warned! Once you’ve nailed your wing, to make your eyes look even bigger, trace your tear duct with liner along the upper and lower lash line. You want the line to be as thin as possible so you may need to keep some cotton buds handy to keep the line defined.
Eyeliner tip #12: Correct any mistakes later
“If you make a mistake, LET IT DRY,” advises Glamsquad artistic director, Kelli J. Bartlett. And while you may think this is easier said than done and a dried line won’t budge, her top tip for foolproof cleanup is easy AF. “Saturate an angled brush in makeup remover (I love Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover, $30) and wipe away whatever you don’t want to see, making sure you clean the brush on a tissue in between strokes. The one exception is if you’re using Huda Beauty Life Liner, as once it sets, it’s set!
Eyeliner tip #13: If you have monolids, draw a semi-circle
To create the perfect liner for monolids, instead of drawing along your upper lash line, draw a thick arch above your lash line, where your crease would be. It will look like a semi-circle when you have your eyes closed but when you open your eye it’ll create the perfect liner. You can fill your lid in with a black pencil so the liner doesn’t look like it’s floating when you blink.
Eyeliner tip #14: Try an eyeliner stencil
If you need a little extra help, there are now tons of eyeliner accessories. From cat-shaped stencils (how adorable) to stickers in the shape of a wing that you place on your lid. Although one of our faves is the Quick Flick Eyeliner, $28, the tool comes pre-loaded with ink, and all you have to do is simply press the stamp onto the corner of your eye, connect the wing to your lash line, and you’re good to go. Read our full review here.
Eyeliner tip #15: There’s always permanent eyeliner
Okay, now we’ve arrived at the last resort! If you’ve tried all of these tips, and applying eyeliner just isn’t your jam, you can opt for a more permanent solution: tattoo eyeliner. Permanent eyeliner isn’t going to wash off with the rest of your makeup at night, so you don’t need to worry about reapplying every morning. It’s completely customizable you can opt for something really natural or go in with a full wing. Find out more deets about tattoo liner here.
Are you guys as obsessed with liner as we are? Let us know in the comments below.