Liquid eyeliner can be difficult to master but these tips are all you need.
Liquid eyeliner presents several advantages over pencil or gel liners – it is usually more heavily pigmented than the others, which helps if you want a dramatic look; it tends to last longer, gives more precise definition and is the one item to use if you want to achieve the perfect cat-eye. Unfortunately, it is not the easiest thing to master. If you’re still struggling with it (don’t worry, we all are), here are some tips and tricks to help you along:
1. Start with pencil eyeliner
If starting straight off the bat with a liquid eyeliner sounds terrifying, then perhaps line your eyes with a pencil liner first. Once that’s done, trace over it with a liquid eyeliner. If your problem is unsteady hands, it might help to rest your elbow on a sturdy surface or to rest your hand against your cheek as you draw.
2. Shadow before eyeliner
Remember this – always apply your eyeshadow (if you’re wearing any) before your eyeliner. This creates a dry base for the eyeliner to adhere to. If you are not planning on wearing any eyeshadow, at least lightly dust a bit of nude or neutral eyeshadow on your eyelids.
3. The middle and dot rule
It is easier to start your eyeliner from the middle rather than trying to draw a perfectly straight line from either end. Start from the middle, and go towards the outer corner, then start from the inner corner and go towards the middle. Or, you can try the connect-the-dots method – line your eye with small-sized dots or thin dashes and then connect them together.
This is essential if you want to avoid the dreaded ‘unlined skin’ near your lashline when lining your upper lid. Instead of simply lining across the top of your lash line, hold your skin taut by using one hand to lift the eye slightly while your other hand lines as close to the lashline as possible. Another method is to draw your eyeliner from the underside and slowly filling in your top lashes.
5. For the perfect cat-eye
Many of us want to master the liquid eyeliner for one specific reason: to achieve the ultimate cat-eye. Admittedly, this is seriously difficult to do, but having some items on hand can make it easier. The most common would probably be a piece of scotch tape – simply place a small, clear piece of tape diagonally against your lower lash line at an angle you desire, and use it as a guide to create the perfect flick. Tear off when you’re done.
Besides tape, the edges of a business card or spoon can also be used as a guide to drawing the flick. If you have nothing on hand and is doing it freehand, it might help to draw a tiny triangle first connecting the top and bottom lash lines, then filling it in and/or extending it as you wish.
6. Q-tips, concealer and others
Of course, we are going to inevitably mess up, and that’s okay. There are some items that can really help when that happens – Q-tips are a godsend if you need to slightly adjust your line, or maybe if you need to redraw the flick of your cat-eye. A concealer can also help to hide a bad eyeliner and blend it so it’s not obvious anymore. In the same way, a skin-coloured liner can help to fix minor smudges and also make your line look very sharp.
7. When your eyeliner screws up
Sometimes our eyeliner just doesn’t seem to be working – if it’s the case that it seems crumbly (which can happen quite often for liquid eyeliners), chuck it in the freezer for 10 minutes so that it can regain its shape. If it’s too liquidy or heavy during application, the brush might be too wet – take off some of the product by rubbing it along the back of your hands first. If your eyeliner is nearing its end and is not pigmented anymore, use some of the product on the brush of a mascara to help compensate.
8. Try brown eyeliner
Liquid eyeliners are usually black, but there are quite a few in brown and even some in navy blue. These shades are less harsh and might be more suitable for those just starting out with liquid eyeliner, as they are less intimidating. Brown is actually also a universally flattering colour and might be the better choice if you’re gunning for a more natural look.
A version of this article originally appeared on www.femalemag.com.sg.