A Beginner’s Guide To Eyeliner: 5 Looks That Anyone Can Do
Eyeliner is my favorite beauty product of all time. It’s versatile, easy to use and you can find it in just about every color under the sun. However, it’s also one of the most difficult products to really master completely, especially if you want to use it for more than just simple outlines. With NYFW officially upon us, we’ll more likely than not see some crazy looks incorporating different eyeliner techniques on the runway, but before you can even think about doing any of those, you need to master the basics. Consider these looks the building blocks for your fancy face. For this tutorial, I used Revlon ColorStay Eye Liner in Black ($5.99), Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Black ($7.59) and Physician’s Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black ($10.99). Here are the 5 basic eyeliner looks that everyone should master:
“Tightlining” is when you line the inner rims of your upper eyelids. This is a good choice if you want your eyelashes to look fuller without having false lashes or heaps of mascara. Here’s what you do: using a pencil eyeliner, start at the middle of your eyelid, make small strokes at the very base of your lashes. Remember, the goal is to line the inner rim of your eye, not the lid itself, so place the pencil underneath your lashes rather than above them. Continue doing this until you’ve lined the entire upper lid. Take care not to poke yourself in the eye, though (no shame, we’ve all done it).
This method is an important one to have in your arsenal if you ever choose to venture into dark smokey eye territory, or if you want to make your eyes look wider using a white or peach eye pencil. It’s pretty much the same technique as tightlining, but on the inner rims of your bottom lid. For this, you should be lining above your lashes, not below them. I’d also highly recommend using a pencil here; you can use a gel or liquid, you’ll end up with some pretty gross-looking clumps, and I know from experience that it gets uncomfortable very quickly. You’re getting really close to your actual eyeball here, and you want to avoid irritating it as much as possible. Pro tip: to avoid eyeliner running from your waterline to your undereyes, apply concealer and powder after the eyeliner. As you can see in the photo below, I made a little oopsie, which is why one eye looks like it’s been recently punched.
3. Gel Eyeliner
Gel eyeliner gives you the easy application of a pencil with the staying power of liquid eyeliner. It also gives you an overall softer look, and it’s much easier to blend than pencil or liquid eyeliner. Here’s what you do: using any eyeliner brush (the gel eyeliner I used came with one), dip it into the gel pot, brush off the excess like you would with a nail polish brush, and make small thin strokes across your top eyelid ONLY. Simple! I’ve winged mine out at the ends because that’s what I’m used to doing, but you can just do a straight line if that’s what you’re comfortable with.
4. Cat Eye
This is an absolute must-know, and it’s going to take a lot of practice and a lot of product trial-and-error. My advice is to start with small, thin lines in the middle of your eye, keeping as close to your lash line as possible, and then work your way to the inner and outer corners. As for the wing itself, try to keep to the natural curve of your eye. Once you have a basic shape lined out, you can fill in the rest of the cat eye as thick or thin as you want. Check out YouTube tutorials to see these tips in action! I recommend this one by Michelle Phan, or this one by beauty blogger Vintageortacky.
5. Double Wing
For when you’ve mastered the cat eye, and one wing just isn’t sufficient anymore. Trust me, that time will come. Just complete your winged eyeliner as you normally do, then, when it’s done, bring your liquid eyeliner back to the middle of your eye. From there, drag another wing up so that it’s slightly higher, but parallel, to your lower wing. Fill it in from there!
Shop all of the products I used below: