Ask Danielle: Eyeliner 101
Eyeliner is one of those makeup products you’ll want to have stashed in your makeup bag–you can define your eyes, change their shape, make your eye color pop, etc., but if you don’t have the right technique you can do the total opposite to your eyes–make them look smaller/larger and duller. No bueno.
So I’ve devised a handy guide on how to get the right eyeliner technique for your eyes!
1. First things first, you’ll need to know and understand your eye shape.
ALMOND: These are the most common eye shape with their upswept lift at the outer corner.
WIDE-SET: If there is generous space between both eyes in relation to the porportion of the rest of the face.
CLOSE-SET: If there is little space between both eyes in relation to the porportion of the rest of the face.
DEEP-SET: If you can see some of your eye lid in the outer corners of your eyes, but this section of eye lid narrows as it gets closer to the inside corners of your eyes.
PROMINENT EYES: These eyes which set far forward in the face tend to dominate the facial features. The eyelids are too pronounced.
ASIAN: Not very distinct eye shape and often without a prominent crease.
HOODED: Your eye lids are droopy and sag which gives the appearance of no-crease.
ROUND: As their name suggests, this eye shape is round and doll-like.
SMALL EYES: They are proportionately smaller in comparison to the rest of the facial features.
2. Eyeliner techniques for your eye shape.
ALMOND: This is the “ideal” eye shape because of its perfect symmetry. You can pretty much do any eyeliner look and your eyes will look great.
WIDE-SET: Make sure you start your liner with a dark colored liner from your inner corners. Applying a dark color in the inner corners helps to make the eyes look closer together and more symmetrical. Avoid adding any light eyeliner color in the inner corners as this will make the eyes appear even more wide-set. Also avoid doing an exaggerated line (like a cat or winged eye) at the outer corners as this will also make the eyes appear longer and even more wide-set.
CLOSE-SET: Use a light colored liner in the inner corners of your eyes to create visual “space” between the eyes. You can use a darker color, but only from the middle to the outer corners of your eyes. Doing an exaggerated line (like a cat or winged eye) will give your eyes some length and help them appear more symmetrical. Avoid using a dark liner all around towards the inner corners of the eyes as this will make them appear even more close-set.
DEEP-SET: Your eyes are already naturally defined, so if you want to play up this shape even more, go crazy with colored eyeliner and exaggerated lines like cat or winged eyes.
PROMINENT EYES: This eye shape is usually the most noticeable on the face. To make them appear smaller, use a dark colored liner all around. Avoid exaggerated lines and brightly colored liner which will just draw more attention to prominent eyes.
ASIAN: Since Asian eyes commonly do not have a defined crease, Asian girls can go crazy when it comes to eyeliner! Go for the bright colors, the winged eyes, etc. But also keep in mind if your eyes are close or wide set and follow the guidelines above.
HOODED: This eye shape can also look like it has no crease, so like the Asian eye, bring as much drama as you can take when it comes to your liner.
ROUND: In order to make this eye shape appear more like the Almond, you’ll need to extend the liner past the outer corner.
SMALL: In order to make small eyes appear larger, don’t use a dark liner to line all the way around. Instead you’ll want to use a light colored liner in the inner corners. To make them look even bigger, use the trick Tyra Banks revealed on her talk show–use a white liner on the waterline (the bottom rim of your eyes). This will make the whites of your eyes seem whiter therefore making the eyes appear brighter and larger. You can also slightly extend the liner past the outer corners with a cat or winged eye.
3. Applying eyeliner by eyeliner type.
There are many different types of eyeliner out there. You’ll choose the best one for you depending on your skill set and desired results.
Pencil: Generally a pencil is the easiest way to apply liner. For the most precise line, make sure your pencil is sharpened prior to application. The area where you want to get the liner is that area where your lid meets your eyelashes–you’ll want to get as close to that area as possible for the most precise line and follow the natural shape of your eyes. If you’re a beginner, it may be easier for you to first lightly dot the pencil along that area and then slowly connect the dots. The way *I* apply my liner is to first make sure I have a smooth plane so that the liner goes on straight. I do this by lightly stretching the outer corner of my eye and then I take the pencil from the inner corner and in one smooth line bring it to the outer corner (I have Almond shaped eyes, but be sure to follow the application tips above for your eye shape). It’s been noted that tugging too much at your eyes can cause wrinkles, so I don’t suggest this technique. When I do eyeliner on a client, I use a brush so I don’t need to stretch the outer corner of their eyes. You can still get a good line without tugging at your eyes.
My favorite eyeliner pencil of all time is Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes, $17 at Sephora, because it’s waterproof, glides on easily, and comes in a ton of gorgeous colors.
Cream/Gel: Gel liners are multi-purpose because they can be used to line the eyes, as eyeshadows, and as eyeshasdow bases. You’ll need an eyeliner brush in order to apply a gel liner. Some of my favorite eyeliner brushes are MAC #209, #212, #266, #219. Keep in mind, the thicker the brush, the thicker the line.
To apply, dip your eyeliner brush into the gel liner. Then apply it the same you would a pencil liner with the steps above.
My favorite Gel liner is Stila Smude Pots, $20 at Sephora, because they easily glide on the eyes, last all day, and come in some hot colors.
Liquid: Liquid liner can be the trickiest to apply, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it especially if you love winged or cat eye looks. The best way to apply liquid liner is in stages. You’ll want to first start in the middle (this way any excess product doesn’t run into the inner or outer corners of the eye) and extend to the outer corner making sure you get as close as possible to the area where the lid meets the lash. Last, draw from the inner corner to where you started the line in the middle. If you want to go for a winged eye, when you get to the outer corner, extend the liner on a slight angle going upwards. Should you want a thicker, more dramatic eye, go over your first line with a second and/or third application.
My favorite liquid liner is MAC Liquid Eye Liner, $16.50 at MAC, because the precise point gives me control over how the line is drawn and the formula allows the line to last all day.
No matter what type of eyeliner product you choose, if you want it to really stay put, I suggest setting it with a powder liner (you can use a powder eyeshadow) in a similar shade to your liner. You’ll need an eyeliner brush to apply the powder over the liner.
Some other posts you’ll want to check out for great eye makeup:
Eye Makeup: What You Need in Your Makeup Bag
All About Eyes Part 1
All About Eyes Part 2
Eye Makeup: How to Create a Smoky Eye
Eye Makeup: Concealer 101
Ask Danielle: MAC Eye Shadow Highlighters
Make Your Eyes Pop
Eye Makeup: Turn a Day Look into a Night Look
Eye Makeup: Get Rihanna’s Cat Eye Look
Eye Makeup: Creating a Neutral Look