The eyeliner struggle is real. You do one eye perfectly, then you try to do the same on the other eye, but you end up extending the wing too much. So you try to fix it by extending the other eye that looks fine and all hell breaks loose. But what if we told you that you don’t have to be so stressed when doing eyeliner? There is an easy fix after all. Follow these simple steps and get the eyeliner you’ve always dreamed of.
Back to Basics: Liquid, Gel or Kohl?
The key to this technique are blendable products, so we first have to decide what kind of eyeliner to use. Liquid liners are hard to blend, but they can actually be a very helpful first step.
Apply liquid liner first and keep it as close to the lash line as possible. You need to get product into every nook and cranny between your lashes and cover every bit of skin that is peeking through. Apply from the middle of the eyelid outwards and end the liner where your lash line stops. This is very similar to the so-called tightlining technique, except it is way less painful and tear-inducing.
Next, use a gel liner. Gel liners are creamier in texture and won’t dry down as fast as liquid liners do. Use a small flat liner brush and simply apply product over the liquid liner that is already there. Then take a small flat blending brush and blend the liner from the outer corner inwards.
Keep the product concentrated on your lash line (especially if you don’t have much lid space to work with). Towards the end of your blending, you can extend the smoked-out liner slightly outwards. You can use a kohl liner instead of a gel, but that’s totally up to you.
Pro-tip: To avoid wasting time on fall-out drama, do your eye makeup first and leave the foundation for the end. Foundation is best applied last, especially when you’re working with a lot of eyeshadow and you don’t have the patience or the time to fix your base later.
Smoke and Mirrors
So you’ve come this far and haven’t given up yet? You go, girl!
Your eyeliner is now sitting on the lash line, patiently waiting for some eyeshadow to join the party. First, pick a transition shade - a shade that is only slightly darker than your skin tone. Earthy browns and auburns usually work best.
Pick up a small amount on a fluffy blending brush and start on the outer corner where your liner ends. Blend from your liner and into the crease, creating a V-shape on the outer corner of the lid. Blend slightly outwards and upwards if you want to lift and elongate the eye. This works amazingly well on deep-set, hooded and downturned eyes.
Then, gradually build up the intensity of the eyeshadow by applying darker shades. Smoking out the liner outwards and creating definition in the crease will make your eyeliner work from every angle you can think of. Even when you smile, the line won’t look wonky, weird or awkward - it’s just going to look flawless.
Pro-tip: Before you get into your eyeliner, study your eye shape in the mirror. Look at yourself from different angles, even from the side, and have a quick liner try-on before diving into the real deal.
Add More Drama
Without adding anything to your lower lash line, the eyes might end up looking unfinished. If you have downturned eyes, it’s not a good idea to apply anything on your lower lash line. Or so they say. You can go for a slightly lighter eyeshadow (like a transition shade), which will still give you the definition you want but won’t pull your eye downwards too much. If you still want to apply a dark eyeshadow, go for a dark shimmery shade. The shimmer will attract and bounce off light, while the darkness of the shade will give you the smokey drama you crave.
Pro-tip: Does eyeshadow tend to travel down to your cheeks whenever you apply eyeshadow on the lower lash line? Try applying a small amount of eyeshadow primer before going in with the actual eyeshadow. This will help the product stay in place and make the colour pay-off much greater.
When you’re doing a smokey look, it’s always a good idea to devote some attention to your eyebrows. Pick a shade that is slightly lighter than your natural hair colour and first fill in the sparse areas. Keep most of the product on the arch and the tail of the brow, and use whatever is left on the front part. This will give you a nice blend. Remember that accentuating the arch of the brow can really take your look to another level.
Pro-tip: Hooded eyes and downturned eyes can really benefit from a brow bone highlight. Apply a matte (or shimmery) nude eyeshadow right below your brow arch and treat yourself to a free eye lift.
- Bobbi Brown Long Wear gel eyeliner in Black Ink
- L'Oreal Color Riche matte lipstick in 634 Greige Perfecto
- Misslyn Eye Believe in Fairytales Make a Wish eyeshadow palette
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