How & When to Apply Eyeliner

After eyebrows, the eyes are one of the most important parts of your face. Eyeliner is a simple tool that can make asymmetrical eyes symmetrical, small eyes look larger, average eyes look wider and all eyes look more attractive. Simply put the proper application of eye liner can make your eyes pop! Sounds simple, right? Well, not so much. Applying the right type of eyeliner in the right way for your eye shape or desired effect can take some practice. So, let’s get into the details.

Types of Eyeliners

There are many to choose from. You may want to try a few before you pick your favorite.

  • Kohl Pencil Eyeliner – allows for easy smudging
  • Mechanical twist-up eyeliner – tends to be soft
  • Kajal Eyeliner – safe to apply to upper and lower eye
  • Liquid eyeliners – typically comes with a brush applicator
  • Felt-tip eyeliner – often called art liner 
  • Gel or Cream eyeliner
  • Regular pencil eyeliner – tends to be firm
  • Eyeshadow used as eyeliner – great for a subtle look

Tip: I personally like the color liners that are easy to smudge. They are more flattering when your older and are less exacting which ultimately leads to a softer look.

Top 3 Looks & How to Apply

Wider & More Symmetrical Eyes

Cat Eye – If you want to emphasize your upper and lower lash lines then the cat eyeliner is what you’r looking for. A cat eye has thick wings that are drawn on both the upper and lower outer lash line. Typically, the cat eye is done in black so that the darker liner color contrasts or brightens eyes and adds definition to the eye depth. We like this masterclass how to because it goes into details on the best cat eye application based upon your eye shape.

Cat Eyeliner

Winged Eyeliner – If you have asymmetrical eyes, a winged eye liner can help you to achieve more symmetry.The wing is an amazing makeup trick that can make down-turned eyes appear more perky and help to elongate eyes that are close together. While keeping your eyes open, build your winged eye look from the inner corner of your eye and work your way to the outer corner. Once you reach the end of your upper lash line, taper the line outwards (towards the end of your eyebrow). To form a sharp wing, fill it in. Tip: winged eyeliner stamps and stencils exist for a reason as getting the lines perfectly symmetrical can be challenging.

Sultry/Smoky Eyes

A smudged colored eyeliner is recommended for a softer look. It is also recommended for older women as the darker black liner can be harsh against skin, make eyes appear smaller and emphasize wrinkles and fine lines. To get this look apply a thick line of eyeliner along your upper or lower lash lines. Next, select a shade of eyeshadow that closely matches the liner you applied. Use a blending brush to apply a layer of the eyeshadow over your liner and blend it outward to create a smudged look. Tip: I like to apply the color eyeliner to the upper lash line (smudge) and use the coordinating (slightly lighter color) eyeshadow on my lower lash line. This provides a very youthful, soft and natural look. Sephora has a great You Tube tutorial showing how to use color eyeliner, this may give you some ideas.

Dramatic Smudged Eyeliner

Dramatic Eyes 

 For a super dramatic look you can apply eye liner on both the top and bottom lash lines. Experts recommend that you use a lighter color than the color liner on your lids so that you can build dimension. Wearing eyeliner on the bottom of the eye can brighten your eyes and provide that extra drama. Tip: If you have smaller eyes, avoid lining your entire eyes, since this can make your eyes look even smaller. To make small eyes look larger apply eyeliner on the outer corners only.

In summary, Eyeliner is back and can really make your eyes look their best. We recommend you pull out your old stash or purchase something new and start playing with your makeup. It’s important to get the right application for your eye shape so it may take some practice. 

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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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