Eyeliner—despite being over 12,000 years old—has really seen some of its most dramatic changes and innovations in only these last 100 years. From the 1920’s Hollywood influence, to the 1970’s punk scene, and the most recent 2016 obsession with winged eyeliner, eyeliner has had its time in the spotlight. But that’s history now, and what a lot of us want to know is what ways we are applying it today, so here are some pointers!
There are many formulas of eyeliner available, each with their own purpose. The classic formula is the eyeliner pencil, which is great for smudging into the lash line, or doubling as a brow pencil too. The liquid pen formula is perfect for creating a crisp clean winged eyeliner look, that is the easiest and most forgiving to use, while also drying and staying on the longer than the pencil. Gel or cream formulas require a small angled brush, and behave like a combination of the pencil and liquid eyeliners; it can be smudged or applied in a crisp line, and depending on the formulation it can stay on all day too. And finally, there are companies creating eyeliner “stamps”, which help you achieve that winged tip with ease.
Use the different colors available, for different effects. The most commonly used shades are black and brown, but the colors available are endless—there are vibrant cobalt blues and metallic silvers and everything in between. Black is often used for a noticeable, stark winged liner, and brown is more often used for smudging into the lash line, to make the lashes appear fuller and denser.
Once you’ve chosen your color and formula, all that’s left is deciding the look you are going for. As mentioned before, smudging eyeliner into the lash line works great with pencil or cream eyeliners, and are useful when creating an “effortless” undone look or a fuller lash line. If you have large eyes and want to make them appear smaller or more striking, you can line your upper and lower waterline with a dark eyeliner pencil; and if you have smaller or tired eyes, you can make them appear larger or more awake by lining the lower waterline with a white or beige eyeliner pencil.
If your pencil eyeliner isn’t sharpening up into a fine enough tip, make sure to keep the pencil in the freezer for 10 minutes and then try sharpening it again! It will be much less likely to break off in pieces, the more solidified it is. And finally, if you are having trouble creating the winged liner using the cream or liquid formulas, try applying a piece of tape to the corners of your eyes, with the edge of the tape providing you the stencil to trace along. Make sure to unstick the tape first, by putting it on and pulling it off the back of your hand a few times, so that it won’t stick down to your face and take your foundation off!