Sunday, June 01, 2008

Eyeliner 101

In a recent comment, a Kiss-and-Makeup reader mentioned that I need to review more eyeliners. She's probably right. But here's the thing: in my crazy thought process I think that there is no difference between an expensive eyeliner and a cheap one. Sure, there could probably be some debate about the quality of a super-thrifty eyeliner pencil, but all in all, I really don't think eyeliner is something that should be splurged on.

So instead of reviewing a bunch of different eyeliners, I thought I'd just do an overview on the subject and call it good. If you have any favorites you want to mention, by all means--please leave a comment and tell me all about it.

I wear eyeliner regularly. It's an easy way to define the shape of your eye and make your eyes look larger and brighter at the same time. It can be worn for dramatic effect or to add subtle definition for a cleaner look.

When selecting an eyeliner, you have several options to consider. Here's a quick breakdown:
  • Pencil Eyeliner: When I think of eyeliner, I think of the pencil style. It's cheap, readily available, and easy to use. Pencil eyeliners come in a variety of colors. The thickness and crispness of the line pencils produce depends on how sharp your tip is and how you apply it. Pencils are easy to work with because you can smudge the lines to soften the effect, or layer it on to produce as thick a line as you want.
  • Liquid Eyeliner: For some reason, I am hopeless when it comes to liquid eyeliner. However, when done well, liquid eyeliner produces a much stronger, more dramatic line than pencil. Liquid liners don't allow as much room for error as other types, so take some time to get used to liquid liners.
  • Cream Eyeliner: Make sure you use a clean, stiff brush when applying cream liners. These come in pots of color and, because you use a brush, they're easy to use. You just follow the curve of your lid to create your desired look. Use a light hand for a natural look; go heavier for more drama. Like pencil, this color is simple to smudge.
  • Eyeshadow as Eyeliner: When you're trying for a smoky eye, you'll often hear that you should use eyeshadow instead of eyeliner. Using eyeshadow requires a bit of skill on your'll need to smudge the color and find the right balance between precise crispness and sexy, soft smudges. Still, eyeliner is easy to apply as an eyeliner--just use the darkest shade in your palette and take your time to get it on right. Try applying shadow with a wet brush for a dramatic look.
How you apply your liner depends entirely on the look you want to achieve. Make sure you know what you want to end up with before you begin...then consider these tips:
  • If using a pencil, be sure to sharpen it regularly
  • Never apply liner on the INSIDE of your eyelid. I know this sounds obvious, but a lot of (usually young and misguided) women actually do this! It looks bad and you may be setting yourself up for a nasty eye infection.
  • When applying eyeliner, half close your eyelid so you can easily see your lash line. Draw a line from the inside to the outside (from the area closest to your nose to the area closest to your ear) as close to (or just above) your lashes.
  • If you're using liquid liner, wait a few seconds for it to dry--otherwise it may transfer to other parts of your lid.
  • Check your line and smudge it with your pinkie finger or apply more color to get the look you're after.
  • If you're applying liner to your lower lid, work from the outside to the inside.
  • When applying liner, your line should get thicker on the outer areas of you lid and liner as you move in to the corners of you eye.
There you have it. If you have more to say on the subject, please leave a comment!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia!
Just like you, I'm not very good at drawing an exact line with a liquid eyeliner, although I've practiced studiously.

So, I mostly use eyeliner pencils instead. And when I desire a more precise line I resort to gel eyeliners that has to be applied with a brush.

Have a nice day!

Deanna L said...

I disagree about the "cheap" vs "expensive eyeliner brands. In my experiences, cheap versions smear and smudge. I've only tried 1 "expensive" brand (MAC!) which does NOT come off lol Maybe I have extra oil or what that causes the cheap stuff to perform so weakly, but the MAC pencils, liquid and gel liner stay put ALL day for me. Just thought I'd share :) i LOVE eyeliner.

mollie said...

you are sooo wrong. eyeliner is one of the most diverse AND important pieces of an important makeup look...ahhhhh

Lydia said...

I'm not saying eyeliner isn't important. It is! And I wear it almost every day. I'm just saying that for me (my skin type, my style, etc) I'd rather be cheap about my eyeliner so I can blow my makeup budget on something else (like lip color).

If there is an AMAZING pricey brand out there I need to try, by all means let me know! :)

Laurie said...

Up until about 3 years ago, I never wore dept. store eyeliner - and now I'll never go back to my old ways.

I absolutely SWEAR by Bobbi Brown's long-wear gel eyeliner. The stuff does not crease or move. Clinqiue's cream brush-on liner works the same.

For the pencils, I like Clinique's quickliner (smudger on one end) and MAC's techokohl.