How to apply liquid eyeliner: tips and tricks
Learning to do liquid liner is like riding a bike. It takes ages and you feel like you're getting nowhere, then you get the wobbles, then once you've mastered it, it's all you want to do.
The key to both? Practice. You might end up wearing liquid liner to do the most inane things, like cleaning the shower or the supermarket run, because you need to practice it on days when it's not essential for it to turn out perfect. When you're learning, there's nothing surer than stuffing it up just when you really need it to look perfect for a hot date or party.
1. Choose your liner
You want something that easily deposits smooth, opaque pigment than won't fade, bleed or smear. Finding that is easier said than done but liquid liners have come a long way. Older style liners use fine brush tips but newer felt-tip pens are easier to drag, or sweep along the lash line and deliver far richer pigment than they used to. If you follow the below steps and still can't get the hang of it, some people find it easier using a gel pot of liner and a small angle brush to 'stamp' colour along the lash line instead.
Then there's the finish. Liquid liners used to universally have a slightly glossy shine to them, but now it's just as easy to find ones with a velvety-matte finish.
No matter what you're using, it's always worth shaking or upending the product several times to make sure the brush or tip has enough pigment and hasn't separated before your start.
It's also essential to cleanse eyelids to remove any oil and remember to apply after using powder shadow rather than anything too creamy.
2. Start in the middle
First, tilt your chin up slightly, so your eyes naturally close slightly.
Starting in the middle allows you to create a small, smooth stroke when dragging just to the other corner. If the brush or tip is loaded with colour it can cause a blob that's too obvious to spread if you start at the inner corner.
Hold the brush flat, press the tip very close to the lash line (almost between the roots of lashes) and pull it towards the outer corner. Then go back to the inner corner and start there until you meet your first line. The inner should be slightly thinner, but just concentrate on creating a smooth line first.
If you need to, create the liner with a number of short strokes or dashes along the lash line, rather than trying to achieve one full seamless troke.
If your lids are wrinkled or creased it can help to slightly stretch the skin with your other hand however this will distort the shape if you're planning on adding a flick.
If your hand shakes, try setting up a small mirror at a desk, rest your elbow on the desk and look straight into the mirror while you apply.
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3. Create a flick
Some people find it easier to start with the flick, or wing, marking where you want it to end with a tiny dot and then sweeping the liner out to meet it. Doing this first on both sides will help keep the final look even. Depending on the shape you want, imagine you're extending the shape of your lash line, or corner of the eye.
A genius tip we learned from celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta is to trace a line lightly first with a brown eye shadow and an angle brush to ensure you're happy with the shape and then fill over it with liquid liner.
Tight-lining, or lifting up the lid and wiggling a touch of liner in between lashes underneath the lashline, can also help with intensity and polish of the final look.
4. Clean up carefully
To sharpen the edges, particularly the outer flicks, use a cotton bud (the pointed-tip ones are best for this) dipped in micellar water and gently drag along the line.
A clean angle or lip brush dipped in concealer can help clean up the area even more.
And finally, if you find yourself with an ever-girthier liner shape as you try your best to make them even, don't even worry: bold, graphic eyeliner is totally on trend too!
Main image: @yarashahidi
* Do you find liquid eyeliner easy or hard? What are some tips or tricks you like to follow?