The Best Tips For Applying Liquid Liner Like A Pro

Trust us, you will feel better once you admit it. With hundreds (and maybe thousands) of people out there who also suffer from eyeliner anxiety, you're not alone in your fear of this particularly tricky makeup product.


No one is saying that misery loves company, but it can be reassuring to know that there's nothing wrong with you — or at least, nothing that can't be fixed with a few helpful tips. You may even feel empowered to see how fellow eyeliner-phobes cast their plight. There are the fearful ones on Quora who ask, "How can I apply eyeliner with my eyes open without freaking out?" They may be drowned out by a Facebook group called Makeup, Skincare, and Cosmetics Talk, where members regularly post about their eyeliner-related fears. And there's even a seemingly understanding video on YouTube whose caption reads, "Why you suck at putting on eyeliner — Why 95% of women can't apply an eyeliner."

If you're breathing easier already, just imagine how you'll feel after reading and practicing the following liquid eyeliner application tips.


Pick the best liner for you

Going to the store to buy liquid eyeliner can be a lot like going to the store to buy hair color. If you don't narrow down your options before you leave the house, you're probably asking for trouble. Get a good sense of what products are available first and then compare them at the store.


Think of liquid eyeliner as coming in two forms: a brush tip and a felt tip. You may wish to buy an inexpensive version of each so you can see for yourself how they feel in your hand and what they result in. In general, though, a brush tip is meant for precision while a felt tip is more forgiving, Elegant Look says. For this reason — and because so many eyeliner lovers tend to be novices or unsure of their application skills — a felt tip turns out to be their favorite. It's easy to maneuver and work with.

Follow the basics first

Even the pros follow some basic steps in applying eyeliner, whether you want a dramatic siren look or barely-there looking eyeliner. You might even already know at least a few of these moves, which will always get your eyeliner sessions off to the right start. Hopefully, it bolsters your confidence to realize that what you do know outshines what you don't!


MasterClass recommends beginning by shaking the liquid eyeliner and then opening it up to grab the wand in your primary hand. Starting in the center of your eyelid, draw a line to the outer corner and then the inner corner. Form a wing tip (if that's your style) and then another line on your lower lid. From this point on, applying liquid eyeliner is all about the details.

Start with the more difficult eye

Like many challenges in life, it can be a smart move to attack the biggest one first. The theory goes that you get any fear (or dread) out of the way, build your confidence, and end up excelling at the remaining challenges. Building "I can do this" momentum applies to liquid eyeliner, too, which is why cosmetologist Denise Dixon recommends lining that difficult eye first — the eye you tend to smudge, redo, and compare to the more finessed eye (via MindBodyGreen). You'll save time this way because you won't be getting "the less dominant eye to look absolutely [as] perfect as the dominant side."


Admittedly, this is largely a matter of psychology, and it can go either way. Try this tip next time and see if you agree with Dixon, who is the founder of the confidence-building Cosmetology Institute of Las Vegas.

Draw a line with pencil first

This tip will transform your life (or at the very least, stop your knees from shaking with fear as you pull up a chair to your makeup table). Draw a line in pencil first — a literal base line that you can alter, if need be — before following up with the less forgiving eyeliner, Beth Bender Beauty suggests.


It's another confidence builder, and one that you may have done hundreds of times as a child when you sketched something in pencil before tracing over it with pen or another permanent writing tool. With two layers — the pencil and then the eyeliner — you may also pick up some unexpected dividends: Your eyeliner may stay put longer and require fewer touch-ups afterwards.

Make and connect the dots

With or without the benefit of making a pencil line first, Marie Claire and other beauty experts espouse the value in making a series of dots along your eyeline and then connecting them with liquid eyeliner. It's asking far too much of yourself to draw a smooth, sweeping line in one stroke. Even the professionals warn against it. Better to use your finger to make the skin around your eye taut, make a series of dots, and then connect them once or twice, depending on how thick you want the final line to be.


Call the connect-the-dots technique the final confidence builder — the one that may elevate your eyeliner to near-perfect heights you'd never thought you'd reach.