Liquid Eyeliner Mistakes To Avoid For A Flawless Finish

Eyeliner is a staple of cosmetics collections, usually with more than one kind of product found in any beauty supply's arsenal. The evolution of eyeliner, along with its cosmetic counterparts like eye shadow, mascara, and accompanying tools, has produced numerous options in today's beauty offerings, making application easier than ever before. The origins of eyeliner's use have been traced back to at least the ancient Egyptians, and it's since been a long-favored tool for enhancing eyes. With multiple millennia behind the cosmetic, you'd think there would be known ways for foolproof application, or a secret tip would have slipped out at some point. But trying to get products like liquid eyeliner to appear perfectly symmetrical across both eyelids can be quite the triumph. Not to mention that simply getting a single eyelid correctly lined with liquid eyeliner is troublesome enough.

There are many mishaps that regularly occur when it comes to applying liquid eyeliner. Knowing which techniques to avoid or adjust for an effortless result is an education in makeup technique from which every eyeliner enthusiast can benefit. 

You applied your eyeliner in one solid line

A common misconception about applying liquid eyeliner is that one swift swoop of the wand should be made across the eyelid, whether top, bottom, left, or right. In practice, liquid eyeliner should be applied in multiple small strokes. This small-stroke technique works best because most eyelids aren't even all the way across. Instead of attempting one seamless swish across your lids, imagine that you're an artist sketching upon a canvas with soft, tiny strokes that eventually connect together but may appear as unconnected dashes until the very end. If you rush your liquid eyeliner application with the incorrect technique of one quick swipe, you'll be left with a jagged, uneven appearance. This may be difficult to fix without smearing, or you might end up with an overly thick line. Rather than playing catch-up trying to make your eyelids appear symmetrical with one dash of liner, start small and work your way up, adding bit by bit until you've achieved your desired appearance.

Another frequent faux pas involving liquid eyeliner is placing the product onto lower eyelids. Contrary to popular narratives claiming visibly brighter eyes, liquid eyeliner on your lower lids will create a less vibrant aesthetic than you're looking for. Refraining from the use of eyeliner — liquid or otherwise — on lower eyelids is the easiest fix. Use kohl if you desire definition on lower eyelids.

You start your eyeliner application in the wrong position

It can be nerve-inducing to bring the tip of a liquid eyeliner applicator close to your eye, even if you're an experienced eyeliner enthusiast. Made like a miniature artist's brush with individual bristles, the applicators of today's liquid eyeliners tend to be more intimidating than other types of eyeliners with stable applicator tips, like pencil eyeliners.  With its free-flowing movement and unique mobility, using your liquid eyeliner wand can lead to jerky movements and even shaky hands. The result? Jagged application, accidentally poking yourself in the eye — the list goes on. If you feel uneasy using a liquid eyeliner's brush applicator, opt for a felt-tip eyeliner until you feel more confident and have grown comfortable with the sensation of an applicator tip touching your innermost outer eyelids. Or, test out this viral eyeliner hack using items readily available in your medicine cabinet.

It's better to sit when applying liquid eyeliner, rather than standing, as stability is again of utmost importance. In the spirit of slow and steady, counteract common mishaps by holding the eyeliner at the far end when applying, despite an awkward or counterintuitive sensation at first. Draw thin, subtle lines which can be layered rather than immediately drawing thick lines and holding the tool at its base. 

Avoid tugging and pulling the eyelid

The way you touch (tugging or pulling) your eyes while applying makeup can lead to painful physical effects. Oftentimes, eyelids are pulled or tugged when applying liquid eyeliner, and this risky approach should be eliminated from your makeup and skincare practices ASAP! Repetitive pulling, tugging, and forcibly jolting your eyelids around can lead to lasting damage of the skin, tissue, and elasticity over prolonged practice of these tendencies. As time passes, habitually tugging and pulling upon eyelid skin can lead to eventual drooping or sagging of skin, or developing eyelids which appear permanently pinched in areas where they've actually been pinched over extensive time periods. In fact, according to All About Vision, pinching eyelids with fingernails is just as potentially dangerous as you risk tearing the sensitive skin around your eyes, or introducing bacteria from your nails which can quickly become a bacterial infection. 

Simply support your arm to avoid pulling on your eyelid. Tugging of eyelids during eyeliner application frequently occurs due to a lack of support or stabilization of the arm and hand applying the product. Leaning onto a countertop or creating support for your elbow, such as a stack of books, can eliminate the tendency to tug on eyelids for the same stabilizing effect. 

You crafted your cat eye with a single eyeliner stroke

Much like applying liquid eyeliner with a single swoosh across each of your eyelids, this same mistake is often made when trying to achieve a cat eye look. The innovation of liquid eyeliner makes crafting details like the cat eye design an attainable feat through DIY means, but only if done correctly. If you attempt to create your cat eye with one swish of the wand, you'll end up with a result more frustrating than exciting, shape-shifting from a cat eye into an unwanted raccoon-styled eye. There are some key tips to prioritize when aiming to successfully manifest your cat eye style. 

To avoid cat-astrophes, use a stencil specifically designed for crafting cat eye looks using liquid eyeliner, or continue the small sketch marks used to line the eyelids rather than single swipes. Slowly form your cat eye angle at the outer corners. This will result in a cleaner curved line, avoiding the mess of smudged liquid eyeliner. Without an official stencil, tape can be used as a makeshift tool for the perfect cat eye detail. 

Your eyeliner doesn't match your style

Incorrectly applying liquid eyeliner, or using it for a look that actually requires a different product like kohl or pencil-based eyeliner options, are eyeliner errors we've all been guilty of making at one point or another — perhaps even on several occasions! More options for modern makeup can make things more confusing. Purplle explains the four primary forms of eyeliners available today, including liquid, pencil, gel, and felt-tip options. Each type of eyeliner is best used in certain circumstances and equally avoided in other scenarios. Choosing the wrong product is a common problem — and an easy fix. If you're looking to blend your eyeliner, look toward a pencil eyeliner, the most traditional form of the product. Gel and felt-tip eyeliners fall between pencil and liquid forms, and are notably beginner-friendly.

Trying to blend liquid eyeliner is an obstacle not easily overcome as liquid products are fast to set and are difficult to blend with other cosmetics. If you attempt blending liquid eyeliner while it's still wet, you're more likely to end up with smeared or smudged product than an effortlessly blended mien. 

Eyeliner application should match your eye shape

If your liquid eyeliner doesn't look quite right, you might be applying the wrong style for your personal eye shape. The categories of eye shapes include five classifications: hooded eyes, monolid eyes, round eyes, almond eyes, and down-turned eyes. The shape of your unique and individual eyes will very much determine the way you apply eyeliner, making the application of liquid eyeliner without knowing one's eye shape a nearly guaranteed canvas for erroneous mishaps to take place. 

Since eyeliner's purpose is to enhance eyes by defining their outline and providing an amplified appearance, liquid eyeliner techniques require knowing eye shape for applying appropriate angles, linear thickness, and details in order to create the desired effect. Round eyes benefit from eyeliner's ability to widen their visible range, while both almond and monolid-shaped eyes are best suited to liquid eyeliner lines that gradually thicken as they turn outwards from the inner corners of the eyes. Down-turned eyes can be turned around for the illusion of appearing lifted upwards, while hooded eyes similarly rely on liquid eyeliner to produce an opening effect. To determine your eye shape, look into a mirror and take note of the various elements of your eyes, including creases, angles, and curvature of angles. 

That eyeliner is (way) too old

Using tubes of liquid eyeliner that have expired can lead to health problems. On each cosmetic container in your collection, you'll usually find a printed date indicating the expiration of each item. While avoiding expired items might usually be associated with the contents of your refrigerator, your makeup's expiration date is an equally vital deadline to know for protecting your body's health and overall well-being. Trust that it's better to go without eyeliner than to end up fashioning an eye infection for days or weeks afterward. 

Continuing to use makeup products, particularly eye makeup like liquid eyeliner, can increase the risks of health effects, from clogged pores resulting in acne breakouts to bacteria growth and more. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the eyes are some of the most vulnerable areas of the face and most susceptible to bacterial infections, including irritation and allergic reactions, so you'll want to avoid the use of expired eye makeup whenever possible. Spreading education and awareness of tossing expired cosmetics is equally important, so mention the importance of avoiding expired eyeliner and other makeup products in your group chat with friends or family members. You'll be thanked when someone avoids a potential eye infection, and your body will thank you as well when you toss that expired tube of liquid eyeliner!