Beauty Tips From the Pros: Precise Eyeliners

We all adore beautiful eyes, especially when we think of Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn. Their eyes were such a big part of their iconic, signature beauty.

Beautifully applied eyeliner can truly help say "gorgeous" by giving you a bright-eyed and awake look. You must be quite careful with this makeup step, as it can make or break your look overall if not done correctly. Let's get the basics down once and for all.

What's YOUR line?

Not all eyeliners are alike. There are many types to chose from: pencil, liquid, gel, crème, cake, sponge tip and even eye shadow can be converted to an eyeliner. Some are even waterproof. There are limitless colors to choose from, especially when you use shadow as a liner.


First, decide the effect you want to achieve, then choose the applicator that you'll be comfortable using.

* Want a natural daytime look? Try a sharpened pencil or a sponge tip.

* Smoky and smudgy look? Go for a dark, creamy, soft, slightly rounded tip pencil.

* Dark and dramatic? Liquids and gels rule.

* Festive color line on your upper or lower lid? Eye shadow plus converter.

Feel free to even combine any of these effects for fun.

Finding the Right Tools


There are also different kinds of applicators to choose from. The most common are very thin, traditional brushes, and with eyeliner, the better the quality and finely tooled bristles, the better control you will have. Even if an eyeliner comes with a brush, investing in a better brush is a good idea.

I find that the easiest for beginners are the newer sponge-tipped, all-in-one eyeliner tubes. They're the easiest to control or go back and fine tune. And they're not messy.

A flat eye shadow brush is another choice that's really easy to use -- it lays down precise little dashes that you connect side by side to make the perfect eyeliner. This is perfect for lining the lid with a dark or festive color of an eye shadow. A great option, it is my ideal tool of choice to get the liner closest to the lashes.


The flat brush is ideal for use with a liquid eye shadow converter or even water, both of which turn eye shadow into eyeliner. Dip the brush into the converter, then swipe it over your pan of eye shadow to make a little paste that is now your eyeliner! The traditional eyeliner brush can be used with this technique, too.

The gold standard of eyeliner -- soft, smudgy eye pencils are perfect for smoky, dramatic eyes. Finely sharpened pencils are great for precision and for under the eye lining.

Should you apply to top lid AND the bottom lid? Too much underneath can be unflattering. And be careful of lining inside the eyelid? I'm not advocating it due to health and safety issues of the eye, so proceed with caution.


It's always best to apply any liner after you're totally happy with your eye shadow application, and always before you apply mascara. Using eye shadow after the eyeliner can dull the effect of the liner -- as shadow can bleed over all your careful work.

Always curl your lashes first, so you don't mess up your eyeliner by doing it after. Now look downward into a mirror, raising your eyebrows to really allow you to get at the lash line and get to work!

Remember, you'll need a very steady hand working with ANY eyeliner, so sit at a table or desk where you can brace your elbow and look down in a mirror -- or better yet, looking into a magnifying mirror is a good start for everyone.


1. Begin at the center of the eyelid, laying your brush or applicator right on TOP of the eyelashes. Focus the color right on the tops of the lashes, to get it right into the lash bed.

2. Work toward the outer part of the eye and then go back to the middle and draw the finest part of your line toward the inner eye. Take your time as haste makes waste!

3. Make sure your liner, especially liquid liner, is completely dry before you open your eyes all the way to keep it from transferring up to your brow bone -- possibly ruining your other eye makeup!

4. After you do the same for other eye, stand back to look in a regular mirror (not magnifying mirror) and check for symmetry. Do they look evenly balanced? Success!

5. An insider trick: If you have an eyeliner pencil, try coloring between the lashes for added impact paired with any type of eyeliner.

6. Now you're ready for mascara.