You Asked: How Can I Wear Bright Eyeliner Without Looking Like A Clown?

Colourful eyeliner doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are three sophisticated (and fun) ways to wear it.
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Publish date:
November 18, 2013
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eyeliners, How-To, advice, Stila, colorful makeup, cat-eye

Queen Alle, you are my favorite, and if you can’t help me there is no help! I want to wear bright-colored eyeliner (purple and blue are my faves 5ever) but I’m scared that it makes me look like a clown. Am I missing something? What's the secret? IS there a secret? How do you wear colored eyeliner? ­­--Cherie

Coloured eyeliner is one of my favourite things. Really. I don’t wear it very often in my article shoots because if I’m demonstrating something to you guys, I don’t want to distract you with my bright green liner. But it’s a really good look!

Here’s how I work it out, and some ideas and inspiration for how you can work it out, too.

First: You probably don’t look like a clown IRL. This is likely not a face or an application problem--it’s a brain problem. One of the biggest issues people have with makeup­­--and I am not exempt from this­­--is that when we try something totally new, our brains go “NOOOO! I AM NOT USED TO SEEING MY FACE THIS WAY AND IT LOOKS RIDICULOUS!” That’s why we buy the same lipstick over and over, even once we’re sick of it. It’s why we fall into eyeshadow ruts. Our brains and our self­-perception are powerful things.

The good news is, brains are good at adapting. You just have to force them into it. When I got my hair cut, it took three days to REALLY love it as much as I do now. My brain needed time and constant exposure to get used to seeing my hair that way.

And that’s all this is. It usually takes a few days, but eventually you’ll be able to appreciate a new haircut, makeup style or colour on it’s own merits, not on what your brain expects to see.

That said, coloured liner can be tricky, and as with most tricky things, the best way to wear it is simply. This means very basic eyeshadow--­­a slightly shimmery shade around the same colour as your skin is what I’ve found works the best, curled and mascara­'d lashes, neat and defined brows. I like to stick to bright liner on my top lid, rather than underneath or all around. I think it looks a little more chic and grown-up this way.

I like Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. They have a range of awesome colours, the sparkle isn’t obnoxious, they really DO stay put once they dry and the colour payoff is stellar. I have the green (Electric) and the purple (Royal), and they’re both rad.

The green is my favourite. I like to wear it in a bold cat-­eye shape on my upper lid, skipping liner along by bottom lash line altogether. Because this is a really bold colour and a strong look, I keep my blush and lip colour very subtle.

I also like to take a page out of my friend Emily’s book and apply a thin line of green liner on top of my black wing. I usually make my wing very curved, but this time I drew it straight out, then joined it to the outer edge of my eye. Then I applied a very thin line of green on top of it, fading it inwards a little by just not putting any more product on the applicator.

This is really subtle but still bright and pretty. It’s also good for people who have shallow or no creases. I use my normal bright pink blush and fuchsia lipstick, making the liner just one more interesting thing on my face.

When I want to go purple, I ombre the heck out of it. I start by drawing the purple “wing,” then begin to line the top of my lid with the purple, going about a quarter of the way in. Then I grab my black liquid liner and start lining from the inner corner until the two meet.

After that, I draw little feathery strokes of the black into the purple (because my black liner has a finer tip) so that it looks like the two colours are blending together. If the line looks too harsh, I’ll get a tiny bit more purple and dot it overtop.

This purple is a bit more subtle than the turquoise, so I keep all my other makeup the same as I usually wear it. Though I would skip berry or plum lipstick with this, unless it’s on the pink side--­­otherwise it’s total purple overload. Also, this also looks really good with my glasses, for all of my other bespectacled ladies out there.

I hope this helps! As always, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments or drop me a line on Twitter!

I leave you with a picture of my photography assistant, Oliver, being very helpful and not at all annoying during this shoot.

He’s lucky he’s cute.