5 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Using Liquid Liner

I'm proud to say I've reached a place in my beauty game where liquid liner doesn't instill as much fear in me as it used to.
Publish date:
July 5, 2016
eyes, eyeliner, liquid eyeliner, tips

Over the past year, I've become a liquid eyeliner loyalist. Save for instances when I need to test out new products, I've never let a pencil or cream liner touch my oily eyelids.

In my experience, liquid liners are generally more long-lasting than pencil or creams, and I've grown to love the statement-making look they yield. Plus, the built-in brush, whether it comes in the twist-off cap or in pen form, is super-handy, especially since I don't wash my brushes as often as I'd like.

Getting to love liquid eyeliner, however, wasn't an easy process. Since it's long-lasting, it can be difficult to remove, and since it's liquid, you have to be careful about smudging. Combine those two things, and a cat eye just seems 100 time mores intimidating.

I'm proud to say I've reached a place in my beauty game where liquid liner doesn't instill as much fear in me as it used to. I've learned some tips along the way that my new-to-liquid-eyeliner-self would've appreciated after spending many mornings feeling frustrated from screwing up my eye makeup. I present five of them to you below.

Choose your tools and formula wisely.

I find that marker-type liners are the easiest to use. They always dispense just the right amount of product, they can create very precise lines, and they have a firm, felt-tip brush, so you have more control over application. Skinny, brush-tip liners are more challenging to get a hang of because the brush is flimsier and can hold a lot more product, meaning more potential for smudging.

Formula-wise, if you tend to blink like crazy when anything gets near your eye, go for a thinner formula (think the kind of formula in a marker) in a felt-tip form since it will dry faster. That doesn't mean you can open your eyes fully after you line, though; it just means you have a shorter drying time. If you have more patience and want a bolder look, go for a thicker formula (they often have "lacquer" in their names).

My favorite thin-formula liner is Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, and my favorite thick-formula liner is The Face Shop Color Proof Eyeliner.

Line with your eyes open.

To avoid mistakes, you'll want to keep both eyes open as you draw your liner. Whenever I've tried to close one eye while doing liner, the closed eye would move really fast and distract the hell out of me. Now, I usually relax both lids, tilt my head back and look down slightly at the mirror when doing my liner.

Line in one direction to avoid bumps.

For smooth eyeliner when you're lining from your inner corners to the outer corners, drag your liner outward. If you go back and forth, you might end up creating a bump.

The same goes for building up the thickness of your liner: line outward, and retrace the inner corners if you have to in order to ensure smoothness.

For a subtle winged look, use the length of your liner to measure the wing.

If you tend to overdo your eyeliner wing, use the length of your liner brush as a guide. I like to gently stamp the length of the liner as a guide for the wing.

If your liner starts to come off as you layer it on, stay calm.

Once in a while, I'll encounter a liner that isn't so great at layering. When I would try to even out the darkness, I'd end up dragging layers of dried eyeliner in the process, resulting in patches.

If this ever happens to you, it's not the end of the world. Simply pat in your liner to fill in the patches rather than dragging your liner across.

Now, good luck to all my liquid liner users, new and experienced! May you grow to love liquid liners as much as I do.

  • Are you new to liquid liners?
  • If you're a liquid-liner veteran, what's your favorite?
  • What's the most annoying mistake you keep making while lining?