7 Life-Changing Ways To Wear Gray Eyeliner

It's the unsung hero of the makeup world, and it's ready to blow your mind.

I feel gray eyeliner is the great unsung hero of the beauty world. I don’t even have to look very hard to find multiple sterling examples of it in my own makeup case.

But Alle, I hear you asking. What can we do with gray eyeliner?

Softer than black, more unexpected than brown, less crazy than colored liners, it’s often forgotten about or ignored. Well, no more, I say! Gray eyeliner is awesome! Here are seven ways to use it.

1. Soft Gray Under The Lashes

This is my #1 eyeliner secret--and I’ve written about it before. This gives you the look of super-dense Nestor Carbonell eyelashes without the harshness of black or the oft unwanted warm tones of brown. It’s especially good for people with sparse or very light-colored lashes, and it's a great way for those who are maybe not sure about this liner placement to ease into it.

It gives eyes a bit of gentle definition without going full-on Middleton liner or eschewing it altogether. It is the perfect middle ground.

2. It Makes Dramatic Liner Easier

I love going big with liquid eyeliner. Love, love, love. But some people are intimidated by the idea of giant, hollow cat-eyes or a huge flick. Know what’s a great way around that? Using gray.

This is still A Lot Of Look. But it's far softer and easier to wear (and more forgiving of slightly wobbly or uneven shapes, if you’re just starting out) than black.

Gray eyeliner also looks amazing with silver glitter overtop. Gray + silver = love forever. And really, aren’t you looking for something a little different in your liquid liner game?

3. Drawing On Eyelashes

We all know that Twiggy did it, and did it brilliantly. But if you want to pull this off in The Year Of Our Lord 2015, you need to reach for the gray.

As I’ve mentioned like a million times so far, gray is soft. This means that even when used under the eyes to draw on '60s-style eyelashes, it looks way more natural. Compare with black:

EXACTLY. The gray looks way more like fake lashes, or the shadows cast by long lashes. Black looks overdone. Team Gray forever.

4. Avoiding Cut Crease Disasters

Cut crease eye shadow can be a pain in the ass sometimes. You try so hard to get the placement right, but you take too long. Suddenly the black eye shadow or liner sets, and you can’t blend it out! You’re now stuck with a weird black line along your crease. What’s a girl to do?

Simple: draw it with gray instead.

Now you can get the placement right, blend up and out for an intense gradient, and then go back in and make the crisp bottom line even darker. Congratulations, you have avoided the Unblendable Line Of Doom.

5. Drawing In Brow Hairs

When I busted some eyebrow myths, I also blew some minds when I used a gray liquid eyeliner to draw in some hairs at the front of my brows. If I do say so myself, it looked CRAZY natural.

I’ve been doing this while I let my brows grow out a little in this area, and it’s perfect all the time. I just sketch in my brows, draw delicate upward flicks with my gray liner at the inner corners, and voila. Extra brows.


I don’t care if ombre is supposedly “out.” I love it, especially for makeup. A thick cat-eye begun with black and faded into gray at the wing is CHIC AS HELL and nobody can tell me otherwise.

I’m saying.

7. It's Easy To DIY

The best part is that if you want to try The Way Of Gray, you probably don't even need to buy anything new. Mix a little contact lens solution with gray eye shadow--matte or shimmery, whatever makes you happy--and you have gray liquid liner! Applied under the lashes with a dense brush mimics gray pencil. It literally couldn't be easier unless it put ITSELF on your lovely face.

Case in point: I’ve been looking for a steel gray metallic (but not sparkly) liquid liner for ages, so I made my own. This is Barry M Dazzle Dust in Silvery Black, which I mixed with some contact lens solution and applied with a thin brush.

It’s exactly what I wanted: sleek and robot-like, but not too obvious. I’m in love.

  • Story time! Are you a gray eyeliner fan? What is your favorite way to wear it?
  • Are you proud of me for making it all the way through this story without making a 50 Shades joke? (Except for right now.)