A guide to eyeliner—and the best way to wear it over the holidays.
There’s an excellent chance you have an eyeliner or two—or three or four or more—in your makeup bag. Its versatility makes it a no-brainer, which is why it’s such a makeup staple. “Eyeliner has long been used to define and shape the eyes in a variety of ways,” says Nicole Cudzilo, Vapour Beauty national makeup artist. “It’s a perfect product to use whether you want a fresh look that opens up the eyes or smoldering drama that adds shadow and mystery. Liner is an extremely versatile product because it comes in so many formulas, colors and applicator styles. Paired with shadow looks to add depth or used alone on the lid and finished with mascara, it can be smudged and blended or used with precision to create countless combinations of shape and color.”
“Liquid liner is my first choice when creating precise definition along the lash line,” Cudzilo says. “You can get a sophisticated and subtle lash-thickening eff ect by tracing a thin line right along the base of the lashes. Draw directly into the roots for the most invisible effect. For the straightest line, press the side of the liner point against the skin instead of the very tip. “Liquid liner is often used to achieve a beautiful cat eye, and my biggest tip for replicating this style at home is to look straight into a mirror and begin to sketch the wing with your eyes open in a neutral position. Angle the tip of your wing towards the tail of your eyebrow and then connect the wing to the rest of your liner. I love the Ilia Clean Line Liquid Liner (iliabeauty.com) because it is an easy-to-use pen style that is water-resistant and quick drying with a fine and flexible felt tip.”
“Gel liners make a great alternative to liquids because they off ersimilar precision but are signifi cantly easier to control,” she says. “I love using gel when I want a deep intensity paired with a creamy, blendable finish. Gel is also my go-to for vintage inspired liner looks—its ability to easily spread makes it perfect for bold and retro shapes! I’ve been loving the Hush + Dotti Gel Liner (hushdotti.com) because it is creamy, easy to control, long-lasting and waterproof. To lift the eyes, keep the liner thinnest in the inner corner and thicken the line towards the outer corner, ending in a slightly tapered point.”
“Kohl pencils are extremely helpful when wanting to easily diff use and soften your liner without pulling on the delicate eye area,” Cudzilo says. “My favorite pencil for this is Vapour Beauty’s Eye Definer (vapourbeauty.com). Dual-ended, the Eye Definer comes with one side that is a pencil tip and the other side is a spongetipped smudging tool. The smooth and creamy formula glides on without ever skipping or pulling and the sponge tip effortlessly blends out your strokes to smoky perfection. It is the perfect pencil for achieving expertly blended eye looks because the pigments can quickly be built up or sheered out for a variety of finishes and styles. Trace the pencil along the top and bottom lash lines before blending outward with the sponge tip to create a diffused and lifted effect.”
“Pencil liner is usually what people picture when they think of eyeliner,” she says. “Pencil formulas vary greatly but most have a slightly waxy consistency, keeping them in place but lessening their ability to smudge and blend. The easiest way to apply pencil liner is to create small strokes along the lash line, slowly connecting them with even smaller dashes.
“My favorite pencils at the moment are by Vert Beauty (vertbeauty.com) because they come in rich colors like copper, turquoise and violet, which add a pop to any eye look. To ease one of these shades into your own makeup routine, try applying the pencil inside the waterline and blending into the lashes for a hint of color.”
“Crayon or stick liners are essentially larger versions of pencils or kohls, and are often used as a standalone shadow or base because of their size,” Cudzilo says. “I love Juice Beauty’s Cream Shadow Stick ( juicebeauty.com) because just a few strokes can cover the entire lid before being blended out with a brush or fingertip.”
“The easiest type of liner to master and integrate into any look is powder,” she says. “I love to begin by mapping out a shape with dry eyeshadow powder on a small angled brush. Once you have a sheer line in a shape that you like, dampen the liner brush with a little bit of water and dip back into the powder before retracing the shape to intensify the line. For a perfect everyday look, I love to use Vapour Beauty’s Eyeshadow Quad in Archetype because it features a gorgeous library of rich browns. My final and favorite way to finish any eye look is to apply eyeshadow as a liner with a pencil brush to the bottom lash line to add soft and subtle definition.”