How To Use The Trickiest Makeup Item

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Whether you apply a slick cat-eye or a subtle outline of color, a little liner and shadow can enhance your eyes. A perfectly lined lid is all about the execution, and tailoring your technique to complement the shape of your eyes can pull together your overall look.

While there are many different types of eye shapes, we're going to focus on the three most common: almond, down-turned, and smooth, shallow lid with little-to-no crease. There are, of course, tons of variations and plenty of room to play around once you've got a general understanding of how to put on one of makeup's trickiest items: eyeliner. 

Almond-Shaped: Cat-Eye
This is considered by some makeup artists to be the easiest eyeliner shape, so there are endless choices for products and techniques. Pencils, liquids, and gels are all great options here. Lightly smudged or super-specific, liner on almond eyes is quick and easy to achieve.

Technique: This eye can support a variety of liner shapes, but my favorite is the classic winged look using Stila's Eyeliner Pen. To create, begin at the outside corner of the eye and draw in your wing. Decide if you're going for a kitten heel or in the mood to go big with a sexy stiletto. The kitten heel is a baby flick of the liner, while the stiletto is a long, dramatically drawn wing. Complete the liner by going back to the inside corner and starting with a thinner line, gradually building on it as you move toward the outside corner.  
   
Color:
 Choose a jet-black for added drama. 

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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Down-Turned: Smudgy-Smoky
Often described as "bedroom eyes," these tend to turn downward at the edges. These eyes are often incredibly expressive, and they can be enhanced even more with properly placed liner.
Technique: The ideal liner shape is thinner on the inside corner and thicker on the outside. This will create an optical illusion that lifts the eye. A gel-pencil hybrid like Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon will help you get the look.

Start with a thin line close to the lashline, lightly sketching the natural shape of the lashline while product is still wet. Then, take a small smudging brush like NARS #46 Push Eyeliner Brush and smudge the outer third of the liner. The finished look, which has the effect of lifting up the eye, incorporates a thin, precise line on the inner lid and a smudgy line on the outer lid. Make sure to blend upward in order to keep the eyes lifted.   
Color: Opt for espresso to offer subtle depth.

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
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Shallow Lid: Smoked Lashline
This lid has a beautifully smooth shape and little to no crease from the lashline to the browbone, so for a look with enhanced dimension, it works to follow the lashline with liner after using eyeshadow.

Technique: A woman with a creaseless lid can really play up her eye shape by using eyeliner on the lower lashline and the inner rim of the top lashline. Choose a small, flat-bristled brush like the Dolce & Gabbana Pencil Brush and a dark shadow. Start on the outside corner of the eye with the most amount of shadow on your brush, stamp the product into the lashline, pulling up slightly with each flick to create a soft gradation of color at the lashline. The final result is depth right at the lashline.
Color: A slate or charcoal shade is ideal, because it's softer than black yet still delivers.



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