Tape, Tracing, and Other Eyeliner Tricks From A Pro

If the eyes are really the window to the soul, that makes eye makeup pretttttty important. Your eyeliner is basically the window sill where you put adorable little succulents as accent pieces, your eyeshadow is the paint on the walls surrounding the window, and your mascara-coated lashes are the curtains that you can close so your weird neighbour who blasts Soca music from his garage every Sunday starting at 10 am can’t see into your house.

Okay, I might be projecting a bit, but eyes are your face’s main focal point, so it’s important they look their best. And while eyeshadows add that pop of fun and mascara makes you look like a cool doll, eyeliner is what defines your eyes the most. If I’m wearing makeup, I will always and forever wear liner. But yo, eyeliner can be super hard and there are tons of things that can go wrong, which is a little terrifying considering you’re putting pointy objects very close to your eyeball. Here are my favourite cheats when it comes to the application of sessy, sleek and SAFE eyeliner:

Steady hands – As someone who almost exclusively wears liquid liner, I know better than most that it’s the easiest eye liner formula to majorly screw up. I have stepped out of my house on many occasions looking like a furious raccoon, all because of a slight hand twitch. And you can’t just start from scratch if you eff that ish up or just blend/smudge it out if you used a pencil, powder or gel. You just have to continue adding more until you hopefully cover up your very shaky line. It can go very wrong very fast. Steadying your hands are key to lovely liner application. If you’re makeup area allows you to sit, a) how glamorous, and b) rest your elbow on a flat surface so minimize the up and down shakes. If you stand over your sink in your tiny bathroom like the rest of us mortals, use your other hand to steady your elbow and double plus, move your head instead of your arm. Slowly, of course. But your head is typically less shaky than your arm, unless you’re some sort of bobble head. If that’s the case, I can’t help you.

Chose your weapon – As I mentioned above, there are four types of eye liner formula: pencil (kohl), gel, liquid and powder (dark eye shadows can also be liners). Technically, there’s also glitter, but honestly, I can’t/won’t even start with glitter. The most forgiving are the gel, powder and pencils that are a bit softer or creamier to apply. If you’re not a fan of harsh lines, they blend out beautifully and are the base for the world’s sexiest eye look: the smoky eye. Gel and powder lines can be applied with an angled makeup brush, which is probably the easiest to use of all the tools. Because it’s a brush and not a point, you actually get more surface area covered as you sweep along your lash line. Then there’s liquid liner. She is a beast and unfortunately there’s no way to tame her except for practice, practice, and all of the practice. And occasional resignation of looking like a furious raccoon. More often than not, when I do a cat eye, the angle that it ticks up is comically uneven. Lucky for me, my yelling and abrasive nature distracts from that. Also no one really notices except for you, so don’t even worry about it.

Smudging – My eyeliner is magical. It does this cool trick where it starts off the night where I put it, but then, voila, by the middle/end of the night, it’s transported itself to the tops of my eyelids or—even more fun—in my eye bags. I call it the “Disappearing Dignity” trick. There are a few ways to combat this betrayal of makeup. If you find your pencil or gel liner gets smudgy a lot, you can try setting it with a powder by putting the same colour of eye shadow on top of it. You can also apply a primer to your lids to help prevent the Sisterhood of the Travelling Eyeliner. Unfortunately, depending on the shape of your eyes, your liner just might end up there because that’s how your eye opens. There’s not much to do there except for wearing waterproof liner and making sure you keep your eyes shut while you let it dry after application.

Fudging – I’m a biiiiig fan of drinking while putting on my makeup. It’s as much part of my getting ready routine as the Songza playlist “Vodka Escapades: Ladies Be Pre-Gaming,” which I may or may not be listening to right now. The more white wine spritzers I knock back, further out my eye liner goes. Instead of using makeup remover and a Q-Tip to erase the line I drew almost to my temple, I use tape. Yup. Tape. No matter how much I dab to dry it with a tissue, makeup remover always leaves an oily residue, which makes putting on liner on top of that even harder and sloppier. It’s a vicious and unglamourous cycle. So I take a piece of Scotch tape, destickify it a few times on the back of my hand so it doesn’t pull at my skin (which is very delicate around the eyes), cover the part I wish to remove, and unpeel. I find it removes less of your other makeup that you didn’t apply ass-to-the-wind drunk. This method is trickier to do on your eyelids, but not impossible. Or you could just wipe it all off and start from scratch, right? Oh, wait, you’re drunk already. Ooooops!

Try to Trace – If you really like the look of liquid liner but are intimidated, put on the liner you’re good at putting on and then go over it with liquid, so you’re basically tracing. Tracing was the poor man’s colouring back in Grade 1, but is the glamourous gal’s key to success in Grade Adult.

Practice makes perfect – Don’t look at me like I’m your piano teacher, it’s true. The only way you can master any skill is by practicing. The more you practice, the steadier your hand. Not planning to go out because you just figured out how to get American Netflix? You might as well practicing perfecting the art of lining because even if you do make a hot mess on your face, the only one that’s gonna see is you and the Bob’s Burger’s marathon you’re watching (Team Tina 4ever).

Putting on eyeliner is no easy task, but there’s no reason to fear it. Just do it. Because even if you end up looking like an old timey cat burglar with black smudges around your eyes, whoooooo caaaaaares? To paraphrase a lady icon, you’re a smart, strong, sensual woman, regardless of whether or not you can evenly apply your makeup.

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