Eyeliner is the source of many a beauty problem. The secret to success is knowing how to apply different types of eyeliner because each one has its own rules. While it's a given that it's a must-have for any makeup bag, the eyeliner gods aren't kind to everyone. I've spotted countless Instagram posts lamenting an eyeliner application gone wrong (#eyelinerproblems).
But seeing as I've spent many years using all kinds of types of eyeliner (see my guide to the best eyeliners here), I can tell you now that there is a trick for applying each and every type. From gel to pencils, as well as liquid, I've got beauty hacks for every type of eyeliner. You'll never have to despair in front of your mirror in the morning ever again.
Keep scrolling for my guide on how to apply each type of eyeliner and which products I rate.
Difficulty Rating: Easy
The beauty of the pencil (aka kohl) is that you don't want it to be perfect. A pencil and a sharpener is the ideal eyeliner starter kit, as you can mess it up and it'll always look great. Think kohl is all about a rock-chick look? Think again: A soft brown can make blue eyes pop and look pretty rather than punky. If you're unsure about it, go for a light brown to start.
Take your brown pencil and lightly draw a line on the top of your eyelid as close to your lash line as possible. Don't try to draw a cat eye (you need a different type of liner for that); this is simply about enhancing your lashes in the most subtle way possible. Once you've got your line, take a clean finger (I usually use my middle) and start to gently smudge. The look is softly romantic, and all you'll need to add is a bit of mascara. Go for a black pencil when you're feeling more confident or want party makeup.
You can also use the pencil in the waterline (top and bottom) to further intensify your eyes and make your lashes appear fuller.
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Difficulty Rating: Medium
Though it's by far the easiest way to get the cat eye, liquid eyeliner often makes people run scared. But it doesn't have to be this way. Instead of going for an eyeliner that comes with its own brush (such as this one by Rimmel), opt for one that looks like a felt pen. This will give you greater control over the product. To get the best line, draw from the inner corner of your eye first, and take the pen over to your other corner. Do this as gently as possible, and don't blink to make sure you get the straightest line. Then, to create that flick, turn your eyeliner around and draw on the tiniest little line (3 to 5mm) that goes upwards towards the end of your eyebrow. This tutorial is one of the best we've seen to get the easiest flick. How do you ensure your flicks match? When you're angling the flick, aim for the outer corner of your brow.
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Difficulty Rating: High
Gel is where things can get a little trickier (read: wonky), but don't fear: There is a way to do it. Granted, this one takes a bit more practice, but it will give you the most graphic line you could want, and it's utterly budge-proof.
The first thing you will need is a decent brush that's angled to create a flick. Next, you need to remember that gel can dry out quickly, so you need to work fast. You don't want to leave the lid off too long as the product won't glide on as easily as when it was box-fresh.
Another key thing to note is whether your eyelids get oily. Does your eyeliner always seem to move or your eye shadow crease? If so, you may have oily eyelids. If that's the case, no worries; simply invest in an eyelid primer to ensure the liner doesn't slip and slide. Then treat it the same way as you would the pen eyeliner. Above all, gel eyeliner needs the most practice, but eventually everyone gets it right.
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Next up! The best short hairstyles that will persuade you into the salon.