the Basics | Eyeliner

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Eyeliner: probably one of the first things you picked up in your teenage years to let the world know you didn't care anymore. If you had a childhood anything like mine, there are plenty racoon-eyed photos to remind you of those rebel days. Perhaps now you're looking for something more sophisticated which draws delicate attention to your eyes or an easy way to play with colour. Either way, you've come to the right place.


Eyeliner is a product used to line the eyes: duh. By putting product around your eyes, it can emphasise the colour or shape of your eye or add definition to make them stand out from the rest of your face. Black liner can be used to add drama, definition, or to make your lash line seem fuller and darker. Nude or white liner can brighten and widen the eyes to trick people into thinking you slept a full 8 hours. If you want to add a pop of colour to your look, a coloured eyeliner is an easy and effective way of swaying away from your usual neutrals.


The classic eyeliner that most people think of is the standard pencil or kohl liner. These have been around for centuries and are great for adding a smokey dash of colour around your eyes. Try to aim for a creamy consistency that's easy to blend or smoke out.

Liquid liners are the next most common. These usually come in a pen form but they may also have an ink pot that you dip the tip into to collect more product. Imagine their like the difference between a ballpoint pen and a quill and ink. Liquids are used to give precise, even application and are generally much harder to blend as they set once applied. It can be tricky to master the use of a liquid eyeliner but a lot of practise really pays off.

Recently there's been a major rise in the use of gel liners. Mostly these are stored in a pot that you can apply with a brush but some companies have released innovative gel liner pens. Gel is fantastic for achieving very dramatic, dark black lines. With a thin brush, you can be almost as precise as a liquid liner. These products also tend to be the most long lasting of the eyeliner family.


There are essentially four places around the eye that you can choose to apply liner to: upper lash line, lower lash line, upper waterline, lower waterline. Application to the upper lid is usually to add definition to your lashes to make them appear darker and fuller. Application to the lower lid is usually to emphasise your eye by drawing attention to the shape or by brightening with a nude or white liner in the waterline. 

While colour can be applied anywhere, a lot of people favour a coloured liner on the bottom lash line and use black or brown to line the top. What you apply where is really up to you and your preferences.

Pencil and kohl liners are very easily applied directly to the eyes. You can blend out with a brush or even your finger to get a softer edge to your line. Liquids are also applied directly with the felt or brush tip of the pen.

For applying gel liner, especially from a pot, it's best to use a brush. There are plenty of different shapes to choose from including angled, flat, or pointed liner brushes. The use of these is entirely up to you and how easily you find each of them to use. Most drugstore liners will come with a relatively adequate brush but all high-end gels while require the separate purchase of one.

Gone are the days of racoon eyes. It's time to welcome in a new era of classy eyeliner use and application.

xx Julia

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