Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Low-Down: Liquid Eyeliner

I L-O-V-E liquid eye liner. I was doing the flick way before Amy Winehouse came on the scene and it crept onto the catwalk (remember Chanel's models with their dreamy fly-away beehives and thickly lined feline eyes back in 2007? It's pictured below in case you don't!). As with mascara application, I am a firm believer that anyone can learn to do great make-up if they familiarise themselves with their facial features. I first started experimenting with eye liner when I was about 13/14 years old because I had to do stage make-up for ballet performances. It was a disaster so I bought one pink and one lilac kohl pencil eye liner from MAC to practise with. These were both beautiful with my green eyes and were much better to play around with as mistakes weren't so obvious.

I did not master the art of applying liquid eye liner until a fellow dancer told me her technique (which I explain below). Since then, I have often gone back to the classic flick for a night out. I have stayed loyal to Rimmel's liquid eye liners (it was the first I tried) but also use Shiseido's in grey. A friend uses YSL's so I can vouch for theirs too. I do not think this is something you need to splash out on, though. 

Do test before you purchase by drawing a line across the back of your hand (not on your face - you don't know where it's been!!). The line should be opaque and glossy. Many will come out grainy, blotchy or too dilute. I also recommend that you get an eye liner with an applicator like a felt-tip and not a brush. These are much easier to handle and, because of their tapered shape, allow you to draw a better line and control the thickness.

It's up to you what order you do your eye make-up in (I will be posting a how-to on your entire make-up application very soon!) but I prefer to do eye liner before mascara. As a teen, I did eye liner after mascara, for the same reason children learning to colour outline the object then fill it in - the border acts as an anchor, preventing you from going 'outside the line'. However, doing the eye liner step before mascara will allow you to draw a line right down to the base of the eyelashes, and you will also be able to draw underneath your eyelid - on the rim, the same as you would draw on the rim of your lower lash line. You must be careful not to get eye liner on your tear duct or in your eye, though!

 Cotton buds are a must when using liquid eye liner. In the early stages of learning to get your flick right, you can run a damp q-tip along the line to straighten it out. I also find it useful for getting rid of any powder that may fall below the eyes (from eye shadow) or smudges on your eyelids (from mascara). 

To apply the eye liner, close your eye, place your fourth finger close to the outer corner of that eye and gently pull the lid up and away, towards your temple. The aim is to create a perfectly closed eyelid and a smooth surface across the eyelid. I ask you to use your fourth finger as this will apply the least amount of pressure to the delicate skin around the eye area.

Take the liner from its pot and wipe off excess on the opening of the bottle (rather like you would with a nail polish brush). Start drawing the line from the middle of the eyelid to the outer corner, then do another line from the inner corner to the middle of the eyelid. I suggest this because, when you first place the applicator on your eye, it will have the most amount of liquid you will put on the eye; this decreases as you spread the line and so by starting in the middle, you avoid getting eye liner in your tear duct. 

Some say that this technique means that your line will be too thick (as one the eyelid is let go, the way your eyelid creases will make the line appear thicker). This is why the application is personal - my eye shape means that this is not a problem because I have almond eyes that are deeply set in my face. That means that my eyelids are very smooth and so do not crease up when I release them. Whatever your eye shape, you should still be able to use this method if you practise varying the thickness of the line.

Nonetheless, if you want an alternative, so long as you make sure you really wipe off all the excess either on the bottle opening or on a tissue, you can start at the inner corner and use lots of little sweeping motions, like an artist does when doing a rough sketch. This tends to work better with kohl pencils than liquid eye liners in my experience. Once you have practised plenty of times, you should be able to draw a single line from inner to outer corner. Follow the natural curve of your eye to create the flick. If you find this difficult, an easy way is to open your eye and draw a line along your lower lashes, starting very close to the outer corner and ending at that corner. Next, go back to the top lashes and continue the line you have drawn until it meets the lower line at a point.

Trish McEvoy does a special liquid, 'Finish Line Shadow Transformer', which converts her deep pigment eye shadows into liquid eye liners. If you use either a slanted or flat-ended brush, these are great as you can just use your usual eye shadow! They are also much more flattering on the majority of people than the harsh black of liquid eye liners. The second application process I suggested will work well with this option.

Trish also makes a fantastic eye liner called the, 'Eye Definer Pencil'. I have it in Antique Silver and draw it over a deeper blue eye shadow that I first line my eyes with. It's great for a more natural day-time look, to subtly define the eyes. I have been lucky enough to have been given two make-up masterclasses from Trish herself and very soon I will share with you some of the tips I picked up from her. Trish's products are sold at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

I also have a palette of four wet/dry eye shadows by Chanel. Wet/dry eye shadow and eye liners do have different textures to standard ones and are the best bet if you want to be able to spread dry shadow all over the eyelid and then wet your brush/applicator and draw a defined wet line along the lash line. The advantage of using a wet product is that the result will be bolder and brighter and it will stay put until you remove it. If you really want to try this look without spending, then you can use water and your usual eye shadow but you will need a brush to apply it with, particularly if you want to try it as a liner.

AB x

P.S. pictures courtesy of, and

No comments:

Post a Comment