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How to master applying liquid liner

There are some make-up techniques that I'm really not that bothered about trying to master, like contouring for example, but one thing I have always wanted to be able to apply properly was liquid liner. I've always liked the black liner and red lipstick look, but its only once I got into my 30s that I actually started wearing red lipstick and managed to finally master liquid liner application.  

Technically I should have been wearing eye liner for years as it was part of the make-up 'uniform' required for my dancing shows, along with blue eye shadow and red lipstick. But I was always absolutely shocking at applying eye liner. Of course I would try to apply it in one long line (I'll go into why this isn't a good idea below) and it would look like a kid had taken a felt tip and tried to draw around my eye. 

It's taken me an awful long time to get to a position where I feel I'm reasonably competent at applying liquid liner (and am happy to go out in public) so I thought I'd share some of my tips in case it's something you might also be trying to master.

How to master applying liquid liner

Start with the correct tool

There are a few different ways you can apply liquid liner including using a pen and a dip pot with a brush using either liquid or gel (which I'm kind of counting as a type of liquid). If you're a beginner I would say by far the best type to use would be a felt tip style pen with a simple pointed rigid nib. You can get some different shaped nibs, but I would say they're better for people who are more experienced. My recommendations would be Soap & Glory's Supercat liner (the original one not the newer fat one, although I think you can also get a slimmer one now too) and Bourjois' Liner Feutre. I really liked Liner Feutre in the shade Noir Violine (a deep purple shade) and was just about to replace it but it appears they've discontinued that particular shade. You might also want to start off with a shade that isn't black, a brown or something similar, as black can be quite harsh and is more unforgiving.

Get a good position

Its always recommended that you rest you elbow on a surface to give you a stable hand for applying eye liner, but when I lived at home this wasn't usually possible because I didn't have a dressing table and applied my make-up in front of the bathroom mirror. However I find it works just as well if you rest your hand against your cheek. I still usually do this now even though I do have a dressing table to rest my elbow on. Resting your hand on your cheek gives you enough stability in your hand for more precise application.

How to master applying liquid liner

Tips for application

I'd recommend not going straight in for the Amy Winehouse look but starting off simple. Start by practising a thin line as close to the lash line as you can get it, stopping once you get to the outer corner of your eye. If you have naturally blonde hair like me then it's likely you might also have blonde lashes, at least at the base, and unfortunately this can often make it look like there's a gap between my lash line and my liner. So getting your line as close to the base of your lashes as possible helps. Once you've mastered a thin line you can move on to building this up to a thicker line and trying out wings/cat flicks. Following the lash line you have a guide but once it gets to flicks you're free handing and it's not easy to get them matching on both eyes (I still rarely manage to get them matching exactly). When building up your line you also want to keep it thin towards the inner corner of your eye and get thicker towards the outer corner. 

Also I wouldn't attempt to do it in one complete line until you're much closer to expert level as it's very difficult to get a perfect smooth line in one go. It's much better to use short strokes, moving along the eye building up a line. I also wouldn't bother trying to get the line right into the inner corner of your eye. I start where my lashes start and taper the beginning of the line down to meet the end of my lash line.


This might sound a little obvious but you need to practice. Don't give it a stab just before you're going out as if you make a mess of it you'll need to try and correct it which is far from easy and it can end up quite stressful. Practice at home when you're not going anywhere so you can whip it off straight away if it doesn't go to plan.

What make-up techniques have you had to practice to master?

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  1. I have shed many tears over liquid eyeliner, it's actually pathetic XD My eyes are all wrinkly and hooded, which makes it SO difficult. Recently I've been getting it semi-right, but my eyes never ever ever look the same on both sides. I guess patience and practice is key!

    1. I also have 'wrinkly' eye lids! When I had to see a specialist when I had a problem with my sight I was told I have a lot of excess skin in my eyelids, which is what makes the wrinkly effect. When I'm older I probably won't be able to see for all the saggy skin hanging over my eyes! x


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