Everything You Need to Know
About Liquid Eyeliner
By Jeanette Crutchfield
Ask people which makeup product intimidates them the most and quite often they will reply with liquid eyeliner. There are videos and articles all over the internet of how to apply liquid eyeliner sharing their stories and frustrations. They say liquid liner is messy, hard to use, smudges and smears. With the right products and the right guidance, liquid eyeliner can become one of your favorite products in your eye makeup arsenal. Read on to learn how.
Types of Liquid Eyeliner
All liquid liners are designed to do the same thing: enhance your eyes with rich, high-pigment color that dries smudge-proof to last all day. Using liquid liners are more precise than eyeliner pencils making them perfect for intricate eye looks with long-lasting definition to stay put all day. The liquid format also makes for an easy-glide application with no tugging or pulling around the eye area. The main choice to make when selecting a liquid liner is what type of applicator you want to use- a super-fine brush or a felt-tip pen.
Brush-Tip Liquid Eyeliners
A brush liquid eyeliner typically comes in a tube with a wand (similar to a mascara or lip gloss) that screws into it. The brush tip is typically ultra-thin. This type of applicator allows you to create a multitude of looks. You can press softly and get a super thin line or you can press harder to get a thicker bolder line.
To minimize this, wipe the brush on the edge of the liquid liner opening to remove any excess product before applying it on your eyes.
The benefit of using a brush eyeliner is the beautiful lines you can make with it. Because the brush is more flexible than a felt tip, you can create looks reminiscent of calligraphy on your eyes. Because you dip the brush back into the liner every time, your brush is always fully loaded every time you use it helping create a more uniform look. For a long-lasting, high-pigment liquid eyeliner with an ultra-fine brush, try e.l.f.’s Expert Liquid Eyeliner.
Felt-Tip Liquid Eyeliners
A felt-tip liquid eyeliner pen is exactly as it sounds. Think of an ultra-fine permanent marker. In this type of liquid liner, the liquid is inside the pen which feeds directly into the felt-tip. The felt-tips can vary in length and flexibility such as a firm felt tip or soft.
For beginners, a liquid eyeliner with a felt tip is much easier to use than a brush. The felt tip doesn’t separate like a brush and can give a nice and neat sharp line every time. Where brushes are better for swirls, felt tip liners are better for straight, graphic lines.
If you want your liner to truly be long wearing and smudge-proof try a waterproof liquid eyeliner with a precision felt-tip such as e.l.f.'s Waterproof Eyeliner Pen.
Below are Two Looks Using Liquid Eyeliner:
How to Tightline Your Eyes with Liquid Eyeliner
One look you can do with liquid liner is the “tightline” look. The idea behind tightlining is to put a lot of emphasis on defining the lash line without using thick eyeliner. A lot of times, a no-makeup makeup look will use a subtle tightlining to define the eyes without using a lot of eye products.
First, you never want to try to put on one single swoop of liquid liner across your lash line. Even professionals have difficulty making one swoop look uniform. Instead, use small strokes. The easiest way to tightline your eyes with liquid liner is to “connect the dots”. Look at your individual lashes and think of the base of each lash as being a “dot”. Using your liquid liner and using very short strokes, connect all the “dots” together. You won’t see a long pronounced eyeliner shape, however, you will see your eyes more defined and your lashes looking thicker. Try it on one eye first and compare the two to see what we mean. You can also do this technique on both your upper lash line and lower if you want more definition there.
How to Do a Cat Eye with Liquid Eyeliner
Liquid eyeliner is ideal in creating the famous cat eye look! Every season there seems to be a trend in cat eyes making the tails longer or shorter or making the lines thinner or thicker. Below are some tips to help you make sure your cat eye is at the right angle as well as even on both eyes.
Before you start, decide if you want a thin cat eye or a thick one and decide how long you’d like your tail to be. Start with small strokes and build up your cat eye as you go. The angle of the tail is one of the parts of the cat eye that tends to be most frustrating. Here’s a little cheat- take an eyeshadow brush and hold it at the side of your nose and through the outer edge of your eye. Typically this is done to determine where the end of your brow should be, but it also helps you find what angle will look best on you for your cat eye.
- Using your liquid liner, put a few small dots along the eyeshadow brush angle going only as far as you’d like your cat eye’s tail to go from the outer corner of your eye. Then, just as you did with the tightlining, connect the dots with soft short strokes. You can add thickness to your tail if you’d like, but add thickness to the top of your tail, not the bottom. Adding thickness to the bottom will change the angle of your cat eye.
- Once you’ve completed your tail, it’s time to connect it to the rest of your eye. There are a few options. Traditional/retro: Connect the tail all across your lash line and into the inner corner of your eye. Modern: Connect the tail to just the outer edge of your eye and leave the rest of your lash line bare. Regardless of which look, use small strokes to slowly build up the thickness of the line.
- Make both eyes match. Usually when people have trouble with liquid liner not matching, it’s because they are using too much product at a time and not doing short strokes. If you are using a brush tip, make sure you are wiping the excess product off on the tube opening every time. To make sure your angles match, simply do the same technique as the other eye with the eyeshadow brush helping to guide you.