Does this sound familiar: Apply foundation, attempt liquid liner, screw it up, remove everything, settle on a statement lip. If you have a love-hate relationship with the glossy ink (as in, love the dramatic look, hate actually applying it), try these simple strategies from makeup artist Daniel Martin.
1. Choose the right tool for your skill set
If you're a liquid liner rookie, a felt-tip marker with a superfine point like Dior Diorshow Art Pen is the easiest to control, says celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin. "It's like the training wheels of eyeliner." If you're advanced — or going for a graphic look — a brush-tip applicator is your best bet. It requires a bit more precision and patience, he warns, but the razor-thin lines you get are worth it.
2. Hold your eyeliner near the end
This simple switch that makes all the difference. "Gripping the eyeliner further up puts too much pressure on the tip, which can make the liner jagged or goopy," says Martin.
3. Tilt your chin up slightly
Then look down into the mirror so you're eyes are halfway closed. It may feel counterintuitive, but this angle helps prevent liner from smearing all over your lid and looking uneven once it's on.
4. Apply liner after shadow
"Powder shadows act as a magnet for liquid liners to stick to," explains Martin, which means less slipping and smudging throughout the day. If you're using a cream formula, prep lids with a primer first.
5. Give yourself a guideline
For those with shaky-hands, use a creamy pencil to sketch a line first. Once you've got the right shape, trace over it with a liquid formula for depth and definition.
6. Do short strokes
Rather than attempting to line your eyes in one fell swoop, try drawing tiny dashes along your top lashes and connecting them into one solid stroke. Another smart technique: holding your eyeliner horizontally (so it's parallel to the floor) and running it sideways against your lash line.
7. Use a slanted brush for perfect cat eyes
It's your best friend when you're trying to free-hand symmetrical, foolproof flicks, says Martin. His how-to: Dip the brush into a liquid or gel pigment and place it along the outer corner of your eye; drag the brush in on a diagonal to create your wing. Then finish lining your lid and fill in any holes to complete the look.
8. Clean up smudges the right way
To fix mistakes or refine edges without messing up the rest of your makeup, opt for a pointed cotton swab soaked in cleansing water, says Martin, who recommends Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water. "It's not greasy and won't tug on the delicate eye skin."
9. Don't forget to tightline
It's the secret to making liner look polished. Do it by gently lifting your lid and wiggling the liner in between your lashes as close to the root as possible. Add some mascara and you're done.
This story was first published on ELLE.com.
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