Beginner’s Guide to Eyeliner Types and Techniques




Beginner’s Guide to Eyeliner Types and Techniques

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Are you new to the world of eyeliner? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will take you on a journey through the various types of eyeliner available and the techniques to master each one. Whether you prefer a subtle, everyday look or a bold, dramatic effect, we’ll help you navigate the world of eyeliner with confidence. So grab your pen or liquid liner, and let’s get started on creating the perfect eye-catching look!

Beginners Guide to Eyeliner Types and Techniques

Choosing the Right Eyeliner

When it comes to choosing the right eyeliner, there are a few different options available to you. Pencil eyeliner, liquid eyeliner, gel eyeliner, and cream eyeliner each have their own unique qualities and benefits.

Pencil Eyeliner

Pencil eyeliner is a great option for beginners due to its ease of use. It typically comes in a retractable or sharpenable form, and the soft texture allows for smooth application. Pencil eyeliner is versatile and can be used to create both subtle and dramatic looks. It is also easily smudgeable, making it perfect for smoky eye looks.

Liquid Eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner is known for its precision and intense pigmentation. It usually comes with a fine brush or felt-tip applicator, allowing for precise lines and winged looks. Liquid eyeliner typically has a longer wear time and is more resistant to smudging. However, it can be a bit more challenging to get the hang of, so it may require more practice for beginners.

Gel Eyeliner

Gel eyeliner comes in a pot or jar and is applied using an eyeliner brush. It has a creamy consistency that glides on smoothly, making it easy to control the intensity of your lines. Gel eyeliner is highly pigmented and long-lasting, making it a popular choice for those looking for a more dramatic look. It is also smudge-proof once it sets.

Cream Eyeliner

Cream eyeliner is similar to gel eyeliner in terms of consistency and application. It is also applied with an eyeliner brush but tends to have a slightly softer and creamier texture. Cream eyeliner is often more water-resistant than other types, making it a good choice for those with watery eyes. It is great for creating defined lines and can be easily blended for a softer look.

Different Eyeliner Finishes

The finish of your eyeliner can greatly impact the overall look you want to achieve. Whether you prefer a matte, shimmery, or metallic finish, there are options available to suit your preferences.

Matte Eyeliner

Matte eyeliner has a flat, non-reflective finish. It provides a more subtle and natural look, making it suitable for everyday wear. Matte eyeliner is great for creating definition without drawing too much attention to the eyes.

Shimmery Eyeliner

Shimmery eyeliner adds a subtle sparkle and sheen to your eyes. It can make your eyes appear brighter and more vibrant, making it a great option for special occasions or when you want to make a statement. Shimmery eyeliner can come in different colors and intensities, allowing you to choose the level of sparkle you desire.

Metallic Eyeliner

If you’re looking for a bold and dramatic look, metallic eyeliner is the way to go. It adds a high-shine, metallic finish to your eyes, making them truly stand out. Metallic eyeliner comes in various shades, such as gold, silver, bronze, and copper, giving you the freedom to experiment with different looks.

Basic Eyeliner Techniques

Now that you know the different types and finishes of eyeliner, it’s time to learn some basic techniques to create different eyeliner looks. These techniques will help you master the art of applying eyeliner and achieve a variety of styles.


Tightlining is a technique where you apply eyeliner to the upper waterline, between your lashes. This technique adds definition to your eyes without creating a noticeable line. It can make your lashes appear fuller and your eyes more captivating. Tightlining is especially useful if you want a natural, no-makeup look.

Classic Line

The classic eyeliner line involves applying eyeliner along the upper lash line, starting from the inner corner and extending to the outer corner. This technique is timeless and versatile, suitable for both casual and formal occasions. You can choose to make the line thin or thick, depending on your preference and the look you want to achieve.

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Winged Eyeliner

Winged eyeliner, also known as the cat eye, is a popular and flattering eyeliner style. It involves extending the eyeliner line beyond the outer corner of the eye, creating a winged or flicked effect. Winged eyeliner can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the length and angle of the wing. This technique requires practice and precision but can elevate your overall makeup look.

Double Winged Eyeliner

For those looking for a more edgy and unique look, the double winged eyeliner technique is a great option. It involves creating two winged eyeliner lines, one on the upper lash line and another on the lower lash line. This technique can add a bold and dynamic effect to your eyes, making them appear more striking and dramatic.

Beginners Guide to Eyeliner Types and Techniques

Eyeliner Styles for Different Eye Shapes

Different eye shapes require different techniques to enhance their natural beauty. Here are some eyeliner styles specifically tailored for different eye shapes.

Round Eyes

If you have round eyes, you can elongate and define them by creating a winged eyeliner look. Extend the eyeliner slightly beyond the outer corner and flick it upward to create the illusion of an elongated eye shape.

Almond Eyes

Almond eyes are considered the ideal eye shape, as they are naturally balanced and symmetrical. Almond eyes can rock a variety of eyeliner styles, from a classic line to a winged eyeliner. Experiment with different techniques to find your favorite look.

Hooded Eyes

Hooded eyes have a fold of skin that partially covers the eyelid, making it more challenging to showcase the eyeshadow and eyeliner. To enhance hooded eyes, focus on tightlining and creating a thin line along the upper lash line. Avoid thick or heavy lines that can make the eyelid look smaller.

Monolid Eyes

Monolid eyes have a flat or nonexistent crease, giving them a unique and beautiful appearance. To enhance monolid eyes, try applying a thin line of eyeliner along the upper lash line and extending it slightly upward. This can create the illusion of a lifted and more defined eye shape.

Downturned Eyes

Downturned eyes have a natural droop at the outer corner, giving a slightly sad or sleepy appearance. To lift and elevate the eye shape, apply a winged eyeliner look. Extend the eyeliner slightly beyond the outer corner and flick it upward to create a lifted effect.

Upturned Eyes

Upturned eyes have an upward tilt at the outer corner, creating a naturally lifted appearance. To enhance upturned eyes, focus on the lower lash line and apply eyeliner to the outer two-thirds. This will balance the eye shape and create a more harmonious look.

Tips for Applying Eyeliner

Applying eyeliner can be tricky, especially for beginners. Here are some tips to help you achieve a flawless eyeliner application.

Prepare the Eyelid

Before applying eyeliner, make sure your eyelids are clean and oil-free. Use a makeup remover or cleanser to remove any excess oil or makeup from the eyelid. Applying a primer or eyeshadow base can also help the eyeliner stay in place for longer.

Choose the Right Brush

If you’re using gel or cream eyeliner, choosing the right brush is essential. Opt for a small, angled brush for precise lines or a thicker, flat brush for a thicker line. Make sure the brush is clean and in good condition for optimum application.

Start with a Fine Line

When starting out, it’s best to begin with a fine line and gradually build up the thickness if desired. This allows for more control and prevents mistakes or smudges. You can always go back and add more eyeliner later.

Fixing Mistakes

If you make a mistake or your lines aren’t as precise as you’d like them to be, don’t worry! You can use a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to gently erase or correct any errors. Alternatively, you can use a thin brush dipped in a concealer to clean up the edges and create a sharp, defined line.

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Seal with Setting Powder

To ensure your eyeliner lasts all day without smudging, gently dust some setting powder over the eyeliner after application. This helps to set the product and prevent it from transferring onto the eyelid or smudging throughout the day.

Creating Different Eyeliner Looks

Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques, you can start experimenting with different eyeliner looks to suit various occasions and personal styles.

Natural Everyday Look

For a natural everyday look, opt for a thin line of pencil or liquid eyeliner along the upper lash line. Keep the line subtle and close to the lashes to enhance your eyes without appearing too heavy or dramatic. This look is perfect for a more polished, yet understated, appearance.

Smoky Eyes

If you’re looking to create a sultry and dramatic look, smoky eyes are a classic choice. Start by applying a dark eyeliner along the upper and lower lash lines, then use a smudging brush or your finger to blend the liner upwards and outwards. This creates a smoky effect and adds depth to your eyes. Pair your smoky eyes with neutral or bold eyeshadow shades to complete the look.

Cat Eye

The cat eye is a timeless and flattering eyeliner look that adds a touch of glamour to any makeup look. To achieve a cat eye, start by drawing a thin line along the upper lash line and extend it slightly beyond the outer corner. Then, create a flick or winged effect by drawing a diagonal line from the outer corner towards the end of your eyebrow. Connect the line to the rest of the eyeliner, and voila! You have a cat eye.

Graphic Eyeliner

For those who love to experiment with bold and artistic looks, graphic eyeliner is the way to go. This involves creating unconventional or geometric shapes with your eyeliner. From double lines to floating eyeliner, the possibilities are endless. Let your creativity run wild and have fun with it!

Colored Eyeliner

If you want to add a pop of color to your makeup look, colored eyeliner is the perfect choice. Choose a vibrant or pastel shade that complements your eye color or outfit. Apply the colored eyeliner along the lash line for a subtle hint of color or create a bolder look by extending the line or creating a winged effect. Colored eyeliner adds a fun and playful element to any look.

Common Eyeliner Problems and Solutions

Even with the best techniques and products, eyeliner application doesn’t always go as planned. Here are some common eyeliner problems and their solutions.


Smudging is a common issue, especially for those with oily eyelids or during hot and humid weather. To prevent smudging, make sure to prime your eyelids before applying eyeliner. Set the eyeliner with a matching eyeshadow or a translucent powder to lock it in place. You can also opt for waterproof or long-wear formulas to minimize smudging throughout the day.


If your eyeliner tends to transfer onto your upper eyelid, there are a few tricks you can try. Firstly, make sure to give the eyeliner enough time to dry completely before blinking or opening your eyes fully. You can also use an eyeshadow base or primer on the upper eyelid to create a barrier between the eyeliner and the skin.

Uneven Application

Uneven application can happen, especially if you’re trying to match both eyes perfectly. To fix this issue, start by focusing on getting a clean and even line on each eye separately. Then, step back and compare the two eyes to make any necessary adjustments. If needed, use a cotton swab to clean up or reshape the lines for a more symmetrical look.

Eyeliner Allergy

Some individuals may develop an allergic reaction to certain eyeliner formulas. If you experience redness, itching, or irritation after applying eyeliner, it’s important to discontinue use and consult a dermatologist. They can help determine the cause of the allergy and recommend suitable hypoallergenic or sensitive skin-friendly alternatives.

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Eyeliner Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to applying eyeliner, here are a few tips to help you get started and improve your skills along the way.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any new skill, practice is key to mastering eyeliner application. Start by practicing on a clean, bare eyelid, and gradually progress to applying eyeliner over eyeshadow or other eye makeup. Be patient with yourself and don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfectly.

Try Different Techniques

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different eyeliner techniques and styles. Play around with different brushes, formulas, and finishes to find what works best for you. Allow yourself to explore different looks and have fun with your eyeliner.

Don’t Pull on the Skin

When applying eyeliner, avoid pulling on the skin or stretching the eyelid. This can lead to an uneven application and potentially cause wrinkles or sagging over time. Instead, rest your elbow on a stable surface and use small, gentle strokes to create your desired lines.

Best Eyeliner Brands for Beginners

Choosing the right eyeliner brand can greatly impact your overall experience and the quality of your eyeliner application. Here are some highly recommended brands that are beginner-friendly.


Maybelline offers a wide range of affordable and high-quality eyeliners suitable for beginners. Their Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner and Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner are popular choices due to their ease of use and long-lasting formulas.


L’Oreal is known for its innovative and reliable makeup products. Their Infallible Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner and Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner are beginner-friendly options that provide precise application and long-lasting wear.


NYX Cosmetics offers a variety of eyeliner options that are both affordable and beginner-friendly. Their Epic Ink Liner and Gel Liner & Smudger are highly recommended for their ease of use, intense pigmentation, and long wear time.


Essence is a budget-friendly brand that doesn’t compromise on quality. Their Long-lasting Eye Pencil and Liquid Ink Waterproof Eyeliner are beginner-friendly options that provide smooth application, rich color, and excellent staying power.

Eyeliner Tools and Accessories

To achieve the best eyeliner application, it’s important to have the right tools and accessories on hand. Here are some essentials to consider adding to your makeup collection.

Eyeliner Brush

An eyeliner brush is a must-have for applying gel or cream eyeliner. Look for a brush with thin bristles and a pointed tip for precise application. Angled brushes also work well for creating winged eyeliner looks.

Eyelash Curler

While not directly related to eyeliner application, an eyelash curler can greatly enhance the overall look of your eyes. It helps to lift and curl your lashes, making them appear longer and more defined. Curling your lashes before applying eyeliner can create a more polished and cohesive look.

Smudging Brush

A smudging brush is a handy tool for creating smoky eye looks or softening harsh lines. Use the brush to blend and soften your eyeliner for a more diffused and blended appearance. This can help achieve a more natural and effortless look.

Cotton Swabs

Cotton swabs are essential for correcting mistakes or smudging eyeliner. Keep a few on hand to tidy up any smudges or to create clean, sharp lines. Dip the cotton swab in makeup remover or water to glide over the area you want to correct.

In conclusion, mastering the art of eyeliner takes time and practice, but with the right techniques, tools, and a little experimentation, you’ll be creating stunning eyeliner looks in no time. Whether you prefer a classic line, a bold cat eye, or a smoky effect, there’s an eyeliner style to suit your preferences and eye shape. Remember to choose the right eyeliner type and finish, follow proper application techniques, and don’t be afraid to have fun and express your personal style through your eyeliner looks.

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