How To Put On Eyeliner For Beginners

Eyeliner can go a long way toward helping to characterize your eyes (opening them up and bringing the spotlight on them), but if used inaccurately, it can make you look older.

Some women think they have to stop wearing eyeliner as they age, but that’s just not true. They just need to make improved color choices. For example, if you wore black eyeliner in your thirties, switch to brown, to create a gentle, more tender definition in your fifties. If you now think brown is too extreme, switch to a soft bronze or taupe. Don’t stop defining your eyes as you age, just tone down the definition.How To Put On Eyeliner 01

There are a number of ways to accentuate your eyes when lining. Over the years, I have discovered that it works best, while still looking soft and natural. But first, here are some ground rules :-

• If you line the lower lash line, you should line across the top lash line. Without the balance, the intensity along the lower lash line will pull the eye down, making you look fatigued.

• Similarly, the color along your lower lash line should never be darker than the color along your top lash line, because, this, too, will make your eyes look droopy. Many women want more definition along the top lash line than along the bottom, and this is always okay. For example, a deep brown eyeliner along your top lash line with a soft bronze along the bottom creates a dreamy, more delicate look.

• You can line along the top lash line without lining the lower lash line. I personally like a little definition along the bottom, even if it is just a little bit of the eyeshadow contour color. But you don’t have to define along the waterline.

• For a soft, natural look, you can entirely skip eyeliner. But you can also get a plain look by using an angular eyeliner brush and a black/dark brown eyeshadow to add a little soft definition at your upper lash line. Using an eyeshadow instead of actual eyeliner gives you softer definition, without making your eyes looked lined – like a smoked out eyeliner.How To Put On Eyeliner 02

I am constantly asked about the placement of color. Where do you start, and where do you stop? Where should you line? How thick a line should you create?

There is a simple criterion that works for all eye shapes :-

• Your definition starts at the inside corner of your eye, along your top lash line. Here, the liner should be thinnest, then slowly progressing to a wider line at the outside corner of the eye. This creates the impression of an elongated eye.

• Along your lower lash line, the color should be most intense at the outside corner, fading away as you move toward the inside corner. You want to bring it all the way across the bottom lash line, but make sure the color fades in intensity from the outer to inner corner or else it will make them appear smaller. 

There are a number of tools to apply eyeliner with. Most often, I choose to line with nothing more than the right brush and a dark eyeshadow. Eyeshadow is not only the easiest to apply, it also creates the most understated effect.


1. Dip a dry angled brush into your powder eyeshadow and tap off the excess.

2. Place your brush at the outside corner of the top lash line and sweep it toward the inside corner. 

3. Now for your lower lash line. Dip a pencil brush into your shadow and tap off the excess.

4. Starting from the outer corner (so that the highest concentration of color is at the outer corner), sweep the color along your lower lash line, all the way across. This way the outer corner will have the deepest concentration and the inner corner the lightest.


1. Begin at the outside corner of your upper lash line and draw small dashes, connecting each one as you move toward the inside of the eye. Use the same trick on the lower lash line.

2. Next, using your brush to blend, dip it in a little eyeshadow. This helps smudge the line and soften its appearance. You can use a shade of eyeshadow that matches your eyeliner, or you can choose an entirely different shade, to customize your liner color.

3. Use your angled/pencil brush to blend the line. The outside corner will receive the highest concentration of color, and sweeping your brush across blends the liner, helping it fade as you move inward. When you are finished, it will be darkest at the outside corner and lightest at the inside corner (creating the perfect fade), which is your goal.How To Put On Eyeliner 03

Gel & Liquid

Gel liners can be intimidating to many because you need to work quickly with them or else they dry. They give a pitch black. stark, defined line which might not be many women’s cup of tea. The thing to remember is to use these eyeliners only along the top lash line. Never use them along the bottom lash line—they will look too harsh and stark. If you want color along your lower lash line, use pencil or powder for lower lash line definition.

How To Apply Gel/Liquid Liners:

Starting at the inside corner of your top lash line, move the pointed tip eyeliner brush slowly across the lash line. Make your line thinnest at the inside corner, gradually getting thicker as you reach the outside corner. As your brush reaches the outside corner, you can give it a little “flick” upwards, which helps lift the eye.How To Put On Eyeliner 04

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