Tell me about eyeliner

I’m attempting to become more feminine and have actually broken down and bought makeup (with some help from my mom) gasp!

I’m finding eyeliner to be a pain in the ass. I dunno if it’s the kind I bought or what, but I’m looking to y’all for tips. Feel free to treat me like an idiot, I don’t mind. =^.^=

I’ve never mastered the stuff. Gotten tons of instruction, bought it several times - you have to have a good bit of practice, I think, and you won’t get it except by looking stupid for a while.

Also, I think the problem is that eyeliner more than anything else looks like Major Makeup, and since I’m used to seeing my face naked, it always looks like “too much” to me even done well.

You certainly do not need eyeliner to make yourself up - I consider it the most optional of things, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I’m certainly no makeup expert, but I can offer this: the twist up kind is easier to apply than the pencil kind.

What’s the pain in the ass part for you?

I agree that eyeliner is “advanced makeup” and really not necessary - when I wear it (not often) I go with a brown pencil and draw right on the line of my eyelashes lightly before applying mascara. I’m 42 and I’ve never mastered liquid liners - I can use them (they look very heavy) but I’d better plan on being able to start over two or three times to ensure not looking stupid.

After years of being a gothic black-liquid-eyeliner disaster, I’ve become like Zsofia. If I put the stuff on it looks like a stranger in the mirror. I don’t wear much more than mascara and a good lip gloss nowadays.

Anyways, the only thing you can do is practice, practice, practice. Sit in front of the mirror for a bit with a stack of eye makeup removal pads. It’s actually kind of fun, you can experiment with different styles or whatever. Just don’t apply the eyeliner to the inside of the lash, it should always go on the outside. Applying on the inside is bad for your eyes and looks trashy to boot, IMO. Be sure to replace your eyeliner regularly, as makeup can and does go bad. Liquid eyeliners and mascara should only be kept 3 months or so. Pencils are much more stable, they are good for a few years.

I also never liked putting it on the lower lids, but that’s a very personal thing. I’ve had dark circles beneath my eyes since I was a kid so I avoid eyeliner and mascara on the lower lid like the plague.

If you want to look like you’re not wearing makeup (or much makeup) the key is pencil, brown, not black (unless you’re very dark complected), and short overlapping strokes, almost dots. Then a finger or Q-tip to smoodge the edges even more.

If you want to look vampy, then liquid liner is the way to go, color your choice, one swoopy swoop, the faster the better. Slow lines = wiggly lines.

Even more makeupey? Liquid liner, but don’t stop at the end of your upper lid. This is definitely Advanced Makeup, into Diva/Goth Makeup range. Some people can pull it off and others look weird, even if it’s technically good, so YMMV. You may just not have the eye/face shape for it. I’ve got one eye that looks great with extended eyeliner and one that looks just awful.

I can’t manage to do my upper lid at all. I can do the bottom, but it comes out rather faint (I think it’s the pencil - it doesn’t want to flow on my face). I’m already using brown, on my mother’s advice (she said brown makes blue eyes look bluer). I’ve already marked my mascara with the expiration date. I’ve got no problems applying that.

So it looks like my main problem is practice?

Skip the eyeliner and just use the pointy tip of the spongey eyeshadow applicator thingy and a dark shade of eyeshadow. One smudgy line at the base of your top lashes, one smudgy line at the base of your bottom lashes, blend a bit with your finger or a Q-tip, and you’re good to go.

Yeah, I’m a fashion nub, but from what I see eyeshadow and eyeliner really only look good if you’re dedicated to wearing make-up. If you go all-out and do the make-up really well, it looks great. If not it looks sloppy, goth, or whorish, in that spectrum. Since I’m ignorant, I’m sure there’s a way to use very light eyeshadow/eyeliner without heavy use of other make-up, but it’s not something I see often. Maybe I do see it and just notice? I have heard the maxim that good make-up is meant not to be noticed.

Anyway, my original opinion still standing, here’s a j-pop idol who wears her make-up well. Without make-up or with just average make-up, she looks cute but nothing superspectacular. With make-up and the proper look, she looks really hot. If she just wore the eyeshadow/eyeliner without all the other parts of the wardrobe, it would look stupid. [tangent]How can girls complain about make-up when it can sometimes enable huge beauty transformations?[/tangent].

Back on topic, her name is Aya Hirano. Compare this and this to that and that, oh and just for good measure, my favorite. It’s probably not the look you’re going for, but I’m hoping that the pics illustrate my opinion on eyeshadow.

Yes, she is my current fantasy crush; how can you tell? :smiley:

I agree. also, I find it easier to apply on my lower lids than the upper. I would say get one that’s fairly soft and just practice. start with putting it just at the outside corners of your eyes, I think that’s easier. smudge it afterward if it looks too harsh. good luck!

I’ve found that Youtube has a lot of makeup tutorials that would help you with eyeliner. I like this girl:

If you can get kohl it’s softer than eyeliner - don’t put it inside of your eyelashes and you can wet it to get a smoother stroke.

trapezoidal jellyfish has it right, just smudge in the corners for now. Chuck the liquid stuff if you bought any - it’s just annoying. Right now I’m using a brown eyeliner to finish off my eyebrows and then I do the eye corner smudge thing. I dont’ make the effort all the time but with a bit of smudging around the eyes & brows, two dots of lipstick smudged in under the cheek bones and on the lips and I’m good to go!

My two cents as a guy is that the biggest returns on applying makeup for appearance seem to come from accenting the eyes.

They can tattoo it now, right? Probably too big of a commitment for the OP at this time, but maybe down the road.

I prefer the pressed powder kind that you add a few drops of water to and apply with a flat brush. Pencils suck. Liquid liner was fine when I was a goth in high school. I prefer a softer look now. Laura Mercier makes a great powder eyeliner - I love the Mahogany Brown color.

Who the heck thought up eyeliner, is what I want to know…the markers look fake and require a crazy steady hand, the pencils take aggressive poking and multiple strokes to see even clumpy color and then you have to blend away. Every other feature gets nice soft brushes, why have pencils and markers for near the eyeballs?

One general trick that helps if you have twitchy eyelids or can’t get the eyeliner to sit right: tilt your head back and put the eyeliner on with half-closed eyes. If you’re using a hand-held mirror, lower the mirror so that your eyelids drop a little.

This is especially handy if you should decide to go for the full-on liquid eyeliner Goth bonanza; it’s easier to draw extended lines this way.

I use a pencil and powder combo - line with Revlon Colorstay (in brown-black, but I’m dark, for a white girl) then use a rusty-brown eyeshadow with soft eyeliner brush over to soften the line a little. Top and bottom, for me, but I don’t usually wear mascara, so that’s about it for eye accenting.

This is absolutely not true for me. Given my features, eyeliner is a starting point if I’m going to wear makeup at all.

To answer the OP - practice. You, the eyeliner, and a mirror.

Not to be nosy, amarinth, but are you Asian or do you have similar “hard to see the eyelids” features? I’m trying to imagine what would make eyeliner so important and mascara and eyeshadow “extras”.

I like the The 5 Minute Face book by Carmindy from What Not to Wear. She’s good at giving makeup tips for different faces and ages, and is aimed at the makeup-impaired.