What’s the Best Way to Apply Eyeliner?

Already mastered eyeliner?  Time to move on to contouring!  

Have you ever heard of the panda smudge? Or what about the double flick and dropped flick, which sounds more like varying degrees of high school foreplay than anything else?You might be familiar with the soft smoke or classic bar.  I’m best-versed in the cat eye but I say that hastily because I have pretty poor vision in my right cornea so whenever I’m applying a coat of liner on my left lid, it looks much more like a distorted valley in the midst of a flood, but I digress.

The reason I’m talking about this at all is because on Saturday night I set out to do my makeup for the first time since, I don’t know, I wrote this piece on why I don’t wear makeup. I spent a lot of time appraising the way Alexa Chung wears liner over her lids and wanted to go in for a similar kill (I ended up with one flooded valley and one kind of regular eye, which together looked pretty Clockwork Orange-y). This then turned into a YouTube video search where I learned that there is pretty much an underworld dedicated solely to eyeliner application — both above and below the lid; enter the panda smudge (a smokey eye?) or those high school foreplay flicks.

A thin flick is probably my best bet given how thick my eyebrows are (what I’ve learned from my cat eye is that the liner comes out too thick, practically touches my brows and just like that, I’m George Whipple).

But I wanted to ask you: are there any surefire eyeliner application tricks that you’ve picked up? Like a sort of universal method that works for everyone? Or more easily, just for you? Krista in our office looks pretty cool in her cat eye and so does Elizabeth, while Amelia, who is more prone to wear mascara — hold the liner — will sometimes sketch a classic bar into her upper lid and come out looking like a movie star (Tiffany, the doll from Bride of Chucky). I’m still trying to figure it all out, so from a purely user-interest point of view, I ask: what have you found to be the best way to apply eyeliner?

And if you have actual eyeliner recommendations (I think the liquid liners of Eyeko and Dior are pretty great, so is this Charlotte Tilbury pencil), I’ll take those too.

Illustration by Amelia Diamond, GIF by Krista Anna Lewis


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