How to Apply Eyeliner

Five Methods:Applying Liquid LinerApplying Pencil LinerApplying Gel LinerCreating a Smoky Cat Eye LookPrintable Eyeliner Stencils

Eyeliner can accentuate your eyes with a soft line or a dramatic stroke. You can embellish your eyes by spending just a few minutes in front of a mirror with an eyeliner pencil, some liquid liner, or a gel liner. Even if you are new to wearing eyeliner, you can learn all about how to apply it in just a few minutes.

Method 1
Applying Liquid Liner

  1. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 6
    Shake the liner. To ensure that the liquid liner is well-mixed, you will need to shake the bottle. Make sure that the lid is secured first and then shake the liquid liner for a few seconds. When you are ready, unscrew the cap and pull the brush out of the bottle.[1]
    • If the brush seems to have too much liner on it, then swipe it across the edge of the liner bottle.
  2. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 7
    Start in the middle. Place the brush against your upper lash line so that it is as close as possible to your eye lashes. Then, begin applying eyeliner to your upper lash line. Move out towards the outer edge of your lash line.[2]
    • If you are worried about getting an even line, you can line your upper lash line with pencil liner first and then go over this line with liquid liner.[3]
  3. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 8
    Fill in the gaps. After you have finished lining the outer corner, line the inner edge of your upper lash line and connect this line up with the first line you made. Use small strokes to connect your lines and fill it out as needed so that you have one solid, even line on your upper lash line.[4]
    • If you make a mistake, dip a cotton swab in some makeup remover and use the tip of the cotton swab to fix it. You can wipe away excess liner or even out a crooked edge.[5]
  4. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 9
    Follow lower lash line for a winged look. Wings are optional with liquid liner, but adding wings can intensify your look. If you want to create a winged look, then just follow the curve of your outer lash line upwards form the outer corner of your eyelid. Then, fill in the wing as needed.[6]
    • Try creating just a small wing if you do not want to look too dramatic, or go for a longer wing for a high drama look.
    • You can use the edge of a business card to help you create a straight line for the wing. Just place the business card against the outer edge of your eyelid at an angle and trace along the edge with the liquid liner.[7]
    • You can also use tape to create wings. Place some tape on your lower lash line so that it is at an angle. The tape should be right up against the outer edge of your lower lash line and extending up towards your eyebrow. You can tilt the tape as much or as little as you want, but keep in mind that more tilt will look more dramatic. If you want a less dramatic look, reduce the amount of tilt in your tape.[8]

Method 2
Applying Pencil Liner

  1. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 1
    Prepare your liner pencil. To ensure that your pencil liner goes on smoothly, it helps to get it to the right temperature. If your liner feels hard, then you might want to warm it up. If it feels soft, then you might want to cool it down.
    • To warm up your liner, hold it over a flame for a few seconds. This will soften up the liner enough to give it a gel-like consistency. Then, test the liner on your wrist before you apply it to your eye.
    • To cool down your liner, try placing it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you apply it. This will help to prevent the pencil eyeliner from crumbling.[9]
  2. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 2
    Hold the outer corner of your eyelid. Place your fingers on the outer edge of your upper lash line and pull outwards gently so that the eyelid is taut. This will help to ensure that you create a straight even line along your upper lash line. You may also want to close your eyelid as you pull it taut.
    • Raise your eyebrows so that your eyelid does not block your lash line at all.
    • It may also be helpful to rest your elbow on a table or countertop to keep your hand steady.
  3. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 3
    Start at the inner corner and work across. Begin lining the inner corner of your eyelid and move towards the outer edge of your eyelid. Make sure that you go slowly and use short strokes to create an even line.
    • If you want to make your eyes look bigger and more open, then you may consider applying a lighter color just to the inner corner of your upper lash line.[10] For example, you could use a cream colored liner on the inner corners and a brown colored liner on the outer corners.
  4. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 4
    Consider tight lining for a more natural look. If you want a really natural look, then you might consider tight lining your eyes. To tight line your eyes, only apply the eyeliner to the spaces between your lashes on your upper lid.[11] This will accentuate your eyes without creating a dramatic line.
    • You can tight line your upper and/or lower lash line.
    • For an even more natural look, try tight lining your eyes with a neutral shade, such as light brown.
  5. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 5
    Line your lower lash line. If you decide to line your lower lid, place a finger on the outer edge of your lower lid and pull it taut. Then, begin applying liner using short strokes, just as you did with the top lid.
    • Line the entire bottom lash line for a dramatic look. Lining the entire lower lash line along with your upper lash line will make your eyes look even more dramatic.
    • Line just the outer half of the lower lash line for a more subtle look. You can also use a lighter shade of eyeliner for the lower lash to make the effect a bit less dramatic. For example, you could use a light brown shade on your lower lash line.

Method 3
Applying Gel Liner

  1. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 10
    Apply liner to one side of the liner brush. Gel line usually comes in a small pot and you will need a liner brush to apply it. When you are ready to apply your liner, unscrew the lid from the pot and dip your liner brush into the gel liner so that just the tip or edge is coated in gel liner.[12]
    • Gel liner can dry out quickly, so make sure that you replace the lid as soon as you are done using it. If I seems a little dry or stiff, then you may also want to warm the pot in your hands to make it easier to use.[13]
  2. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 11
    Start at your inner and outer corners. Begin applying the gel liner to your inner lash line moving towards the center, but do not fill it in yet. Then, apply some liner to your outer lash line moving towards the outer edge.[14]
    • If your eyelids tend to cover up your eyeliner, then apply the liner in an arch shape. This will help to ensure that you can see the liner when your eyes are open.[15]
    • Another option is to create several dots along your lash line and then connect the dots to create a line.[16]
  3. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 12
    Fill in the center. After you have starter lines on the inner and outer edges, then you can fill in the gap along the center of your lash line. Use soft small strokes to create an even line along your upper lash line. To ensure that the line is even, you may need to go over it several times.[17]
    • Get some more gel liner on your brush if needed. You may be able to complete one eye with the amount of gel liner that you applied to your brush, or you can add more if needed.
    • Try blending some eyeshadow along the edge of the liner to create a smoky or smudged effect.[18]

Method 4
Creating a Smoky Cat Eye Look

  1. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 13
    Create a base. Apply a neutral tone of eyeshadow to your eyelids to begin and then follow it up with a slightly darker color. For example, you can use a nude shade, followed by a light brown shade.[19]
    • Use a fluffy brush to apply each layer of the eyeshadow all over your eyelids.
  2. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 14
    Add eyeshadow to the outer edges of your eyelids. Next, apply some medium brown eyeshadow to the outer edges of your eyelids. This will start to enhance your outer eyelids and create a nice backdrop for your cat eye eyeliner. Follow up the medium brown shade with some black eyeshadow over the same area.[20]
    • Apply some black eyeshadow to the inner edges of your eyelids as well. This will help to create the smoky effect.
  3. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 15
    Highlight the center. To brighten your eyes, add a bit of light, shimmery eyeshadow to the centers of your eyelids. You can use any light, shimmery color that you want, such as a champagne, cream, or white color. Pat the eyeshadow onto the centers of your eyelids using a small fluffy brush.[21]
  4. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 16
    Line your upper lash line. Now that you have finished applying your eyeshadow, you can start to line your upper lash line with black eyeliner. Take the eyeliner and begin by applying it to the outer and inner edges of your upper eyelids, then fill in the center.[22]
    • If you are using gel liner with a liner brush, then make sure that the brush is evenly coated and that there are no clumps of liner stuck on the brush.
  5. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 17
    Create your wings. Next, extend your eyeliner out past the edge of your eyelid and upwards. Follow the curve of your lower lash line to help you create the wings. Then, fill in the area between the center of the wing and the liner on your eyelids.[23]
    • When you are done, you should have a dramatic, thick looking cat eye liner look.
  6. Image titled Apply Eyeliner Step 18
    Apply mascara and false lashes. You can finish your look with some mascara and false lashes if desired. Adding mascara will help to define your eyes and false lashes will give you an even more dramatic look.[24]
    • Try curling your lashes before you apply mascara to give them some extra volume and definition.[25]

Printable Eyeliner Stencils

Printable Eyeliner Stencils


  • Don't apply your eyeliner with big strokes; instead try smaller strokes as this gives you more control and creates a cleaner line. This trick works with any eyeliner.
  • If the eyeliner you are using won't come off the pencil (not making a line), then heat it up using a hair dryer or old hair straightener. It should apply very easily. Make sure you don't melt it.
  • If you are having trouble removing any eye makeup, you should try using baby oil and a cotton swab.
  • Wash brushes regularly with makeup remover or a mild gel shampoo.
  • Putting powder eyeliner over pencil eyeliner will help it stay in place while also softening the look.
  • If your skin is dry, you may have a problem with smudging, so you may want to use a light cold cream on your face and then wipe it off before applying. This leaves just enough moisture to allow the pigment to move over the skin surface.
  • To wash the eyeliner off, apply a wet tissue to the spot and gently rub to clean it off.
  • Don't touch your eyes when you have eyeliner on, or it will smear on your eyelid and hand.
  • Instead of white eyeliner, use a nude/peach color on your waterline, as this looks more natural.
  • When applying eyeliner, don't stretch the surface. This can lead to early eye wrinkles, and you won't end up with as clean of a line.


  • Avoid sharing your eyeliner with others as this can transmit bacteria and infection from person to person. If you must share, swipe the tip with a bit of makeup remover or rubbing alcohol and rinse the liquid off. Also, replace eye makeup every 30-60 days to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Lining the inside of the lower lid may cause eye infections, and it greatly increases the risk of getting makeup in your eye.
  • Be careful with how much liner you wear - none at all is better than too much.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (23)

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Eyeliner