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Eyeliners are perhaps the thing that would instigate many people to step on to the magical makeup journey. They’ve been used to great effect in movies, dramas, and some iconic Hollywood celebrities just wouldn’t look the same without them.

While eyeliners aren’t as daunting to try out as eyeshadows and mascaras can be, it is certainly difficult to do them nicely. Everyone could probably draw a line above their eyelashes, but can everyone really say that they knew how to apply eyeliner?

To help your eye makeup achieve the best that it could, we’ve put together this tutorial – based on tips we’ve picked up from makeup artists Beautifymeeh and Tina Yong, that will teach you exactly how to draw eyeliner as a beginner, and how you can make it work the best for you.

Experiment with eyeliner formulas


Eyeliners can be broadly categorised into three categories: pencil, gel, and liquid. We won’t say one is better than the other; it’s really about what you prefer, and what look you’re trying to create.

Pencil eyeliners are generally preferred if you’re going for a more natural, blended-out look with vague edges. They also come in waterproof formulas that will be useful if you have watery eyes, or if you’re trying to tightline on your upper or lower eyelid.

Eyeliner pencils are popular among makeup beginners because they’re more forgiving since they’re easier to remove. Most people also find them easier to control.

Though there are still some pencil eyeliners that require sharpening, many of them are mechanical now. Just twist up and draw on, anytime and anywhere!

Gel eyeliners are typically a solid clay-like substance found in pots and applied with an eyeliner brush. They’re more troublesome to bring around, but they do deliver precision, pigment, and long-lasting wear.


Experiment with different eyeliner textures and finishes.

Liquid eyeliners are the most mainstream of the lot right now, and are an ink-like formula delivered in pens. The tips of these pens are usually felt tip or brush tip, and different brands may also vary in softness.

Liquid liners deliver the cleanest and most dramatic lines but they can also be hard to control – a slight mistake is easily noticeable because of how pigmented they usually are. This is also why makeup beginners tend to shy away from them.

They come in waterproof and non-waterproof formulas, but it is not recommended to use them for tightlining – it’ll be a rather painful experience.

If you’re worried about costs, don’t. Drugstore brands nowadays carry good quality eyeliners in all three of these formulas, so you won’t have to burst your bank account when you’re learning how to apply eyeliner and finding what works best for you.

Use the thinnest lines possible


With eyeliners, one of the most common mistakes is to try and cover up a jagged line with another line over it. Believe us, that’s how you end up with eyeliner that’s way too thick and which drowns out your eyes.

Instead, draw the thinnest line possible following your lashline and end it at the outer corner of your eyes. You can extend the line to create a winged eyeliner look later.

You may need a while to perfect this but make sure the line is the same thinness from inner to outer corners of your eyes. If you like the way this look as it is, you can even stop here!

Map with a pencil eyeliner


As pencil eyeliners are more forgiving because they’re less vivid and easier to remove, you can practise with it first.

Use it to map out the eye-line, and once you’re satisfied with how it looks, go over it with a bolder eyeliner such as a liquid eyeliner.

Now that we’ve gone through a few tips that can get you started, here are a few hacks that can make drawing eyeliner easier for a beginner.

Hack #1: Use dashes


Instead of drawing a complete line in one go, create many dashes along your lash line instead.

Once you’re satisfied with it, just like how you used to play connect-the-dots as a kid, simply join each dash together – and voila! – you’ve created a complete line!

Hack #2: Use a tape


Stick a masking tape (or a scotch tape that you pat out a few times to make less sticky) from your bottom lash line upwards and use it a a guide to create a wing.

Hack #3: Remove with cotton swab


If you’re a makeup rookie, you’re bound to make some mistakes with your eyeliner. Avoid making this other mistake: attempting to clean off the mistake with a cotton pad.

Instead, dip a cotton swab into your makeup remover and clean the mistake up. Cotton swabs have smaller surfaces that can help you get more precision with the cleaning.

Hack #4: Cover up with concealer


It may be difficult to create precise lines at first, but it’s okay – you can always cover up the jagged parts with a concealer!

Using a flat brush, go over the areas that don’t look perfect to “blank” them out.

Hack #5: Use eyeshadow


If you prefer a look that looks less harsh or want to work on your lower lash line, use eyeshadow instead of eyeliner.

Eyeshadows are usually created to be more blendable so you’ll find that they’re more forgiving and subtle, which will help prevent mistakes while delivering a more natural look.

Video tutorials to help beginners draw eyeliner

Prefer videos? We find these ones helpful: