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Eyeliners are perhaps the product that would instigate many people to step onto 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 know 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 apply eyeliner as a beginner, and how you can make it work the best for you.

Choose the Best Eyeliner Formula


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

How to Apply Pencil Eyeliners

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 your upper or lower eyelid.

Eyeliner pencils are suitable for beginners because they’re easiest to control as well as remove if you make any mistakes.

The trick is to choose the right eyeliner pencil that’ll make your experience much easier. Get an eyeliner pencil that glides on smoothly – you can test how easily the pencil applies to your skin when you’re at the store – so that you’ll be able to apply it onto your lid with ease.

Beginners will also benefit from using an eyeliner pencil that’s not waterproof, as well as having their makeup remover on standby, so that they can quickly erase any mistakes as they go along.

Also, while there are still some pencil eyeliners that require sharpening, many of them are mechanical now. That means, all you have to do is twist and draw, anytime, anywhere!

How to Apply Gel Eyeliners

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.

If you’re wondering whether you need to wet your brush to apply gel eyeliner, the answer is no!

However, what you can do to make the process easier is to choose the right brush. An angled brush is ideal for creating a crisp, clean wing, whereas a flat top eyeliner will work better if you’re filling in your lower lash line. Once you’ve chosen your brush, simply dip the dry brush into the pot and you’ll be ready to apply the gel eyeliner product to your lids.

How to Apply Liquid Eyeliners

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 tips or brush tips, 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.


Experiment with different eyeliner textures and finishes.

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.

Start With Applying Thin Lines


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 lash line 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 the inner to outer corners of your eyes. If you like the way this looks as it is, you can even stop here!

Or, Use a Pencil Eyeliner to First Map Your Eye-Line


If you’re keen on creating a sharp, liquid eyeliner look, you can still begin the process with a pencil eyeliner. It’s like what many of us used to do in school when we started our drawings with pencils before tracing over the pencil outlines with a pen or marker.

Since pencil eyeliners are less vivid in colour and easier to remove, use them to map out your eye line first. Once you’re satisfied with how the eyeliner looks, then you can apply your liquid or gel eyeliner over it to create a bolder, edgier style.

Top Tips to Applying Eyeliner for Beginners

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

Use Dashes to Apply Your Eyeliner


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 eyeliner line!

Use a Tape to Create the Wings


Stick a masking tape or scotch tape (that you’ve patted on a few times to make it less sticky) from your bottom lash line upwards, and use it as a guide to creating a wing.

Erase Mistakes Using a 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.

Cover Up Imperfections 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 make them less obvious.

Use Eyeshadow for a Smokey Style


If you prefer a look that looks less harsh or are applying eyeliner to your lower lash line, use eyeshadow instead.

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 Apply Eyeliner

Prefer videos? We find these ones helpful: