How to Apply Liquid Eyeliner Like a Pro: A Fast and Easy Guide

You don't have to wing it.

Face, Hair, Eyebrow, Lip, Cheek, Nose, Skin, Chin, Close-up, Beauty,
(Image credit: Rosdiana Ciaravolo)

Drawing lines might not sound like rocket science, but it's damn difficult to do well with eyeliner. I mean, drawing a thin line without blinking, twitching your hand, or poking yourself? That requires artistic merit. From smudging and mismatched wings to shaky hands, mishaps are bound to happen, especially if you’re guilty of having poor hand-eye coordination. We teamed up with Celebrity Makeup Artist Geo Brian Hennings to break down the easiest liquid eyeliner application method, step by step. You’ll have a powerful, unstoppable line in no time–except, perhaps, by a good makeup remover.

1. Start with a clean base.

Make sure that none of last night’s makeup is still lingering around the eye area by thoroughly cleansing with makeup remover.

2. Prime your lids.

Once you have a clean canvas, apply an eyeshadow primer or concealer with your ring finger (your ring finger has the softest touch) to cover up any veins or dark marks. This will also help your liner last longer.

3. Start by drawing a dot in the middle of the lash line.

“Connect the dots is my foolproof method!” says Hennings. Draw a dot in the middle of your lash line as close to the eye as possible. The size of the dot should be equal to the thickness of your desired line.

4. Apply dots to the inner corner and tail.

The innermost dot should be placed where you wish your line to begin, and outermost where you wish it to end. Use the angle of your lower lash line as a guide for where to place your flick.

5. Connect the dots!

While keeping your elbow rested on a still surface (to avoid shaky hands), gently connect the dots together. To create a smooth line, use your finger to make the skin around your eye taut, but don't tug. “The number one thing to avoid is pulling the eye up or down as you apply,” advises Hennings. “This creates a high tail or a droopy pulled-down one.” Instead, look down so your lids are half-closed but you can still see them in the mirror.

6. Clean up the mess.

After filling in any patches, repeat the process on the other eye. If one (or both) of your lines came out too thick, take some of the liner away with a Q-tip dipped in an oil-based makeup remover. Gently wipe off the excess for a flawless, crisp edge.

And of course, using the right tool makes a huge difference. Check out our top picks, below.

The Best Products for Creating the Perfect Line, Every Time

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Cosmetics, Product, Eye liner, Beauty, Brown, Eye, Mascara, Material property, Liquid, Eye shadow,

(Image credit: Design by Betsy Farrell)

waterproof eyeliner

(Image credit: Rosdiana Ciaravolo)
Hana Hong

Hana Hong is the beauty assistant at Marie Claire, where she covers skincare, makeup, and haircare, and is identifiable by her signature cateye.