Makeup Tips

The 3 Eyeliner Mistakes That Pro Makeup Artists See Beginners Make All the Time

Rachel Lapidos

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Photo: Getty Images/Chandler Ramalaine / EyeEm

It’s 2020, the year of the mask. Now that we’re all covering the bottoms of our faces to protect against the spread of COVID-19, eyeliner has become the makeup option du jour. But, uh, it’s not exactly the easiest product to use (just me?). To craft that just-right line along your lashes, it requires a steady hand and a few makeup artist-approved beginner eyeliner tips for an on-point application.

“Eyeliner is so personal and everyone wears it in such different ways,” says Sara Wren, Milk Makeup global studio artist. Though she says that certain application methods really come down to dealer’s choice, she’s learned a few tips in her years as a makeup artist that make applying eyeliner so much more precise and what’s more, she’s pinpointed the super common mistakes that people make when using their eyeliner product.

For starters, you’re going to want to look for a formula that’s easy on the eyes. Make sure that you’re grabbing an eyeliner that’s hypoallergenic or free of potentially eye-irritating ingredients such as carbon black or formaldehyde resins. Keep scrolling to learn what they are, and what you should do instead (right on time as everyone showcases their eyes with bold eye makeup looks with their face masks).

3 of the most common eyeliner application mistakes

1. Pulling your skin

According to Wren, oftentimes people tend to contort their faces or pull their skin to get their liner right. “Then when you let go, it kind of just falls, because you were holding your face in a position that isn’t natural to apply it,” she says. “So when you relax, you’re not getting a clean, universal look.” To make the line more precise, opt for a super-skinny eyeliner such as Milk Makeup Kush Liquid Eyeliner ($22), which is sweat-proof, slick, and has a felt tip for ultimate precision.

2. Doing the full line at once

It takes an advanced makeup pro to successfully apply eyeliner all in one stroke. “Some of us feel very confident doing a bold line and going all the way through on your first try,” says Wren. “But I’ve had years of practice and I always tell my clients that if you need to build [your eyeliner] out in little, short strokes, do that. It’s an easier way.”

3. Starting on the inner eye

This one’s not necessarily a mistake, but Wren says that applying your eyeliner from the outside-in is the easiest way to achieve your look. “I always start with the wing and work my way back,” she says. This is especially helpful if you’re going for a winged eyeliner look or a cat-eye. Whatever finished look you’re going for, Wren says that beginning on your outer edge and working your way in gives you more control over how thin or thick you want your line to be.

Watch below for more tips on applying makeup like a pro:

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