2018 is the year to be bold…with your makeup. You’ll nail the cat-eye, embrace the red lip, and rock metallic and chrome finishes. But, while all of that sounds great in theory, just how do you get from bare-faced to bright-eyed without having a totally non-chill meltdown in the meantime? Here, makeup artist Jenny Patinkin reveals her foolproof tricks for finally getting eyeliner right—the first time.
After teaching thousands of women how to apply their makeup over the course of my career, I can say without hesitation that the number one struggle is always eyeliner. It makes sense: It’s a small area, you have to get up close and personal with your eye when applying it, and the skin’s thin and wiggly. In other words: The working conditions aren’t easy.
But, as an aficionado of lazy perfection (hence the title of my book), I can assure you there are a few simple ways to make your eyeliner application way less of a challenge.
The first thing to remember? Give yourself a break. Even professional makeup artists sometimes struggle to get a smooth line (trust me). But with just a few simple tricks you can finally master eyeliner once and for all.
Ready to nail the look, once and for all? Keep reading for my 4 tips to a foolproof eyeliner application.
Use your lashes
Good news: You have a built-in guard rail. The roots of your lashes are a natural guide that’ll keep your liner in its own lane. Whether you’re applying a pencil, gel, or liquid, they’ll at least help ensure that you’re not going to veer into a danger zone. You should feel the roots of your lashes moving as you apply your liner, and—in a quiet room—you should almost hear them moving from inside your head. If your liner doesn’t land right on top of the roots of your lashes, when you put on mascara, your lashes will look like they’re disconnected from your lids.
Take short strokes
You can take even more pressure off by not trying to apply one long, smooth line (contrary to popular belief). Short, flicky, back and forth strokes are perfectly acceptable and work just as well. If you can’t quite get it uniform or matched from one eye to the other, smudging is also an excellent option. Actually, it’s my personal go-to because it doesn’t demand serious precision and it gives a sultry, smoky look. Smudging is something anyone can do and is flattering on everyone.
Another option is called tight lining. That’s when you use the underside of your top lashes as your guide, and apply your liner into the roots from underneath. You can lift your lids slightly to get to the base of your roots, but as you get more practice and experience, you’ll find that you won’t have to lift them anymore. This is an excellent way to define the shape of your eyes, make your lash line look darker and thicker, and make the whites of your eyes pop.
Practice, practice, practice
I will say that liquid liner requires some professional skills. But if you’re willing to try it out (and to become an eyeliner master in general), the key to success is patience and practice. The easiest way of doing so? I’d suggest trying it before you wash your face at bedtime. That way, if you make a mistake, you can just wash it off instead of running late for work.
Jenny Patinkin is a highly sought-after Makeup Artist, Beauty Expert and entrepreneur known for her Lazy Perfection approach to beauty. She is the author of the best-selling book, Lazy Perfection, The Art of Looking Great Without Really Trying. Nationally recognized for her broad industry knowledge and expertise, Jenny appears regularly on network TV and prominent digital media channels educating people about beauty and makeup. She has been a featured guest on The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, and Extra TV, and her expert advice and artistry have been featured in Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Health, Marie Claire, Martha Stewart Living, and Real Simple, among many others.
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