How To Apply Eyeliner For Beginners: 20 Tips

Applying eyeliner for beginners can be such a hassle that it makes you want to walk away from liquid eyeliner and never look back. It has the potential to be a flawless cat eye or a messy glob of black that nestles into your inner corner to irritate you all day. Take a deep breath. These tips will help you finally master the art of eyeliner. 

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20 Eyeliner Tips For Beginners

There is no one size fits all eyeliner formula. What works for one person might not work for another. Your best friend may have a steadier hand that makes it easier to apply liquid eyeliner, while you might need a little more practice. That’s okay. Makeup is a journey to have fun with, not something you should master in two hours. We all have our journey. These tips can help make yours a little smoother, though. 

1. Start with a pencil

I get it. You want the perfect cat eye that liquid eyeliner provides. It’s a crisp line in the darkest black. However, a pencil is the easiest to work with. Start with pencil eyeliner and work up to liquid eyeliner. 

Our Recommendations

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Pencil ($23)

Rimmel ScandaleyesWaterproof Gel Eyeliner Pencil ($4)

NYX Epic Wear Waterproof Eyeliner Stick ($9)

2. Learn your eye shape

Particular looks will only look good on specific shapes. You’ll also need different products for different shapes. For example, waterproof, transfer-free eyeliner is best for hooded eyes. 

3. Start on the outside

If you’re new to doing a cat eye, it’s best to start from the outside. Make your wind, and bring the eyeliner back onto your lid. This is easier than starting in the corner of your eye and hoping for the best. 

4. Clean up with cotton swabs

No one gets the perfect eyeliner every time, and I mean no one. Pick up some cotton swabs and makeup removers to clean up mistakes. 

5. Cover mistakes with concealer

One of the worse things is when your smokey eye is done, and you totally fail at your eyeliner. You don’t want to redo your entire eyeshadow look. Instead, touch it up with a concealer, and then only re-do a tiny pinch of your eyeshadow. 

6. Use setting powder to seal in your look

If you don’t have a transfer-free eyeliner, it can be tempting to forget about it for the day, but don’t. Instead, seal your look with some setting powder and a fluffy brush. Dust it over your eyelids after your eyeliner dries for a liner that lasts. 

7. Don’t forget eye primer

If you have oily eyelids, your eye makeup is more likely to smear. Eyelid primer provides the perfect base for your eye makeup and liner. 

Our Recommendations

Milani Eyeshadow Primer ($8)

Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Eye Primer ($13)

8. Pick up a nude eyeliner for beginners

Nude eyeliner has a place on every vanity. It’s the perfect way to open your eyes when you’re tired or have a particular eye shape. Lighter colors instantly help brighten your eyes. 

However, you must avoid white eyeliner if you’re tired and your eyes are red. Avoid any light color except for nude. This will make your eyes look redder than they already are

Our Recommendations

Nars HIgh Pigment Long-wear Eyeliner ($24)

When Pencil Met Gel All Day Eyeliner by Julep ($12)

9. Stick with your top lid at first

Once you’ve mastered the top lid, move on to the bottom. By then, you’ll know your eye shape, whether you should wear eyeliner on your bottom lid, and you’re less likely to get it in your eye. 

10. Let liquid eyeliner dry before opening your eyes

This trick is especially important if you have hooded eyes. Keep your eyes closed for 20-40 seconds. Then, when you open them, the eyeliner will be dry and less likely to smudge. 

11. Practice makes perfect

No one breaks out a brand-new liquid eyeliner and masters it in two minutes. That’s where it comes in handy to practice. Avoid applying it when you’re about to leave and your eyeshadow is already flawless. 

Instead, take a day or more to play with your eyeliner. If you mess it up, wipe it off and try again. It doesn’t matter if it’s smudged halfway across your face while you practice because you’re not going anywhere anyway. (Make sure you have extra makeup remover for this day.)

12. Make sure you wipe it off every night

If your eyeliner stays in place all day, there’s a chance that it won’t do harm in your sleep. However, there’s another chance that it can. Wearing eye makeup in your sleep makes it more likely that it will wind up in your eye, resulting in irritation and blurry vision. If you don’t have makeup remover, use coconut oil instead. It makes a great makeup remover substitute. 

13. Learn about the formula that you’re using

There are plenty of different products, and they all have pros and cons. For example, pencils don’t create the sharp look that gel or liquid eyeliners do, but they are easier to use. Each product has its benefits and its application process. Before using a new product, learn about it. 

14. Have fun with different colors

Makeup is fun. It’s like playing dress up, but it’s the grown-up version. We make it stressful when we’re sucked into getting the perfect cat eye or sticking with one color of eyeliner. Try out metallic eyeliner. Open your eyes with a beautiful bronze. Take it a step further and try out a few graphic eyeliner looks. You can have a lot of fun with some eyeliner and a mirror. 


15. Blend your pencil eyeliner

You can’t blend liquid eyeliner. It will be a smudged, dark black mess. That’s one of the fun things about pencil eyeliner. Get out your brush and gently smudge the eyeliner onto your lid for a soft, beautiful look. 

16. Trace pencil eyeliner with liquid eyeliner for beginners

This is a great eyeliner tip for beginners that want to use liquid eyeliner. Apply eyeliner with a pencil. Then, gently trace it with your liquid eyeliner. You won’t be able to see the pencil underneath, and you’ll have the flawless black line you want. 

17. Wipe your eyeliner brush before you use it

When you first dip your liquid eyeliner applicator into the bottle and pull it out, there will be a lot of eyeliner on the applicator. Too much eyeliner. Make sure you wipe it along the sides of the bottle a few times before applying to remove excess product. The application can get messy if you don’t. 

18. Start in the middle of your lid

It will be a mess if you accidentally put too much eyeliner on and start in the corner of your lid. It will most likely be a mess that gets into your eye and causes a lot of irritation. 

It’s easier to start in the middle of your lid too. That’s because getting a smooth, flawless line in one stroke is more difficult. Instead, draw the line from the middle of your eyelid to the outer part. Then, use small strokes from the inner corner to the middle of your eyelid. It’s easier to nail those small strokes than it is to get a flawless line across your lid. 

19. Pull your lid taut

Close one eye. Take one hand (the one with which you won’t be applying eyeliner) and gently pull your lid so that it is slightly tighter. This makes it easier to get a smooth line. 

eyeliner for beginners

20. Try a setting spray if you’re learning how to do eyeliner for beginners

If you’re not a fan of translucent powder, try a setting spray instead. These will help keep your look in place and are easy to apply. You spray them on your face, let them dry, and move on with your day!

In Conclusion

Eyeliner can be one of the hardest things to master, especially if you don’t have a steady hand. However, keep practicing. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have flawless lines the first time around. Instead, take it slow, learn about your products and yourself, and practice. You’ll get there! We all started with uneven lines. To learn more about makeup, check out this article! 

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