Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Skeptics Guide to Liquid Liner

For so many years I thought I hated wearing liquid eyeliner. It was incredibly painstaking to apply, incredibly easy to accidentally ruin, and always felt so unpleasantly cold and wet on my eyelids until it dried. It was kind of a necessity for my ballroom competition makeup looks, so I choose to suck it up and deal until I discovered the gel pot liner and immediately made the switch. However, in the past 6 months or so, I've been re-introduced to liquid liner, this time in an amazing marker format that has managed to convert me back to the liquid forever.

When it comes to your product of choice, there are quite a few options out there on the market. My personal favorite thus far has been the Stila Stay all Day Waterproof Liquid Liner. The liner itself has a super fine and flexible tip that makes creating just about any look a breeze and the formula is incredibly smudge-proof and long lasting. If you are looking for something a little more budget-friendly, L'Oreal and Maybelline have come up with some pretty solid versions of the eyeliner pen, which I reviewed in my latest drugstore beauty haul. Either way, if you are new to the world of liquid eyeliner, the market/pen format is definitely the way to go.

Once you've got your hands on your weapon of choice, and find yourself standing in front of a mirror, here are some tips and tricks to keep you from feeling totally lost or doomed to making your eye makeup look like a hot, smudgy, black mess.

1. Prime - I cannot stress enough the importance of a good eye primer. Primers give your eye makeup a base to adhere to, making the colors brighter and bolder, and everything become less prone to smudging, budging, and fading. My HG eye primer is the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (it's pricey, but SO worth it...seriously, this stuff is amazing). If you don't feel like shelling out $25 for eye primer, though, just be mindful of how the primer you choose will affect your overall look. For the shadow-less kitten eye I'm about to show you, a translucent primer is key.

 2. Work from the bottom-up, and outside-in - Although it may look like it, that perfect winged line was not created in a single stroke, and attempting to do so will almost always result in frustration. Start with small strokes at the lash line, moving from the outer corner toward the middle of the eye. Then turning the pen the opposite direction, use the tip of the liner to draw a fine line from the inner corner of your eye toward the middle. Sometimes I find that this is actually easier to do with my eye open than closed. You can then begin to thicken the line and smooth it out with slightly longer strokes working once again from the outside in. The end result will look something like this:

For a normal, everyday look, you may just want to stop here. If you're feeling adventurous, adding a wing is a fun way to spice up your liner. A traditional cat eye imparts a more prominent wing and thicker liner, while a "kitten" eye is a little more subdued. Either way, the process is the same!

3. Wing it out -  To add a wing, I place the tip of the liner at the point where I would like the wing to end, and draw a line in one fluid movement to connect it with the existing liner. I start with a very light pressure so that the end of the wing is thinnest, and add pressure and slightly angle the tip so that the line becomes progressively thicker as it connects. The angle of the wing should look like it's extending out from the natural curve of your lower lash line. As always, sometimes you need to use multiple strokes to make the top edge of the line even.

Experimenting with the thickness and length of the line can be a fun way to increase or decrease the amount of drama in your overall look. If you're still a bit new to liner, this shadow-less look is extra forgiving, because you can easily correct any un-even areas or mistakes with a q-tip and makeup remover, without worrying about ruining any shadow.

Eyes: L'Oreal Paris Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Liner, Cheeks: Revlon Highlighting Palette in Rose Glow, Lips: Maybelline Color Elixir in Celestial Coral
And there you have it - my take on the classic Kitten Eye. Hopefully you're feeling brave and adventurous enough to try it yourself (and if you do, please write me a comment and let me know how it went!). If you're digging the look of the other products I'm wearing, you can read more about them in my last drugstore beauty haul post.

Already a liquid liner expert? What's your holy grail liner? I don't need any excuses to try something new, but I want them anyway. I personally have had my eye on the LORAC Front of the Line Pro and the Cynthia Rowley Beauty Liquid Liner (sidenote, totally jealous of anyone who got one in their February Birchbox :-p). If you've tried either of them, I'd love to hear what you think!

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