This one goes out to everyone who thinks they suck at eyeliner: You are not alone. The good news is that with practice, there’s only one way to go — up! We asked makeup pros for their tried-and-true eyeliner tips, from fixing mistakes to preventing them altogether. Some are for eyeliner beginners and some for the intermediate-to-advanced wing-wearers (but hey, who doesn’t love to talk shop regardless?). Consider this the Cliff Notes manual to never fucking up your eyeliner again.
1. Choose Your Eyeliner Wisely
Ever think that maybe it’s not you? Maybe — just maybe — it’s your eyeliner formula? Liquids can be prone to wobbliness, pencils to smeariness. For creating a “beautiful, defined eye”, makeup artist Carl Ray (whose clientele includes former First Lady Michelle Obama) opts for gel liner: “it’s easy to apply and is very long-lasting,” he explains. Our choice? One of our 2017 Best Of Beauty winners: Revlon’s Colorstay Gel Liner.
. Erase Mistakes Strategically
“Smudged eyeliner happens!” says Daniel Chinchilla, who works with cat-eye queen, Ariana Grande. When you slip up, “it’s best to not mess up the rest of your makeup.” Instead of starting from scratch, Daniel recommends dipping a Q tip in an oil-free makeup remover (he loves Neutrogena’s) and using the small head as a tiny eraser. Carl Ray notes that dipping a Q-tip in a small amount of moisturizer also does the trick. On the go? Almay’s Makeup Eraser Sticks contain pre-loaded makeup remover, so they’re great to throw in a travel bag.
3. Play Connect The Dots
Instead of trying to achieve the perfect liner look in one single swoop, take it from the pros and take it sloooow. Ray suggests using an eye pencil to apply small dots close to the lash line “then connect the dots with an eyeliner brush.” A worthy tool would be the Smith Cosmetics 202 Microliner Brush. Chinchilla adds that “smaller strokes allow you to have more control and get a more precise line”— regardless of what type of of eyeliner you’re using.