How to Apply Eyeliner for Beginners – Step-by-Step Instructions to Apply Like A Pro!

Be it a natural eyeliner look or something winged or smudged, this item in the world of beauty products and cosmetics is like none other. And you may not believe me right now since you probably don’t know how to apply eyeliner for beginners, but once this technique is learned, if not mastered, you’ll see how it transforms the whole appearance of your eyes.

You can flaunt just about any eyeliner look or style you want! Now of course becoming a pro at it requires a lot of practice, along with perseverance and patience (the 3 Ps!).

But you have to start from somewhere, right? So how about we begin from the basics and then move on to winging the liner!

So What Are the Different Types of Eyeliners?

1. Pencil Eyeliners

No doubt, this type ranks as the best eyeliner for older women simply because it’s such a no-brainer! Meaning it glides on very, very smoothly, hence there’s no amount of pulling or tugging of delicate, sensitive, or crinkled skin around the eyes.

With a pencil liner, it’s so much easier and quicker to create that perfect, sultry smokey eyes look. And you get just too many colors to choose from, which is one of the main advantages in this case. As for the bad news, pencil eyeliners tend to smudge plus there’s less control in terms of application.

2. Gel Eyeliners

In comparison to pencil, a creamy gel-based liner offers greater color intensity as well as more color payoff. So it’s just what you need for a cat-eye look or for looks that are neither stark nor blurry.

No denying that gel eyeliner formulas are also easy to apply and work with. But then the gel is highly prone to drying out and you require the angled-type of eyeliner brush for application.

3. Liquid Eyeliners

For the most precise eyeliner application, to be honest, nothing works better than the liquid version. Liquid liners can be felt-tip marker pens or they come in tiny bottles with that extremely fine dipping brush. If you’re a rookie, choose the former of course since it’s so much easier and more manageable to work with.

You certainly get more intensity with liquid eyeliner but then it’s not the most blendable type to create a range of looks.

How to Apply Eyeliner by YOURSELF – Step-by-Step Instructions Tutorial

Step #1 – Prepping Your Eyes

After you cleanse your face and apply your daily face moisturizer, put on a thin layer of eye cream too. A good eye cream will not only protect and nourish your skin but also help with fine lines and wrinkles along with balancing out any discoloration or redness near or around that area.

Step #2 – Creating A Clean, Even Base

This is where eye primer enters the scene. What the best eye primers do is smooth out the surface of your skin, despite wrinkles and fine lines. This is how applying makeup (eyeshadow, eyeliner, etc.) becomes easier.

A primer also increases the staying power of your eye makeup. So don’t undermine putting on a little bit of eye primer over your lids and around the eyes. There are under eye primers as well you know, for a completely formed clean and even base.

After primer comes concealer. This too you should apply on your eyelids and under the eyes. Make sure you’re blending it all properly and finally setting it using light, effective setting powder.

Step #3 – Applying the Eyeliner

Time to pull out the liner!

If the eyeliner came with a brush or applicator, you can use it. Or if you’re not comfortable with that, buy a new one or use your own.

Start by drawing a line across your top lashes – small lines and small strokes because you can always build that up slowly and gradually. Avoid starting too thick to prevent messing it all up. Thus, small strokes and lines.

With one eye done, move on to the other eye and follow the same instructions. Remember to keep it symmetrical, as much as possible of course.

So you’ve got the basic eyeliner duty performed! Now it’s up to you if you want to wing it or not. If you do…

Step #4 – Winging It Out!

Many women prefer just the basic eyeliner look but there are just as many who want that winged look since it tends to make down-turned or droopy eyes look more youthful and perky. This strategic wing also looks very flattering on all types of eye shapes. So I get it if you want to take it further than just the basic eyeliner style.

The trick to ‘winging it’ involves finding that perfect angle which allows you to follow your natural lower lash line. If your natural line extends from the lower lash line, then your eyeliner should be winged out to that line. Mapping out this line and then slowly filling it in is the way to go. No need to rush, take your own sweet time to avoid messing it up.

Step #5 – Adding the Finishing Touch

Finish your eye makeup look – your winged liner – by lining the lower lash line as well (just that outer half) using a pencil eyeliner. Smudge the liner a little in that area and then just put on some mascara.

Now here’s a video demonstration, so all you have to do is imitate…

5 Most Popular Eyeliner Styles

These are quite common techniques, and that’s mainly because all of these different eyeliner styles are easy. Well, not easy at first of course but with enough practice, you’ll eventually and surely get there!

1. Smudged Eyeliner

For a casual, grungy look, the easiest thing to do is to smudge the liner. It’s actually a classic and easy makeup technique.

  • You have to use pencil eyeliners for this one. They often have a smudging sponge at the end. So just draw the line and then flip the pencil over for smudging.
  • You can also ditch the eyeliner for eye shadow to create the same grungy smudged appearance. All you need for this particular technique is eye shadow (choose any shade of your choice) and smudging brush.

2. Water Eyeliner

A very thin line of eyeliner between the eye and its lashes – easier said than done of course. So maybe these simple, effective instructions might help…

  • Many women tight-line their eyes for that flawless-looking invisible water eyeliner effect. It surely knows how to make your eyes look bolder and your lashes fuller.

So you start tight-lining by gently pulling your eyelid up for exposing its upper waterline. And then just use the waterline-friendly eyeliner pencil.

  • After tight-lining the top eyelash line, firmly shut the eye. So this will get the color of the liner to transfer to the bottom lash line as well.
  • And you’re not compelled to use black eyeliner all the time you know.

Did you know that eyes look brighter and bigger with nude-colored eyeliner? So begin by lining the lower waterline, along with the inner half or corner as well to create that eye-opening look.

Related: Under Eye Eyeshadow Tutorial

3. Winged Eyeliner

Women are crazy about cat eyes, I am too of course. And why wouldn’t we be when this eyeliner style looks edgy, retro, and classy!

But then drawing that perfect wing on both sides seems almost impossible. In that case, I hope the following techniques get you closer to applying winger liner like a pro…

  • Why not use basic adhesive tape for marking a clean and sharp line starting from your eye’s outer corner to the end of the brow. So it becomes much easier to then just paint on the liner however you please. Remove the tape after that and you’ll see that flawless, crisp wing.

Related: Best Eyelid Tape for Hooded Lids

  • When drawing a wing using your eyeliner, looking down can really help (instead of looking up or straight ahead). Position the mirror below eye level, which gives you an unobstructed view for easier, quicker application.

And for application, make sure you’re using liquid or gel eyeliner. Otherwise, it might become difficult, annoying, and time-consuming for customizing the line. Fine-tip or felt-tip eyeliner is the best for maximum control, smooth application, and a precise winged line.

  • But then making mistakes is only common because, let’s face it, not a single makeup technique or style is 100-percent foolproof.

So the question is, are you prepared to handle these errors? You are if you have micellar water at your disposal. A cotton swab saturated with a little bit of micellar water can and will certainly fix that flick by wiping it away easily.

4. Skinny Eyeliner

For a subtle eyeliner look, go skinny or super-skinny. The best part about this is that you’re much less likely to make mistakes.

  • If you want the line to be very thin, then drawing the closest to the lashes with a liquid liner (the applicator or brush ought to be super-slim) is the most foolproof approach. Press the eyeliner into the lash for stabilizing your hand, which creates that perfect skinny line.
  • An even easier technique for drawing a seamless super-skinny line involves marking dots along the way and then connecting them.
  • How about using a stencil? It’s the most effective fix if your eyeliner ends up looking oversized. Just place the stencil close to the lash, as close as possible. And then simply line. Because of the stencil, you’ll be forced to stay inside the line, hence it becomes almost impossible to thicken the look.

5. Colored Eyeliner

If colorful eyeshadow looks can be popular, then why not colored eyeliner too! This kind of eye makeup makes the eyes look bold and gives them a completely sophisticated chic appearance.

  • One way of going about it is to use a white eyeliner first and then the colored version over it. But why? To make whatever color you pick look more vivid because of that white base.
  • Then comes the ombré effect where you choose 2-3 different colors. Fading one shade of liner into another makes sure you achieve a very stylish-looking gradient result.
  • For adding that desirable pop of color, neutral colors are the most befitting.

For the same kind of effect, many women also choose high-pigmented cool-toned eyeshadow palettes. There are also ways to make your eyeshadow look more pigmented (i.e. brighter with more depth).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Eyeliner

Can You Use Lip Liner Instead of Eyeliner?

There are 2-in-1 pencils that can be used for both lip liner and eyeliner application. But if you’re asking whether you can use just a lip liner as eyeliner, the answer is YES.

Eyeliner On Top or Bottom, What Is Better?

Applying eyeliner at the top i.e. on your top lid gives the eyes a more youthful, perky, and lifted appearance. Whereas putting the liner in the bottom lash line does tend to make your eyes look smaller.

But if you still insist on wearing eyeliner on the bottom lid, be sure to pick a more neutral or lighter color in comparison to the top. This way, definition will still be a part of your eye makeup while also creating a more flattering, softer look.

What Eyeliner Color Suits Brown Eyes the Best?

The most common natural eye color is brown indeed. So for brown eyes, choose more metallic tones of brown, bronze, and gold, along with shades of purple and blue.

What Eyeliner Color Suits Green Eyes the Best?

For beautiful green eyes, red undertones like violet, lavender, purple, etc. seem to produce a complementary effect. Even bronze does that as a matter of fact.

What Eyeliner Color Suits Hazel Eyes the Best?

Rich shades such as browns, golds, and greens surely enhance hazel-colored eyes. These types of autumnal shades look even more appealing when paired with black mascara and eyeliner.

What Eyeliner Color Suits Blue Eyes the Best?

Just 8% of the world population has enchanting blue eyes. Does that mean eyeliner colors for blue eyes are also less common to find? Well, not really. Different shades of brown, purple, silver, and grey can really complement or round off blue eyes.

Also, if you’re a part of that small 8-percent, you should avoid putting on black and blue eyeliner. Choose smokey grey colors instead.

Is Applying Eyeliner Very Difficult?

To be honest, it actually depends on what type of eyeliner you’re using as a beginner. For example, liquid liners are not the easiest to work with. They require steady hands for that perfect dramatic effect and those perfectly defined and precise lines.

So make sure that the liquid eyeliner you’re buying is equipped with a fine-point or thin brush to avoid drawing thick lines when that’s not what you want.

Once that is in place, you can actually make the most of liquid eyeliners since their color is more pigmented and darker – perfect for creating dramatic looks such as smokey eyes.


Eyeliners are much loved indeed for the way they completely transform the appearance of our eyes but also the most hated simply because the application can be such a nuisance.

Applying eyeliner like a pro, especially different styles of eyeliner, demands A LOT of patience, practice, and time. So it always helps to start at ground zero – basic eyeliner looks!

And that is why I’ve discussed only the most common eyeliner styles for beginners. A natural eyeliner look is the foundation on which all other techniques stand, always keep that in mind. From then on, you can smudge, wing, or color it!

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