How to Use Liquid Eyeliner

For the longest time, all I ever used was liquid eyeliner. I guess I was just partial to the sharp line it gave. Up until recently, it was the only thing I used (until I fell in love with L’Oreal Pencil Perfect Eyeliner, that is.)

After talking with many people about makeup, I realized that so many are actually afraid of using liquid eyeliner. I got a lot of:

I tried it once and couldn’t figure it out, so I stopped trying.


I don’t know…it looks too hard.

While it does take some getting used to, and a little practice, it’s actually worth learning how to use liquid eyeliner. Here, I’m going to give you some tips and tricks for just that. Read on!

Applying Liquid Eyeliner: The Pull Method

Liquid eyeliner works a bit differently than pencil or gel eyeliners. Since it’s liquid, it’s a bit hard to manage. Instead of drawing on the liner, you’ll be painting it on.

Here’s a little trick I use to make sure that I get an even, smooth line:

  1. With your non-drawing hand, hold the side of your eye as shown.
  2. Pull the skin taught just a bit so that it smoothes out your lid and reduces wrinkles.
  3. With your other hand, start painting on your liquid eyeliner.
  4. For best results, keep your eye half open instead of all the way open or closed.

Now, this tip is a bit controversial. I’ve tried to do it on older ladies and they darn near freaked out. “It’ll cause wrinkles!” Somehow I doubt that. If you’re concerned about wrinkles, then you may want to skip the Pull Method. Granted, you will have a harder to applying the liner if you do.

Although this technique is best suited for liquid eyeliner, I pull my eye with all eyeliners. It’s just easier for me.

Creating the Perfect Line

Whether you use the Pull Method or not, you’re still going to need to actually paint on the liner. Here is one great way to do so:

  1. Start at the outer corner of your eye first.
  2. If you’re having trouble steadying your hand, don’t bother making one line from corner to corner. Instead, let the first part stop where you feel comfortable, such as the middle.
  3. Starting where you left off, continue adding liner until you reach your desired length.

It may help to prop your elbow on a table or your bathroom counter in order to keep your hand steady.

Should You Line the Bottom?

Lining the bottom lid of your eye can add a lot of drama to your look and is a good way to bring day makeup into the night. The problem with doing this with liquid eyeliner is that it can actually get on your eyeball — at least when you apply it to the inside of your lid.

I’ve tried on several occasions to line that part of my eye, and I ended up with black streaks all over my eyeball. While you can get these off with a little care and some clean fingertips, it will still irritate your eye.

Instead, line your top lid with liquid eyeliner and line the bottom with gel eyeliner. This is the best way to get the darker, dramatic look without a black eye.

Even More Liquid Eyeliner Tips and Tricks

  • Practice makes perfect, just like in other parts of life. Your first line may look terrible, but if you keep trying, it’ll likely look great after a while.
  • Don’t smudge! Liquid eyeliner is meant to have a sharp line. Because of this, and the ingredients they use, these lines don’t lend well to smudging. If you want a smoky look, you’d do better with a kohl pencil.
  • Let it dry. Liquid eyeliners are wet, hence the name. It may take a few seconds – or even a few minutes – for it to dry completely. Because of this, don’t open your eyes too wide or you may end up with a second line in your crease.
  • Shadow first, then liner. Because of the wetness of liquid eyeliner, it doesn’t do well if you put shadow on over it, even after it’s dried. Instead, you should make sure to do shadow first, and liner last.
  • Hold the wand close to the tip. You will have better control over the line if you hold onto the applicator as close to the tip as possible. Definitely try this if you’re having problems with shaky hands.
  • Sample different brands. Some cosmetics brands, while totally great normally, don’t have very good liquid eyeliner. In fact, it’s easier to find bad liquid eyeliner than good. To me, the best by far is Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eyeliner. The applicator is great and it goes on smoothly.

Do you have any tips for using liquid eyeliner? Would you try the pull method?


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  1. i can do my liquid eyeliner without using the pull method, and i have deep-set eyes, too. I actually think it’s better, because when using the pull method, i end up not being able to see exactly where the liner will end up, much like cutting hair wet.

  2. It’s great that you’ve found a good way to do your liner! Certain techniques only work for some people, it seems. Getting good at doing your makeup is all about figuring out what works best for you. Rock on, Sweetie15!

  3. I dont have a very good liquid eyeliner so I draw it on, not even attempting to do a staight line, thenI wet my finger and smudge it down towards my lashline. Then I get a dry baby wipe, or cloth and sort out all the splodges 🙂

  4. @Mel

    Hey! Whatever works for you! You may want to get a good enough eyeliner some day, though. It’s awesome that you figured out a way to make it work.

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