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How to choose and apply eyeliner

Eyeliner is an ideal tool to accentuate and reshape your eyes. The lines can be drawn faithfully along the actual contours of the eyes, or in daring styles like cat eyes to add an intense impact to the eyes. Once you’ve mastered the skills, you can easily use eyeliner to change your makeup look for different moods and occasions.

Choose the right eyeliner

Eyeliners come in all sorts of types. Their different finishes and styles offer many makeup possibilities. Choose the eyeliner according to the look you want to achieve.

Pencil type

  • Finish: Soft lines that blend naturally
  • Ideal for: A more natural blend with the eye shadow, or for beginners who don’t feel comfortable with liquid or gel eyeliner types

Liquid type

  • Finish: Fine lines that reshape the eyes (e.g. cat eyes)
  • Ideal for: Glossy lines or delicate, clearly contoured lines.

Gel type

  • Finish: Clear lines with good coloration and subtle gradations.
  • Ideal for: Controlling the thickness of the line and for a smudge-free, long-lasting eye makeup

How to apply eyeliner

The basics: Natural look

The eye line looks more natural and beautiful when the skin between the eyelashes is not visible. Eyelashes grow in layers. Look directly into a mirror to check your eyes. If you notice any skin color peaking out from between your lashes (Figure 1), use an eyeliner to fill in the gaps (Figure 2). This makes the lasher look denser and adds impact to the eyes.

If you tilt your chin up and look slightly downward into the mirror, you’ll see the roots of the lashes on your upper eyelids. This will make it easier for you to draw lines.

For best results, gradually thicken the line as you move from the inside to the outside of the eye to draw attention to the outer corner of the eye. For a more natural finish, use a cotton swab or eye shadow to blend in the borders above the eye lines. Eyes look more natural when the lines don’t stray far from the actual corners of the eyes.

Fig 1: The gaps between individual lashes are clearly visible

Fig. 2: The gaps between individual lashes are concealed

Cat eyes

Cat eyes have an upward wing from the outer corners. The lines on both sides must be perfectly symmetrical, with narrow tips at the outer corners. Liquid or gel type eyeliners render sharp lines ideal for cat eyes.

The winged lines can be drawn in various ways. Some women prefer an upward wing outwards and upwards from the corner of the eye (Figure 3). Others prefer to define the final point of the line first and then draw the wing backwards toward the corner of the eye (Figure 4). Longer, more symmetrical lines are easier to render using this second method, which may be helpful for beginners. To create a thicker winged line, draw an outline first and then fill in the space in between. This method is also useful for drawing sharper lines.

Fig. 3: Upward wing starting at the corner of the eye

Fig. 4: Downward wing from the final point inwards toward the corner of the eye

What eye shadow color is best for cat eyes?

Cat eyes stand out more beautiful when using a natural color for the eye shadow. The line will be less noticeable if you use a distinctly darker color.

For beginners

If you feel unsure, you can easily draw a soft winged line using a dark eye shadow instead.

Advice from the Kanebo makeup artist

The winged line should match the shape of your eyes. If you have narrow eyes, a line with a long-slitted impression looks best. If you have naturally large, round eyes, a wider outward line will suit you beautifully. Always check for shape and symmetry with your eyes open. If the line is weak or uninspiring, add an extra touch.

A line that runs too long and too high will reach your eyebrow. Avoid this by deciding the final point before you start drawing. If you have straight eyebrows, a long cat eye line will suit you well. If you have arched eyebrows, do something to balance the eyebrow and cat eyes line. Using a soft eyebrow color may help.

Special hints for East Asian women
Asian women, with their brown eyes, should go for color. Those with flatter facial features look gorgeous with several layers of eye shadow colors which build up just the right amount of depth.
Advice for monolid eyes
If you rely solely on eyeliner to make your eyes look larger, the eyeliner will look too strong when you close your eyes. Avoid this with eye shadow and mascara. First, use the dark or medium color from your eye shadow palette to create gradations from the outer corner of the eye. Next, add extra dimensions with mascara. Your eyes will look beautiful, with a real sense of depth.

Fig. 5: Strong emphasis on the outer side of the eye

Fig. 6: Finishing touches with eye shadow and mascara

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