How To Apply Eyeliner Properly: A Beginner Guide

a woman putting on eyeliner

Eyeliner is one of those makeup products that can make a big difference in your appearance but can be annoying to apply. 

When you're just beginning to learn how to apply eyeliner or trying something new, it can take a lot of time and patience to get it just right. You will probably mess up and have to wipe the slate clean and try again at least once. However, a few tips and tricks can help accelerate the learning process. 

We are going to go over everything you need to know about eyeliner, how to apply it perfectly, and how to HIDE your mistakes.

Different Types of Eyeliner

There are many different types of eyeliner on the market to choose from. The kind you select will depend on what look you are trying to achieve. Here are a few of the eyeliners you can choose between.  

Pencil Eyeliner​ 

Pencil eyeliners are generally where people start out when they are new to the product. They come in mechanical twist-up packaging or you have to use a pencil sharpener. A pencil is a drier formulation compared to the other eyeliners we are going to go over. It provides a more subtle look and tends to not last as long if the formulation isn't waterproof. 

Liquid Eyeliner​ 

Liquid eyeliners usually come in a tube with a brush applicator. The formula dries quickly and is not ideal if you want to smudge your liner out for a softer look. This type of eyeliner is one of the most difficult to apply and requires a delicate touch. However, you can achieve an intense and vivid line with liquid liner. 

Gel Eyeliner​ 

This type of eyeliner's formulation is high in wax. The wax ensures it will stay put and is often waterproof. You apply gel liner with a small angled brush to create a precise line. 

Cream Eyeliner​ 

Cream eyeliners are ideal for creating a smokey eye. They work great if you don't want a precise line but more of a smudgy eyeliner look. You usually apply cream eyeliner with a small brush. 

Felt Tip Eyeliner​ 

This type of eyeliner is the closest to a marker. The felt tip makes applying liquid eyeliner easy, and it provides bold color. In addition, felt tip eyeliner is usually smudge-proof and can be waterproof to last all day. This type of eyeliner is ideal for cat-eye makeup looks since the tip gives you control. 

How To Apply Eyeliner

The same eyeliner look may not work for everyone since there are so many different eye shapes. On the flip side, everyone can pull off a few different looks. There is the classic cat-eye, smokey eye, or the new floating eyeliner trend. Let's go over the best eyeliner looks based on your eye shape. 

Round Eyes​ 

If you have round eyes, eyeliner looks good if you elongate it. To achieve this, line your upper lash line and try an extended winged liner look. On the bottom of your eye, smudge a dark liner by applying a thin line and then rubbing it out gently.  

Droopy Eyes​ 

For droopy eyes, you may want to look for eyeliner looks with lighted corners. Try a lighter shade with shimmer in the corners and leave the lower lashline uncovered. An upward flick in the outer corners can open up the eyes.

Hooded Eyes​ 

If you have hooded eyes, you want to get the eyeliner as close to the lash line as possible. You don't have to worry about the thickness of the line. You can make a thick line since it will be hard to see when your eyes are open. The cat-eye look is a great way to give your eyes more definition. If you want to make your eyes look rounder, draw a thicker line in the center of your eye and thinner in the corners to create the appearance of a curve. Avoid eyeliner on your bottom lashes since this can make them look smaller. 

Almond Eyes​ 

This eye shape is ideal for pretty much every eyeliner look. When applying eyeliner, start with a thin line in the corners and gradually build the thickness out. A slight wing on the outer corner is a flattering look on almond-shaped eyes

Eyeliner Tips and Tricks

There are countless eyeliner hacks, tips, and tricks you can implement to help you achieve your desired look. Here are a few more pointers when it comes to your eyeliner. 

Intensify Your Line​ 

If you want a darker line but don't feel comfortable going straight in with a liquid liner, try applying a pencil liner first. After, go over the line with a liquid liner for an easier way to have a darker line. 

Start With Dashes​ 

If you feel like you can never make one long even line from one side of the lid to the other, try dashes. Start with three dashes at the corner, middle, and outer corner of the eye. It's easier to control a small line than it is a big line. Once you have your dashes, simply connect them with small dashes in between, and voila! 

Outer Corner First​ 

When you're new to applying a cat-eye, an easy tip is to start from the outer corner first. Start with the eyeliner in the outer corner and draw a wing to match the angle of your lower lid. Next, trace a line from the upper lid until the lines are connected and fill in the gap. A felt tip eyeliner makes a cat-eye easy. 

Nude Eyeliner​ 

All eyeliner doesn't have to be black dark. Try using nude eyeliner on your bottom waterline. The nude color has a brightening effect and opens up your eyes. Don't do this tip with a white liner because this can accentuate redness in your eyes. 


Tightlining is another way to define your eyes. Some people find this style easier than others. Tightlining is when you lift your eyelid and use a black or dark waterproof eyeliner in the area below your lash line. If the line looks too harsh, use a small brush to smudge it out. 

Touch Up​ 

Even the professionals can mess up sometimes, but thankfully there are easy ways to fix slip-ups. Use makeup remover on a q-tip to gently remove eyeliner and to perfect your line, or use the corner of a makeup wipe to remove the eyeliner. If you feel like you still see eyeliner, try covering the area with a bit of makeup, like HIDE Premium Foundation or concealer. It can completely cover any imperfections. 

Set It and Forget It​ 

If you have oily eyelids or hooded eyes and you've ever experienced smudging or always looking messy, you don't need to give up eyeliner. Try taking a small amount of translucent powder onto a brush and apply it over your eyeliner to set it. Your eyeliner will stay in place this way and won't end up where you don't want it! 

Eyeliner for Everyone

There are many different types of eyeliners you can use to achieve the look that you want. However, a pencil liner can be good if you're just starting out in the world of eyeliner. 

There are a number of techniques for applying your eyeliner, so you get it just right. Consider the shape of your eye when deciding what style of eyeliner you should attempt. If you mess up, don't worry. Fix all of your mistakes with HIDE premium products. It will erase any slip-ups and can clean up your lines, so you have the perfect-looking liner!



Droopy Eyelid (Ptosis): 5 Causes of Drooping Eyelid & Treatment | Web MD

What are Hooded Eyes: Best Treatments & Creams | Cadogan Clinic

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