20 ways to wear eyeliner

20 ways to wear eyeliner
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20 ways to wear eyeliner

Almay Liquid Eyeliner in Black

A flexible but stiff nib dips into the inkwell and allows you to get the liquid right up against the lashes. Light pressure gives a thin line; press harder to make it thicker. Once it's dry, consider it tattooed on for the next 12 hours.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Eye Pencil in Emerald Volt

Now available in rich jewel tones of emerald, sapphire, and dark plum, this seriously long-wearing, waterproof creamy pencil liner has a rubbery smudger on the end that's perfect for diffusing the color over your lids.

Lancôme Artliner Precision Point Eyeliner in Cinnamon

Shimmer: good. Even better: this liquid liner in a formula that looks like poured gold. Apply a thin stripe along the base of the top lashes—either alone or over black liner.

Stila Magnificent Metals Eye Liner in Metallic Navy

For a hazy line, tap a flat brush along the upper lash line and wiggle it from side to side to blend the spongy cream formula. For sharp edges, use a pointed brush instead and skip the blending.

Nars Eyeliner Stylo in Atlantic

The stiff felt tip makes application marker-simple (the biggest challenge is taking off the cap without getting a streak on your fingers), and it won't run, flake, or transfer, even after a CrossFit workout.

Hourglass 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Eye Liner in Obsidian

These fun-size precision gel pencils come in three-packs. Two clicks is right for drawing hair-thin flicks at the outer corners; each pencil is good for 17 to 20 applications.

Jane Iredale Mystikol Powdered EyeLiner/Highlighter in Amethyst

One end has a spring-loaded sponge tip and deep-purple powder concealed in the cap; the other holds pearly highlighter to sweep over the base for a cool iridescence.

NYX The Curve Liner in Jet Black

The toy-gun grip makes it more stable than any other tool we've tried, and the felt tip is flexible enough to hug the curves of the eye. Start at the inner corner and line the top lid, extending the outer corner into a flick.

Laura Geller Shadow & Liner in Bronze/Cocoa

One of these three shadow-liner pairings (Bronze/Cocoa, Rose/Eggplant, Taupe/Black) looks good on everyone. Line your upper and lower lid, then use the shadow to blend a haze of color up toward the crease.

Dior Mirror Eyes Multi-Wear Adhesive Eyeliner Patches

Each pack has four reusable pairs of silver and black. Makeup artist Peter Philips places them just above the lash line. (If the gap bothers you, draw in a thin black line.)

Revlon ColorStay Skinny Liquid Liner in Black Out

We love this ultraprecise 0.1-millimeter felt-tip pen that draws whisper-thin lines. It's ideal for intricate double and triple cat eyes, floating liner, or geometric shapes.

Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner in Forest Green

Tightlining with dark-green powder is a pro move. Dampen a flat brush, load it with powder, then lift the top eyelid and push the liner just under the roots of lashes.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Eye Stick in Three Shakes

This shimmer-packed cream stick glides on in one smooth stroke. Apply it as a glimmering stripe along your lashes, or fill in your lid with color below the crease, the way you'd do with shadow.

M.A.C. Eye Pencil in Ebony

This is the desert-island black pencil that even Kreayshawn herself wouldn't call basic. You can sharpen it to a thin point for precise lines or leave it a little dull for a softer, smoky effect.

Maybelline New York Master Kajal Cream Kohl Eyeliner in Charcoal Skies

Such a creamy kohl is a cinch to apply. Scribble it from your lashes one third of the way up your eyelid and smudge (side to side, not up and down).

Clarins 3-Dot Liner in Black

Three stamps of this triple-pronged applicator between upper lashes gives your mascara a major lash-plumping assist. "Make eyes appear wider by pressing it into the outer third of the eye only," says makeup artist Maria Verel.

CoverGirl Bombshell Brow + Liner Powder by LashBlast in Black

The flexible wand skims smoothly over even crepey lids, depositing powder with negligible fallout. Available in neutral colors, it adheres just as well to eyebrows.

Jillian Dempsey Khôl EyeLiner in Jet Black

This pencil has all the creaminess of kohl but none of its impermanence, because it's waterproof. Line from inner to outer corner, then use the smudger to blend. It holds up through at least one shower.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creamliner in 4

Is it a gel? Is it a cream? Does it really matter? It's 100 percent shimmer-free, which gives the deep turquoise an elegant matte finish. Brush it on with a thin synthetic brush to make traditional cat eyes more fun.

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Smokissime Powder Eyeliner Pen in Black Smoke

The chubby applicator creates a cool, fast version of smoky eyes. With shadow packed into the cap, you only need to move the tip over the lid like a windshield wiper.


There was a time when eyeliner's sole purpose was to make the lashes seem thicker, maybe even give the eyes a little more definition. Let's be clear: That time has passed. Eyeliner is not intended simply to enhance a look. In 2015, eyeliner is the look. And for every possible variation you can imagine-and a handful you have never even considered-there is a liner equal to the task. There are liners that are as thick as crayons and liners as thin as a human hair; there are liners that smudge and liners that won't smudge for days; there are liners that dot, smear, and stick. And we haven't even mentioned color.

To help you sort through the gels, pencils, pots, powders, liquids, and stickers, we offer this definitive guide.

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