Photograph of Kat Battershill
Monday, the 15th of February, by Kat Battershill

Eyeliner Basics – The Ultimate Beginners Guide

Winged eyeliner is a classic and minimalistic makeup look, but this can still be intimidating to a beginner and can often take ages to get right.

Winged eyeliner is a classic and minimalistic makeup look, but this can still be intimidating to a beginner and can often take ages to get right. This is the same for a professional artist as everyone’s eyes are different and many factors go into creating a perfect wing, but this is the simple and honest way to get the perfect wing.

Step 1. Know your face

This may seem odd as you see your face every day, but applying eyeliner can make you notice the differences between your eyes. This is totally normal! Nobody is ever perfectly symmetrical. Knowing the differences can help as you’ll be able to adjust the application, like if one eye has more of a hooded lid or wrinkle. Find the crease and start the wing a little lower or take the wing outwards instead of up to avoid the wing being in the crease of your eye. These two images are perfect examples of adapting the shape of your liner to compliment your eye shape and the look you are wanting to create.

Step 2. Technique

Practice will of course be your best friend when learning eyeliner, but there are a couple of common mistakes to avoid. When you are creating your wing with your tool of choice, draw the line upwards rather than starting at the tip of the wing and drawing back towards your eye – this can wrinkle the skin and is far more difficult to control. Once you’ve got your first line slowly create small triangles drawing inwards, this will decide the thickness of your wing and liner.

Eyeliner doesn’t need to be done in one swipe. Yes, some people can do this, but as a beginner this will lead to your eyeliner growing thicker as you try again and again to fix the line. Instead small controlled strokes with a light hand will mean you keep control and you will be able to see and fix any mistakes as you go.

Step 3. Mistakes

Mistakes are normal, and I always like to keep a small detail brush and some makeup remover handy just in case. Apply some remover to the brush and gently go back and forth on the mistake. Makeup can be removed, but there is no need to take it all off and start again if you’ve kept your application controlled. This can also be used to clean up the underneath of the wing to make it extra sharp.

Big NO NO’s!

1 – Do not put tape near your eye! This is often used as a trick to get a straight liner or a guide for shadow, but taking off the tape pulls on the very sensitive skin around your eye, which is damaging and can lead to premature ageing.

2- Out of date products/shared products. Don’t be tempted to use out of date product or something that has been used by another person. This can lead to eye infections due to bacteria having a wet and warm environment which encourages it to grow.

3- Using wipes or rubbing at your eye to remove the product. Your eyes are sensitive and the skin is thin, if you need to remove tough eyeliner or mascara, use some cleanser such as micellar water on a cotton pad, let the soaked cotton pad sit on your eye for a few seconds, and then gently wipe away. Another product that is good at removing makeup if petroleum jelly, using your fingers gently wipe back and forth over the area being careful not to get any in your eyes. Then use a clean cotton pad to remove.

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