Line, flick, and repeat! When it comes to perfecting your eyeliner, practice really does make perfect. Mastering the skill is key to making lashes appear longer and your eye colour more vibrant. It all starts with knowing the best type of eyeliner and how to use it, so check out our handy guide on precisely those topics.

Types of liners

Finding the best eyeliner for you depends on what effect you're trying to achieve with your look. There are so many different types of eyeliner and the formula you choose will greatly affect the application process and the end result. Here we've narrowed it down to the top three most common kinds, with their pros and cons.

Blue NARS pencil eyeliner

Pencil

How to use: Trace the pencil along your upper and lower lash lines and smudge in gently. For a more intense look, line your upper and lower waterline as well.


Positives: Pencil liner creates a natural daytime look. It's also the best eyeliner for the waterline, as it's it's not too harsh.


Negatives: Keeping the pencil sharpened, especially when it's a stalwart in your beauty regime, is inconvenient. Their twistable counterparts can become blunt easily, too.

Green Stila gel eyeliner

Gel

How to use: Gel liners usually come in a small pot complete with their own brush. Sweep it over your upper lash line for a smooth and precise look.


Positives: The creamy consistency makes it easy to get a precise line quickly. You can switch up the look you want in an instant by using a different angled brush.


Negatives: Gel formulations tend to dry out quickly, so they're better if you'll be using them every day – not just on special occasions.

Black Givenchy liquid eyeliner

Liquid

How to use: Your liquid eyeliner technique will depend on the shape and length of flick you want. Liners with pen tips are the easiest to use and offer more control for beginners. Draw the shape or line that you want with the applicator, then fill it in.


Positives: Precise brushes and applicators make it easy to create a thin, subtle line – perfect for creating pared-back daytime looks. Many liquid eyeliners come with a built-in brush, too, making it even simpler to customise your style.


Negatives: The liquid consistency can make clean application difficult – it takes time and practice to get it spot on.

Step-by-step for beginners

For first timers, the process of creating a flawless eyeliner look is daunting, but you'll gain confidence in a short amount of time with this method:

Illustration of woman putting on eyeliner

1. Sit down and plant your elbow on a flat, sturdy surface.

Illustration of woman putting on eyeliner

2. Rest your little finger gently on your cheek to stabilise yourself as much as possible.

Illustration of woman putting on eyeliner

3. Make tiny dots along the lash upper lash line.

Illustration of woman putting on eyeliner

4. Connect the dots to create a strong line.

Eyeliner for different eye shapes
Illustration of eye shapes

Figuring out which eyeliner look suits you is a time-consuming process. Factoring in your eye shape will help you to find the most flattering style pronto.


Monolid eyes

Monolid-shaped eyes are small, so it's best to keep it simple to avoid overwhelming the petite size. Draw a steady straight line across the lid, extending it out towards the end of your brow to create a subtle flick.


Top tip: Don't be afraid to use alternative colour eyeliners to really accentuate the shape of the eye.

Illustration of eye shapes

Hooded eyes

Hooded eyes have the tendency to look dark, so it's important not to overwhelm the area with too much makeup. Draw a thin line under the lower lashes and keep your waterline clear to stop the bottom looking too heavy. Browse our range of pencil liners to keep the eyes looking bright and open.


Top tip: Use a brown pencil liner to soften the lines for a daytime-appropriate look.

Illustration of eye shapes

Round eyes

Round eyes can handle a dramatic look. Draw a thick line, making sure you join it to meet the outer corner of the eye. The key to successfully achieving this eye-catching style is to make sure you extend the liner outwards, towards the end of the brow, as opposed to creating a line that flicks upwards.


Top tip: Smudge the top line to create a sultry smokey eye for nighttime, or add an exaggerated flick with liquid liner.

Illustration of eye shapes

Almond eyes

Perhaps the most typical eye shape, the width and versatility of an almond eye can easily handle a classic cat's-eye flick. Start from the inner corners and paint on a thick, black line to create definition and drama. Follow the natural shape of the eye and extend the line for a long, pronounced flick.


Top tip: Opt for a gel eye liner to enhance control.

Illustration of eye shapes

Down-turned eyes

To make sure you don't exaggerate the downward shape, a reverse cat's-eye is a perfect choice to really draw the line of the eye upwards. Apply a thin stroke along your lower lash line and extend a small flick straight out before smudging it slightly with a buffing brush.


Top tip: Coat your lashes with generous helpings of mascara to open and brighten the eyes.