Many of us wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without
mascara on, but you might actually get more beauty payoff with a bit of eye liner you only have time to apply one product "eye liner is the fastest way to really define the eyes — and it makes the lashes appear thicker," says Diana Carreiro, a Toronto-based makeup artist.

From liner basics to the classic cat eye, makeup pros share their expert advice (hint stock up on black liner and even some eye shadow).

1. New to eye liner? Use eye shadow or an eye pencil

Use an eye pencil or eye shadow, says Carreiro. "Eye shadow applied as liner with an angle brush is the most forgiving — it’s dry and you can get it right in between that lashes, and if you make a mistake, it’s easy to wipe off," she says. An eye pencil, too, is nice and simple since you’re just using the pencil and not an extra tool to apply it. Its downside is that a kohl liner (the easiest kind to apply since you can use the sponge tip to smudge the product) doesn’t offer as much longevity, she adds.

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2. Black liner works on everyone.

Your kit should include a black liner of some sort — it can go on all skin tones, hair and eye colours. The only exception is on mature eyes — opt for a soft black if you’re finding stark black too sharp.

3. Consider your age when choosing eye liner format.

It’s not a hard-set rule but not all formats are equal regardless of your age. Got youth on your side? Then liquids and gels ("which are soft, but require a steady hand," says Carreiro) are options. As you age, you’ll want to more often use the softness an eyeshadow offers as a liner.

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4. Try a cat eye look — it suits everyone.

If you’re a beginner, makeup artist Sheri Stroh suggests using a gel-cream liner with a thin liner brush as it’s the easiest way to start out. "Start by linging the lower lashes and make a small ‘tick’ in that direction with your brush. This gives you the direction to work with," she says. Play around and you’ll eventually find the style cat eye that suits you the best, says the Toronto-based makeup pro.

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5. Don’t skimp when lining under the eyes.

"This is one of the biggest mistakes women make when lining underneath the eyes," says Carreiro. "With not a fat enough swipe under the eye, the thin little line closes the eye. You want a smudgey liner that’s big and fat to draw attention to the eyes and open them up."

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6. Wear coloured liner that complements your eye colour.

Have brown eyes you consider plain and boring? Your neutral eye colour actually means you can
wear any eye liner colour successfully, says Carreiro, noting that purples and blues of any tone will work particularly well. On green eyes, a bronze liner will make your eyes look even greener thanks to the red tone in the bronze, she says, and blue eyes can pull off purples fabulously.


7. For a really dramatic look, line the top and bottom.

Otherwise, Stroh recommends only lining the top when it comes to "real life." Like Carreiro, she finds most women don’t blend and smudge the bottom line enough.

8. Use bright liner sparingly.

If you want to
foray into brighter colours, "just do a little flick at the outer corner rather than the entire line," says Carreiro. "Or apply a winged liner in black and then just underneath the wing, add the colour — it’s still safe but you’ve added that tiny bit of colour to make it new and modern," she says.

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9. Use primer or powder to prevent liner from migrating.

If you tend to find your liner has smudged and moved since you applied it, you can blame your oily eyelids for this. To prevent this from happening, Carreiro recommends applying an eye primer before lining your eyes. Dusting on translucent powder (or wearing eye shadow) can also help keep liner where it should be.

10. Wear waterproof liner sparingly.

While she is a fan of waterproof liners, Stroh says you should only use them if you have the right products to wash them off. "The formula and the the cleansing process to take it off can be tough on the eyes," she says, explaining why she prefers to use these formulas less frequently. Limit their use to the beach, weddings and red carpet events — times when you need longevity from your makeup. When applying, remember that these formulas are drier than regular formulas, so they will set faster. "So you have to work quickly! Also, with waterproof pencils, they have less oil, so they have less slip so they may tug on your eye more, so be gentle," says Stroh.

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