Sure you can pull off a pouty red lip in your sleep, but what about a winged liner? A graphic rectangular swish of liquid liner in a bold hue? A perfectly smudged, smoky line? From graphic to grunge, there have been some
amazing eyeliner looks making an appearance on the summer and fall runways and red carpet, but who among us has the surgeon’s precision needed to make those kind of bold swishes, freehand? We’ve called in the experts for their eyeliner tips and to teach us how to unearth our inner Cleopatra and do a flawless swipe of eyeliner, every time.

Eyeliner tips: It can be your best friend

Eyeliner can make your eyes pop, brighten, lift and accentuate your eye, and create a polished look. Its ability to enhance your own beauty never ceases to amaze us. "Eyeliner is the easiest way to add impact to the face," explains Tara Anand, founder and director of Artists Within Makeup Academy, the first accredited and licensed makeup school in Alberta.

"It enhances the lash line to give eyes the appearance of fuller, more lush lashes, and helps to define and emphasize the eye’s natural shape," adds Annie Mercer, Sephora PRO and celebrity makeup artist at Sundance Film Festival.

Eyeliner tips: It can be your enemy

Just as much as eyeliner can enhance your beauty look, it can also make it go awry. "With eyeliner, less is more," says Mercer. "All too often I see clients wearing way too much eye liner, which makes others see the makeup instead of the person. A clean, precise application is much more difficult than it seems. A lot of clients I work with have trouble getting the liner right up against the lash line."

"Picking the correct product for the look, skin type or age is tricky," warns Anand. "For example, if you want a smudgy look, try a pencil liner. If you want a clean crisp line, use a liquid liner (but let it set before you open your eyes!). Choosing the incorrect formulation for the application or applying eyeliner to the wrong area can result in it transferring, which can completely change the desired application or look."

Check out our top eyeliner picks all under $25.

Our best eyeliner tips, plus dos and don’ts on the next page …
The #1 tip for flawless eyeliner every time

"My favourite trick is to line the lash line with a silicone-based liner," says Anand. "This is a ‘must tip’ for everyone, no matter what look you’re wanting to ultimately create. The silicone base makes the liner adhere, helping it to last until you take it off."

"Don’t rush! Applying eyeliner that looks flawless takes time," reminds Mercer. "Slowly drawing eyeliner one small stroke at a time will pay off in the end."

Expert eyeliner dos

Do try a
contrasting colour to your eyes, it will make your eyes pop and stand out even more.

Do keep the rest of the face neutral if you are using a stronger liner – no one wants to look overdone and a strong eyeliner should be the focal point of your face.

Do apply eyeliner with a sharp tip for precise application.

Do opt for colour. Don’t always stick to blacks, greys and browns.
Mixing up your eyeliner is the perfect way to incorporate subtle colour to your look. We love sunny yellow, orange, red and blue for both summer and fall.

Expert eyeliner don’ts

Don’t use a cream liner that doesn’t set — in the summer this will lead to a smudgy mess.

Don’t try a new liner technique before an important event, it usually takes some practice to perfect a new technique.

Don’t line the bottom lash line without smudging. Having a precise, strong line on top looks great but it’s best to keep it subtle on the lower lash line for a soft, pretty look.

Don’t stretch your eyelids when applying liner. This not only is rough on the delicate eye area, but also will prevent you from achieving a precise liner application!

Eyeliner honour roll

Our two beauty experts weigh in on their favourite celebrities and models who consistently have spot-on eyeliner.


Scarlett Johansson – "She always pulls off the perfect cat eye."

Kate Moss – "The face of Dior never goes without perfected eyeliner."

Brigitte Bardot – "The original cat-eye queen is always an inspiration."


Jennifer Lopez – "She plays with her makeup and liner application, and always pulls it off perfectly."

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elena Gomez – "She uses liquid liner well, and creates a great balance of softness with the rest of her makeup."

Kim Kardashian – "She plays up her eyes all the time and uses liner to enhance, which creates the dramatic looks we often see."

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