Based on all the great comments we're getting, it looks like many of us like to wear a bit of eye make up when we teach. Last week was all about mascara. This week we'll look at eyeliner- how to best wear it, and good liners that have staying power.

I often get asked, "Should I wear eyeliner on the top or on the bottom?" My answer is: both.

Although dramatic, lining the bottom of our eye all the way back to center can minimize the look of our eyes.

Although dramatic, lining the bottom of our eye all the way back to center can minimize the look of our eyes.

Having said that, care should be taken not to minimize the look of our eyes by lining the bottom completely back into the corner. (See side picture).

A more natural, eye opening option, is to line the entire top of our eye, and the lower eye half -way to the middle of our iris. (See picture below).

Black liner is of course the most dramatic, and least forgiving, color. Brown, bronze and gray are softer and more natural. A smudged pencil also gives a more natural look, gel liners the next step towards drama, with liquid liners being the most dramatic, but not necessarily the most long wearing.

Before gel liners came into being, I found liquid liners to be the best long wearing option. Since experiencing the gels, I've noticed liquids disappear a bit in comparison.

Gel and liquid liners are the most 'age friendly' because we don't need to hold, or tug our lid in order to apply them well. Liquid liners, with a felt tip vs. a brush, are also user friendly and quite easy to apply.

If you're new to using liquid liner, an easy application method is to apply mascara first. Let your mascara dry. It gives a hard line to draw liner on. Looking  down into a hand mirror, rather than directly into a wall mirror, will also make liquid application easier.

Kohl type pencils are great for smudging and creating a smokey eye, but aren't typically very long wearing due to their soft nature. Many liner pencils do come in waterproof formulas, but I've often found them to be quite hard to apply and I hate tugging at my eye area in order to get the hard pencil to go on properly.

This is a great example of liner in the water line (black on top, white on the bottom) and also using liner to open eyes by partially lining on the bottom.

This is a great example of liner in the water line (black on top, white on the bottom) and also using liner to open eyes by partially lining on the bottom.

Lining the 'water line' (the eye membrane, or inside line of our eyelid) can lead to a very natural look (when used alone), or extra dramatic look (when paired with regular lining techniques).  I find my eyes get quite irritated when I do it, and wonder about the sanitary nature of sticking eyeliners literally in our eye membrane???? At least with a gel liner and brush, we can wash the brush each time to keep things sanitary.

If your liner tends to transfer to your eyelid, in addition to using a long wearing liner, often a waterproof eyeshadow base can help. Oily eyelids are common and can be a culprit in eyeliner coming off long before we want it to. A couple shadow bases I've tried and like are: Stila Prime Pot ($20)- comes in two colors Caramel and Taffy, Tarte Clean Slate 360 Creaseless 12 Hour Smoothing Eye Primer ($19) and Elizabeth Arden Eye Fix Primer ($21.50).

A great 'beginner' liquid liner is Lancome's Artliner in Ice Black ($30). The applicator is a felt tip (no stray brushes to worry about) and the Ice Black color is more like a translucent steel gray, so it's very forgiving as we're learning to apply it. I also like this color because it's much softer than black, brown and regular gray. The artliner's wear quite well, but come off easily with facial cleanser and water. I don't find I need make up remover to get them off. Although a bit pricey, they last 6-9 months with everyday use. (Be sure to shake well before use.)

*Lancome recently introduced Artliner 24H, which I don't like at all. It seems to have a vinyl component that looks fake and worse yet, pulled my lashes out when I tried to remove it at the end of the day. Travesty!

The first gel liner I used was Lancome's Liner Design Long Wearing Calligraphy Gel Eyeliner ($24.50). I got a black one free because I was still working for them at the time. I liked it so much I bought an additional 5 colors! The Dual ended Liner and Smudger Brush #24 ($20) unfortunately does not come with the liner.

Other liners I've tried:

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner with Double Ended Brush ($24) is soft and easy to use and wears until you take it off. (I do need to use a make up remover. If I just use my cleanser, I have residual, which is a small price to pay for all-day wear IMHO). I also like the brush and love that it's included in the price. It comes in brown, black, indigo, bronze, plum and green. If you like a very soft look, the bronze is lovely. Tarte products have no parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium laurel sulfate, or gluten, so maybe popping this in our water line wouldn't be so horrible....I might try it.

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($9.99) doesn't last quite as well  for me as Tarte or Lancome, but the price point is great. It comes in Blackest Black, Brown, Charcoal and Eggplant. It also comes with a brush, although I like the Tarte brush much better and use that one all the time.

I know there are many great liners out there (and many not-so-great ones!) Time, money and the length of this post :),  prevent me from writing about more, and trying most of the others.  Please let us know what you've tried and liked, or tried and not liked.

Thanks, everyone, for your feedback on mascara!

Please comment, or reach out to me:


*I don't receive compensation for writing PRO/STYLE, other than an occasional unsolicited piece of 'advice' from John Macgowan, founder of ICI/PRO, my skydiving buddy and husband of 25 years. If I ever get something like product, or real cash money, I'll happily disclose that fact.

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Amy Macgowan
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