The best eyeliner shades & techniques for your eye shape & color
Gorgeous liner starts with the proper prep work. Start by priming the eye to avoid migration of color. This will also help cancel out any veins or darkness. A touch of concealer is also a great idea, especially in the corners and under the lower lashes. When your makeup is completely finished, seal the deal with Model in a Bottle, the budge-proof setting spray that keeps makeup from melting through sweat, tears and long days.
All Line Up
All eyes benefit from these three liner colors: nude, black and white. A nude liner is an excellent idea to brighten eyes and neutralize any redness. Use your nude liner on the lower water line (inner rim). Black liner on the upper water line will beef up sparse lashes for extra POW! Make sure your nude and black liners are waterproof for better wear. A broad white liner adds uplifting radiance to eyes when placed above and below well-groomed brows. Blend well.
To find the best eyeliner shade for your eye color, look no further than the color wheel. Colors opposite each other give the biggest eye-popping contrast. Colors next to each other can create a dramatic smoky eye.
But just because red is opposite green on the wheel doesn’t mean green-eyed lovelies should use a red eyeliner, rather you’d want to choose colors that are red-tinged or warm. Warm-hued browns, golds or purples make green eyes gorgeous!
Orangey hues look simply smashing on baby blues, so look for warmer tones of copper, plum or warm smoky gray.
The most versatile of eye colors, brown eyes pop with vibrancy when lined in cool tones of teal, dark green, smoky blue, purple or bluish gray.
Mercurial hazels should follow the color suggestions of the most dominant shade in your eye (i.e. your hazel eyes are more green, so go with warm-tinged browns, golds or purples). Bronze can really be beautiful with hazel eyes.
The Shape of Things to Stun
A simple tromp l’oeil, a trick of the eye, can change the shape or size of your eyes with a bit of makeup mastery. One eyeliner we love is jane iredale’s Jelly Jar Gel Eyeliner which effortlessly creates either a perfectly precise line or a sensational smudged look. How thick or thin and where you apply your liner depends on your eye shape for the most stunning results…
Round or Big Eyes
To elongate round eyes, emphasize the outer corners. Winged eyeliner works wonderfully on round eyes. Start with a thin line on the upper lashes that broadens on the outer corner then draws out to a point.
Small or Narrow Eyes
You’ll want to go easy on the eyes when they’re on the smaller side or else you will overpower them and make them look more narrow. A thin, tight line of liner is all you need on the upper lash line. On the lower lashes, keep the liner on the outer third only. Smudging the lower line creates a beautiful softness.
If your almond eyes tilt up, a smoky eye that widens at the outer corner should be balanced with smudged, smoky liner on the lower outer corner. Smudge and blend upper and lower liner together. For almond eyes that tilt down, a cat’s eye that flicks up and out at 45˚ can give instant lift.
This eye shape doesn’t have a crease, so to create dramatic definition, line your eyes with a dark liner and blend up across your entire lid to sculpt the illusion of depth. Forgo liner on the bottom for the most eye-opening appeal. Monolids can also rock a superstar cat eye with emphasis on the outer edge.
Close-set eyes are less than one eyeball space apart. To widen close-set eyes, keep dark liner away from the inside corners of eyes. Start your liner on the upper lash line starting about 1/3 of the way from the outer corner. Repeat on the lower lash line, but keep the look soft by lightly smudging the lower line. Try this: create an ombré effect by using a light liner in the inner corner and blend into a darker color on the outer corner. Chic!
Wide-eyed beauties have a whole eyeball’s space between their eyes. Wide eyes can also flaunt purrrfect cat eyes, but should start the uptick before the end of the eye to visually shorten the space. Liner should start as close to your tear duct as possible.
An extra layer of skin shrouds hooded eyelids, leaving little lid space for dramatic liner. A tight line along upper lashes can broaden out at the corners for a cat eye chic enough for the catwalk. Smudge the liner for smoky-eyed sultriness. A waterproof liquid liner is a great choice for hooded eyes.
If your brow bone is more prominent relative to your lids, your eyes are probably deep-set. Deep-set eyes walk the line with hooded eyes and are best accented with a thin line that broadens only at the outer corners. You want to avoid creating more depth that could give a sunken appearance.