Alexa Chung's Makeup Artist Talks Liquid Liner

by Britt Aboutaleb

Just because a makeup artist swears by a certain brush or a favorite technique doesn’t mean it will work in the mirror—there’s a big difference between painting someone else’s face and painting your own. For example, most artists favor gel liner and an angled brush when it comes to painting a cat eye on a client, but when tasked with their own makeup? “I honestly can’t do it to myself,” says Tamah K., the woman behind Alexa Chung’s always-perfect lids. “If I’m going to wear it myself, I use a pen.”

The secret to liquid eyeliner self-application lies with finding the right felt-tip marker. After all, everyone’s familiar with holding a pen or pencil, right? They’re long, thin, easy to manipulate, and—if you pick the right one—deliver just the right amount of black pigment. Tamah favors Nars’ Eyeliner Stylo ($27) in Carpates: “It has the fluidity of a brush,” she says. Kevyn Aucoin’s Precision Liquid Liner ($32) in Black has a similarly rounded brush, as does Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Eyeliner ($33) in Black and Revlon’s ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen ($9), though the latter two are a bit plumper (ideal if you favor a thicker line).

L’Oreal's Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner ($9) in Black is the slimmest of the bunch, delivers the darkest black line, and is super flexible, giving you the most control. (Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner ($20) in Black has almost the same tip, but is waterproof in case you want to accessorize your swimsuit with a cat eye this summer.) If it’s staying power you’re worried about, there’s Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner ($18) in Trooper. Though the tip looks like the others, it’s actually a brush, one that delivers a water-resistant formula that dries super fast and stays put all day long.

Whichever marker you choose, practice drawing the kind of line you’re after on your hand a few times before moving to your lash line. And one last tip from Tamah: “People tend to put too much pressure on the brush, but it’s almost like calligraphy—you have to let the pen do the work.”

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