Video: Lived-In Liner Tutorial With Tobi Henney

Erin Jahns

As the previous makeup director for L'Oreál Paris Australia and with her work featured in almost too many industry-leading titles to count (Vogue, Elle, and Harper's Bazaar, to name just a few), world-renowned makeup artist Tobi Henney was a natural choice to ask into the Byrdie film studio. The look: lived-in liner.

Disproving that liner is solely reserved for the bold and dramatic, Henney breaks the process down step by step, demonstrating that strategically smudged liner (with some help from A+ products) can be a simmering antidote for a predictable, day-to-day makeup routine—and a far cry from our usual liquid cat eye.

And with a special knack for creating ethereal, flawlessly glowing skin (ahem, Henney is known for it), the end result couldn't be more refreshing. Plus, it's so easy.

For Henney's tips on how to achieve the ultimate lived-in liner look, watch the video tutorial below.

The first order of business: Prep the skin for a luscious glow. Henney turns to Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance ($38) to evenly coat skin with a pristine, clean base prior to foundation. The formula, she says, "will sit really beautifully under the makeup." To ensure the product is fully absorbed into the skin, she gently buffs it in using the MAC 188 Small Duo Fiber Face Brush ($35).

Next up, the holy grail of foundations: Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation ($62), which Henney loves for its "sheer, buildable tint." To apply, she starts by dabbing the light formula into the center of the face with her fingers, slowly working outward to keep the look as "natural" and "healthy" as possible. 

To strategically hide any darkness under the eyes, residual pigment around the nose, or pesky blemishes, (yes, models get them, too), Henney uses Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($30) and applies it with her fingers for extra bendability and precision. "Just tap it on, melt it in, and buff away the edges," she says.

For an added dose of brightening, Henney shares that one her favorite products is the YSL Touche Eclat Radiance Perfecting Pen ($42). Which, she says, shouldn't be used in lieu of a concealer: "The difference between this and a concealer is that you need to pop this on the hollows where you tend to get little eye bags." She also likes to add it to the center of the forehead, above the Cupid's bow, and on top of the chin for a diffused, lit-from-within-glow.

Next, a subtle dose of contour, courtesy of the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Palette ($82), which Henney shares is another one of her cult favorites. Do like Henney, and buff the darker shade of contour into the cheekbones, temples, and jawline. For unbeatable precision, she uses the same MAC brush she used for to buff in her primer. For more dimension, add a touch of the contour to the sides of the nose and gently ease up into the brow bone. Then, blend, blend, blend. 

For a "see-through, glossy finish," Henney sticks with the same Tom Ford palette she uses for contour and pats the highlighter on the inner-eyes, Cupid's bow, and on top of the cheekbones. 

As Henney preps Iben's lips with product, she explains that it's important to add some moisture early on in the makeup application so your pout will have time to absorb the products. Henney likes the Mecca Cosmetica Lip De-Luscious with SPF 25+ ($28). "It's a beautiful nourishing lip balm and is even really pretty just to wear during the day since it enhances your natural shade."

Next: brows. Henney's goal is to create a natural and fluffy arch that will complement the softened feel of the entire makeup look. The MAC Eye Brows Brow Definer  $18) comes first. According to Henney, it's important to square off the brow since those first hairs tend to grow in finer than the ones toward the arch and outer corners. She completes the look with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pro Palette ($88), using an angled brush to fill in the brow with light, pigmented strokes. To keep everything in place, she recommends the Glossier Boy Brow ($16).

To keep the area under the eyes bright and free of creasing, Henney lightly applies Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($26) using the Nars Small Intensifier Brush ($55). Her expert tip: Avoid a heavy hand during application and keep powder exclusive to the T-zone. Cheekbones and other high areas of the face should stay glossy.

For the eyes, Henney always starts by curling the eyelashes using the Kevyn Aucoin Eyelash Curler ($21) to open up the eyes and ensure that the lid and lashes look even. Too keep the palette natural, she takes the MAC 217 Blending Brush ($25) and applies the brand's Pro Longwear Paint Pot ($22) in Groundwork. Which, she says, "creates the perfect base." It's blendable so it goes on easily and then once it dries it will stay put—always a win. 

To line, the Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia ($26) is Henney's go-to. The perfect consistency (and shade) to create the coveted, lived-in look, she tends to reach for a chocolate or bronzey color. Her reasoning: "They're soft, they're a little more natural, they're not as overpowering as black, and they'll work day to night." Then, blend with the Charlotte Tilbury Eye Smudger Brush ($34).

To create definition, Henney likes Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara ($6), but instead of using the mascara wand, she applies the drugstore (and wallet-friendly formula) with the MAC 204 Lash Brush ($16). "It creates volume, a little bit of intensity, and it lasts really well."

Henney explains that she likes to use blush next (as opposed to earlier in the application process), because she has a better gauge on how much product she should actually apply. By adding it after the eye makeup, she'll make sure that the blush won't overpower the rest of the look. On Ivan, she uses Stila Convertible Color in Peony ($25)—one of her favorites. She explains, "You want it to look like you've just been out in the sun."

Another secret weapon: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter ($41). As Henney applies the cream to the high points of the face, she shares that she prefers creams over powder formulas because of the dewy, incandescent glow they lend to the face complexions of her clients. (Think Shanina Shaik and Alexis Ren.)

Next, comes the lip. Henney uses Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Do Me Baby ($27), before coming back in with concealer to clean up any last pigment around the lips. The lip line, she explains, should look impeccably clean.

Last (but certainly not least), she finishes the look with another touch of shimmer. She uses the Rae Morris Jishaku #9 Brush ($55) to apply MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft and Gentle ($34) near the inner corners of the eyes. The effect is "crystal clear and awake." According to Henney, the key to getting your best glow is all in the art of layering. 

If you're looking for long-wear, do like Henney and apply Makeup For Ever Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder ($36) with the MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush ($35). Just make sure to keep your application to the T-zone, only. 

Love our tutorials? Check out all of our favorite makeup artist how-tos here.

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