Free time—ever heard of the term? It’s when you have absolutely nothing to do. Crazy thought, we know. Time is money, and these days we can’t help but feel that our accounts are constantly hovering near zero. Thus, when we do find ourselves with a pocket of blithe free time, however short it may be, we want to make sure we’re making the most of it. Read: preferably not splayed out on our couches, scrolling through our never-ending social media feeds. Though there is a time and place for lazy indulgence (i.e. hungover mornings), the next time you find yourself with 30 minutes to spare, why not do something productive and brush up on your eye makeup skills?
To help us determine exactly what the most important skills are, as well as exactly how to carry out each one, we called upon celebrity makeup artist Toby Fleischman. With clients like Ruby Rose, Chrissy Teigen, and Erin Heatherton, Fleischman is clearly an expert at her craft—and we couldn’t wait to hear her tips.
Got 30 minutes? Keep scrolling for three eye makeup skills you should definitely master.
The first word that might come to mind when we mention faux lashes is probably “intimidating.” But according to Fleischman, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, whether you’re working with strip lashes or individual flares, she says that the key to mastering both is all about placement.
Fleischman’s Pro Tips
- The mirror trick: “A little trick I like to tell people is to place a mirror flat on a table. When you sit above it, and look down into the mirror, your eye is in the perfect downward position to be able to see where that ‘sweet spot’ is where your lashes meet your eyelid—place the lash there. Some people prefer using tweezers while others prefer just holding the lash in between their fingers (or a combo of both).”
- Cut your strip lashes: “If you're using a strip, cutting them into three pieces can make it easier to wield.”
- Look for cluster lashes: “There are some new lashes on the market now that come with three little flares attached together that are really easy to practice with. And there are also some new tapered and double individuals, that give you more bang for your lash, so just adding a couple on each eye really makes a difference.”
- Wait it out: “Make sure when you dip the lash in the glue, be patient and give it some to dry and get very sticky before placing it on the eye. If it is too wet, it will slip more and you will have a tougher time with the placement. The stickier the glue gets, the better it will adhere to your lid."
Smoky eyes—once something only the deft-handed could execute—are now easier than ever. Why? A new crop of creamy, smudgeable eye pencils make blending a total breeze. Who needs brushes when you can use your fingers.
Fleischman’s Pro Tips
- Choose cream: “I always recommend using creams and pencils for a smoky eye because it makes it so much easier to blend. There are some great chubby eye pencils on the market that are portable and simple to use. You can also use a creamy, smooth eyeliner, too if you that's what you have to work with.”
- Blend, blend blend: “Start by using a lighter color all over the lid and bottom lash line and blend it in. Blending is the key to a smoky eye, so don't be shy to use your fingers, a Q-tip or a blending blush. Then, taking a shade or two darker, define the outer third of your eye on the top, and along the bottom lash line into the outer corner. Lastly, take the creamy black eyeliner, or the darkest eye shadow pencil, and line the eye. You can line just the outer corner, or for a more dramatic look, line the entire eye. Keep blending!”
- Clean it up: “If you have gotten a bit messy, don't worry! Go in with a clean brush or a Q-tip and clean things up around the eye.”
Guess what: even pros have days when that perfect flick of liner can elude them. If that doesn’t make you feel better, then these tips will.
Fleischman’s Pro Tips:
- Go drugstore: “When I discovered Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner ($6) and Eye Studio Master Graphic Liner ($7), my eyeliner game was forever changed. I love how they’re basically a Sharpie pen for your eye. The color goes on smoothly, you have enough time to work with it, and once it sets, you are good to go! It makes a cat eye so easy. And with drugstore prices, you have no excuse not to try them.”
- Flick first: “Here's the key—start with the flick. Take the pointed end of the marker and draw your flick. Some like to start from the outer corner of the eye out; some like to start from the tippy point in. Figure out what works best for you."
- Start thin: “After drawing your flick, go into the inner corner of your eye and start drawing a thin line along your lashline. You can always make it thicker, so starting thin is helpful.”
- Anchor away: “You may want to anchor your hand on something—either by placing your elbow on the table if you are sitting down, or by placing the wrist of the hand you are drawing with over your other arm to give yourself some leverage. Connect the liner with the flick and fill in the line as thick or thin as you want it.”
- Clean up smartly: “If you mess up or you just want to change the angle of your flick, I like to dip a Q-tip in some moisturizer. I find it less harsh when rubbing around the delicate areas around your eye and easier to control.”
Still need a visual? Here’s how to create the perfect cat-eye in four steps.