Despite what the name suggests, eyeliner is so much more than just tracing your lashline. You can quickly take a makeup look from zero to 60 with the swipe of a pencil. A calculated crisp line here or a carefully placed smudge there can transform the windows to your soul in surprising ways. Winged, mod, and smoky eyes aside, for an everyday lined look, it turns out the most flattering eyeliner depends on your unique eye shape. For the ultimate tutorial in eyeliner application, we reached out to Lupita Nyong'o's makeup artist, Nick Barose, to show us where he draws the line.
Keep scrolling to see his answers to some of our initial questions about determining the best eyeliner for each eye shape, and then head below to discover the best eyeliner look for you.
BYRDIE: What are the top things to keep in mind when determining an eye makeup look for your eye shape?
NICK BAROSE: Keep in mind that it's not about a total drastic makeover change. It's a much more modern approach to work with what you've got, and use eye makeup to open it up as opposed to overdoing it like in the old days.
BYRDIE: What are the aspects you consider when choosing the eyeliner technique to use with your clients?
NB: I always look at their eye shapes and see where to add or subtract by using eyeliner or eye shadow, and I'm as discreet as possible so it doesn't look like I'm trying to make the eyes look bigger. You shouldn't see the try part. It should just open up the eyes. And it doesn't have to always be black. Sometimes you see that people tried to line with heavy, black, black shadow, lots of mascara—then all you see in the end are these black hollows in the eyes, and the eyes get lost, and they end up looking smaller.
It doesn't have to be black. It can be brown, bronze, olive, navy, or gray. Or the opposite—like when I get someone with dark eyes and dark lashes, instead of using dark all around, I use black on the upper lashline, and then shimmery gold on the bottom, and that opens it up instead of closing it down.
BYRDIE: What are the biggest eyeliner mistakes you see people making?
NB: Thinking the darkest, the blackest—the more you do—the fake lashes, the heavy liquid liner and all that will open up the eyes, but it closes it down.
For a less-is-more approach, scroll below to find your eye shape, and study up on Nick Barose's instructions for your most flattering eyeliner look.
Find the Most Flattering Eyeliner Look for Your Eye Shape
"It's kind of the ideal eye shape," admits Barose of the almond eye, calling on Sophia Loren and Priyanka Chopra as beauty muse examples. When it comes to liner, "you don't need to do much," he says. "I love using a black gel liner on top, wing it out a bit, and add more mascara on outer corners to accentuate the feline quality."
"It's about bringing light to it," advises Barose for deep-set eyes. "Use dark colors just on top and/or the outer corners, and keep the bottom and inner corners clean." For something extra, "you may add shimmery nude, light tones to illuminate the depth."
Hooded eyes can be a bit trickier when mastering an eyeliner look. "The upper lids will mostly be hidden," notes Barose, who suggests "using thick liner on top covering up the whole lid and winging it out a bit." This is "key to define [the line] and have it show when the eye is open," he says. "Avoid anything too solid like liquid pen—it gets too severe when you do that much," he warns. Instead, "opt for a crayon you can blend and smudge."
For round eyes, Barose advises "lengthening out the outer corners a bit on top (or bottom too) to draw the eyes from round to long." For the lashes, he suggests possibly skipping curling "since that will also accentuate roundness."
To bring out the balance in downturned eyes, Barose says to "lift it up a bit on outer corners." He suggests to "use liner to start from mid-center, and then cheat the end a bit to lift it. Ideally, keep it clean on the bottom. This way you focus on the upper lift." Pro tip: "Drawing the brows with a slight lift to echo the liner shape also helps draw everything up."
"Try to draw the outer corners out instead of an angle," explains Barose for upturned eyes. "Do it from top and bottom so it's more straight out toward the ears than the temples. Use liner, and smoke it with shadow."
Next up, discover eight drugstore eyeliners makeup artists swear by (all under $8).