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10 Pencil Eyeliner Tricks to Make Your Eyes Pop

a model at fashion week

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Pencil eyeliners are less expensive and easier to use than liquid liners, but they are not as long-lasting. And yet, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can learn how to apply pencil eyeliner like a makeup professional for eyes that pop.

01 of 10

Start with a Dash

Do you struggle with creating a straight line? Renowned makeup artist Laura Mercier offered one of the best beauty tricks for eyeliner in Allure Magazine. She says that the secret to knowing how to apply an eyeliner pencil, creating the perfect line on the upper and lower lashes, is to begin with a few dashes.

  1. Pull the skin taut at its outer corner.
  2. Slowly draw a series of dashes with the eyeliner, starting from the inner corner and working your way out.
  3. At the halfway point of the line, angle your pencil so you're now drawing with the side of it. This will create a thicker line.
  4. Connect the dots—or in this case, dashes.
02 of 10

Line and Smudge Your Lower Lash Line

There's a simple trick to getting a casual, "I didn't spend extra time on my makeup" look: eyeliner smudging. This technique can really play up your eyes in the most subtle of ways.

  1. Use a pencil eyeliner to line your bottom lashes.
  2. Carefully smudge the line using your fingertip. 
  3. If you want a little more definition, go ahead and give the line a thin, second coat with your liquid liner.
03 of 10

Rim the Inside of Your Eyes

Lining your waterline can be super sexy, especially for a night out. The technique is actually called tightlining, and there's a trick to getting it to last.

  1. Use a waterproof pencil and make sure to sharpen it to a point. This not only adds control but will also remove any germs that might have been on the pencil.
  2. Gently pull your upper lid up and line the top inside rim first from the inside corner of the eye out.
  3. Follow with the bottom waterline.

If you have small eyes, consider using a beige pencil to line the inside rim to make the eyes pop as dark colors can make eyes appear smaller. Using beige will also create the illusion of a good night's sleep.

04 of 10

Fix Mistakes with Cotton Swabs

Even the pros make mistakes from time to time, and eyeliner can be a tricky one to clean up after a slight blunder.​

If you mess up a penciled line, dip a cotton swab in a bit of eye cream or moisturizer. Dot it over the messy spot to make it easier to wipe away. You can also use the swab to smudge the line and make the mistake look deliberately smoky. 

05 of 10

Set Your Line with Eyeshadow

One of the biggest problems with penciled eyeliner is that it looks great in the morning, but tends to melt away by the end of the day. You can prevent that by setting your line with eyeshadow, using it as sort of a primer.

Simply dip a small, angled eyeshadow brush into a dark shadow and run it along your lid, right against your lashes. Then, all you have to do is trace over the eyeshadow line with your liner.

06 of 10

Warm Up Your Waxy Eye Pencil

There's nothing worse on your lids than an eye pencil that won't glide on smoothly because it's too cold or waxy. This can hinder your ability to expertly put on eyeliner pencils, causing the lines you try to create to look chunky and splotchy. The trick to avoiding this is to warm it up.

There are three easy ways you can do this:

  1. Rub the tip on your hand until it softens.
  2. Roll the point between the tips of your fingers.
  3. Heat up the end quickly by holding it in a flame for a very quick second. Then let it cool down for another couple of seconds before applying to your lids.

Next time you buy a pencil, keep in mind that anything labeled "creamy" or "kohl" will go on smoother. Typically, these will not need to be warmed up.

07 of 10

Try a Brown Pencil

While you may be accustomed to black eye pencils, they can sometimes look a little harsh on fair skin. If you find that's the case, or simply want a more natural look, use a brown pencil to create a more subtle, "no-makeup" look. 

If you have dark hair, you can try a trick from makeup artist Mally Roncal. She suggests lining your upper lash line with black eyeliner and your lower line with brown for a soft, yet sexy eye makeup look.

08 of 10

Don't Be Afraid of Color

You can also have a lot of fun with colorful eye makeup, and that goes beyond eyeshadow. Use colored eyeliner pencils to brighten up and enhance your eye color:

  • Purples and maroons make green eyes glow.
  • Navy blue and purple enhance blue eyes.
  • Green and golds brighten up brown eyes. 
  • Gray and bronze play up earthy tones in hazel eyes.
09 of 10

Make Your Eyes Appear Larger

There are a number of tricks you can use to make your eyes appear larger than they are, and one of those involves eyeliner.

If you completely cover both the top and bottom lash lines with liner, you're going to close the eye, making it look smaller. To prevent that, only apply your liner halfway, to the middle of your eye, on both the top and bottom.

10 of 10

Create a Smoky Eye

Smoky eyes are sexy, and they're easier than you may think. The secret is to use a kohl pencil, and the fatter the better.

  1. Warm up the kohl pencil by rubbing it on the back of your hand.
  2. Dot it along the upper and then the lower lashes using the dash technique.
  3. Dab a cotton swab with a little moisturizer or eye cream into it, then smudge your line of kohl dots with it.
  4. Finish with a sweep of dark shadow (try some browns, deep purples, or blues) to the lid.

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