EYELINER. It’s been a make-up bag staple for decades and although it can be pretty tricky to nail, it can work wonders for enhancing your face.
Liquid eyeliner can instantly transform your day to night makeup as you simply add it on over the top, making your day makeup look fresh and glamorous.
There are many different brands and styles of liquid eyeliner; from ink pots, pens, gel formulas, and more.
Makeup artists such as Lisa Aldridge and Charlotte Tilbury rave about the kitten eyeliner style which was made popular in the 1960’s by Mary Quant, while others may prefer to adopt a more natural look.
When applying eyeliner, it can sometimes glide on and other times not behave at all!
Tip: If you mess up just one eye (don’t worry, we’ve all been there!) just dip a cotton bud in micellar water and take off the edge rather than starting all over again.
Not only is technique important but trying to find the best liquid eyeliner can feel like a mighty task; What is the best brand? Is it worth paying more for a more luxe liner? And do budget beauty buys work just as well?
The only problem? There are many eyeliners that do not work well and to save you the hard work, we’ve decided to put the big brand eyeliners to the test. Here are our favourites…
- Rimmel Exaggerate Eyeliner, £5.99 – buy here
Wings, flicks, cat-eyes and more, the Rimmel Exaggerate Eyeliner is a precise eye-liner aimed at creating eye-catching styles.
It comes in an ink-pot that you dip in and has a fine tip which is perfect for beginners or those that may be a little wobbly on application.
So how does it work? Coming in a jet-black formula, you literally shake the pot then apply as close to the lash line as possible. If you run out, simply dip in and build up the thickness even more.
We found it the easiest of the eyeliners to use as you can control the amount you apply. It is also very efficient for building up a gradual liner.
We wore it all day to see if it came up to scratch with the 16 hours’ smear-proof test and although we weren’t running a marathon, it did stay on well.
The price is also extremely good with it being one of the more bargain liners on the market.
When using eye makeup remover to take off the liner, it came off easily and left no residue.
Ophthalmologist tested, this product ticks every single makeup goal. You'll be winging your way to fabulousness from day to night!
Revolution Pro Rockstar Matte Edition
- Revolution Pro Rockstar Matte Edition, £6.00 – buy here
The most gorgeous makeup packaging award goes to… Revolution! Featuring a beautiful gold lid and dramatic black packaging this product definitely hits the style stakes with a glamorous Hollywood look.
Touted as a matte eyeliner rather than shiny, we found the tip not the thinnest on the market but definitely the darkest. It needed just one coat and works well for night time evening looks when you want a style that lets your eyes to do all the talking.
It dried fast and we liked that it was easy to apply over eyeshadow with no second coat needed. A win-win!
Glossier Pro Tip
- Glossier Pro Tip, £15 – buy here
The name gives a hint at what’s in store. Glossier’s Pro Tip is a liner designed to add flair to any makeup fanatics routine.
We LOVE the packaging this comes in, a cute pastel pink pen and its fiber tip means fuss-free application.
This is a liner for someone who prefers a more natural look as we found it needed a couple of applications to get it really dark and build it up. But with it’s flexible brush this was a really easy process and it felt comfortable on the lid after.
Vegan and cruelty-free, this pen liner is a perfect addition for those wanting to build up their look slowly without going full Audrey Hepburn!
Tip: Lift your head up and look down to let it dry naturally so you won’t create any smudges on the upper lid. Then pose!
Maybelline Tattoo Liner
- Maybelline Tattoo Liner, £9.99 – buy here
36 hours on, then off without a trace! Is the slogan Maybelline uses for their new Tattoo eyeliner, which we couldn’t wait to put to the test.
Coming in a neat ink pot, we applied it easily and it dried quickly, which is great for those on the move. The colour is dense black and as the pen tip is so thin, you can make really thin lines with ease.
One application was all that was needed and it stayed put for several hours (we decided not to sleep in it for the full 36 hours!)
True, it doesn’t budge as long as you don’t touch it, but we found that is the trick- do not touch it! As when we did, it came off easily.
NYX Professional Makeup Matte Liner
- NYX Professional Makeup Matte Liner, £8.00 – buy here
Coming up as one of the more reasonable liners on the market, NYX liner promises a long-lasting matte finish. The packing is no-nonsense and we found it easy to achieve an ultra-fine flick, opting for a natural cat-eye that was perfect for daytime wear.
The liquid is extremely pigmented so only one coat was needed and one fan described it as, ‘a full 10 hours of long-lasting liner!’
Although we didn’t wear it for as long as that, we definitely give it a thumbs up as a good liner that does what it says on the tin.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Liner
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Liner, £21 – buy here
Anastasia Beverly Hills are a beauty brand which prides itself on it’s golden ratio method, in which the principle relies on using simple makeup tricks to create looks that frame any face shape.
This liquid liner comes in a gorgeous purple pot and is ultra-black, matte and waterproof too.
We found it easy to achieve a flicked wing look, drawing upwards in light strokes and although it took a while to dry we found it was long-lasting and stayed on all day.
If you want a liner that has great pigment, lasts and also has gorgeous packaging, then this is the one for you.
How do you apply eyeliner?
With winged eyeliner, practice makes perfect! A steady hand is your best friend but fear not, there are a couple of things you can do along the way to help make the process smoother.
Firstly, you should always shake your pen or liner pot to make sure it spreads evenly on the applicator.
Then you want to lay the brush flat when applying rather than dabbing with the tip, as that can get messy.
Sweet in a sliding motion outwards and always start in the middle of the eye, as close as possible to the lash line (if you start in in the inner eye it can leave globs).
For the wing keep your eyes open! It can be tempting to close or lift your head into an angle but this can create uneven flicks… and a lot of makeup remover. You can even get winged eyeliner templates online which help with more dramatic styles.
How do you stop eyeliner from smudging?
Ah, the eyeliner smudge. We’ve all been there when it’s going on so well then, oof! The liner seems to have a mind of it’s own and goes completely in a different direction. Thankfully, there’s ways to overcome this without removing all eye makeup and starting again. You simply use a cotton bud in eye makeup remover or micellar water and gently pick up the liner in the area of the mistake. This will then leave the rest of the eye makeup on and you can apply again.
How do you remove eyeliner?
The panda look has yet to be in vogue so it’s important to remove all traces of eye makeup at the end of the day as it also lets your skin breathe effectively in the night time.
Use a gentle eye-makeup remover, an oil-based one will really get to grips with liquid liner, but do not pull on the skin or drag the cotton wool across the skin. Similarly, do not dab too hard but simply use a gentle sweeping motion from inner corner to outer corner of eye.
How do you apply eyeliner with eyeshadow?
It’s the age old question- the chicken and the egg. But which should you apply first? Eyeshadow with eyeliner is a simple makeup hack to make your eyes really pop but it is always best to start with eyeshadow first.
Make sure the shadow is fully blended before applying a liquid liner. Similarly, if you are using a cream eyeshadow make sure you have the desired amount applied and that it has set.
You then apply the liner, starting from the middle of the eye to the outer corner and then filling the line in the inner corner. Add a cat-eye flick for extra glamour!
Another beauty hack is to invest in some translucent powder. Just using a very small amount over the lid can set the liner and eyeshadow perfectly, making it last even longer through the day.
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