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Few things in the beauty world are more frustrating than the moment when you ruin your entire eye look with one poorly applied stroke of eyeliner. Next time, try one of these tips from Chicago-based makeup artist Paula Heckenast to up your eyeliner game.
Smudge With Shadow
While pencil liners with a built-in smudger on the end may seem crazy-convenient, it's not going to give you the best effect, says Paula. Instead, take a shadow in the color of your liner (either shimmery and matte will work, depending on the look you’re going for). Put it on a smudge brush, and use that to smoke out the liner for that quintessential sultry look. This will ensure an even smudge that is easy to blend and has staying power.
Heat It Up
Have a pencil that feels like sandpaper scraping across your eyelid? Not ideal, to say the least. Try heating up the tip with a hairdryer to soften the pencil and make application easier. "Don't hold it there for a long amount of time," says Paula. Two or three seconds will suffice to make the pencil soft enough to glide across your waterline.
Mascara as Eyeliner
Worst-case scenario: You’re getting ready in a pinch and find you have no eyeliner whatsoever, just mascara. Don't worry, you can work with this. Paula says you can use the mascara to line your eyes like you would with eyeliner. Simply apply the mascara super-close to the lash line, shimmying it up against the skin to create a smudge-y line. If you have a brush, use that—you can drag the brush along the mascara wand and apply the product like a gel liner. One catch: Paula says to use this on the lid only, not the waterline.
Start on the Outside
Paula says to achieve a cohesive line naturally, you should start at the outer corner of your eye and work your way in. "Create the shape that you want your liner to go instead of just winging it," she says. This way, you can visualize the way you want your liner to look at the very start—winged, thick, or super-fine, however you're feeling that day—and then go the rest of the way in. Paula says this is the way she does liner every time.
Use Pencil as a Guideline For Liquid
If you find you have a hard time drawing a liquid line from scratch, this tip is for you: Paula says to try drawing on the liner look you want first with an eyeliner pencil to give yourself a guideline. Then, you can go back and trace over it with liquid liner. She says this won't interfere with the lasting power of your liquid liner and will give you the added benefit of easy clean up if you mess up the first time and want a do-over.
Use A Business Card
Creating a straight line freehand takes practice—and even pros mess up sometimes, says Paula. If you don't want to spend a ton of time drawing your cat eye over and over in front of the mirror, she recommends using a business card to line up your flick. Just press the card down from the corner of your eye pointing outward to the end of your brow and trace your liner along the edge. Voila—a foolproof straight line every. Single. Time.