Your Definitive Eyeliner Dictionary and the Looks You Can Create

Whether you want a thin, defined line, a bold cat-eye or a smudged-out, smouldering look, there’s an eyeliner that can help you achieve it.

Mastering the art of the perfect eyeliner look isn’t an easy task. But the best way to get it right is lots of practice—and getting your hands on the right tools. If you’re not sure how to apply eyeliner to create an on-point cat-eye, a perfectly precise line or a runway-inspired graphic look, you need to have the best eyeliner for the job. There are so many to choose from, between liquid eyeliner formulas, brush applicators, felt tips or pencils, and choosing the wrong one can set you back before it even touches your lids. This guide can help you figure out which eyeliner styles will help you get the look you want and arm you with some handy eyeliner tips and tricks along the way.

Cat eyes with eyeliner

There’s no eyeliner look that’s more iconic than cat-eye makeup. It’s got old-Hollywood glamour, it can instantly elevate any look and it’s deceptively easy to achieve. First up, make sure you’re choosing a good liquid eyeliner formula, like L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Superstar Eyeliner. Not only will the eyeliner itself stay put all day but the ultra-fine tip and pen-like packaging means you can be precise with your application since it’s extremely easy to control.

Step one:

Start by tracing along your upper lash line, and then draw a line upwards from the outer corner of your eye at about a 45-degree angle.

Step two:

Turn that line into a triangle by connecting the top back down to your lash line with another stroke.

Step three:

Fill in the empty space with your liquid eyeliner and you’ll have feline-level perfection that won’t budge all day.

Smudged eyeliner

Effortless and sexy come together in this look that’s perfect for an evening out. The key is to choose an eyeliner pencil that you can smudge before it sets but stays put once you’re done, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner. Just trace your upper lash line with the eyeliner, and use your finger to soften it as much or as little as you want. Going thicker with that first line will give you a bolder look, while starting with a thin line will keep it subtle. If you’re feeling extra bold, run your eyeliner pencil over lower lash line as well—but keep it as thin as you can so it doesn’t look like fallout.

Graphic eyeliner

The runways are always full of standout graphic eyeliner looks. If you want something a little different, there are lots of wearable ways to take on the trend. The best liquid eyeliner to choose for this one is L’Oréal Paris Lineur Intense Brush Tip Eyeliner thanks to its stay-all-day formula and felt tip that’s easy to manoeuvre. A great graphic eyeliner look to tackle first is a three-dot cluster. Start with one about a centimetre away from the outer corner of your eye, and place the other two just above it. If you’re feeling artistic, try a single star near the outer corner of your eye. For something with super-high impact, trace a solid line in an arc shape just below your brow bone. And remember: Don’t be afraid to take risks! Any mistakes can be easily cleaned up with a cotton swab dipped in make-up remover.

Winged eyeliner

This look is the dialed-back version of cat-eye make-up, ideal if you’re wearing a bold lip or you just want something a little softer. Choose a liquid eyeliner with a really precise tapered tip—L’Oréal Paris Infallible Super Slim Eyelinerhas just that, and since it’s a smudge-proof eyeliner, when you get your winged liner just the way you want it, it’ll stay that way throughout the day. Start by tracing your lash line from the inner corner of your eye, as tight to your lashes as you can get. As you get closer to the outer corner of your eye, extend the line and give it a slight angle. If you want it a little thicker, you can trace over it when the first coat sets, but always start by keeping it thin.

Defined eyeliner

Sometimes you just need a little definition, and a precise, no-fuss eyeliner look could be just the thing. Grab L’Oréal Paris Infallible Original Never Fail Eyeliner. Its ultra-fine brush will help you achieve a minimal but still impactful liquid eyeliner look. The quick-drying formula glides on smoothly and won’t move for up to 12 hours. Trace along your upper lash line, starting right from the inner corner of your eyelid. Do the same along your lower lash line and you’ll have the perfect starting point for a bold, smoky eye, a metallic eyeshadow look or a full fan of false lashes.

Take these tips, practise the technique for these eyeliner styles and don’t be afraid to change up your look every day to keep things fresh and fun.

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