There are three ways of applying eyeliner (that I know of):
- Applying liner just above your [top] eyelashes — to the roots of your lashes, from the top. This is the most common method; I use it almost every day.
- Tightlining, which is applying liner to the roots of your top lashes from the underside. (You’ll have to pull your lid away from your eye.) I’ve never done this, but it can be a great technique, especially if you have sparse or light-colored lashes. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Raquel13′s photo-slideshow tutorial is the gold standard in tightlining explanation.
- Waterlining, which is applying liner to the skin that touches your eyeball. Waterlining really shows up on your lower eyelid and in the corner of your eye — where there aren’t any lashes. Because you’re darkening a naturally low-lash or lash-free area, it’s a dramatic, sexy look. You’ll want to supplement it with technique #1.
What waterlining looks like (photos taken from Aradiapdx’s recent tutorial):
I have only ever successfully applied anything to my waterline using the eastern method, which entails a using loose powder kohl with a stick applicator. You lay the stick along your waterline, close your eyes, and gently draw it out. I do wear contacts and I’ve never found the technique uncomfortable. Here is the best video tutorial I know of (republished with permission of the lovely Rina):
I do make a mess when I use loose kohl, so on days I’m going to do this, I apply my kohl first, clean up with makeup-remover-soaked q-tips, pat dry with toilet paper squares, and then go through my normal routine. Many people are more competent than I — but I think this is a good tip for first-timers.
Anyway, since I’ve only used loose kohls to waterline, today’s information is largely anecdotal. But I wanted to gather together swatches of the products I most commonly hear recommended for waterlining.
As with anything, your mileage may vary. Best not to buy all colors of a formula before you get to test it on yourself.
Here are links to the original posts for each set of swatches (useful for pricing, color availability, and other information):
- Guerlain loose kohls
- Laura Mercier cake liner
- Chanel cake liner (brown and black)
- Urban Decay 24/7 liners
- Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes
- MAC Pearlglide liners
- Sephora Flashy Liners
- Prestige Waterproof
Now, some peoples’ eyes are irritated by sparkles, and I’ve heard that sparkly liners should not be used on the waterline for this reason. In fact, sparkles are what usually earn a product a “Not Recommended for Eye” designation by MAC. Several of these do contain sparkles (MAC Pearlglides, and UD Stash, Deviant, Covet, Graffiti, Honey, Underground, Baked, Lucky, 1999, Bourbon, and Gunmetal), so proceed with caution.Did I leave out your favorite? Am I dead wrong about any? Speak up!