What can I use on my waterline?

There are three ways of applying eyeliner (that I know of):

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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):

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!

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14 Responses to “What can I use on my waterline?”

  • verybecca says:

    >ZOMG! That first pic w/ the eyes is GORGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And Rina is a star…she needs to be in pictures!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kristina says:

    >Prestige’s Waterproof Eyeliners don’t stay on my waterline as well as the Waterproof Automatic ones for some reason, I’ve been finding lately, as my allergies have gotten worse… you’re welcome to borrow my swatches for either/both of those if you want, btw. :)

  • Ann says:

    >I also use LM kohls and the Caviar cake liners on my waterline :)

  • Honey says:

    >I’d like to add Lumene’s Super Visual Kohl Kajal in black. In fact, that’s the only available shade.

    Guerlain’s Terracotta Loose Kohl is lovely. I add it by drawing with that stick, I don’t have to nerve to try that eastern method.

  • aradiapdx says:

    >What a great idea to post these! I would like to add MAC Blacktrack Fluidline (it’s what I usually use and it stays put quite well on me) and Revlon Colorstay pencil.

    I really need to try those loose kohls sometime.

  • Boomer says:

    >Don’t forget Hip kohl liners, my favorites :)

  • MICHELLE says:

    >Coastal Scents gel liners get no love :( … except from me!! <33333 I adore them for my waterline

  • makeupmag says:

    >I love that you’ve compiled all the waterline liners in one post.

    I love MAC Powerpoints for this purpose, as well as Annabelle waterproof eyeliners. Please make swatches of the latter! :)

  • beauty411 says:

    >Fabulous post and a really helpful reference!

  • Pudgy Bunny says:

    >Hey Girls,

    Just my pov but I wouldn’t use any waterproof pencils on the waterline. Up to you of course, same with the pearlgliders because of the sparkles. Presonally the BEST for lining the waterline are the KHOL pencils. MAC Technikhol and the other “Khol” pencils they have are what I use all the time. :)

    I am super curious to find the guerline loose powder khols though.

  • Jessica says:

    >I have to say, I agree about using WP liners on the waterline- they’re just too hard to get off. FYI, lining the waterline can lead to clogged tear ducts, which, in extreme cases can require surgical correction.

    I’m not saying don’t ever do it, I do myself, but make sure you’re getting it off thoroughly. I use a Q-tip soaked in saline solution after I’ve used my regular remover.

  • Pretebrowneyes says:

    >Thanks so much for this post….I’ve fallen in love with tightlining and can’t wait to give LM Caviar or cake a try. Can’t decide which one though, lol :\

  • Autumn Masquerade says:

    >Thanks for the swatches! I was recently on a mission to find a new black waterproof eyeliner and this helped immensely! You’ll see which one I chose later…

  • Lee lee says:

    >looove the terracotta guerlain khol…:)

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