Eyeliner is an effective and simple way to enhance a makeup look. Precisely lined eyes that bear no trace of smudging exude a sense of sophistication and skill. Applying eyeliner that won’t smudge requires a steady hand and some readily accessible makeup. Practice and patience are also essential when executing this meticulous makeup technique.

Things You'll Need

How to Apply Eyeliner, So It Doesn’t Smudge

Cleanse your face thoroughly prior to applying makeup to ensure a clean application of eyeliner. Any natural oils or residue present on the lids can either smudge the liner or make it difficult to achieve a precise line.

Apply a thin layer of eye makeup primer over the eyelid with either a makeup brush or your fingertip. Using an eye makeup primer is ideal when applying smudge-proof eyeliner because it will set quickly and is not visible once it dries. It will also allow the makeup that’s applied over it to be long-lasting, therefore less likely to smudge.

Choose a liner that you’re confident in using and one that also suits the makeup look you desire.

Kohl and cream eyeliner products have the greatest tendency to smudge, but are applied with ease. When using cream eyeliner, use a small eyeliner brush with a fine tip to ensure more control when applying the product.

Liquid eyeliner formulas do not smudge easily, but are generally more difficult to use. If you prefer liquid eyeliners, find one that has a comfortable handle and a small, pointed tip.

Practice drawing a few lines with the eyeliner on the back of your hand. Apply the strokes with consistent pressure at a fixed pace. Depending on the type of liner used, specific application among products may vary.

Pull the skin taut near the outside corner of the eye gently; this will allow a smooth application. For added stability, rest your elbow on a solid surface while applying the eyeliner. Begin applying the liner at the inner corner of the eye and work your way outwards. As a guide, apply the liner close to the eyelash line and draw at a steady pace with soft pressure.

Set your liner to prevent future smudging. Either trace over the liner with a similarly colored eye shadow or apply a makeup-setting product to prevent the liner from moving. Another option is to lightly apply a translucent powder over the liner using a fluffy makeup brush. If needed, use a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to clean the edges of eyeliner that have smudged.