When it comes to eyeliner choices – pencil, liquid, gel, kohl – pencil is often the beginner’s go-to because it’s easiest to apply, it’s forgiving and it doesn’t dry as quickly as liquid liner so you have some time to fix mistakes. It’s also arguably the most versatile liner – master pencil and you can create everything from natural-looking daytime eyes to dramatic, smoky showstoppers.

Step 1

Start at the inner corner of your eye and create small dashes along the upper lash line as close to your eyelashes as possible until you reach the end of your lash line. Although it’s tempting, avoiding pulling on your eyelid. The skin on your eyelid is the thinnest skin on your body and excess pulling and tugging can result in premature lines and wrinkles.

Step 2

Return to the inner corner of your eye and go back over the dashes with the pencil liner to make the liner thicker and more continuous. Keep the liner thinner toward the inner corners, thickening it out as you reach the outer corners of your eyes.

Step 3

Start at the outer corner of your eye and move the pencil eyeliner underneath your lower lashes toward the inner corner of your eye, but stop when you get about halfway across your eye. If you line the entire length of your lower lash line, it can make your eyes appear smaller. Get the liner as close to your lower lash line as possible.

Step 4

Use a pencil or angled brush to smudge the line on both the top and bottom to create a softer look.

Step 5

Gently pull down your lower lid to expose the inner rim of your eye – or your waterline. Move the pencil liner across your waterline, using care not to poke yourself in the eye, until you are satisfied with the amount of color left behind. Sanitize the pencil by sharpening it and then wiping with alcohol before using it on the waterline.

Tips & Tricks

• To maximize eyeliner’s effect on your eyes, use a few different colors in different places. Applying black or dark brown eyeliner on the top lash line and dark or light brown on the bottom lash line will open up your eyes and give you a more dramatic wide-eyed look. Use a beige- or cream-colored eyeliner on the waterline to make eyes appear brighter and more open.

• If your hands are shaky, steady them by placing the elbow of the hand you use to apply the liner on a table. Make your eyeliner last longer by setting it in place with eye shadow. Choose an eye shadow that’s close in color to your eyeliner, dip an angled brush into it, dust the excess off and press the eye shadow over the eye liner. Do this only on the top and lower lashes, not on the waterline.