From Our Readers

Eyeliner Incompetence

I can’t be the only one.  I can’t be the only one with two X chromosomes and upstairs and downstairs lady parts not to have the foggiest idea how to put on eyeliner.  Well, maybe not the foggiest idea – I have an idea but it’s more like a misty idea than a foggy idea.  I understand the theory of it, it’s just the practical side that I can’t get to grips with, much like cooking.  I know how I’m supposed to do it, I just can’t. 
I’ve tried different sorts of eyeliners – liquid, pencil, gel and I’ve tried getting my information from various sources – going through magazines 1980s style, asking friends, watching YouTube videos and more YouTube videos and even more until YouTube no longer recommends Craig Ferguson interviews to me and instead just suggests beauty videos.
And all these places basically tell me the same thing – close your eye and draw a line.  I’ve been drawing lines for many years, at nursery school, actual school, during games nights with friends and once on my kitchen door.  It seems I can draw a line on almost any material – paper, wood, wall, papyrus – but when it comes to skin or, more precisely, eye socket skin, I can’t do it. It’s as if my skin is rejecting the eyeliner or, when I do draw something, the line seems to be a million miles away from the lashes.  It doesn’t look ‘sexy’ or ‘smokey’ or even just ‘competent’ which I would settle for at this point, it looks like I’ve let a child play make-up artist and they’ve done what they think makes me look ‘really, really pwetty’.
Maybe I’m being too critical on myself, perhaps this is how eyeliner does actually look on everyone and it’s only because I’m analysing my face that I notice it, but I don’t think that’s the case.  I think I’m just missing whatever gene it is that makes you an eyeliner expert, along with the gene that enables you to do a messy bun and the one the allows you to walk around shops and be able to envisage the clothes on the rack on your rack.
I feel that I will forever have eyes that are missing a certain darkness – a mysteriousness and va-va-voom.  I will forever have the eyes of that kid in primary school who had really dark eyelashes as luckily, I somehow picked up the art of dragging a mascara wand across my lashes.  I will always be the girl in the photo who looks as if she’s just woken up and had no time to get ready whilst everyone else looks into the camera with glamorous night-time eyes.  But if this is the case, I will also forever be the girl who never has panda eyes at the end of the night and, although it’s not much, I’ll take these small victories where I can and somehow claim that my eyeliner incompetence is in fact an asset.  People can only wish that they are as bad at putting eyeliner on as I am.
You can read more from Grace Cox on her blog.

Feature image via.

  • Anonymous

    tattoo eyeliner 😉

  • Anonymous

    I have two older sisters, one of which has always been into makeup. They showed me how to pluck my eyebrow, put on eyeliner, and the proper way to apply lipstick. Thank goodness for my sisters! With a little practice and patience, you’ll get there! Don’t give up. 😀

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty much in the same boat. I can manage to look functional with a pencil, but any time liquids or gels or brushes get involved, I look like a 5-year old did my makeup. Ohhh well.

  • Anonymous

    I had this same problem! Now I use an eyeliner brush to apply dark eyeshadow as eyeliner instead. I wet the brush and dip it in the eyeshadow. I don’t have to press as hard as a pencil to get the color to show and I have more control of it than liquid eyeliner. It’s been the perfect solution.

  • Chelsie Jordan

    It was always hard for me too. Here’s what helped me. I buy the kind of eyeliner with the smudger at the end of it. It kind of looks like a pen with an eraser on the end. Then I get A LOT of Q-tips, and wet them down. Before I start, I put foundation around my eyes, because I find it keeps the eyeliner from smearing/melting later on during the day. For the eyeliner on my lower lids, I just put it on my water line, the top eye lids are the tricky part for me. When I put the eyeliner on my top eye lids, I don’t just draw one line all at once, I use a series of small lines, trying to get them as close to my eyelashes as possible. I use the smudger to smooth out the line and make sure there is no white space between the line and my eyelashes. I use the Q-tips to get rid of any excess eyeliner or bumps in the line. Any excess eyeliner that the Q-tips wont completely take off, I just cover up with foundation. I personally like to start at the outer corner of my eyes, and make it flick out with the smudger, but you can just experiment with that how ever you want. It took me about a month of trial and error before I figured out a certain routine, now I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and I’m amazed at how much faster I can do it, it used to take sooo much time.

  • Elle Perreault

    I look like a clown whenever I try to do something different like every other woman I see. I cheat. I put the liner on the inside rim of my eye. I’m sure it’s probably the wrong way, but at least I can leave the house with halfway decent looking makeup that I did myself. Haha I’m a big girl now.

    • Robyn Pennington

      I do the exact same thing and I’ve been told many times that that’s wrong because the moisture in your eye will cause it to wear off. My problem is that I forget I’m wearing make-up at all and tend to rub it all off by the end of the day. I have hence given up on even trying and I force peple to look at my pale, unevenly colored face the way God intended it to be LOL

  • Robyn Pennington

    Oh I feel your pain! You are so not alone! My mother never taught me how to apply make up and when I asked, she simply said just put it on then sighed and walked away when I claimed I’m incapable. Friends have tried but I think I have a learning disability cuz I can’t even do it with their help. I have little patience for shopping and I’m almost as bad as Sandra Bullock inMisd Congeniality;although, I do use a brush and I know what lipstick looks like. Beyonx that, I have no clue. I feel as though you are a kindred spirit. At least I hope you are…

  • Bevin Maloney

    I was a make-up artist for many years and this has to be one of the top two issues women have regarding make-up (the other being finding foundation that works for them). My best tip- get thee to a cosmetics counter! If there is a brand of make-up you like, start there. If not, walk around and look for a girl with make-up you think looks good. Ask her to show you how she applied her own make-up. It’s also helpful to ask them to describe their make-up style to you. You might think she looks dramatic and ready for a night out, but she may describe it as everyday or natural!

    Then, practice, practice, practice. Don’t leave the counter without doing one of your eyes yourself. Remember- no one was born knowing how to apply make-up. Someone taught them, or they taught themselves; but regardless, they practiced!

    Good luck!

  • Kristen Haynie

    I have this problem, too! Usually, I put the eye liner on the inner part below the eye lashes… I’m not sure what that is called. It’s like a stencil, a perfect line around my eye. I put it on the top and the bottom, usually using black so it shows up better. Then, when I put mascara on, I make sure the brush touches the skin on my eye lid when I start. That adds to the illusion that I’ve lined my eyes nicely.

    Otherwise, applying eye liner correctly takes me FOREVER! If I have the time, I do it in slow and short lines. Wet Q-tips help clean up any mistakes I’ve made. For the smokey look, I use eye shadow and a pointed applicator tip. I draw a very general and messy line along the top of my lash line using a dark colored eye shadow. The messiness passes for a smokey look.

    Good luck with your own eye liner troubles! Makeup is a lot of fun, but it can be a real pain in the neck, too! :)

  • Kaylee Acres

    Same! Exact same! Including the messy bun and shopping thing!

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