Find the Right Applicator
Just as you don't always use the chintzy brush that comes with your blush compact, don't feel obligated to use the felt tip applicator included with your liquid eyeliner.
M.A.C. Senior Artist Keri Blair suggests trying a small angled brush for a more angular look (like Sigma E65 Small Angle Brush, $14), or a fine-tip brush for a thinner, more precise line (like Make Up For Ever 250 Extra Fine Eyeliner Brush, $18).
That said, if you're comfortable with the felt tip and have been using it forever, you don't have to switch up your technique. But if it's giving you trouble, try swapping it for a separate tool.
Never Tug, Ever
According to makeup artists, this is a top rookie mistake. When you pull your lid during application, it causes the skin to bounce back when you let go, taking the eyeliner with it. The result? Bumpiness, smudges and overall uneven liner.
Here's what you should do instead: leave your eyes open and relaxed. Then, anchor your elbow against the mirror in front of you so you can pivot with it as the applicator sweeps over your lid. This allows the tool to do the work for you.
Focus on Symmetry
You may be thinking, "Easier said than done," but according to Make Up For Ever Director of Artistry and Education Lijha Stewart, there's a symmetry technique anyone can master.
What is it? Keep your eyes open. Yep, that simple. So many women make the mistake of closing one eye while applying, but the experts say that's a surefire recipe for janky, lopsided liner.
With both eyes open, apply your liquid eyeliner at a 45-degree angle, extending from your bottom lash line. Once you've drawn your angle, draw a line across the lid from the inner corner out, connecting to the tip of the angle. Then fill in the middle of the wing. With practice, you'll find this creates symmetry every time.
Make Friends With Your Eye Shape
Believe it or not, the classic cat eye isn't flattering on every eye shape. Just like the rest of our bodies, lids come in all shapes and sizes — almond, round, hooded and monolid.
Though a graphic swish-and-flick looks nice on almond or round eyes, it'll transfer and smudge on those with hooded eyes or monolids. Instead, try a tight line against your top lashes with a thin wing pointed upwards at the outer corner.
Take Your Time
It sounds simple, but makeup artists agree that the easiest way to step up your liquid eyeliner game is simply to set aside a good five minutes to do it right.
Blasting through it as quickly as you'd take notes in a meeting will result in a mess. But carefully studying your eye and taking the time to cater to its contours will give you the equivalent of a delicately penned love note.
Applying liquid eyeliner is one of the most challenging makeup skills to master. You cruise through beauty gurus on the Internet flaunting their flawless, graphic wings and wonder: How on Earth did they pull that off? Magical powers?
As it turns out, there are a few key liquid eyeliner tips that make the difference between a perfect eyeliner job and an amateur one. Here, top makeup artists from M.A.C. and Make Up For Ever tell us how to apply eyeliner and master a photo-ready flick every time.