I have the steadiness and hand-eye coordination of a drunk baby panda, and yet my eyeliner? Always perfect. Over the years I've collected an arsenal of tricks (decade of raccoon eyes + hundreds of hours of very important YouTube-ing = EXPERTISE), and at this point I think I have the definitive cheats for easy cat eyes, straight lines, smudge-proofing, and invisible liner. You might look a little weird doing them, but it's a small price to pay for the perfect flick. Here's how I prevent a few of the most annoying eye makeup issues:
Eyes Somehow Look Smaller When You Use Eyeliner
The Solution: Tightlining/Waterlining, aka 'The Invisible Liner Trick'
How To Do It: With a waterproof pencil, rim your eyes on top of the lash line. For a dramatic look like the one shown, draw on the very inner edges of your lids, between your lashes and eyeball. For more subtlety, dot pencil in the tiny gaps between your lashes, then softly blend upwards with a liner brush or Q-Tip.
Desperately Want Cat Eyes, But Just. Can't. Do. It.
The Solution: Scotch Tape Stencils
How To Do It: Use two pieces of Scotch tape to create a triangle at the outer corner of your eye, then fill in with liner, remove the tape, and you get a perfect flick. Thanks, geometry!
You can arrange the tape however you want, but here's my rule of thumb:
A) The upper edge of the piece you put underneath your eye should align with both your eye's outer corner and the outer tip of your eyebrow.
B) The lower edge of the piece you use on top of your eye should align with the center of your iris and then tilt slightly upward. More tilt creates a thick retro wing. Less tilt looks minimalist and modern.
Straight Lines Are Straight-Up Impossible
The Solution: Business Card Line Guards
How To Do It: Cut one side of a business card off (cardboard works, too!) and use it like a ruler to keep your line crisp and straight. Also great as a lid guard if your liner goes on too thick or when you're applying mascara to keep your lids clean.
You're The Queen Of Smudgeland
The Solution: Concealer Quick-Dry
How To Do It: Even pencil liner takes a little while to set—the wax in it is melting against your skin—so if you always end up smudging, the best fix is to pat a little translucent powder or concealer on top of your liner. It'll help dry things up right away, keep liner from sliding off oily skin, and help prevent it from shifting when you blink.
Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.