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12 Eyeliner Hacks Every Woman Needs to Know

Eyeliner can be tough, but these tips are guaranteed to be the wind beneath your wings (literally).

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Use clear tape as a guide for the perfect cat eye

The struggle of drawing two perfectly identical wings on both sides is all too relatable. There is nothing more frustrating in a makeup routine than ending up with completely uneven eyeliner lines jutting out in weird directions. This may seem peculiar, but try utilizing your office supplies, like a piece of paper or a slab of clear tape. Place the edge of the tape in line with your bottom lash line and angle it to point to the end of your eyebrow. Use this outline to assist the flick—this foolproof guide will ensure it’s even on each side. (A special shout out to Jenn Rigby of Hello Rigby for demonstrating the tricks!) Here are some other gorgeous eyeliner looks that go beyond basic black.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Layer mascara in place of liner

We’ve all had those days where the snooze button is indulged one too many times. Understandably, drawing an on-point eyeliner flick can be difficult to perfect when crammed for time. If that’s the case, try employing your mascara as a liner by pressing and holding the wand into the root of the lashes for an extra few seconds. Applying more mascara volume on the roots can imitate an eyeliner impression on the eyelid. Use generous layers—around three to four—and opt for a jet or dark black shade for an eye-opening effect. (Here are more mascara hacks you’ll wish you’d always known).

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Try the three-dot technique

If drawing a straight line on the eyelid itself is giving you a hard time, try implementing the three-dot method. Mark three small dots (around the size of what you want the width of your line to be) before you start lining, and then simply fill in the spaces like a connect-the-dots exercise. Follow these simple makeup tips to make your eyes really pop.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Draw a hashtag on the outer corner of your eyelid for the perfect smoky eye

Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter—turns out they come in pretty handy for makeup application too. If you want a quick and effortless smoky eye, try this fun method: draw a hashtag on the outer corner of your eyelid and blend profusely until you get a dark, smoky blend. If you want to amp up the smoky factor, keep drawing multiple hashtags until you achieve the intensity level you’re looking for.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Line your waterline with white liner to make your eyes appear bigger

There’s just something oddly appealing about large anime-sized eyes, and luckily all you need is some white eyeliner to accomplish it. While it may seem logical to use black makeup to widen your eyes, harsh colors will usually make your eyes appear smaller. Instead, treat your waterline with some white eyeliner to accentuate the whites of your eyes and enlarge their overall shape. (Be sure to avoid these mistakes when applying makeup at your desk.)

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Warm the tip of a kohl liner with a lighter to make gel eyeliner

If you want gel consistency but have only a pencil in your inventory, hold the tip of the pencil right above an open flame for a few seconds. The heat should melt the pigment enough to create the desired gel-like look. Make sure to test the pencil on the back of your hand before lining your eyes to make sure it’s been roasted enough.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Use makeup primer instead of makeup remover for mistakes

This one may raise some eyebrows but is guaranteed to save you a lot of time in the long run. Although it’s totally counterintuitive, makeup remover can cause your makeup to smear even where you didn’t mess up. The excess oils embedded in remover will often fan outward, and unless you have a very steady hand or especially unique tool, it may end up creating an even bigger dilemma. As an alternative, take a small Q-tip and dip it in primer to smooth out those funky edges.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Draw the line toward your eye instead of away from it

If you struggle with tapering off your eyeliner flick where you want it to end, try drawing in a backward direction. After designating where you want your cat-eye to finish, line towards the inner corner of your eye. This handy trick is used by makeup artists for a more precise angle and balanced borderline. Here are some other secrets that makeup artists wish they could tell you.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Design your own custom eyeliner with a wet liner brush and eyeshadow

On the other hand, if you’re just lacking an eyeliner completely, not to worry—rummage through your collection for a dark eyeshadow palette and you’re good to go. Grab a liner brush and run it under some water to soak the tip. The moist brush will darken the pigments in the eyeshadow and mold the colors into a sharper look that can be applied to mimic a liner.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Fade a lighter color into a darker eyeliner for an eye-opening ombré effect

You don’t need to be a makeup prodigy to pull off this beautiful ombré look; in fact, all you need are two different eyeliner shades. Starting at the inner corner of your eye, line the first three-quarters of your lash line with the lighter shade. Then, taking a hue around two shades darker, line the remaining outside corner while moving toward the middle. Lastly, use a brush to blend the middle part of your eyelid where the colors overlap.

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Erase smudges with a skin-colored eyeliner

We get it, smudges happen. But before you reach for the makeup remover wipes, try using a nude eyeliner to salvage your hard work. Simply draw over the blemishes with a skin-colored shade for a super sharp line that would make even makeup pros jealous. (These are makeup artists’ techniques for beauty blunders).

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EyelinerCourtesy Hello Rigby

Set your eyeliner with a matching eyeshadow to make it last twice as long

If you are prone to greasy eyelids, drawing a flawless line only to have it smudge out over your eyelid should be all too familiar. When eye primer just isn’t cutting it for you, double set your eyeliner by dusting a matching eyeshadow on top of it. Not only will this hold the liner in place throughout the day, the pigment will also soften the look for a more natural, creamy style. Find out the most flattering makeup shades for every eye color.

Hana Hong
Hana Hong is a journalist/storyteller who writes for Reader's Digest, InStyle, CollegeFashionista, Her Campus, and The Fashion Network, among other publications. She hails from the midwest, where she graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in News-Editorial Journalism, but has a passion for the East Coast.