I Tested 4 Internet-Famous Liquid Eyeliner Hacks. Here's What Worked (& What Was a Disaster)

I Tested 4 Internet-Famous Liquid Eyeliner Hacks. Here's What Worked (& What Was a Disaster)

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Alex Nursall
Dec 14, 2016
(Image credit: Alex Nursall)

Ok, I'm going to be honest up-front: I want to tell you some sort of inspiring story about how, after years of stabbing myself in the eye with a liquid liner marker I finally mastered winged eyeliner or something. I want to write something about the triumphant moment where I held the liner aloft, a single tear welling up in my suddenly beautifully lined eye. In the soft morning light that poured into my vanity, I would write about my breakthrough, my trials and tribulations, that beautiful realization that I can do it, I can finally do liquid liner!

Unfortunately (fortunately?), I can't. I'm no Kevin Aucoin, but, thanks to my early love of all things liquid liner, I got the hang of it pretty quickly (don't ask me about foundation, because I'm still garbage at applying that without looking like a streaky mannequin). Because of this, I've generally avoided most of the eyeliner "hacks" and "pro tips" that have been popping up around the internet over the last few years, but recently, in a pursuit to help you out, dear reader, I decided to try a few out to see if there was any truth behind the artfully laid-out Pin. Were any of these helpful? Is a perfect cat eye in your foreseeable future?

The first one is the most common liquid liner tip I see:

Eyeliner, with tape!

We've all seen the eyeliner tutorials where people use tape to make sure that the outer edge is clean, but there's the occasional one where someone just tapes up their whole eyelid. I can vouch that just placing a line of tape diagonally along the outside of your eye can help you get a crisp line, but what about those weird tutorials where someone does it across their entire lid? I get that people want their eyeliner to be as straight and sharp as possible, but I wanted to see if taping my whole damn eye would actually work, or if I'd just end up with some ultra-wonky triangle (possibly trapezoid) shape scribbled across my face.

First off, some tutorials forget to mention this, but stick the tape on your arm or shirt or something first to remove some of the stickiness, lest you slip and remove a patch of skin or something. Then you supposedly just fill the thin in and voila, you have lined eyes, I think!

Verdict: While getting just the outer edge straight with tape is pretty easy, trying to actually tape off everything else is the worst. My eyes felt super weird and it barely worked. This DIY eyeliner stencil only made me look weird and blobby. Score: 2/5

Eyeliner, business-style!

One of the downsides of my favorite liquid liner (MAC LiquidLast, the most bulletproof of all liners, all hail MAC LiquidLast) is that it tends to get caught in the base of my lash line, meaning that I can occasionally end up with one super lash in the middle of my eye if I'm not careful. Apparently, cutting a piece of card (business card, chunk of a birthday card from someone you don't like, etc.) to the shape of your lash line and holding it against your lashes as you draw can prevent this.

Verdict: The upside with this was that it really did keep my eyelashes from getting filled with goop. The downside was that I found it way harder to actually properly draw the line on my eyes because it pulls the whole lid down, meaning that I ended up with a way thicker line. Maybe this would be more useful with practice, but for now, I'm only giving this a 2.5/5. Might try again, but not likely.

Eyeliner, with concealer because I screwed something up!

There's a reason I wear lipstick most mornings, and that's because I'm usually in too much of a rush to attempt liner. Without fail, whenever I try to apply liquid liner while keeping one eye on the clock, I always end up looking like a Gaspard Yurkievich fashion show reject. Lots of outlets say that, rather than trying to remove smudges with makeup remover, you should use a little concealer to hide the offending smear. I get that, because if you slip even a little with the makeup remover you've got a big chunk of your makeup now missing (as it's going to take off not just the offending liner, but eye shadow, foundation, blush, concealer, and mascara). I used MAC Select Cover Up in NW20 (my usual spot concealer) to cover the smudge to see if it would actually work.

Verdict: It mostly worked! Again, this will probably come down to the opaqueness of your concealer, as this one is medium coverage (rather than something heavy duty, like Tarte Shape Tape or Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer), but it did make it easy to hide the slip-up. You'll want to use a sharp angled brush for something like this, as you need something that can get right in there and give you a clean line of concealer that you can then blend downwards into the cheek. You also don't need much, so it shouldn't put a drain on your concealer budget (unless you're really clumsy). Score: 4/5

Eyeliner, with art supplies!

I know this is about liquid liner, but I wanted to do one highly questionable "eyeliner hack." When I was a kid (which, please note, really wasn't that long ago), the only way to learn about beauty hacks was to read one in a magazine like Teen Vogue or Girl's Life or Bait and Tackle ("Extend the life of your mascara with lake water! Now you're 100% more likely to get beaver fever"), whereas now, any random person can take a couple of nice photos, tile them, and then put them on Pinterest with some title like 100 Eye Makeup Hacks Done With Avocado Toast: Wedding Version. But what if you're prepping to go to a party and you realize at the last second that it's actually a yellow eyeliner party? The host demanded that you wear some sort of vibrant eyeliner, and you totally forgot to pick something up. Now it's 8 PM, Sephora is closed, and you only have a bucket of art supplies and a glass of water! TURN TO PAGE 8 IF YOU CHOOSE TO JUST SKIP THE PARTY, PAGE 13 IF YOU WANT TO STAB YOURSELF IN THE EYE WITH A PENCIL CRAYON (actually, either way, just keep reading).

This tutorial purports that you can use colored pencils as eyeliner. This seems like a terrible idea, but because I'm a beauty writer on the internet, I'm legally required to try something like this so that readers can yell about it in the comments ("I'm pretty sure this will kill you!"). Let's see how this fares!

Verdict: I soaked the green pencil crayon (Crayola, if it matters) in a glass of lukewarm water for five minutes. I did a few passes on my hand first and it worked…for a bit. Once the soft, wet layer came off, it went back to being a useless colored pencil again. I applied it to my eyes and it was patchy and goopy. This was a waste of time and colored pencil. I really feel like no one is ever that hard up for a yellow eyeliner, so save yourself time and just use some eye shadow or something, unless you want your makeup to be uncomfortable, patchy and better suited for paper. Score: 0/5 (Never again!)

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