How to apply pencil eyeliner

Liquid and gel eyeliners may be supremely popular at the moment, but think back to your early adventures with eye makeup. The eyeliner you wielded was likely a pencil and—if you were lucky—a retractable eyeliner pencil at that. The reason being, most of us were already used to working with pencils in classrooms and workplaces, making it all the easier to master how to use eyeliner with a pencil.

Now, back to the present. If you’re struggling to adapt to the trendiest types of eyeliner, it may be time to take another look at a classic option. Adding a retractable eyeliner back into your makeup routine could be the trick. Just twist up, and you can draw precise lines at your whim. And if those directions aren’t quite detailed enough for you, we’re sharing exactly how to use retractable eyeliner below. But first things first, let us fill you in our best retractable eyeliner for the job.


Before you can learn how to use retractable eyeliner, you need a retractable eyeliner to call your own. Otherwise, you won’t be able to follow along with our (extremely easy) tutorial! Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner, which features a mechanical pencil on one end and a convenient smudger on the other. The long-lasting, smudge-resistant formula is available in seven shades—carbon black, black, black brown, brown, navy, slate, and white—providing you with the freedom to create a variety of everyday eye makeup looks. Pick your favorite color(s), then it’s time to line.


Follow our step-by-step makeup tutorial on how to use eyeliner of the retractable variety.


Here’s an important question, do you know what eye primer is for? If you’re thinking that priming your eyes is meant to make eye shadows last longer, you’re only half right! Eye primer can be a total savior for your eye shadows, but that isn’t its only use. Even when you aren’t wearing eye shadow, it’s a good idea to put on primer in order to make your eyeliner stay in place. That’s why before breaking out a retractable eyeliner you should apply a thin layer of primer to your eyelids.


When it comes to using a retractable eyeliner, there isn’t much you have to do to get ready. There’s no need to reach for a pencil sharpener or locate a separate brush for applying; you’re basically good to go from the get-go. Wind up the pencil just a little—you don’t want to get overzealous and have the tip break off—then it’s time to apply.


Start sketching a thin line along your upper lash line, gently pressing the pencil into your lashes to avoid having any gaps. Continue lining, thickening the eyeliner until you’ve reached your desired look.

Editor’s note: If you think you might want to finish your line with a flick, check out our 7 Hacks for the Perfect Cat Eye.


Your lower lash line may be looking a little bare, so don’t sit your retractable pencil down just yet. Instead, use it to line along your lower lashes, but stop short of lining all the way to your tear duct. Lining just two-thirds of your lower lash line will be better suited for a daytime look and can even make your eyes look bigger.


Not everyone wants super-sharp eyeliner, and thankfully, the smudged-out look happens to be quite the beauty trend. If you’d prefer your eyeliner to look less harsh, all you need to do is flip your pencil over and use the smudger to blend your lines before they set.


Mascara can be a miracle worker, making lashes appear thicker and darker with a single coat, but eyeliner can actually do the same. To give your eyelashes a quick boost, tightline your eyes with black eyeliner. Pull up (gently!) on your eyelid to expose the upper waterline and carefully apply liner directly on the base of your lashes, filling in the base between the individual hairs.


Your lashes may look better than ever already, but don’t forget to sweep on a coat or two of mascara before calling it a day. If there’s one thing eyeliner can’t do, it’s make your lashes look longer! That’s where the L’Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Washable Mascara, Lasting Volume comes in handy.

Want to learn the ins and outs of using a different type of eyeliner? In that case, you’ll need to click over and read The Ultimate Guide to Eyeliner. Happy lining!

This post may contain affiliate links.

How to apply pencil eyeliner

It can be smokey and smudged or precise and sharp, but eyeliner is one of the trickiest steps of the makeup routine and one that can make or break a look. Eyeliner pencils are the easiest forms to try, but even so there are application tips to keep in mind. Here we show you how to apply pencil eyeliner flawlessly.

In this article:

Pencil Eyeliner Application Steps

  • Make sure the skin around your eyes and your eyelids are clean, as this will lengthen the wear time of anything you apply to the eye area. Pick a room with good lighting and find a makeup mirror. Try and have some cotton pads or Q-tips ready.
  • Some people prefer to do their eye makeup before their foundation just in case they make any mistakes – this is all down to personal preference.
  • If you aren’t wearing an eye makeup look just apply a matte powder base eyeshadow, which will even out your skin tone and create an ideal canvas.
  • Lightly hold the outer corner of your eye, this will assist in applying the pencil eyeliner evenly, but be careful to not tug at the skin.
  • Place the pencil closely to your lash line and slowly draw a thin line from the outer corner of your eye. Place more pigment on the outer portion of your eye than on your inner corners, as this will make your eyes look brighter. The thickness of the line is all down to personal preference. The thinner the line is, the more natural it will look.
  • To create a thinner line make sure your pencil is fully sharpened, and draw with the side of the point rather than the tip. This allows you to hold the pencil away from your face, making it easier to see yourself in the mirror.
  • If you want to try a winged or cat-eye style you’ll need to create a thicker eyeliner line. Draw a 45-degree angled line up from the bottom of the eye’s outer edge. This line can be as long or as short as you wish.
  • When placing eyeliner on the lash line get as close to the lash line without touching the eyes and gently draw the line from the outer corner to the inner corner. The liner on your lower lash should be much thinner – the most flattering size is one-third the thickness of the line on your upper lids. Of course, this is all down to preference, so make it as thick or thin, clean or smokey as you wish.
  • If you make any mistakes just gently go back and clear them up with a little bit of eye makeup remover or micellar water, and a Q-tip.
  • Now you can apply the mascara. Mascara will help enhance your eyes and your eyeliner.

Pencil Eyeliner Makeup Hacks to Know

If you’re someone who spends hours trying to perfect that wing or struggles getting a straight line on the eyelid, here are some eyeliner pencil hacks that may help you prevent those easily avoidable mistakes.

  • Extend the life of your eyeliner by setting it with an eyeshadow of the same color that will act as a primer.
  • If you are struggling to get that perfect straight line, draw a rough line first and then use a Q-tip and petroleum jelly to sharpen it.
  • Another hack for those who are struggling with executing that straight line is to line your eyes with little dots and then connect them for that perfect line.
  • If you find your eyeliner pencil has a crumbly texture, pop it in the freezer for ten minutes before using it.
  • Use tape to get a sharp wing. You can also use a spoon or a business card to help with precision.
  • If you struggle with shaky hands, plant your elbow on a flat surface and then rest your pinky finger on your cheek as a stabilizer.
  • Using a white or nude colored eyeliner pencil on the lower lash will give the illusion of wider and more awake eyes. Also a bold blue or green eyeliner pencil will add a modern pop of color.
  • And just like everything else in life, practice makes perfect. Experiment with colors, shapes and thickness. It might not work but the joy of makeup is it can be wiped off, and you can start again.

Introduction: How to Apply Pencil Eyeliner

Eyeliner is simultaneously one of the most basic and challenging skills for a makeup wearer to learn. In my opinion pencil eyeliner is the easiest to learn so that’s where we’ll start. This tutorial is for beginners so I will not be adding a wing.


Pencil eyeliner: I used Burt’s Bees Nourishing Eyeliner Pencil in black.

Lid primer or concealer (optional): I used Urban Decay’s Primer Potion.

Eyeshadow (optional): I used Colourpop’s Double Entendre palette.

Eyeshadow brush (optional): I used the Morphe E13.

Makeup sponge (optional)

Step 1: Start With Clean Skin

All cosmetics apply will apply more easily to clean skin, so wash your face!

Step 2: Prime Your Lids

If you do not have a lid primer or concealer skip to step 4, but I find that any eyeliner will last longer if applied over primer and eyeshadow. Dab the primer on your lids and blend into your lid with a makeup sponge or your finger.

Step 3: Apply Eyeshadow

This step is only necessary to set the primer from the last step. Choose a color close to your skin tone for a natural look. Take the color of your choice on a fluffy eyshadow brush such as the Morphe E13 and blend over your lids.

Step 4: Start With a Sharpened Liner

A sharp pencil will produce a clearer line and is more sanitary, which is a must for anything going near your eye!

Step 5: Drawing the Line

Use short strokes to connect the outer corner to the inner corner of your eye. Try opening your eye once you are halfway across your lid to achieve a more predictable result and keep the pencil as close to your lash line as possible.

Step 6: The Finishing Touches

Once your initial line is drawn you can go back in and smooth it out with your pencil to get the best result.

It feels like it should be simple to draw a straight line, but when it comes to eyeliner, the process is just a little bit harder than it looks! I can’t tell you how long it took me to really figure out how to apply pencil eyeliner correctly, but that’s why I’m giving you all the tips I wish I’d had. It doesn’t need to be difficult to give your eyes that definition, so let’s get started.

Table of Content

Before You Start

Before you even get started, immediately make sure that your pencil is sharp enough. This will let you get the pencil as close to the lash line as possible. You may also have oily lids like me, so consider dusting some loose powder on your lids or using some foundation as a base to give yourself matte lids. This’ll prevent smudging and make your liner last longer.

Finally, and this may seem obvious, but before you start, make sure any traces of old makeup are removed. Any old smudges or residue will really disrupt your process and interfere with the precision you’re looking for.

Applying Your Pencil

After you’re completely prepared with your sharp pencil, then you can grab your eyeliner. Start from the center of the lid and move outwards. Keep the pencil slanted to move the liner easily on your lids. Make short strokes too in order to prevent mistakes. You don’t need to draw it all at once, especially if your hand is a little shaky!

Then you go outwards and come back inwards. Keep the outer corner just a little thicker, and retrace the liner to get that thick appearance. As you go inwards, make sure you go a little thinner. To do this, point the pencil straight on the lid and take your time until you adjust to the process. Just connect the two lines and trace over them to darken, especially near the lashes.

Lower Lash Line

You might have just a little more difficulty with the lower lash line, but start slowly again. Place your liner on the very edge on the outside of your eye, almost where the upper lash line ends. Move inwards in short strokes until you hit the inner third of the eye and go back to thicken. Smudge the lower line just a little with your finger or a pencil brush and you’re done!

Added Definition

If you want a little more definition to your eye, take the liner all the way to the lower inner corner. This will give you a more dramatic effect, and may make your lashes appear fuller as well. For thicker liner, go over it one more time.

The Dash Trick

If you have some trouble keeping your hand still when you’re drawing your line, take it slow and apply dashes along the lid. Then all you’ve got to do is connect them for one straight line!

Fixing Mistakes

If you happen to smudge your eyeliner by mistake, there’s no need to worry. Grab a tiny dab of primer or concealer and smear it on softly before covering it up with just a little powder. If you have a messy line, you can even clean it up with just a little petroleum jelly on a cotton swab. Clear lip gloss work as an emergency smudge remover as well!

Common Problems

You know the tips and tricks when it comes to applying your pencil liner, but you’re probably a little more familiar with some of the common mistakes! Luckily, many of these issues I’ve found can be solved with ease.

Shaky Hand Struggles

When it comes to applying pencil eyeliner like Butter London, one of the biggest difficulties is when people can’t keep their hand still. To fix this, take a seat and make sure your elbow is on a flat surface. Rest your pinky on your cheek to stabilize yourself as much as possible.

Transfer to the Eyelid

Sometimes eyeliner can transfer to your eyelid by mistake, especially for women with monolids. To fix this, increase the height of your eyeliner so the line is still visible when the eye is open. When your skin folds as the eyes open, it won’t transfer.

Too Much Color

Using too much colored liner can give you a harsh look. Accentuate just the upper or lower lash line rather than both.

Too Thick

If you accidentally thicken one side more than the other, start out with thin lines and build them up to match. If it’s too thick on both sides, use a precision tip with a cotton swab to thin it out.

Lash Problems

You might be in the habit of curling your lashes after applying your liner, but that actually disrupts your liner application. Curl those lashes first and then apply the liner so there won’t be any messes.

Liner Gap

One of the most common problems I’ve had is the gap between your lashes and liner. Make sure you line your eye as close as you can to the lash line and then slightly pull up on the lower half of your upper eyelid to see any bare spots.

Smudging Too Low

When you apply liner like Jane Iredale on your lower lash line, it can be difficult to make it thin, and if it’s too thick, you look like you’ve got a black eye! That’s why you need to line your eye as close as possible to the lash line as possible, and why you’ve got to smudge it. This won’t make your eyes look quite so intense, but will still provide them with definition.


It can be fairly difficult to apply your eyeliner pencil if you’re not used to it, especially if you’re in a rush and need to get going quickly. Luckily, I’ve managed to find a few tips that should help, and have isolated the problems that lots of us experience all the time! After a little practice and a few tips, you should have your eyes looking defined and beautiful in no time.

I love sharing my favorite makeup products with others. I enjoy products that make me feel fabulous.

How to apply pencil eyeliner

You’ve either just discovered that this awesome cosmetic exists, or have finally decided to give it a shot and overcome your fear of pencils near your eyes. Either way, searching online for how to apply eyeliner can be a daunting task. Endless lists of the varieties of eyeliner and different application processes for each can seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be though. In this article, we’re going to take some baby steps and go over the absolute basics of applying eyeliner, and before you know it, you’ll be a pro!

Where to Start

First, you have to choose which eyeliner you want to apply. If this is your first time applying eyeliner, it’ll be easier for you to do so with a standard pencil eyeliner. These are more forgiving if you have shaky hands or if you’re just starting out and mess up a little bit. With a liquid eyeliner, you move your eye, and suddenly there’s a whole line across your eyelid, whereas with a pencil eyeliner, there will more than likely be just a tiny smudge.

All you need are:

  • This article
  • A mirror
  • A pencil eyeliner
  • Make-up remover

I use the make-up remover wipes because they’re easy, you can use them more than once, and they are miraculously never too wet. Any make-up remover you prefer will work though.

Do not wait until you are getting ready to walk out the door or after you have already applied all your other makeup to do this. You want to make sure you have time to play with it a little bit and get the look you want. For some people, that might happen the first time you ever touch an eyeliner pencil. For others, it might take a few tries. If it takes a few tries, you’re just going to wind up wiping off your other makeup in the process of wiping off the eyeliner. If you’re on your way out the door, you might feel a bit rushed and that can make this a little more difficult. So, take a minute, turn up some music, and have fun with it!

How to apply pencil eyeliner

If you tilt your head back slightly and close your eyes just a tiny bit, you can see your upper eyelid, and it’s really easy.

How to apply pencil eyeliner

Place your finger at the corner of your eye and pull outwards, making the skin taut. Another variation of this is to pull the skin outwards and upwards. Either way will work great!

How to Position Your Eye

Now that it’s time to actually put on the eyeliner, take a seat in front of your mirror (with your laptop, eyeliner, and make-up remover) and look at your reflection. I’ve never heard of anyone looking straight in the mirror to apply eyeliner. It doesn’t work out well. A very common way to apply eyeliner is to tilt your head back and look into the mirror. This way, your eyes are partially closed so that your eyelid is exposed but partially open so that you can see your eyelid.

This isn’t easy for everyone to do. Another great way to start out is to close one eye, similar to when you’re applying eye shadow, and keep the other eye is open so that you can see what you’re doing. After you close the one eye, take the hand you won’t be applying eyeliner with and pull the corner of your eye outwards, making the eyelid tighter. If the eyelid is taut, it will be easier to apply the eyeliner.

A third option is a combination of the two. You tilt your head back, looking down, and pull the skin on the outside of your eyelid tighter at the same time. Your eye will still be open, allowing you to see more, and the eyelid will be in a position that makes this pretty simple.

How to apply pencil eyeliner

In This Article

You tailor your haircut to your face shape and your jeans style to your figure, but has your eye shape been influencing your eyeliner choices? If it hasn’t, you’re in for an eye-opener. With the right technique, you can make hooded eyes look bigger, downturned eyes look more awake, and so much more. Perfecting your eyeliner is like a rite of passage in the makeup world—it takes patience and practice.

We’ve all been beginners at the eyeliner game before, so don’t be discouraged if your hand is still a little shaky. It’s all about getting your wrist to cooperate and complement your eye shape with the right eyeliner—and of course, we have opinions about the best liners on the market. It’s all about embracing those eyes of your and using the shape of your liner to enhance your shape. You’ll be a pro in no time. Ahead, watch celebrity makeup artist Bob Scott’s eyeliner tutorial, plus our favorite looks for each eye shape.

Click Play to Watch MUA Bob Scott’s Eyeliner Tutorial

Eyeliner for Almond Eyes

How to apply pencil eyeliner

Good news for eyeliner for almond-shaped eyes: You can try pretty much any eyeliner look and it will flatter your eyes. To play up the shape, start out with a very thin line in the inner corners, and then build the thickness out once you reach the outer third of your eye. You can either stop there or you can add a slight wing at the end.

Eyeliner for Hooded Eyes

How to apply pencil eyeliner

When doing eyeliner for hooded and monolid eyes, be sure to get the liner right into the base of your lash line. Since your eyelid is hooded, you can make the liner as thick as you want—thin lines are difficult to see when your eyes are open. If you’re going for a cat eye, a thick, elongated wing will give your eyes the most shape and definition. Or you can make your eyes look rounder by making the liner thicker in the center of your eye, and thinner at the corners. This creates the illusion of an eye that’s more curved. Just skip bottom eyeliner, which can close off your eyes, making them look smaller.

Eyeliner for Downturned Eyes

How to apply pencil eyeliner

With eyeliner for downturned eyes, it’s all about keeping them lifted. Brighten the inner corners with a light-colored shimmery pencil and leave the lower lash line bare. Focus your efforts on the top lash line, starting directly below the highest point of your arch, and then think up and outward. A slightly upward flick of liner at the outer corners will open up downturned eyes.

Eyeliner for Round Eyes

How to apply pencil eyeliner

When it comes to eyeliner for round eyes, your application should be about elongating the eyes into a more exotic shape. Line the upper lash line and play up the outer corners with either a long, extended wing or by smudging dark liner into both the upper and lower lash lines.

Eyeliner for All Eye Shapes

How to apply pencil eyeliner

The options are endless for eyeliner for all eye shapes. If your basic skills with an eye pencil or eyeliner brush could use a little improvement (aka your ability to get the line straight is lacking), try the connect-the-dots method or smudging the liner out for a smokey shadow look. Just dot the liner as close to your lash line as possible, and then blend the dots together to create one smooth stroke. You’ll get a straight line with this technique, regardless of your eye shape.

Now that you have your eyeliner for your eye shape down pat, go play with new and cool liners.

You might have 99 problems, but your liner won’t be one.

How to apply pencil eyeliner

Even though eyeliner is probably one of the first makeup products you ever purchased, it’s still, after all these years, somehow one of the hardest to apply. ’Cause unlike intuitive products like blush or foundation, eyeliner can go very wrong, very fast (and I’ll be the first to attest to that, considering my f*cked-up eyeliner has made me late to work more times than I’d like to admit). That said, there are some game-changing tricks in the beauty community that’ll help you apply eyeliner like a pro, and they’re actually pretty easy to master.

Ahead, 12 tips and tricks for perfecting your eyeliner every time along with my favorite products to get the job done.

1. How to Apply Eyeliner With Precise Lines

How to apply pencil eyeliner

The problem: You’re lining your eyes with a dull liner rather than with a sharp one.

The fix: If your eyeliner turns out thick and smudgy regardless of how carefully you apply it, it might be time to give your pencil a quick sharpen. Lining your eyes with a flat-tip pencil will leave you with rough, uneven lines, so keep a sharpener in your makeup bag at all times.

2. How to Apply Eyeliner That Doesn’t Transfer

How to apply pencil eyeliner

The problem: Your liner transfers onto your eyelids, leaving behind a “stamp” of pigment.

The fix: Transfer is annoying AF but also fairly common, especially if you have smaller, hooded eyelids or oily skin. Try increasing the height of your eyeliner so the line is still visible when you open your eyes. That way, when your eyelid folds and opens, your liner will stay put.

3. How to Apply Colored Eyeliner

How to apply pencil eyeliner

The problem: You are sick of classic black eyeliner but haven’t totally figured out how to wear colored eyeliner.

The fix: Keep it simple and accentuate your upper or lower lash line with a thin line of color rather than a full-on, super-intense block of it. Here are some of my favorite colored eyeliners to get you started:

How To Make A Tuna Melt

Connect the dots—or in this case, dashes.

Recipe Summary How To Make A Tuna Melt

This is dedicated to all those chefs who tell you to never, ever mix fish and cheese together; and yet there they are, at the diner at 2:00 in the morning. And you know what they eat? Tuna melts. And the reason they do is because it is delicious.

Ingredients | How To Do Eyeliner With A Pencil

  • 1 (6.5 ounce) jar oil-packed tuna, drained
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or more to taste
  • ⅓ cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 2 thick slices French bread
  • ¼ cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • Place tuna into a mixing bowl and lightly break apart with a fork. Add green onion, celery, capers, chile paste, and mayonnaise. Pinch small pieces from mozzarella cheese into the tuna salad and stir to mix. Season with salt and black pepper; refrigerate tuna salad until needed.
  • Heat oven’s broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Spread butter generously on both sides of French bread slices.
  • Broil buttered bread until golden brown on top, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip bread slices and broil other side until toasted, 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from oven and turn bread slices over on the baking sheet so the darkest sides are on the bottom.
  • Gently spread tuna salad onto bread slices using 2 forks. Press the salad onto the bread and spread tuna all the way to the edges of the bread. Spread shredded sharp Cheddar over each sandwich. Dust tops with cayenne pepper.
  • Place sandwiches under broiler and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Use a baking dish underneath your sheet pan if you need to move your food slightly closer to the broiler flame.

    Info | How To Do Eyeliner With A Pencil

    prep: 15 mins cook: 10 mins total: 25 mins Servings: 2 Yield: 2 open-face sandwiches

    TAG : How To Make A Tuna Melt

    Seafood, Fish, Tuna,

    Images of How To Do Eyeliner With A Pencil

    How To Do Eyeliner With A Pencil – To get a steady line, dot the liner along your eyelid, then go back and fill in the line to make it solid.