Eyeliner Tips for Eyeliner Noobs

I’ve never really been one for eyeliner; too fiddly for my sleepy morning fingers to master, a little stark for my everyday look and trying to match up my non-symmetical lid space usually ends up with me sporting a line about an inch thick against each lashline causing me to crack out a bottle of Bioderma and start over. Phew, it gives me an attack of the shaky hands just thinking of it. But after a YSL makeover last week where I plucked up the courage to request a feline flick and was treated to a graphic eye doodle that took 20 minutes to perfect as I juiced the Makeup Artist for his peeper scribing tips; I’ve been experimenting with the line making arsenal in my stash and through the age old process of trail and error have mustered up the following conclusions; my eyeliner do’s from one eyeliner noob to another (unless you’ve already mastered it, in which case – share your knowledge!):

Ease in. A full-on black stoke across the eyes can be a little much for first-timers, so I’ve been easing myself in with a smudge of bronze applied on the outer corners, top and bottom and blended in with my finger. A simple step that’s getting me used to inking against my lashline; Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl in Bronze is a nice easy and purse-friendly option.

Start with something subtle. To get into the grove of tracing I found the more blendable options of kohl and shadow to be a good starting point. Mistakes are easier to correct in these formulas and their nature means they’re more forgiving to less than perfect lines. Plus, who doesn’t have a black shadow and a thin cut brush in their stash somewhere? Hey you at the back – there’s no excuse.

Line that line. The most convenient of all the techniques is to get drawing with your standard felt-tipped fluid filled pens. Look down into a mirror, lean your elbow on a steady surface and get signing. I actually find these to be the most tricky but there’s three that my flapping grasps can just about handle: YSL’s Eyeliner Babydoll Look* has the thinnest nib, Wild About Beauty’s Line & Define Liner Pen* is a little thicker leaning itself to a more flicked-out purpose and the 3-dot liners you can get – Bourjois do one – are fab for just adding some definition to the lashline.

Get jiggy with gel. The most feared formula of the bunch, but the one that can muster up the cleanest line with pin-pointed precision in the right hands. Surprisingly this is my favourite formula of the curve creating crew. But here’s the trick – a slightly bent eyeliner brush. The one I own is from Zoeva*, but I’ve spotted a similarly shaped one here; the angle means you can tuck the ferrell of the brush under your lower lashes and allow the gel-dipped tip to find find your natural cat flick. I’m sporting this technique in the above photos paired up with Shu Uemura’s Painting Liner*, and yes the rumours are true – the formulas pretty darn good.

Tight-lining. The 10 second step that ties it all together – tight-lining – a.k.a) a swoop of colour usually in kohl-form taken on the inner rim of your eye just under your lashes. Sounds ew, is pretty ew to carry out, but finishes it all off nicely. Something waterproof and hardy is what you’re looking for here and Chantecaille’s 24hr Waterproof Eye Liner in Ebony* fits the bill perfectly as does the aforementioned Rimmel’s Scandaleyes Kohls. I actually quite like just doing this step with lashings of mascara for an everyday hit of definition.

Try a trio of techniques. What I find works best for me is to combo the categories up; line against the lashline with a liquid, attempt a cat flick with a gel, tight-line with a kohl and if I fancy schmoozing it up for the evening, smoking it out with an eyeshadow. This may take me a full 30 minutes to execute currently, but practice makes perfect right?

Welcome your new best friends. A micellar solution or eye makeup remover will help see you through those challenging times. Bioderma Crealine H20 Solution or Clarin’s Instant Eye Makeup Remover have helped sweep away many the dodgy line for me and paired with cotton buds and pads they will become your new bessie mates when striving for cat-flicked acme.

So pick up those kohls, perfect with a liquid and hey if it all goes a little wibbly and wonky then you’re in good company. Eyeliner noobs unite.

*PR Sample


  • Sandra / Lndnbeauty

    You really suit the flicked eyeliner! and thanks for some good tips.

  • Paris Lee

    Oh thank god! Another girl in her 20s who isn’t a genius with the eyeliner. My girlfriend bought me a couple of brilliant eyeliners in a shopping spree in Sephora and I’m yet to figure out how to use them..
    My main problem is keeping one eye open and the other closed.. Weird but true!
    Any tips on doing that? Haha 🙂

    Thank you for this post, I’ll try again soon!!

  • It suits you so well !! Love it !! ;)))

  • xs

    by looking at picture of you I can say that you’re not right person to give tips about eyeliner

    • Emma West

      don’t be an a**e

    • Yolanda Newhouse

      why would you go to someone’s site and take the time and make the effort to say something shitty?

      • xs

        sorry did I insolte you? or maybe her? that’s just my opinion, I don’t think that this line is good, wing is too thick and weird shaped

    • Aurora Ammy

      What a tool.

    • neemran

      read the title, it says Eyeliner for noobs! not professionals, and the wing is good for her eye shape. stop hating on vivianna!

      • liliana

        that’s just an opinion, she’s not hating anybody. What’s so hateful about this comment?

  • Victoria Knight

    Hi Vivianna

    I am just getting into the whole black gel eyeliner thing. Traditionally I have always been a Mac eyeliner pencil sort of girl, tending to use brown, but more recently have gone for a gel eyeliner flick over the top lashes using Maybelline’s Gel Eyeliner pot in Black with a Mac angled brush. This was something that I picked up from one of Tanya Burr’s tutorials and it works really well.

    Love your blog!

    Tor x

  • Emma West

    practice makes perfect, I can do my gel flick with my one year old crawling up my leg to eat the brush..but if I don’t do it for a few weeks I get rubbish again 😉 x

  • Millie F

    I always have a facewipe on hand to even out the lines and correct any mishaps. So simple, it stops me being nervous about liquid liner or having to start all over again 🙂 x

    • Yolanda Newhouse

      I always have a cotton bud that has a bit of Caudalie SOS serum on the end. It corrects the mistakes, but absorbs super quickly, so I can keep working. I think most of us need these erasing helpers.

      • Millie F

        Good idea. Yeah, why not make it a bit easier for ourselves 🙂

  • I’m a bit of a 60s obsessive so I rock a cat flick most days but it took me ages before I was confident enough to actually leave the house with it. I would practice with a cheap and cheerful liquid liner before I had a shower at night. Doing it that way meant I could experiement with different techniques and shapes to figure out what suited me best, without wasting an expensive liner. These days I generally stick to gel/cream liners with an angled brush – it’s easier to control the thickness/shape of the line, for me anyway. I know alot of people say to do the flick first but I like to do that last otherwise its wonky eyes for me! haha

  • A brilliant post! Your blog has become I think my favourite lately, your style of writing is so personable & friendly. Great post 🙂 It took me ages to master the cat flick – the felt tip styles are my favourite & now it’s my go-to look! You’ll get there!! xx

  • beautyandtheb

    I really want to get into gel eyeliner more! I’m really bad with it! You look lovely (ignore the person who wrote the nasty comment!)

    B xx

  • I am not used to see you wearing a strong eyeliner, but I love the way you look with it! Gorgeous!!! xxx

  • Anabel O’Reilly

    I am an eyeliner noob haha the title made me laugh:)

    ♥ Anabel Kate ♥

  • Maddy Cane

    I really love this on you, it looks really pretty and feminine! xxx

    Maddy from


  • Liparazzi

    I wear a feline flick almost EVERY day…I often think I should shake my look up a bit but I just love the polished look it gives. I always soften the line with an angled brush and a matte black eyeshadow…that makes it less harsh for daytime 🙂 x

  • I used to love eyeliner when i was younger, you’re right about it being really difficult to get right though. The rare occasions I use it I end up doing exactly the same thing and the result is huge thick flicks because I’ve tried to even it out.

    Fiona x

  • You look LOVELY with eyeliner on – thank you for such an informative post. Maybe we’ll see more eyeliner in your videos from now on? 🙂 *votes down the horrid commenter* xax

  • Jade Waterfield

    Such a great post! I adore eyeliner, but it is the main struggle of my day! Thanks for the great tips sweetness!


  • I like to do this but with black powder so its not as strong in colour,This look really suits you though x

  • This was so helpful, Anna! Mastering eyeliner is something I haven’t quite figured out but I think with your tips, I might just figure this out. Definitely looking at Shu Uemura’s liner offering. 🙂 Thanks again!

  • HelloOctober

    Your eyes look even more amazing than they normally do with a little eyeliner! For me it’s all in the flick – I use cotton buds to reshape it if I go wrong!

  • Emily

    It is so nice to hear some tips from another eyeliner noob instead of a professional who thinks the whole thing is painless and easy. I will have to put some if these tips to the test and keep on practicing.


  • Three years of practice under the belt, and I’m still an eyeliner noob! I do love the gel though, something about the whole “painting on my face” feeling makes me giddy. x

  • Ylenia

    You should do a video tutorial on this

  • Pippa Jones

    Looking good anna 🙂 Love a good flick 🙂

    Pipp xx

  • Aurora Ammy

    I have been wearing liquid liner a lot more recently. I’m normally a gel girl, but I find the shimmering colours for spring work so well with a thin, dark black liner! XO

  • This was so helpful, thank you!

  • ssej35

    I have really shaky hands so I cheat with a DIY corrector pen–I snip a small piece off a makeup remover wipe and wrap it around the end of a nail file or cuticle stick. It gives much more precise removal than a cotton swab and is great for cleaning up a messy flick.

  • Every sngle girl, who has ever dealed with cosmetics, found herself in your words of this issue discription. We have been though it all. You made a good job by placing your analysis here, they are sincere and competent.

  • Heidi :)

    My favourite technique that I taught all my eyeliner-virgin friends is to hold a medium sized hand mirror below you and look down into it – this means you can see where your eyelashes are so you can get a precise, thin line. I love liquid eyeliner for the top lashline and pencil for the waterline. Great post!

    The British Teen // beauty and fashion blog

  • Great tips! Takes some trial and error to get it just right!

  • Sarah Gee

    This post is perfect! I am such a scardy cat when it comes to eye liner 😛


  • Marc

    Awesome tips, my wife’s very happy! She just came from this site says your article now provided her with a very well-rounded knowledge 🙂