By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Any woman who has ever tried to apply liquid eyeliner without expert guidance knows that the end result can come out looking like a cross between a raccoon and Alice Cooper.
While the models on the pages of your favorite fashion magazines and that obnoxious Twiggy-thin typist at your office in the three-inch spike stilettos and look-at-my-legs miniskirt seem to have a natural knack for applying this most elegant of cosmetics, whenever we normal females try to master the brush, we end up with smears, tears and years of swearing we’ll never abandon our pencil liners again.
But with a little effort and a lot of patience, even the most spastic of us wannabe glamour girls can learn to outline our eyes with liquid wonder without suffering the heartbreak of smudges and globbing.
The secret to applying liquid liner is to take your time and not get nervous.
A lot of women feel intimidated by liquid liner because it is less forgiving than pencil liner and requires a certain degree of practice.
Nevertheless, liquid liner is well worth the extra effort to get that sultry, smoldering look that pencil liners can never come close to creating.The first step is to choose a product that is suited to your needs.
What should you look for in a liquid liner?
A good place to start is to make sure the product you choose has a thin but sturdy brush that won’t clump or collapse as you are applying the makeup. A precision brush will allow you to draw a clean, even line.
It is also important to select a color that is suited to the rest of your makeup wardrobe.
This season, some cosmetic companies have introduced dramatic new shades of gold, dark blue and lavender liner to complement equally shocking hues of shadows and mascara, but traditional tones of brown, black and mauve are better at highlighting and accenting most eyes.
You also want to make sure that the liner is not going to harm your eyes or the sensitive skin around them.
Clinique’s Defining Liquid Liner, for example, is 100-percent hypoallergenic and has been tested by ophthalmologists. That means even women with contact lens can use it without worrying.
Dior Addict It-Line is specially formulated to glide on like a gel and give ultra-intense pigmentation like the liners runway models wear.
Another great option is Revlon’s Colorstay Liquid Liner, which has saturated color and real staying power.
Once you have selected the liner you are going to use, the next step is to learn how to get it on straight without looking like you’ve joined a Goth cult.
If you are blessed with steady hands, this is easy, but if you tend to shake when applying liner, try propping your elbow on a table for extra stability.
Gently stretching your skin with the other hand also keeps you on the straight and narrow.
Starting at the inside edge of your lashes, begin with a thin line and move outward. If you want to thicken the line later, you can apply a second coat.
It’s best that the line remain thin at either edge of the lid, but you can thicken it above the middle to give the illusion of bigger irises.
Remember, when using liquid liner, you don’t have to paint one continuous line.
One easy technique involves drawing three dashes – one at the inner corner, one in the middle of the lash line and another at the outer corner. Then, go back and connect the dashes.
For that thick, Audrey Hepburn look, fill in your liner slowly.
After you’ve established a clean base line, start the brush at the middle of your lashes and slowly build up the outer line, extending the liner slightly out and just beyond the eye.
Many women close their eyes when applying liner, but this can lead to a bumpy, uneven stroke.
Instead, keep your eyes open. This will make it easier to follow the contour of your lash line.
Finally, don’t be afraid of making mistakes with liquid liner. After all, practice makes perfect.
However, if your liner does go astray, a little water or eye makeup remover on a Q-tip will usually correct the problem.
There are, after all, second chances in the world of makeup.