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If you have been visiting my blog for a long time, you will see that I love me some liquid liner. I love the crisp black line, I love how it makes my brown eyes have more impact, makes my average lashes look lush, love how liquid is less likely to smear when I rub my allergy-prone eyes and it's less likely to run or flake and irritate my contacts-wearing eyes.
I also like it because I can actually do it.
I haven't worn pencil liner since my freshman year of college, and back then I used to take a Maybelline kohl liner in black and run it along the inner rims of my eyes – top and bottom. If it got smeary, that's fine. Then I would gob on the Max Factor 2000 Calorie, add some Revlon Coffee Bean lipstick and call it a day. But then, I had half my head shaved, wore Doc Martens 99% of the time and when you're 18 you can get away with a heck of a lot more.
I don't wear pencil liner because I can't get it to look good. I always look as though I applied it drunk while riding on a school bus down a rural road. I try a sharp point, warming the pencil, making dots and then connecting them, starting from the outer corners, using a Q-tip and every other tip they have in Allure magazine. I always look a mess.
I started trying liquid liner in college. My sophomore year roomate used it and she always looked so polished. I bought some L'Oreal liner and found it surprisingly easy. It worked like a Sharpie for me – close that one eye, draw, done. I remember practicing in my mirror – try holding the lid taut, try dotting it on, maybe a swoop at the edges for a cat eye effect… I did a lot of practice knowing how much pressure to use to get a nice line.
The L'Oreal liner was eventually discontinued and I switched to Maybelline's UltraLiner. Maybelline's UltraLiner gave me a great shiny, solid black line. A nice clean, polished look that I loved to wear with glossy pale lips and my Rachel hair-do. I liked a thicker line, and a look that would work through a double shift and a night at a bar and UltraLiner got the job done.
I got a makeover at the Trish McEvoy counter like a decade ago and they taught me how I can use dark shadow and a stiff brush and use that combo to line my eyes. After that I never again tried classic pencil eye liners. I was a huge fan of this, trying different colors and types of brushes for the right effect. I would even wet the brush to get a darker line, similar to a liquid liner but not as harsh.
For the past decade, I have switched between a subtle smokey eye of various hues with using eye shadows as liner, contour and color; and liquid liner with a pretty neutral lid. And I have pretty much stuck with Maybelline UltraLiner. I found other liquid liners to not be as thick of a formula and would end up making uneven lines, thin translucent lines, would get caught in thin skin and make a mistake. The felt-tip style pens always seemed rough on my lids, I preferred the brush styles because they would glide. UltraLiner is thick like paint so it didn't dribble and I could get the look I desired with one stroke.
Lately I have been wanting to use products that aren't as chemical-laden as before. Wanting a “healthy” liquid liner is hard. I was trying to make do with a wet brush and black shadow, but found that when I had itchy eyes or teared up at a Kodak commercial I ended up looking like Tammy Faye. I had tried cream or gel liners before (some department store brands, L'Oreal H.I.P) and always found them messy. I decided to try Bare Escentuals' Buxom Liner because I like the brand, and I know they don't use quite as many scary chemicals as other brands. Might as well try…
I tried a liner brush I once got free in a Sephora brush kit and it made a total mess and I hated the product. Switched to an old lip liner brush from Garden Botanika (tres old – I worked there for the 1995 Christmas season!) and found love. The stiffer brush helped me get a straight line with first swipe.
I apply my shadow, and then curl and coat my lashes with mascara. By curling my lashes and applying mascara, my lashes are pulled away from my lid so I have a bit of a ridge between lashes and lid where the liner can fit. I tap the brush into the pot, then wipe it along the rim so that the brush has a good coating, but is pressed thin and flat. I close my lid and follow the lash line. I start in the center of the lid and work to the outer corner. Then I come back and make a thin line near the inner corner (though not quite that deep) and graduate to match the medium sized line in the center of the eye. I always do better on my right eye because I am right handed. I do the right eye first so I can look at it for reference and inspiration. The left eye is a bit more dotting and filling in the dots and then smoothing with the brush to have it match the right eye. Right eye I could do without a mirror, left eye there's no way in heck I could.
So anyway, there's the history of my love affair with liner! Hope it helps and let me know if I can add any more details!