We all have our one beauty product that we would take if marooned on a desert island, and for me that is eyeliner. Pencil, powder, gel, liquid, I can’t live without my liner. Won’t even venture out to walk the dog without it. I have strong armed a friend to swear that when I leave this life it will not be with my boots on, but my eye liner. I just feel naked without it.
Flash back to 1960s. That’s when liner became an art form and indispensable beauty item that defined the era. There was black liner and white and infinite ways of combining them for a stark, wide awake look. Little hash marks stood in for lower lashes. It was bold, it was Mod, it was fun! I was hooked on the London Look.
Then came Liz Taylor as Cleopatra in 1963 and eyeliner really had a heyday, thick and expansive. There’s really nothing new under the sun as today’s winged cat eye is a retro nod to the Egyptian eye. Smoldering, smudged,the darker the better.
For those of us over 50, adopting this heavy handed approach is not so much chic as it is aging. Better to focus on employing liner to define, enhance and enlarge the eye than channel Morticia Adams.
Pencil was the first liner and still one of the easiest to apply. I like black for evening and brown or a color for day. Colored liner makes a simple statement all by itself and can enhance your eye color. I love dark green, marine blue or rich purple to accent my brown eyes. Prestige colored liners have been in my makeup inventory for years. At $3.95 (Drugstore.com), you can afford to play with their 11 colors and find the perfect one for you. I am also a fan of Laura Mercier Caviar Stick, $26 (Nordstrom). The 8 gorgeous shades are lush, subtle and smoky. An in- between option is L’Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner at $7.99 (Target). Creamy and highly pigmented, you can blend it to create the perfect smoky eye in black, brown or grey.
Gel liner is a great choice for liner longevity. Once on, it stays put all day. For those with a steady hand and the willingness to practice, there is a big payoff. Bobbie Brown makes the best in the business. Her Long-Wear Gel Liner comes in 6 shades for $24 at Sephora or department stores. Maybelline’s Lasting Gel liner is an excellent and less expensive alternative at $7.99, Target and drug stores. But do invest in a quality liner brush. It will make all the difference.
For a soft and diffused look, powder liner is a good choice. It, too, requires some skill as it is applied with a pressing motion along the lash line. Once you have gotten powder on the brush tips, tap the brush on the edge of the sink to knock off any excess that will otherwise adorn your cheeks. Trish McEvoy powder liner, $18 at Neiman’s comes in 7 deeply gorgeous shades and can be applied wet or dry. Guerlain Terracotta Loose Liner, $38 at Sephora and department stores, comes in an elegant gold trimmed vial with its own applicator and is relatively easy, even for a novice. Just apply before your makeup and be prepared with Qtips and eye makeup remover or cream for mishaps.
Liquid liner is a hot item for quick and lasting application. There are true liquids but I prefer the sharp felt tip version. It glides on more smoothly than a pencil and the bold line won’t smudge or budge. You can pick your price range since every brand from the drug store to the toniest department store makes one. My personal favorite after trial and error is Eyekoe London. The Skinny Liquid Eyeliner, $16 at Nordstrom is really a misnomer since it is a felt tip. The brand offers a metallic version for $26. I found truly liquid liners tougher to control and too hard looking for an older woman.
You can line the top lash line or top and bottom, but it will make small eyes look smaller if you totally encircle the eye. Start at the inner corner and line to the center of lid. Then go from outer corner in to meet in the middle. If you do line your lower lashes, start from the outer corner or just beyond, and go just to the point where your lashes stop. A little highlighter blended into the inner corner will give you that wide eyed Jackie O look. If you’re a seasoned pro, you might attempt tight lining. This is meticulously filling in the spaces between upper lashes from underneath and will make your lashes look full and defined.
Line your bottom lash water line with a white pencil to make your eyes really pop!
What is your “can’t live without” item? Comment and share.