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5 Different ways to wear eyeliner for different occasions

About the author: Laura Miller is a freelance writer specializing in beauty, fashion and wellness topics. Her many years in the salon and spa field combined with her talent for writing have culminated in what she considers the greatest j...

One eyeliner, 5 different looks

Talk about a multitasking makeup item — one eyeliner can provide five (or more) very different looks for your peepers. Lining your eyes places emphasis on one of your most lively features and can provide a touch of needed polish on a day when you are truly short on time. Eyeliner is no doubt a must-have that you can do so much with.

Get in line

As we know, eyeliner comes in several forms and there are pros and cons to each. Liquid liner tends to give a harder, more dramatic (although more artificial) line. If you prefer the liquid variety, I recommend only using it on your top eyelid, as it is too harsh of a look for use on lower lids.

Of course, there are eyeliner pencils which are great for natural techniques. Some powder eyeshadows can function as liner when used with a wet eyeliner brush.

Personally, I find pencils are best for contact lens wearers, as liquid liner can sometime flake and fall into your eyes.

Look 1: Weekend daytime casual

Emma Watson casual eyeliner

Image: Thero Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment

For a casual look, line only your upper outer eyelid. I find pencil liners much easier to work with than the liquids, but you can experiment and learn what you like best. Covergirl makes a great pencil liner called Perfect Blend with a sponge tip on the other end for easy smudging.

Dot the liner onto your top lid, getting as close to your eyelashes as possible. Use a cotton swab, sponge tip that is on the opposite end of some eyeliner pencils or your clean fingertip (watch the nail!) to blend the dots together so the makeup looks natural and almost undetectable.

You can line from the inner corner of the eye to where the upper lashes stop or just liner the outer half of the eyelid. If your eyes are wide set, lining the entire upper lid will make them appear to be closer together. If you have close-set eyes, line only the outer half or two thirds of the eyelid. This will give the illusion of wider-set eyes. I like this look with no eye shadow and eyelashes merely curled, with no mascara.

Look 2: Perfect for work

Kristen Bell eyeliner look

Image: John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

This is an easy but effective workday look, involving little time and effort on your part.

Apply a neutral eye shadow, then line just the very outer corners of your upper and lower lashes, using the dot-on-then-connect method. Blend together the liner at the corners of your eye, in an angled V shape. Smudge the eyeliner so a hard line is not visible.

Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner is a perfect choice, for any eye color, in Taupe. Curl your lashes and apply one coat of brown mascara. Brown is softer than black and looks professional without looking too 'done' for daytime. This is a particularly effective look for close-set eyes. Your subtle professional look will be the envy of your coworkers.

Look 3: Daytime to evening eyes

Day-to-evening eyeliner on Hannah Simone

Image: Angela Weiss/Getty Images Entertainment

Line both the upper outer lid and lower outer lid. You can use a thick or thin line, depending on what you prefer. Classically, a thicker, softer line is preferred on a larger lid; whereas a thinner, more pronounced line is better for a small lid when lining upper eyelids.

For the lower lid, use the dot method, placing them as close to the lash line as possible. Be sure to smudge for a look that emulates thick lower eyelashes as opposed to a heavily-lined lower lid. If you choose to line from the inner lashes all the way to the outer lashes, this is definitely a evening look. Create slightly more pronounced line on the top lid.

In colder weather, you might need to warm up your eye pencil to keep it from dragging when you apply it to your eyelid. You can do this by placing it under warm running water or rubbing it between your fingers.

High Definition Eyeliner by Max Factor is a show-stopping liquid liner choice if you prefer not to use pencil. You might need to apply another layer of eyeshadow to freshen up the color you applied that morning or if you skipped shadow altogether. Putting on your shadow all over the lid after the liner will create a wash of color that helps liner blend and highlights your eyes without looking harsh. Finally, curl eyelashes and apply one coat of black mascara.

Look 4: Evening out

Evening eyeliner look

Image: Steven Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

A more intense look, this involves lining upper and lower outer lids and lining the inner rim of your lower lid. (I have to note that many makeup artists and eye care professionals advise against lining the inner rims of your eyes. If you choose to do this, please make sure you have clean hands and that the eyeliner you are using is free of any debris that could fall into your eyes. It's smart to rest your elbow on a stationary surface too; to give you added precision in application of eyeliner.)

Apply a light-colored shimmery shadow on the half of your eye, then use a darker shade from the midpoint to the edge and up to the crease. Next, using a light hand, line your upper outer lid, using the dot method or using short, quick strokes of tiny lines connected together. Do the same on the bottom outer lid. Smudge the line on top and bottom lids towards the inner corner. If you want a more intense look, use a second layer of eyeliner or line again with a powder eye shadow in the same color over the eyeliner.

When you use a creamy eyeliner, such as a with a pencil, powdered eyeshadow clings to it to give added staying power to your eyeliner. This is yet another reason I prefer eye pencils to liquid eyeliners. If you favor liquid liner, try Estee Lauder Pure Color eyeliner, which is available in stunning shades that will bring out the twinkle in your eyes.

When lining the inner rim of your eye, use the fingers of the opposite hand to gently pull down your lower lid. Gently line the inner rim with the color of your choice. You can line the entire rim, just the outer half or just a small section in the very middle of the lower inner rim.

There is a debate among professional makeup artists about the effect of lining the inner rims of your eyelids. Some say it makes the eyes appear smaller, while others insist that is a beauty myth with no basis in fact. Try lining one eyes inner rim and not the other, and see what you think. (Always use eye pencils when lining inner rims of eyes, not shadow or liquid.)

Look 5: Party eyes

Ariana Grande party eyeliner

Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Image Entertainment

Last but certainly not least, this is the all-out look for sultry eyes! Cover entire lid with a dark gray, or for the newest take on the smoky eye, a deep bronze, eye shadow, and apply a lighter shade of the lid color in the crease. You will line the upper outer rims with pencil or liquid eyeliner, and then do the same for the lower outer rims. Benefit BADgal is a fatter black eyeliner pencil, perfect for achieving this look.

Apply powder eye shadow over the liner on upper and lower rims, smudging with your finger, cotton swab or brush to give a smoky, sexy affect.

Next, fully line the inner rims of your upper (place the pad of your pointer finger under the upper eyelashes and hold them up to expose your upper inner lid) and lower lids. The, apply two coats of lengthening mascara. Again, use your finger to lightly blend all of this together in a mosaic type manner. No one will be able to take their eyes off you!

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