The Quest For The Perfect Eyeliner

October 12, 2015

I have a love/hate relationship with eyeliner.

This is largely because while the professionals can give me banging looks like this:

However, when left to my own devices I end up looking more like Selina from Home & Away circa 1994.

"Rack off, you mole!"

No joke.

I made it a goal this year to try and perfect the winged eye look, which has led me on a search for the foolproof eyelining product to try and make this a reality.

Unfortunately, no cosmetic company has yet developed a product that I basically open and it does all the work for me.

Here are just some of the products I've tried and tested:

Swatch City

L-R: Maybelline Master Graphic, E.L.F Studio Precision, Maybelline Master Precise
Clinique Quickliner, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil, Estee Lauder Pure Color Dual, E.L.F Cream Eyeliner + brush

Maybelline Master Graphic Liquid Liner

This is touted as being a fabulous product for achieving winged eye perfection, and I wonder if I might have got a dud one because there is so little pigment to it that it looks like dirty dishwater. I may try again if I see one on super special because the texta-like tip seems to be a good thing.

E.L.F Studio Precision Liquid Eyeliner 

Picked this up at Kmart last week after umming and ahhing for a while, then finally grabbing it for the whole $8 it cost. The pigment is cray, super shiny wet-look black but that's where the fun ends. It's cracky, flaky and wears off so quickly I had to wonder when I looked in the mirror later if I had actually removed it myself without remembering. I like the thin brush tip though, so it might be worth seeing if I can repurpose it for something else.

Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Liner

This is the product I've had the most success with so far. A steady hand is required but it seems to have decent pigment payoff and I have managed to create this look below that I wore out in public, so that's a plus.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes 

I bought this years ago as a replacement for the very good Max Factor smudgorama thing I had for a number of years and was desperately disappointed by it, especially for the price. It is so harsh and pencilly and doesn't blend nicely at all even with the brush sponge tip.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil

Does what it says on the tin, essentially a big fat black crayon that isn't ideal for creating a smooth, controlled line, although to be fair, my technique is hardly refined. I'm not really sure what to do with this thing. Maybe a Halloween lip option!

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Dual Liner

This is a double-headed liner that I got in a goodie bag at the Little Blog Big workshop (they had AWESOME goodie bags!) and I have used the gold end a few times to good effect. The black end is SUPER black and has that wet-look finish. I have tried to use it once before work and that was a complete disaster, resulting in me having to completely cleanse and re-foundationise my eyelids and who has time for that in the morning. More testing required. The thin brush tips are good though.

E.L.F Cream Eyeliner + MAC angled liner brush 

This is meant to be the best way to achieve a winged eye look. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I seem to get a lot of skip and drag on the old eyelids, even though I wouldn't say they were particularly wrinkly or flappy. Maybe I need a more $$$ product for a better effect. Or, you know, skillz.

Eyeliner Tips


Keep things stored upside down so pigments don't dry up, this applies to pen styles and gel pots.


Whenever you have a minute while chilling at home (usually toddler naptime or before bed for me), duck off into the bathroom and have a go. Remember to check your head if you leave the house though. Not that I speak from experience or anything.

Take Your Time

Eyeliner for amateurs takes time. Before an important event or work where your time is limited is not the best occasion to start experimenting with extreme looks. Having to erase and refinish will put you behind, stress you out and may lead to further issues as you rush the rest of your look. Again, not that I speak from experience or anything . . .

My awesome friend Lizzie - who is a self-confessed eyelineaholic - has also contributed the following suggestions via Instagram:

"My current budget fav is Maybelline Hypersharp. Amazing for thin lines and pretty flicks. Very user-friendly and doesn't dry out or give too much product at once. My splurge fav is Kat Von D tattoo liner. It is absolutely amazing for all styles of eyeliner including super thick and vampy eyes. Never bleeds or smudges and has a fairly foolproof application. Honourable mentions go to Rimmel Glam'Eyes for being consistently good, cheap and available anywhere and Bourjois Glitter Fizz for something a bit different."

In terms of application, Lizzie suggests:

"Oh and one more thing. Always anchor your elbow when applying liquid eyeliner. Either on the table or against the mirror. It gives you a much steadier hand. Always start thin and build up the line as required."

Thanks Lizzie!!

Check out this Buzzfeed article for useful tips and enviable pics of people who know what they're doing.

Linking up with Ingrid at Fabulous and Fun Life for the Monday Makeup Madness Party!

How do you manage with eyeliner? Got any useful tips or products to share?

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