The notion of ebony eyeliner instantly conjures up cool-girl vibes. Perhaps because it’s so effortless to apply, yet delivers a dramatic payoff. “Even if you only apply black liner quickly along the top lashline, you instantly create depth and a more open-looking eye,” says makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis, founder of Kjaer Weis. “It’s something I love to do on myself.” For Marc Reagan, director of global education, artistry and events at Hourglass, black eyeliner is an essential on par with mascara or blush. “As a makeup artist, when you’re looking for ways to bring out someone’s features, black eyeliner is the ultimate, no matter their skin tone or eye shape,” he says. “It really amplifies the lashline, makes lashes look fuller and enhances the shape of the eye.”
First things first. “I apply my black liner before any other eye makeup,” says Kate Synnott, beauty creative director at Róen. “It creates a beautiful base.”
Keep it tight. “If you’re intimidated by black liner, try using it just as an enhancement,” Reagan says. Tightlining is when you apply eyeliner right in the lashline, only at the base of the lashes, in the roots. “Oftentimes, that alone can be enough,” he says.
Go top to bottom. Reagan suggests lining the upper lashline first, then stepping back to assess whether you need to do the lower lashline as well. “If you do it all from the get-go, you’re stuck with it,” he says. “There’s no going back, unless you want to remove your makeup and start over.”
Bring a brush. “After I draw on my liner, I like to smudge it with a slanted brush so it’s not as sharp,” Kjaer Weis says. “That gives the illusion of thicker lashes.”