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Once upon a time, you may have rimmed your eyes in black eyeliner to sport grunge eye makeup or to simply add edge to your look with ‘90s flair. And if you love the idea of retro makeup, you’ll be happy to know that this beauty trend is back in a big way—via the waterline eye. The waterline eyeliner makeup technique requires placing eyeliner on your waterline, aka the inner rim of your eyelid, for a subtle final look. It can be a tricky eyeliner technique to execute since the waterline is a sensitive place, but you can totally do it—with the right application skills and the best eyeliner for your waterline. Below, learn the ins and outs of how to apply eyeliner to your waterline the right way.
First thing’s first, you may be wondering if eyeliner is safe for your waterline. The eyes are a sensitive area, so it makes sense that applying eyeliner so close to your eyes could cause irritation. However, this will only occur if you use the wrong type of eyeliner. Thankfully, there are plenty of eyeliner formulas out there that are perfectly safe to use on your waterline. That’s not to say that you don’t still need to be careful while applying it, but we’ll get to that. The point is: Yes, eyeliner is safe for your waterline—if you’re using the right product.
Now that you know that eyeliner is safe for your waterline, it’s time to learn how to apply eyeliner to your upper waterline, aka tightlining. Follow these simple steps to line your waterline to perfection.
Use your ring finger to gently lift your upper lid and expose the waterline beneath your upper lash line.
Swipe a cotton swab along your waterline to soak up any extra moisture that could interfere with your eyeliner application.
Now you’re ready to create a waterline eye look. Use a pencil eyeliner, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof, Up to 24HR Pencil Eyeliner to get the ball rolling. Glide the eyeliner along the dried area of your lash line. Just make sure to look straight into the mirror and slightly tilt your head down while lining your waterline. It may feel unnatural the first time you do this, but you'll get comfortable over time.
Once your upper waterline is complete, you’re ready to move on to your lower waterline.
When it comes to mastering how to apply eyeliner to bottom waterline, looking head-on won’t allow you to see your full waterline. To achieve a perfectly lined waterline, gently pull your lower lid down using your ring finger.
Just as you did with your upper waterline, using a cotton swab to remove excess moisture.
Once your bottom waterline is prepped, trace your eyeliner along the exposed area. Continue swiping the liner on until you’ve achieved the desired intensity.
If you plan to line both your upper and lower waterline—and happen to be in a rush—we know a little trick for doing so in one step. Working on one eye at a time, tightline your upper waterline and close your eyes before the product dries. When you shut your eye, the color will transfer to your lower waterline. Repeat on your other eye. It’s that easy.
Now that you know how to apply eyeliner to your waterline like a pro, it’s time to learn how to remove it the right way. This calls for a gentle makeup remover since this makeup technique involves the product being super close to your eye. Try using the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof - All Skin Types. This micellar water works to lift and remove makeup without any rinsing or rubbing required. Saturate a cotton pad with the cleanser and gently swipe the pad over your eye makeup until clean. For any lingering eyeliner on your waterline, clean things up with a cotton swab moistened with micellar water.
Next up: Now that you know how to apply eyeliner to your waterline, it’d be wise to learn about the best eyeliner to get the job done. Check out our article, Meet Our Best Eyeliner For Your Waterline, for more information.
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