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When you catch a conversation about eyeliner, it’s often exclusively about how precise of a line you can create or how sharp a cat eye can be—but not every eyeliner look has to be so harsh. If you’re after a softer effect, it’s not a problem. In fact, you won’t believe how easy it is to soften your makeup. All you need to do is smudge out your eyeliner. If you want to learn how to do this eye makeup technique, stick around. We’re sharing five steps for getting the perfect soft, smudged eyeliner.
Just like every other eye makeup look, this one should begin with a base of eye primer. Using a primer can help create a smooth base for your eyeliner application—even though you’re going to smudge your eyeliner out eventually, you’ll still want it to glide on easily. If you don’t have any primer on hand, apply a tiny dab of foundation or concealer for a similar effect.
Go ahead and apply eyeliner as you normally would. There aren’t any rules to how you do it. You can press the eyeliner right against your lashes for a subtle look, wing it out for something more dramatic, or line along your lower lashes for a sultry effect. If you aren’t sure which style to try, head on over to our article on The Best Makeup Techniques for Creating Different Eyeliner Styles. Then, use one of our best eyeliners for smudging. Pick from the three options below.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner: If you want to smudge out a shade other than your traditional black or brown eyeliner, you can. This waterproof eyeliner is available in purple and cobalt blue in addition to the classics.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner: For those who finds themselves wanting to smudge their eyeliner all the time, it doesn’t get more convenient than an eyeliner that comes with a smudger on the other end. This long-lasting option has it all: a pigmented eyeliner, a smudger, and a built-in sharpener.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Lacquer Liner 24H: When it comes to smudging out your eyeliner, pencils aren’t the only option. If you’re partial to a gel formula, there’s no reason you can’t smudge it out. Just be sure to work fast, before it dries down. This eyeliner even comes with a handy brush you can use to both apply and smudge out your liner.
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: smudging. You can use a cotton swab, pencil brush, or small sponge to smudge out your eyeliner. Just remember to be gentle as you go!
Editor’s tip: Sponges meant for smudging can often be found on the flipside of pencil eyeliners. Whichever tool you choose, simply work it over the edge of the line(s) you created to soften and smudge.
You aren’t obligated to layer eye shadow over top of your eyeliner, but setting with an eye shadow can help keep your eyeliner in place. Using the same tool you smudged with, add a little bit of the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow (in a coordinating shade) directly over top of your eyeliner.
If your first foray into smudging your eyeliner didn’t go so smoothly, don’t worry. Use a cotton swab dipped in eye makeup remover to clean up any smudging you aren’t happy with. One type of makeup remover you can use to clean things up is micellar water.
And that’s it! Now you know exactly how to smudge your eyeliner. Add a light layer of mascara (like the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara) and you have a beautiful, soft eye makeup look.
For more on this trendy eye makeup look, read our tutorial, How to Wear Smudged Black Eyeliner.