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How to use pencil eyeliner

Eyes,    Makeup

3 Easy Eyeliner Looks You Can Do With an Eye Pencil!

Posted by Gin Mabey on Feb 18, 2019

Sick of liquid eyeliner? 3 Easy Eyeliner Looks You Can Do With an Eye Pencil!

We’re truly envious of those who can apply the perfect winged eyeliner without messing up and crying out of frustration on a daily basis. Sometimes liquid eyeliner can be a real pain and it just doesn’t end up working out. So, if you’re over the liquid winged eyeliner look but you still love to define your eyes, here are a few ideas to shake up your eyeliner routine!

1. Soft pencil wing

Yup, you can still have your wing, but you can have one with far less risk and effort. The pencil wing is soft and hazy but still has that cat-eye appeal. It can be paired with any eye look, but I think it looks best with a shimmery bronze lid and a gently shaded crease.

You need a black, brown or charcoal eye pencil and a matching powder shadow. A stiff liner brush also really helps. You’ll also need a flat piece of paper or tape to create the wing.

How to do smokey eyeliner


  1. Do any look you want on the lid and crease
  2. Press your paper or tape onto the outer edge of the eye so that it creates a line from the outer edge of the eye and up toward the temple
  3. With your eye pencil, draw along the edge of the paper or tape and connect the line with the outside corner of the eye. The wing should not exceed the end of your eyebrow
  4. Draw the pencil along the lash line from the inner corner to connect with the wing you created on the outer corner
  5. Remove the paper or tape and you should have a precise wing
  6. With your stiff pencil brush, press the matching eyeshadow along the liner and wing, slightly buffing and smudging as you go
  7. You can take a little bit of concealer on a small brush to tidy up the wing if you have any fallout from the shadow
  8. Keep adding little layers of powder and pencil, buffing to soften the lines as you go
  9. Add LOTS of mascara and you’re done!


2. Smudged top lash line

This is the easiest liner style, with the least amount of time and effort required. It thickens the appearance of the lashes, defines the eye without sharp lines, and looks completely modern and edgy. When I do this look I always feel a little cooler than I am, like I’ve been at an underground party (when really I’ve been watching old Project Runway seasons in my pajamas). 

You can do this with any eyeshadow look, simple or extravagant. I think it looks best with a neutral base and a gentle taupe or chocolate crease. You need a pencil liner and a small, dense brush. Any pencil liner will do, it doesn’t need to be super long wearing as you are smudging the effect anyway!


  1. Draw a line with your pencil from the inner corner to the outer corner, thickening it ever so slightly at the outer corner
  2. You can use little strokes to create the line instead of one long drag, as sometimes the liner can tug at the eye if it’s particularly waxy
  3. Take your tiny, dense brush and smudge the line from the inside out, making little dragging movements toward the outside of the eye
  4. Leave the lower lashline totally clean, it will brighten the eyes and make the top lash line even more punchy
  5. If you like, you can take a small dab of matching eyeshadow onto your dense brush and press it into the smudged liner to set it, if you don’t trust your liner to stay put

Done. You look GREAT.

3. Nothin’ but the tightline 

This one is so easy and minimal, it doesn’t even require any lining of the lash line whatsoever. The tightline is the line below the lash line which you can see when you gently lift up your lid, basically the upper lid version of the waterline. When you pop an opaque black or brown line along the tightline, your lashes suddenly appear thicker and your eyes are intensified without any visible makeup.

I like to do this look when I’ve done a monochrome wash of colour over the lid, like champagne or shimmery mushroom shade. When you add mascara and a filled-in brow, you look bright, fresh and contemporary.

You need a waterproof eyeliner with a creamy consistency. The stiffer or waxier the formula, the harder it is to draw the line, and you don’t really want to be tugging and dragging at your tightline…not comfortable at all.


  1. Gently place your finger on your lid, tip your head backward and lift the lid upward
  2. Take your pencil and draw it along the tightline
  3. Be careful not to take it too close to the outer edge as it can tend to bleed into the outer corner and make your eyes appear smaller
  4. Add mascara and there you go!

If you do need a little lift on the outer corners, just add a little smudge of liner on the top outer corner and buff it in until it’s barely visible.


Even the cheapest eyeliners will work for these looks, as long as they’re freshly sharpened and reasonably creamy. Have a cotton bud and some makeup remover handy if you have a slip of the hand…or just smudge it out and pretend it was meant to be like that all along!


Gin Mabey

Gin Mabey

Gin is a beauty enthusiast with a passion for makeup she's had since kindergarten when she would raid her Mum's makeup drawer. When she's not playing with new products and writing about makeup, she's a theatre actress, director and producer.

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