Diary / Beauty / Jul 17, 2023
How To Get a Natural Eyeliner Look
Written by: Piper Gray
Photography by: Ben RItter
While eyeliner is excellent for adding drama or glamor to your makeup, even the most devoted minimalists among us can learn to incorporate it into their toolkit for everyday definition and impact. Natural-looking eyeliner can instantly make you look bright-eyed and more polished.
Natural eyeliner is an easy-to-achieve look, but there are a few things to consider before building this into your routine, and a few types of eyeliner you can use. Read on for a guide on how to select the right product for you and some easy steps to follow.
Which Type of Eyeliner Is Best for a Natural Look?
Natural-looking eyeliner requires a light hand and, as with any eyeliner application, control. While there are a couple of types of eyeliners you can use for a natural look (spoiler: it’s best to avoid liquid and gel eyeliners), it comes down to what you feel like you are most comfortable using.
If you’re a total newcomer to the world of eyeliner, then a pencil eyeliner might be the place to start. You already know how to grasp a pencil, and its precise point is deceptively easy to coax along, and keep close to, your upper lash line.
Using powder eyeshadow in a neutral color as an eyeliner isn’t complicated but this may require a little practice, just to get the hang of using a brush to apply color that closely to your lash line. If you’re familiar with tightlining—a slightly more advanced way of achieving a natural eyeliner look—then that’s when you’ll probably want to reach for your favorite powder eyeshadow and trusted brush.
Liquid and Gel Eyeliners
We love liquid and gel eyeliners when we’re preparing for a night out or applying a cat-eye. They tend to be highly pigmented, which will create a striking, dramatic look—but not exactly natural or subtle. (In other words, avoid liquid or gel eyeliners if a natural look is your goal.)
How to Apply Eyeliner for a Subtle, Natural Look
Go easy on your top lash line and go easy on yourself. “Natural” means “barely there” so if you’ve left too much product on your lid, or if you blinked (it happens to all of us), try again.
That’s the beauty of makeup—you can wash off and start over. Let’s run through the steps to getting a natural-looking eyeliner.
Important note: You’ll want to focus on the top lash line to keep your look natural.
1. Start with clean lashes and eyes. Rinse off last night’s makeup or any lingering residue from the day before. Our Cleansing Stick will gently dissolve any leftover product without stripping your skin of its natural moisture.
2. Moisturize your face and apply a primer to your lids. Our Light Moisture Cream can be used as a primer; just make sure that it’s fully absorbed before applying your liner. Otherwise, you’re likely to run into smudges and smears.
3. Use a neutral eyeshadow, as close to your skin tone as possible, as your base—taking care that you’re applying a sheer layer just on the lid with a fluffy brush, like our Eye Fluffy Brush. Our Best Eyeshadow has 15 color options to choose from.
4. Now, choose your liner: pencil eyeliner or eyeshadow? This is dependent on your skill level and what you feel most comfortable using. (A pencil eyeliner will glide just above the lash, and powder eyeshadow is great for tightlining, which is when you apply liner directly on your top line, below and in between the lashes.) As for color, brown tends to be softer, and it’s versatile, even if you have darker eyelashes. Black can go harsh if you’ve accidentally applied too much color, but ultimately it’s up to you and what you feel looks most natural and blended-in. (If you do ever want to aim for a soft, easy application but with a color that’s not a neutral, read Bobbi’s crib sheet here.)
5. If you’re using a pencil eyeliner: Start at the inner rim, as close to the lash line you can get, and work your way out, lightly applying pressure to the lid. (Important note: Don’t grip the pencil; hold it like you would if you were writing.) Move the pencil in short, slow strokes until you’ve created a subtle, seamless line to the end. Make sure to avoid dragging the pencil; dragging applies more product, which will leave a heavier line. Our Best Pencil is easy to glide and goes on crisp.
6. If you’re tightlining with a powder eyeshadow: Gently wet your Eyeliner Brush, or any brush with short, tight bristles, before dipping in your chosen color of The Best Eyeshadow. (Smokey Grey, Dark Brown, and BCITW are great options to start with.) Keeping your eyes looking up, gently and slowly maneuver the brush along your waterline until you’ve deposited a suitable amount of product.
More Tips and Tricks for Natural-Looking Eye Makeup
1. Keep cotton swabs on hand to tend to any smudges or to tidy up too-thick lines. Let the mistake sit for a moment to dry before cleaning so you’re not further smearing around wet product.
2. If you’re using a pencil, sharpen it to attain a finer point that will leave a faint deposit of color. When the point is dull or rounded, the liner goes on heavier—which is a great look for a night out.
3. Opt for a matte wash of color, not shimmer. This goes for both your base layer of eyeshadow as well as the liner you decide to use.
4. Once you’ve finished applying your liner, see if there are any spaces between the lines. This is easy to fix; just go back and connect any gaps, and smooth out any jagged edges with a cotton swab.
6. Lastly, embrace the mistakes! Eyes are sensitive, and they water, so if you blink and accidentally smudge, that’s okay. It happens to even the most seasoned pros. Simply clean up or start over.
The Bottom Line
Natural-looking eyeliner can perk up your complexion and add instant polish, so it’s worth considering adding this step into your routine.
A natural eyeliner look may seem tricky to apply, but it’s easy to achieve once you know the right tools and tips. A little practice goes a long way, too, and even experts have to work with mistakes.