One of my favourite ways to jazz up an otherwise standard eye makeup look is to play around with how I apply eyeliner. My signature method is using gel liner to create painterly eyeliner that’s loose and unstructured, but I’ve recently been playing around with ideas about how to use a regular pencil to create a look that’s more precise and careful.
After some experimentation I’ve come up with a technique to create a subtle gradient eyeliner effect. This look sits close to the lashes, making it suitable for daily wear. Keeping the gradient vertical makes the look less showy than doing a graduation of colour horizontally across the eye. Not that showy is necessarily bad, of course, but sometimes you just gotta dial it down a little.
So, how to do this gradient eyeliner look at home? Easy peasy!
Get a couple of opaque eyeliner pencils that are reasonably soft. Choose two analogous colours, i.e colours that are within the same colour family, or colours that work in a monochromic scale. I used Make Up For Ever 10L Bronze and 18L Burgundy Aqua Eyes eyeliners in the picture above. If your pencils are worn down and stubby, give them a quick turn through a cosmetic sharpener to get a long point on your eyeliner.
Apply the lighter colour along the upper lashline, building a solid base of colour. Take the darker eyeliner and build the colour up from the lashline. First dot it into the lashline using the tip of the pencil, then turn the eyeliner sideways and use the flat of the pencil to build up colour from the lashline while maintaining a soft diffused blend between the two colours. Using the side of the pencil makes it much harder to accidentally create a solid line instead of a smooth gradient.
I prefer Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Eyeliners (get ’em from Sephora or Sephora Australia) because they’re soft, opaque in a single swipe, and the soft metallic finish is very flattering. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliners are also great for this look.