My name’s Eeva and I run the vintage style jewellery brand Splendette. As part of my job, I make video content and also host live sessions on social media and one of the questions I get asked all the time is how I do my eyeliner.
I did an IGTV video explaining the process then the lovely people here at Retropeepers asked me to write a blog with my top 10 eyeliner tips, so here I am!
Eyeliner is a really popular element of both vintage and modern make up looks alike. The heavy black eyeliner we associate with a vintage look (and that I wear) wasn’t actually popular until the late 50s and into the 60s but if you like the look and aren’t too tied to being 100% historically accurate, a good wing can really finish off your make up beautifully. So, without further ado, here are my top 10 tips!
1. Get the right eyeliner for you
The first thing to do is to figure out what kind of eyeliner is best for you. I personally prefer a dip pot with a finer brush. I currently use the e.l.f Expert Liquid Liner as it’s cruelty free and has the brush I like. I used to prefer a dip pot with a felt tip type brush as it was less fluid but as I improved and learnt more control, the fine brush meant it was far easier to get a good, sharp point. There are also felt tip pen style eyeliners out there that I struggle to get a good point with but I’ve seen magical points done with those too!
2. What effect are you looking for?
Next, it’s time to think about the effect you’re looking for. There are so many eyeliner looks out there and even if you’re just going for a simple black line, the thickness and placement of that line and the wing can greatly affect the finished look. I tend to place and angle my wing quite high as I feel it gives my 40 year old eye the lift I like but everyone is different.
You can have a lower, thicker wing, as on the very beautiful Kate Jackson, to give you a more sultry eye or you can have a finer line and smaller wing for a more simple, daytime look. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can experiment with some more elaborate styles inspired by the 60s and later.
3. What shape suits your eye?
It’s all very well wanting to do your eyeliner a certain way but you also need to take into account the shape of your eye and eyelid. Some people can have a hooded eye, which means their eyelid hides a lot of their eyeliner and can create difficulties. There are lots of videos available on how to do eyeliner on hooded eyes, you just need to find which suits you.
4. All about that base!
One thing I hear all the time is that eyeliner doesn’t last on people and part of that is because it’s highly likely the base hasn’t been prepared sufficiently. As everyone’s skin is different, it means everyone’s eyelids are also different and then factor in weather, activities and everything else. A lot of eyeliner smudges due to too much oil being present, so to prepare my eyelids, I first go all over my face with foundation then I’ll add concealer under my eyes and also to my eyelids. Once that’s all blended using a beauty blender, I’ll set everything with powder to give a good base for the make up.
This is another way you can take influence from specific eras or simply go with your mood! I tend to stick to a light neutral colour from my lash line to my brows then cut in the crease with whatever colour I fancy, blending upwards but you can really experiment with colours and styles from different eras. You can see how, in the three eyeliner looks below from the 80s, 90s and recent years, the colours used and make up styling can really give your make up the look of an era.
6. Smooth lines and good points
Whatever my wing placement or eyeliner look, I will always aim to have smooth lines with no angles and a good, sharp point. These two factors are what can make the difference between eyeliner looking professional or not. If you are going for angles, or not pointed wings, I would recommend making it look extremely intentional, to ensure it looks stylish and not just badly done. It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to do your eyeliner in one single swoop. I do across both eyelids first then build the wing onto that base. I just make sure I smooth out any joins to give the look of one smooth, flowing line.
7. Negative space
Not everyone’s eyes are symmetrical in size and/or shape, mine included! When I’m tired, I find that one of my eyelids droops slightly, which I think can be magnified when I wear eyeliner. It was because of this that I noticed that it can actually be the negative space around the eyeliner that makes your eyes look uneven, rather than the eyeliner itself so when I’m doing the initial lines across my lash line, I’ll look at the space between the edge of the eyeliner and my eye crease (green line) and adjust my eyeliner (red line) to make sure that’s even, rather than making sure the thickness of the actual eyeliner matches.
I do have glasses that I sometimes wear and I’ve found that wearing glasses can drastically affect the look of my eyeliner. Wearing specs doesn’t mean no eyeliner but it might mean you need to adjust the shape.
9. Evening up
It can be so difficult to get your eyeliner even so that one eye matches the other and it’s so easy to end up with eyeliner looking much thicker than intended! In an attempt to minimise this, I tend to start with a fine line to figure out the placement of the liner and wing which then gives me a bit more room to add to the liner and even it up without adding too much bulk.
Unfortunately, even with all the tips in the world, you do still need to practice and experiment to figure out what eyeliner suits you best but I would recommend trying out different shapes, moving the wing and experimenting with thicknesses so you can really get to grips with your eye shape and what suits you.
Please follow Eeva @Splendette for more make up tips and retro features.