Monthly Archives: December 2016

How to pull off basic eye liner looks

Like many of you, I love eye liner. I love the precision and perfection of a well-drawn cat eye with liquid liner; I love the smudgy bedroom eyes that a pencil can create; I love the wet-looking, deep vinyl look of gel. Rummage through my makeup drawers, and you’ll find 19 eye liners in varying shades of black, brown, navy, white, grey. I have even less-frequently-used eye iners (hot pink! red! turquoise! silver glitter!) in a huge box in my closet.

But for anyone new to makeup, or just starting to experiment, getting the hang of eyeliner can be an exercise in frustration. Do you line just the upper lids? Or the bottom lids, too? What’s a waterline, and how can eyeliner possibly stay there? Do you use a spoon, tape, or just freehand it when you’re trying a cat-eye? Liquid or gel? Powder or pencil? What about a brush? And hey—do you look cool? Do you look crazy? HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Deep breaths, newbies.

If you’re just starting out with eye liner, you only really need one product. And that product is a simple, creamy black waterproof eye liner pencil. Nobody has to get spendy—this Inglot pencil is smooth, water-resistant, and $12.

Or there’s the foolproof Charlotte Tillbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl if you want something with which you can learn how to get a super-smudgy look. Let’s keep things simple and save the liquid- and gel-liners till after you master the pencil.

A rich, emollient black pencil liner can be used in several ways. We’re going to talk about three of the most popular looks right now.



Tightlining is when you (gently!) poke the eye liner between your lashes to make them look fuller and more lush. It looks like you’re not wearing much eye liner—you just look like you naturally have thick, full, darker lashes.

Take your sharpened pencil and carefully, carefully apply liner in between your lashes on your top lid, filling in any spaces and teensy gaps you might see (please do not stab your eyes.) It might take a few times, and you might be going, “UGH is this even worth it?” but trust: tightlining gets a lot faster the more you practice, and your eyelashes will look like they belong to an adorable cartoon kitten.

Circle Lenses

No kawaii (translation: cute in Japanese!) look is complete without the big-eye effect of colored circle lenses. The contact lenses, made popular by japanese street fashion trendsetters as well as K Pop singers, have been making a splash abroad for a few years now. Unlike your average colored lenses, these korean-manufactured contacts boast a slightly larger diameter as well as a black circle along the outer rim of the contact, which highlights the size of the lens and enlarges the appearance of the iris. The effect is a manga-esque, doll-like look that, with make up, can be augmented to appear demure or extreme.

Today this look is is worn by both women and men, sometimes on a daily basis. Fashionable folk in western countries have adopted the trend, too—you can see people on the runway, in clubs, not to mention in the drag community. Want to try out circle lenses for yourself? Our tips for buying and wearing are below.


Picking the right lens color

The most daunting part about shopping for this lens style is selecting what’s right for you with the amount of options available. Popular circle lens websites (usually based in Asia) boast thousands of designs in different colors and patterns. If your eyes are lightly colored, any contact choice will alter the shade of your eyes significantly. Those with darker eye colors should take care to pick darker lens shades or research styles that tend to be more opaque. If you wish to color match to your eye, pick a gradient style, as opposed to lenses that have a hard circle of color around your pupil.


What’s in a lens diameter?

While standard color contact lenses are often sized under 14.0mm in diameter, circle lenses start at 14 and go up to 15.0mm with several sizes in between. 15.0mm is the most popular size, as it gives the strongest effect. Though the idea of putting a larger lens into the eye can be scary for first-time lens wearers, the 1mm difference in standard circle lenses is barely noticeable as far as application and comfort are concerned.


How to handle new lenses

Circle lenses arrive in individual glass vials with rubber stoppers and metal seals. They are also equipped with expiration dates, which are important to check upon receiving, or purchasing if you are buying in person.

New lenses can be opened by lining up the arrows on the lid and rim and lifting the lid using a bit of force to crack the metal seal—you can use the side of a tabletop to flip the lid off if it’s too difficult to do with your hands. Pull the lid to remove the metal seal from the rim of the vial, and use fingers or tweezers to jimmy off the rubber stopper. The best way to remove lenses from their vials is with a pair of soft-tip tweezers made for handling contact lenses.