Eyeliner 102: Applying eyeliner on the waterline

This is probably one of the most requested uhhh….requests here at Clumps of Mascara. And I am oh so apologetic for just now getting to it, my darlings. Que pasa con me? I don’t know but I have finally gotten it together and I hope you enjoy both my photo and video tutorials of how to apply eyeliner on the waterline.

“B….are you kidding me? That’s like the easiest thing to do.”

Hmm mmm, for you it is. But not for everyone. Clumps of Mascara’s primary focus is on the newbies in the beauty and make-up world. This is one application that took me FOREVER to learn how to do. As I mentioned in the video, I was taught by my younger sisters how to apply eyeliner.

That’s right…my younger sisters. Since, then, however I have been all over it and it is very rare that you see me without it. I find that a nice smooth line of black eyeliner gives my eye shape and definition. I can see A HUGE difference when I wear eyeliner and when I don’t.

I mean….can’t you?

For the purpose of this tutorial I have used a bright eyeliner. I think that it will show up better in the pictures. Not to mention that Urban Decay’s 24/7 eye gliders are the BEST eyeliners that I have ever used.

Okay…ready, set:

Step 1

To keep my hand steady (my nerves are bad, yall) I rest my pinky by my nose. This helps gives me better control.

Step 2

Of course you can start anywhere, but I start from the outer. My eyes tend to water pretty easily and if I started in the inner, I’d be crying mid liner-application.

Step 3

Take small strokes. The great thing about color liners is that your line does not have to be perfect. If some of the liner gets on your lower lashes or even UNDER your waterline, that’s okay.

Step 4


I find that retractable liners are my favorite because they you a) don’t have to sharpen them and b) they don’t have the prickly edges. The smoother the pencil, the easier the application. If you find that you have to keep going back and forth on your eye, you may want to invest in a better pencil.

Of course, if you are new to this, it is going to take some time….as does everything in the make-up world. Practice makes perfect.

If you are you using two hands, be careful not to stretch your skin too much. Ahem…you don’t want pre-mature wrinkles, do you?

I think that I’ve covered anything but if there are any questions/comments or advice that you would like to drop for fellow Clumps of Mascara readers, please do not hesitate to do so!

Are you a liner wearer? Not so much? Or are you like me and feel like this is a MUST before you leave the house? What’s your eyeliner brand of choice?

Click HERE for the Eyeliner 101 written and video review.

Happy lining!

This Day in Black (African) History:

1975-Death of Elijah Muhammad (77), leader of the Nation of Islam, in Chicago.
He was succeeded by his son, Wallace D. Muhammad.

  • Dwana

    I'm a water liner wearer and love it. I guess you can say that I need it to walk out the door since I wear it so often.
    I like UD 24/7 & MAC (a few)

  • The Pretty Brown Girl

    I wear liner everyday. That and lip gloss are essentials! I learned how to do eyeliner fairly early, thanks to my Mom being a former MK/Avon lady. I’ve been lining my own eyes since I was about 15 (the age when I was allowed to wear make up for the first time). For the LONGEST time, all I would line was the waterline. I only recently began lining up top and experimenting with liquid eyeliners.

    My faves are NYX and Maybelline. Good product and affordable for me, but I’ll try any kind once.

  • Askmewhats

    I wear eyeliner on the waterline too! Because my eyes are super small and it gives out a wide eyed look :) I love your tutorial :) Thanks for this!

  • Kristin

    I LOVE liner. I wear eye liner everyday because like you, I feel like it makes a huge difference. I feel like i look like i just woke up when i don’t wear it. My eyes seem to look so much deeper with a nice dark line. Now, I must confess, I never line my water line…mainly because i can’t do it without my eyes watering like crazy, and i end up with black tears all over my face! lol. Maybe I’ll get it with practice.

    great post, B!
    Kris “minordetail”

  • Bsquared86

    I JUST started wearing eyeliner in December 08. My concern? My eyeshape and poking myself in the eye, lol. I’m still learning, though. The waterline thing actually is actually the easiest thing for me (liner on my top lashline has proven to be problematic). I’m excited to add it to my makeup repertoire.

    Thanks for this post!

  • Earthtoned Glamgoddess

    I love liner, and use it everyday, I just think it’s kinda the finising touch of a great eye shadow look or it just adds a little something extra when you don’t want to wear a full face by the way, what kind of liner is that in your pictures?

  • Amina

    thank you for the tutorial.
    I rarely wear eyeliner on the waterline..
    my 2 favorite e/ l are mac smolder and mac teddy

  • Makeup by ReRe

    I def. wear liner eyeryday. Black liner and lipgloss make you look awake and sexy when you only have 1 or 2 minutes to get ready. Throw on some mascara and a tiny bit of blush and ur good to go.

    Visit Makeup By Rere for makeup giveaways, contests, reviews, freebies, and more!


  • Anonymous

    Black(African) History..? I am white and I know the difference between black- mainly (Black) African Americans and African( People from the Continent)…?

    Are those the same things…? Would you speak of MLK in the same breath as Nelson Mandela? The two are completely different…but I digress..The eyeliner does look good on you.

  • B

    Thanks for the commentary, yall.

    Anon–> Normally I would open up a debate on that with you but I'm not feelin' it today. I see what you're saying though. That is actually a typo from yesterday's Black (African) fact in which I talked about Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah who is African. Black being different from Africa? I don't know about that. I'm African by design. Black by circumstance. But that's another story for another day. :)

  • Miss Yaya

    Why wouldn’t one speak of MLK and Mr. Mandela in the same breath? They are different but in ways such as DOB, Place of birth, etc. The typo – I get – but the rest is debateable like B says…

    The eyeliner however!! I don’t use eyeliner on a daily basis, but when I do I find it more necessary to line the waterline than the upper lashline (hello different thickness). I find that with several years experience it still doesn’t get easier lol so I just have to grin and bear it and schedule more time to get ready (or make the BF wait… whichever!).

    I like the UD liner but I find that it takes much more effort to get it off, so I’m on the lookout for a creamy liner that does the job and doesn’t temp tatoo me in the process :).

  • princessvalecia

    I swear everyone thinks Im a makeup freak but I just got the hang of the waterline within the past WEEK! I have super watery eyes so it took a lotta time

  • Kiarah C. W.

    I don’t know if I’m backwards but I wear liner on the waterline but not on my lid. I still don’t own a liquid liner to do the over the lid line but I have a regular brown pencil from the drug store and a black one from Victoria’s Secret that I switch between and they really define my eyes. The black is much more dramatic though so most days I stick with my brown.

  • Fabuless Beauty

    Thanks for this. But I’m always a bit scared to line my waterline – hygenic reasons!

  • Bella

    Hermana – this is an excellent post. I know of so many chicas who have almost lost an eyeball while trying to apply the liner there!!!!
    You rawk!

  • Bella

    Ooops. forgot to say: I wear liner every day. For the waterline, I go with either Stila Topaz (for opening them ojos); or with a black drugstore one.
    For upperlid, I combine eyeshadow, liquid and pencil. Underneath, eyeshadow and sometimes pencil; but NEVER (GAWD!!!) liquid.

  • Fall04Ace

    How did you know this was my deepest darkest desire?? I am so glad that you showed me how. TRYING IT TOMORROW!

  • Meagan Elizabeth

    I used to wear eyeliner everyday when I was in high school but now I feel like it makes my eyes look smaller, since they are already pretty squinty. Also, my eyelashes are pretty thick which already defines my eyes pretty well :)

  • Melanie

    I'm definitely a fan of black liner on the waterline. If I line it, I usually forego lining the upper lashline & just use mascara — especially when I'm going for the minimal approach. Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus works for me. You're right…self-sharpening/retractable liners are the way to go. The last thing you wanna do is scratch the already senstive waterline with a regular pencil.

  • Anonymous

    I hope you are aware of the importance of online using eyeliner pencils that are waterline safe when you line your waterline. you didn’t mention this at all in your post or in your video, so I just wanted to remind you of the problems using a non waterline safe pencil can cause. I feel that when you are giving information or a tutorial about lining the waterline this is a major point.

  • sabrina

    I tried this for the first time today and it’s awesome! I never wore this before because I used to wear contacts (LASIK rocks) and I was always afraid that liner would end up on my lenses. Thanks B!

  • Sierra

    Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliner's are the BEST! Not only do they stay on, but they give a great, creamy, and vibrant look and go on easily. I think this look is great in Electric, Graffiti, or Lust.

  • megan

    i looove eye liner on the water line, i absolutley cannott leave the house without it, but my eyes water during the day and i always end up reapplying it by the hour. i reallyy want to try the urban decay kind everyone is talking about, but its too expensive!! im broke and too young to get a job(15) lol, does anyone have any suggestions for a cheaper but equally effictive alturnative?

    • Brittany

      e.l.f. has liners that are pretty durable and super cheap.