Layered Eyeliner

March Beauty Favorites

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I always default to black eyeliner. I guess it’s just one of those classic things that I think you can’t go wrong with. But sometimes black eyeliner can be a bit too heavy, especially on lighter makeup days.

So then I grab my shimmery, taupe brown liner if I’m looking for something a little lighter.

But that doesn’t always give me the exact definition I’m going for on light makeup days.

And then it hit me.

Do a little bit of both.


The perfect duo: Stila Stingray and Metallic Umber 

Start with a blank canvas, or just a little bit of nude primer on the eye if your liner tends to budge. I always apply a bit of Mac’s Painterly to even out my lids and make sure the liner applies well and stays all day.


Line your entire lash line with Stila Metallic Umber, or any brown shade you like!



At the outer corners ONLY, apply a swipe of black liner pressing as close to your lash line as you possibly can.



This next part is essential: blend together with your finger. These Stila eyeliners blend really well if you do it immediately following application. Otherwise they set in place and it’s much harder. I would imagine most eyeliner, except for liquid liner, would blend relatively well as long as you do it right after you apply the liner.



So the effect is subtle, but you can see that there’s more darkness at the outer corner than the rest of the lash line in the photo below.


So you get the definition of the black at the corner and against the lash line, but the softness of the brown all across the lid.

This really simple “duh” moment was rather profound to me a few weeks ago. So I’m confident you are either thinking something like, “hello I do this all the time” or “this is BRAND NEW information*!”

*name that TV show


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Erin Kremer says · 04.06.15

FRIENDS! That was my duh moment.

Sarah says · 04.06.15

FRIENDS!!! And it is totally brand new information! Thanks!

Tara says · 04.06.15

yay friends!!! I love phoebe

So I love this idea!!! Can you tell me what shade of the Mac painterly you use? I am trying to get a good system down for everything to stay in place for my wedding so this may be helpful!!!


Kate says · 04.06.15

the shade is painterly 🙂

Tara says · 04.06.15

Omg…. You said that…. Maybe I should drink coffee then comment! Thanks 🙂

Rachele says · 04.06.15

Hi Kate! Maybe its the camera washing things out a bit, but I can’t see the brown liner in these pics. Is the shade of brown liner you’re working with really light or do you line over all the brown with the black? All I see is the extreme darkness in the corner. I might try lining the upper inner waterline all the way across to help balance things a bit.

Kate says · 04.06.15

I only do black at the outer corner. The brown is a medium darkness on my skin!

Laura says · 04.06.15

A Friend’s quote should be a once-a-week requirement! Cute way to line eyes, thanks for the tips!


Tina Olsen says · 04.06.15

Love this look- great idea. I think I fall into the category of “OH! This is a great idea! Why haven’t I done this all my life?!”

Natalie Heather says · 04.06.15

Haha, the Friends comment! I really love this double eyeliner look, it’s so much softer than a solo color!

Christy says · 04.06.15

I haven’t tried this method before, this is a really useful tip !

Christen says · 04.06.15

Love this trick! Definitely going to try it out!

umme salma says · 04.06.15

couldn’t u just apply the black a little thickly near the outer corners n really thin it out as u go in deeper? that way u still get the effect ur looking for… i mean i’ve seen kate beckket from the show Castle do it all the time. and sometimes it’s really hard to tell whether she’s even has liner on or not…

Michelle H. says · 04.06.15

Hi, Kate! Have you tried the color LionFish in the Stila eye liners? It’s my new favorite! It’s deeper brown than Metallic Umber, and almost, almost has the most subtle hint of a plum undertone. Give it a shot and you may find you won’t have to blend your eye liner! 🙂 Happy Monday!

Adela says · 04.06.15

Can you tell what lipstick you are wearingin these pictures? I love the color.
Thank you.

Stephanie says · 04.06.15

I have never in my life figured out how to wear eyeliner properly. It takes practice and patience and I never seem to have the patience for it. Have you done a tutorial for putting on eyeliner for those of us impaired by it?

Sarah says · 04.06.15

I love the Stila eyeliners. You are so right about blending right away before they set. I love the idea of layering two colors … I will try this tomorrow!

Melissa says · 04.06.15

Friends! I can quote just about every line from that show. 🙂 Nice technique! I’ve never seen this done before. I think even if you weren’t trying to blend two colors together, you could use this technique just for a different look one day because you want to wear two colors…

Holly H. says · 04.06.15

I LOVE when you make Friends references! I think I remember you saying previously that you own all the seasons on DVD – I do too, but let me tell you…since Friends has been on Netflix, my binge-watching has reached an all new high. Now I don’t have to make it all the way over to the TV to change the DVD while I’m cleaning (…or cooking…or getting ready in the morning) – the next one just automatically plays forever and ever.

I like this idea for softening up my normal eyeliner. My only problem is – my black Stila liner starts off nice and bold but has all but faded by the time I get home from work at the end of the day – even though I start off with the Painterly primer too. Is this normal? Any tips for making it actually last all day?

Katrina says · 04.06.15

Girl! What is on your lips?!?!
Love the technique, I’ll have to give it a try next time I wear kohl liner (I’m kinda stuck in the “kitten” eye phase right now, haha)

Marjorie says · 04.06.15 Reply
Clever Girl Reviews says · 04.06.15

I do something similar but I only use one color. I just line the outer 1/3, slightly smudge it, and then apply my mascara!

Hannah Dawson says · 04.06.15

FRIENDS! Only the best show ever!! I would have never thought to do this so it was actually BRAND NEW INFORMATION. I think black is too harsh for my ultra fair skin sometimes so I will definitely be trying this. Have a great week!

Caitlin Morton says · 04.06.15

I love doing this. Really makes the eyes pop and on those extra sleepy days makes your eyes look more awake and open! Great post! Xo

Jacqueline Wilson says · 04.06.15

FRIENDS! Love that show and your blog. 🙂

Kimmie says · 04.06.15

What color lipstick are you wearing?? I love it!

Stacey says · 04.06.15

I do this with taupe and navy eyeliner instead. My colouring is similar to yours. Try it and see if you like it.

Kristi Craig says · 04.06.15

Looks beautiful! Amazing the things you can come up with when you’re experimenting with makeup isn’t it?


Sarah says · 04.06.15

Ugh!! As if there needed to be more reasons to love you, you go ahead and quote Friends. I read it in Phoebe’s voice before even reading, “name that show.” Hah! And yes, I love this idea.

Michele says · 04.07.15

I read it in Phoebe’s voice too! Love that show!

Sara says · 04.06.15

Eek! I know what I’m trying tomorrow!!

Sara E says · 04.06.15

How do you apply liner under your eye? Do you apply it under the whole eye or just to the middle?

Martie says · 04.06.15

Love this idea! It looks great. I definitely know what you mean about black being the go-to color. My other go-to is Urban Decay pencil in Rockstar! I love purple with my green eyes! 🙂

Ashley says · 04.06.15

Friends!! Do u put liner under your bottom lashes ?

Daisy - émoi émoi says · 04.07.15

Such a brilliant idea! Thank you! 🙂

Diane says · 04.07.15

Kate! Thanks for opening my eyes to a new way to apply eye liners! Brilliant!

Evelina says · 04.07.15

I’m obsessed with liquid winged liner. If I’m wearing makeup any given day, the winged liner is present. But this look looks great on you!

Regina H says · 04.07.15

Stila’s Smudgestick in Damsel is a great dark brown option if I don’t feel like full on black! And it’s gorgeous smudged out!

Sam M says · 04.07.15

Why have I never thought to do this?! I love the boldness and classicness (is that even a word?) of black liner, but lately I’ve been doing a neutral eye more often. Thanks for sharing this tip!

Love the Friends reference!

Tyana says · 04.09.15

Love this, its like an ombre

check out my newest post

ANGELA says · 04.09.15

So just to clarify, are you wearing any shadow or just the primer, liner and mascara? What is another good brand of primer? I only have Ulta here and I don’t think they have MAC. Do you put the primer right up to lash line?

Mindy says · 04.12.15

Friends 🙂 My favorite show to watch before bed!!

Patti says · 04.21.15

On the basis of your eyeliner posts and my own experience with one shade of the Stila smudge stick, I stopped by Ulta recently and picked up the espresso shade – I LOVE IT! I also got the Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Penny Lane and am falling in love. Thanks for all the awesome suggestions and tutorials!

mary says · 08.04.15

super fun, thanks for that.

Erica says · 04.28.16

I do this every day, but slightly differently. I line just the outer corners lightly with black liquid liner, then go over that with a brown pencil liner which blends and softens the liquid liner. I love that I get the lasting power and some definition from the liquid, but not so harsh with the pencil overtop.

I was also very excited when I figured this out, and haven’t looked back since!