The simple trick to making your eye makeup look better (and bigger!)

The Textured Ponytail


HELLO, pardon the extreme close up shot, but I had to show you what I’m talking about today. Let me start by sharing this makeup tip that will make your eyes look better and bigger:

Use a brush to apply, or smudge out, eyeliner. Use this technique on the upper AND lower lash line.

Other than a nice, crisp line of liquid liner, eyeliner doesn’t necessarily need to be a strong, solid line. Sometimes that can end up dragging your eye down a bit and will give you the opposite effect of what you are going for.

So when you are applying liner to your upper lash line, either use your favorite eye pencil and immediately smudge it out with a smudge brush (like this one), or use a brush from the start (like I do here). Another option, which may be a favorite for those who are eyeliner-challenged, smudge a rich, dark eyeshadow along your upper lash line and THEN apply the liner on top of that. It’s like creating a safety net softening effect, and it saves so much time doing clean up in the end. It adds a cloudy softness to your lashline, and then the application of the liner adds the depth. It’s so easy.

Secondly, if you are going to line your lower lash line, you should always smudge it out for a softer, more blended look. I like to just use eyeshadow for my lower lash line. Or I’ve even used an eyebrow pencil in a medium brown shade to just create a sort of “shadow” along the lower lashes. It’s soft, adds dimension, and most importantly you will not be left with a solid line of eyeliner along the bottom of your eye.

Try this hack and let me know how much you love the difference afterwards, because I know you will!

lipstick, eyebrows (shade blonde), shirt

More eye makeup tips here and here!


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Claire says · 02.21.17

As harsh eyeliner one the upper lid tend to shrink the eye, this trick is great for creating an opposite effect.
I also like to apply a light beige eyeliner on the waterline. It helps opening up the eyes.

Jamie says · 02.21.17

Are there any eyeliners you’d recommend that won’t end up under my eye after a few hours? I’d love to wear bottom liner, but I cannot find one that will stay put? (I have the same issue with most mascaras)

Caralee says · 02.21.17

I’m always struggling to find a quality waterproof eyeliner. Kate, what are your favorite eye shadows and eyeliners?

Michelle says · 03.12.17

If I apply quite a bit of a translucent powder under my eyes, I don’t get the raccoon effect.

Lauren says · 02.21.17

Great tip! What shade of lipstick are you wearing? I see it’s a Bobbi Brown Art Stick, but I’m not sure what shade it is. Thanks!

Kate says · 02.21.17

dusty pink!

Elizabeth says · 02.21.17

Such a helpful post – will definitely be trying this trick!

Kristine says · 02.21.17

I’ve been doing this a lot lately, on my lower lash line and I love the look. And I also like to put white liner on my lower water line when I look tired, and it immediately makes my eyes look bigger and not so tired!

Jen says · 02.21.17

Love that I can see your freckles! Could you tell us your foundation and blush combo in this post. Your skin is beautiful!

Paige says · 02.21.17

Totally trying this when I do my makeup tomorrow!


Barbara says · 02.21.17

Kate, I have followed you for years…you are my beauty guru! I’m hoping you can help…recently I’ve started getting these awful smudges under my eyes a few hours after I do my makeup…it’s like my liner and mascara just fall onto my cheeks! I haven’t changed any of my make up, but I am using different skincare that I got from my dermatologist. It’s so frustrating, bc now my eyes look shadowed and old, when I’m actually trying to take better care of my face! Ack! Do you have any suggestions??

sarah chavis says · 02.21.17

Thanks Kate for the great tips!

Chris says · 02.21.17

Thanks Kate. I can’t wait to try this. I love your blog and appreciate the energy you put into making it great.

Katherine says · 02.21.17

Couldn’t agree more about the smudged eyeliner! A hard line always makes my eyes look smaller and more closed-in. Also, I line just the outer 2/3 of my lash line because nothing looks worse on me than a line all around my eyes! Lately I’ve been going over my black liner with a dark blue liner and smudging both together. The black gives a smoky look while the blue brightens.

Patti says · 02.21.17

Beautiful Kate! I will have to try and play around with this, this weekend.

How about your earrings???

P.S. I found Pixie lower lash mascara and I love it!

Kate says · 02.22.17

They are years and years old from Banana Republic!

Kate says · 02.22.17

My smudging trick is that I apply my eyeliner *first*, before any eye shadow. Then I smudge & blend the line when applying the shadow. I’ll admit, though, that I’m an eyeliner addict. 🙂

Kate says · 02.22.17

I like that!

Francesca Maffei-Lazev says · 02.22.17

Love! Bought both the brush and the Bobbi Brown Shadow stick. Did I say Love!

Nora says · 02.22.17

Great tutorial! Can you film a tutorial for under eyes, please! I wake up looking fine but then I put under eye concealer on, and I somehow look worse!

Reply says · 02.23.17

I see it’s a Bobbi Brown Art Stick, but I’m not sure what shade it is. Thanks!

Kate says · 02.23.17

It’s called Dusty Pink!

Dominique says · 02.23.17

Absolutely LOVE that lipstick color on you!!!

Kaylee says · 04.04.17

I have a question that may be related to skincare but I will ask here just in case. I have really dry undereyes and oily lids (ugh! such a pain). What can I do to combat these two things? I know to use primer on the lids but I really can’t afford to buy a high end one. Also, I tend to set my under eye concealer with powder, which makes them dryer, should I stop doing this? Does anyone have any ideas for me?

leah kairu says · 04.17.17

I love this make up, the eyeliner is only on the upper lash liner and the eyes are still popping. its goes in hand with what I was reading at the beauty insiders, this eyeliner style is best for small eyes

Jen G says · 08.03.17

Yes!! Been doing my ‘eyeliner’ with a sharp edged brush for years with a dark brown everyday minerals powder. Makes all the difference!!