Graphic liner is one of my favorite makeup trends because it can be unique to each person and is ever-evolving. There is so much freedom to make creative, colorful, bold looks without the scare of blending shadows together. I incorporate fun liner into the majority of my makeup looks. The issue I found when starting out was knowing what products to use. While much of graphic liner application skills comes from practice, using the right products plays a big role. I saved you the struggle of finding quality, opaque products that apply well and don’t break the bank by testing products myself.
1. Classic Black Graphic Liner
Black eyeliner is a staple in many makeup looks, so there are hundreds of different black pen and brush liners. My favorite for longevity, easy application, and pigment is the elf H20 proof eyeliner pen. It is a true black, satin finish liner that wears all day even through tears. The brush tip doesn’t fray and is precise enough to go from a simple wing to a complex checkerboard on the eye.
2. Water Activated Liner
The majority of the bright, complicated eyeliner looks you see online come from water activated liners. With the use of a detail brush, the pigmented color applies like paint and dries quickly, allowing you to quite literally paint colorful images on your face. There has been an emergence of many brands but my favorite in terms of price, quality, and application is Glisten Cosmetics water activated liners. The only downside is if you get wet, the liner will run.
While water-activated liners seem a bit complex to use, most issues come from using too much or too little water. For the smoothest application, wet the brush itself and dip it into the liner, stirring until the brush is coated. When pouring water directly onto the liner it gets too wet, and without wetting the brush entirely the liner will be too dry. For thin, precise looks use a fine, detail liner brush.
3. Crème Liner
Crème liner is the hardest for super complicated graphic liner looks when you are new to it, but it has better longevity and durability than water activated liner if you set it. ColourPop’s crème gel colour vault eyeliner pots are a great choice. They are pigmented, blend nicely, and are easily applied with a detail brush.
You can use the same brush for crème liner as water activated liner and apply the design. To set the color and make sure it doesn’t get fuzzy and wipe away, tap a powder eyeshadow of the same color over top or use a clear setting powder and tap over the crème liner, then lightly brush off.
Places like Target, Sephora, and Ulta don’t have the greatest selection of detail brushes that work well to create graphic looks. Having the products to apply is one thing, but having the right tools really changes the whole game. Once again, Glisten Cosmetics is my favorite brand for liner and detail brushes. They have quality brushes coming in different thickness and length depending on what you want to do and the price cannot be beat. My recommendation for Glisten brushes are to get Liner Brush 3, Liner Brush 6, and Liner Brush 10.