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Smudged Eyeliner: How To Pull it Off

What better way to accentuate your lash extensions than with a soft, smudged, smoky eye? Even if you are a person who tends to prefer a sharp and crisp liquid liner, every once in a while the occasion might call for a smudged eye. 

We have some top tips to work your way to the most perfectly imperfect smudged eye look!

Prep the Playing Field

The first thing you want to do before you begin any eye makeup look is to prep the lid with an eye primer. A primer will serve a few purposes. Firstly, the primer will give a monotone look to the lid. If you have any discoloration from the sun or from aging, a primer will smooth everything out.

The other benefit of a primer is that it makes the eyelid a bit tacky. Not tacky in a bad way; tacky as in a little sticky! Shadow and liner will stick to the lid much better if you start off with a quality eye primer. 

Don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on yet another product? Concealers can pull double duty as an eye makeup primer substitute. 

When applying the primer to your lid, you really want to use care. The skin around the eye is extremely sensitive and delicate, and it’s important not to pull at that skin. One tip is to dot the primer or concealer on the lid and let it warm up to your skin temperature for about 20 seconds. Then, once the product has warmed slightly, blend it in with your ring finger.

Use a Cut Crease

Some people get worried about a smudged eyeliner looking a little messy, and rightfully so. It can be a little tricky to make sure that a smudged eye doesn’t wind up looking like last night’s eye makeup. Using a cut crease with your shadow can really help in that regard.

The type and color of shadow to use are up to you and dependent on your eye color and skin complexion. Many people like a medium reddish brown for the purpose of this look. It’s best to apply shadow to the crease to add dimension to the look, creating a sharp crease to help balance out the smudgy eyeliner that will follow.

The cleaner the eyeshadow looks, the better it will contrast the smudged eyeliner and keep the look clean. 

A cut crease is not as hard as it looks! Draw a thin line from the crease in the center of your eyelid to the outer corner of your eye, gradually increasing the pressure to get a thicker line as you go. Create a sideways "V" shape on your lids by connecting the line's broader outer corner to the outside edge of your eyelashes with a second line.

Choose the Right Eyeliner

When choosing a smoky, smudgy eye, choosing the right eyeliner is imperative. There are three main types of eyeliner to consider.

Liquid Eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner is lovely, but it’s not what you want to use for a smudged look. If you try, it’s only going to look like a mess. Liquid liner is designed to work best with crisp, clean lines. It also dries very quickly, so if you try to smudge it, it will certainly not smudge evenly.

You will find that if you attempt to smudge liquid liner it will be uneven and streaky. Save the liquid liner for a thin line or a cat’s eye look. 

Eyeliner Pencil

Within the eyeliner pencil genre, there are a few different subtypes. Many of us cringe as we picture the 99 cent drugstore pencil we bought in our teens, which looked as though we could use it to do our math homework. But this is not the case for all pencil liners!

Some pencils are the traditional pencil type but are a dark smudgeable material called kohl. Kohl is softer than a traditional liner pencil and absolutely perfect for smudging! You can also sometimes find kohl in a gel eyeliner pencil or a cream.

Eyeliner pencils are also sometimes retractable, which is great because you never need to sharpen them. With this type of pencil, you can usually simply turn the top or bottom of the pencil (depending on the brand) and release more liner from the tip. Eyeliner pencil in general is a good choice for a smudged look. 

Cream Eyeliner

​​When it comes to creating a smokey eye, cream eyeliners are usually the best choice. They're great for smudging, and most of them behave like eyeshadow or other cream-based cosmetics.

Some long-wear cream liners, depending on the type, may work for other styles of eyeliner, but this is definitely a top choice for a smudged look. 

Cream liner usually comes in some sort of small pot or container, often made of glass or plastic. It is applied using a stiff brush, so there’s a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used it before. Cream eyeliner is pretty versatile, but smudging is definitely its strength. 

Applying the Liner

The way you go about doing this will depend on the type of eyeliner that you have selected to apply, but the general idea is the same regardless of your product choice. If you have selected to use a pencil, you want to run the pencil along the lash line creating a line of medium thickness from the inner eye to the outer eye.

If you have selected a cream eyeliner, you will want to take your brush, dip it into your pot of eyeliner, and make sure that you do not have excess product on the brush. Once you have the desired product on the brush, sweep the brush in short strokes from the inner eye to the outer eye, making one long line across the lash line.

Applying the eyeliner is the first major step in creating the smudged part of the look.

Going for the Smudge

Here is a tip you may never have heard of: the squeeze and squint.

Squeeze your eyelids shut super hard just after applying eyeliner. What this will do is smudge your eyeliner effortlessly and naturally. This trick may seem absurd, but it actually works. 

This technique aids in the creation of a smudged look that appears more natural, which it is. It's also really simple to do. After your liner is in place, scrunch your eyes shut as tightly as you can right after applying the liner. 

Then, with your eyes open, blend and extend the smudged liner with the end of a Q-tip until it appears even and smooth, and say hello to seamless smudged eyeliner.

Some eye pencils will have a little sponge on the end designed specifically for smudging. This will work just as well as a Q-tip, if not better. However, more and more we are starting to see specialized beauty products, and oftentimes everything is separate, rather than being sold in a convenient package. 

Set Your Liner

This step is not 100% necessary, but if you do it, it will help to keep your liner in place.  As we mentioned before, you want to do a cut crease with your eyeshadow prior to doing the liner. However, after applying and smudging the liner, you can keep it looking fresh all day by putting eyeshadow over it.

If you choose to go this route, you will want to make sure that the eyeshadow you select is the same color as the eyeliner that you used, or at least very similar. You definitely don't want to take your eyeliner down a notch by using a lighter eyeshadow if you can help it. 

This step has to be done gently, preferably with an eyeshadow brush, and a small one at that. Keep it clean and neat, and use just enough eyeshadow to cover the line. 

Consider Your Lashes

Technically your lashes are not part of your smudged eyeliner look; however, having a nice set of lashes can really accentuate all the hard work you did on your liner! 

Longer lashes can really add dimension and depth to your eyes, and there are a number of ways you can achieve this. The most dramatic ways are with eyelash extensions or a lash lift. 

Eyelash extensions are when synthetic fibers are glued to natural lashes one by one, creating a customized look. 

Lash lifts are gaining popularity by leaps and bounds! The lash lift is a chemical process by which lashes are curled and tinted using solutions. They use the wearer’s natural lashes only, which for some is a huge benefit. 

Anyone Can Pull Smudged Eyeliner Off

A smudged eyeliner look works for so many occasions. It’s worth considering the next time you are going out for the night. Amp up your look even more with some quality extensions or a luxurious lash lift. You will look smoking hot!

 

Sources:

Do You Need to Use an Eye Shadow Primer? | Byrdie 

6 Genius Eyeliner Hacks You NEED To Try | Women's Health Magazine  

​​How to Smudge Your Eyeliner & Hottest Eyeliner Style Ideas
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