mac cosmetics

My Top Picks for the Best Black Eyeliners

Black eyeliner is a beauty staple. It can be used for so many different looks, classic and timeless to bold and dramatic or edgy. How many black eyeliners do you have? I realized that not only do I have an entire section devoted to black eyeliners in one of my makeup drawers but I actually use them all. So why have so many? Can't I use the same one for a variety of looks? Well of course I can, but there really is a difference! If you are not a fan of black and prefer something softer like brown or grey, that's ok. The following tips apply to any eyeliner, not just black. I have listed each product I am currently using and which look I prefer to use it for. Now before you think I am crazy for having so many, I LOVE makeup and enjoy trying different looks regularly. Hopefully this list will inspire you to try something new or give you an idea of a different way to use something you already own. 

Basic Black Eyeliner Pencil - NARS Larger Than Life in Via Veneto

This pencil is fast drying and intense black. For a look that is more defined and all day wearing, this is my favorite.   

*Application tip* Use a fine, angled liner brush to blend the outer corners for a winged-liner look.  

Pencil for the Waterline - MAC Technakohl Liner in Graphblack

I especially like that this pencil is retractable and requires no sharpening. If possible, I prefer this style pencil to a sharpenable pencil to avoid accidentally scratching my eye while applying. This pencil wears really well and touches up smoothly. It is also available in a variety of other shades. Using black for the waterline creates a more sultry effect. 

*Application tip* Apply once to the waterline while applying your eye makeup and then once again after completing the rest of your makeup look as a finishing touch. 

Tightlining - Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in Matte Black

I like using this waterproof formula for creating a fuller, longer lash look by tightlining. Tightlining is when you apply liner to the upper, inside lash line. I also use it fill in  between the lashes. This creates a much more polished look to your lash line while, again, creating an illusion of more volume and length. 

*Application tip* Be sure to take your time and hold steady as you tightline. Hold your eyelid in place to prevent accidentally poking your eye. It is best to use a magnifying mirror. 

Sultry, Smokey Liner - Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer

This eyeliner is so intense black and glides on with such ease. What's great about this pencil is that it is waterproof but doesn't set immediately. I prefer that for a more sultry, smokey look. You can easily blend this and apply more for added intensity. 

*Application tip* Apply very little pressure when using this pencil. It is so soft and almost melts onto your skin. Applying more pressure will create a thicker line and more intensity for when you want to add more drama. 

Gel Eyeliner - Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink and Anastasia Beverly Hills Waterproof Creme Color in Jet

I love both of these formulas, I simply can not choose! The Bobbi formula is a solid black and is easier to blend and build. This product holds up very well to heat, humidity and much more. It's no wonder it's an award-winning product. The Anastasia formula is a much more intense black and sets very quickly. I find that it doesn't build up quite as easily since it sets so quickly. But for a sharp, ultra-black look, whether winged and dramatic or thin, fine and natural, this product is a winner. 

*Application tip* Using a gel liner always use a brush that is in good condition and not frayed. If brush hairs are sticking out, you will not get as smooth and precise of a line. For a thin line, choose a thin, skinny brush. For a thicker, more dramatic line, use a wider brush. 

Liquid Liner - Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black

This liner has a felt tip applicator much like a fine marker. The tip has a perfect combination of stiffness and flexibility. It is also truly an intense black and is waterproof. I buy this liner over and over again. It is now available in a Micro Tip style for an even finer point. 

*Application tip* Use this as a finishing touch to your eye makeup. This very fine point will fill in any gaps between your liner and lashes. 

Shadow Liner - MAC Eyeshadow in Carbon

This matte black shadow blends easily and can be built up for added intensity. I prefer to use this along the bottom lash line for a smokey look and applied over another black liner along the top lash line to either set and add more intensity or to create a softer look to the line. 

*Application tip* If you have not created the smoothest line on your eyes, apply this shadow using a fine angled brush and blend over your liner. This will cover and smooth any little bumps in your line. 

10 Tips for a Polished Look in 5 Minutes

We all have those days that we want just a few more minutes of our beauty sleep.  Here is a list of 10 tips to look polished in 5 minutes.

1. TINTED MOISTURIZER

Choose a tinted moisturizer with a SPF 30 or higher.  It should match your skin to even out discoloration.  I prefer to use one that also has additional skincare benefits, such as NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer.

2. CONCEALER

This product is a quick pick-me-up.  Apply to any blemishes, lightly around your mouth, the corners of your nose, under your eyes and my favorite spot...under your eyebrows.  Applying here will disguise unwanted regrowth and give a lifted, defined look to your brows.  My go-to concealer is Cle de Peau, an award winning multi-use concealer.

3. GEL EYELINER 

Gel eyeliner is a staple for your makeup collection.  It can be used for so many looks.  For the 5 minute look, naturally, we are not going to try to attempt a winged eyeliner style.  This is the time for using your flat eyeliner brush and simply pushing a touch of the gel liner into your lash line.  Quickly, this gives you definition and the illusion of fuller lashes.  A fail-proof pair?  Bobbi Brown Gel Liner and MAC Brush #212

4. MASCARA 

This is the time to reach for your black, full volume mascara.  A good coat or two on the top lashes is all you need.  Make sure you start from the base of your lashes, wiggle the wand slightly as you continue to apply in an upward motion to the tips of your lashes.  This motion will give you maximum volume and encourage a curl, opening up your eyes.  Try Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils

5. BROW GEL

Brow gel is perfect for taming overgrown hairs for a more sculpted brow look.  It will hold your brows in place throughout the day easily giving them a more defined look.  If your brow hair does not match your hair or you have very fair brow hair, choose a tinted brow gel.  For a formula that includes ingredients for healthier hair and available in a variety of shades, try Anastasia Beverly Hills.

6. BRONZER OR HIGHLIGHTER 

I know, I know...why "or"??  Because this is the 5 minute look!  My recommendation is to choose whichever feels right to you.  If you're feeling a bit washed out, go for the bronzer.  If you want a radiant glow, reach for your highlighter.  Keep it simple.  Bronzer applied lightly to your forehead and cheeks.  If your neck tends to be a bit lighter than your face, apply it there as well for a more even look.  If you opt for highlighter, apply to the inner corners of your eyes and on the top edge of your cheekbones, applying in an upward motion towards your hairline.  I love the options of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Collection. 

7. BLUSH

Think a subtle pop of color.  Apply a small amount to the apples of your cheeks.  For a soft and easy-to-blend blush with a beautiful color range, try Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush.  

8. LIPSTICK

Remember this is 5 minutes, lipstick only.  So we can cheat a bit here and go for a fat lipstick pencil.  Choose for a creamy formula with a complimentary pop of color.  My personal favorite is NARS Matte Velvet Lip Pencils.

9. DRY SHAMPOO

This product is such a time saver.  Dry shampoo is used to absorb oils in the hair, creating more volume.  A classic favorite is Klorane Dry Shampoo

10. EARRINGS

This is a fun tip to complete your look.  Choose a pair of earrings to coordinate with your lip and cheek color or a pair that makes your eye color pop.  If you haven't already, check out Kendra Scott.  I can not seem to keep myself from these gorgeous styles and colors. 

I know it's only a few minutes, but how we feel when we walk out the door sets the tone for our day.  I hope you enjoy these tips and have a wonderful day!

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