Laura Kennedy's 5 best eyeliners that are easy to use

Eye liner can make eyes look longer or rounder, make a face softer, more angular, or mean business


It was a school friend who revealed to me the revelatory power of eyeliner. At first, I feared her. The friend, that is, not the eyeliner. She was subversive and cool, and possessed the majestic gift of being able to apply eyeliner in a clean line or a smudge, if you don’t mind. It took several years for me to realise that there were better pencil liners around than the chalky, skin-dragging ones of our youth. These days, I’ll turn to Elizabeth Arden Smokey Eyes Pencil (€21) or Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil (€19.50) for a buttery liner that glides on and blends into a soft, smoked-out finish.

Thanks to that friend, eyeliner remains something I wear almost daily. Irked by the habit my eyes have of turning down ever so slightly at the outer corners, I discovered through practice that a traditional eyeliner flick can be surgical. With a clean line à la Hepburn (Audrey, not Katherine, whose deep-set almond eyes didn’t need it) or Monroe, you can make eyes look longer or rounder, make a face softer, more angular, or mean business. Liner can force architecture or glamour into the face, and reshape eyes according to mood and preference.

Of course, I couldn’t get the knack at all for quite a while. With immense effort, one flick would be pretty alright and the other would wilt from my eyelid, giving off a rather tragic stroke-type vibe. You will be quite shocked, however, by the progress you will make if you try to apply it daily for two weeks. I have been using Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner (€11.99) for years, and applying it with a super fine artist’s brush from the Art and Hobby Shop (far cheaper than buying a dedicated eyeliner brush in a department store). The trick to prevent a perfect-looking line buckling and sending the flicked triangle reeling sideways when you open your eye once finished is to intermittently open your eyes during application, checking that the liner never crosses the natural crease where your lid folds back into the socket.

A tiny, fluff-free cotton bud from Muji soaked in micellar water will swiftly and crisply correct errors without you having to call the whole thing off. If you find yourself insufficiently dextrous, or your view blocked by your own hand, NYX The Curve Eyeliner (€17) is a convenient liquid liner with a clean line.

My current liner, with which I am practicing an unprecedented level of monogamy, is Chanel Signature de Chanel Intense Longwear Eyeliner Pen (€40). Initially, I scoffed at the expense, but can resist no longer. It has lasted as fresh as the day I got it for almost five months (liner lovers will know this is unprecedented in a liquid liner pen; they are notoriously short-lived). It is black as priests’ socks, applies cleanly and easily, and is reliable enough to tell your pin number to. Nothing will move it until you decide to take it off at bed time.