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Raise your hand if you’ve ever accidentally poked yourself in the eye with your eyeliner. (So, that’s pretty much everyone.) While eyeliner itself tends to be pretty straightforward—the basic idea that you trace your lash line—applying it has always required a certain amount of focus and skill. After all, the risk of it running afoul (hello smudges, smears and uneven lines!) remains dangerously high. But with the right tips, you can get gel, liquid or pencil liners down to an art form. So kick your kohl back into line as we present six of the most common eyeliner mishaps and, of course, how to fix them with some easy, speedy tweaks.

Mistake #1: Using Dull Pencils

If you’re waiting to sharpen your pencil only when it gets down to the nub, your liner is pretty much guaranteed to lack in precision. We recommend sharpening your pencil each time you use it. A sharpened point ensures more precise application and is much easier to work with.

Mistake #2: Leaving A Gap Where There Shouldn’t

Word to the wise: leaving space between your liner and your lashes looks a little odd, not to mention that it becomes obvious that you’re wearing said eyeliner. Instead, try tightlining your eyes by holding the pencil flat along your lash line and getting in as close as possible. The result is a more natural look and makes your lashes look longer.

Mistake #3: Pulling On Your

We get it: tugging your eye back so your skin is taut and smooth seems more like common sense than a mistake, but hear us out. Stretching the lid may be the easiest way to glide your liner on, but in fact, it can cause skin to pucker, resulting in bumpiness and jagged lines. What’s more, the skin around your eyes is super sensitive and ages quickly, so if you’re rubbing and pulling, it can potentially accelerate the appearance of wrinkles. Frightening, we know! Instead, get used to looking down into a mirror and pointing your chin up, so you can draw on smooth and flawless lines while your eyelids are half-closed.

Mistake #4: Picking The Wrong

Each eyeliner formula comes with its own set of peeper-perfecting properties, and using the wrong one can completely mess up your look. If it’s smoky eyes you seek, then gels and liquids are too intense, and a smudgy kohl is your ideal tool for a sexy, sultry haze. But that same pencil isn’t such a fit for a flawless feline flick, as gels and liquids boast better glide for a smooth look that kohls can’t achieve.

Mistake #5: Lining Your Lower Lashes With The Wrong

Lining the waterline is probably one of the most under-appreciated makeup tricks. It’s an easy way to brighten up the eyes and make them look larger—but only if you’re being strategic with the colours. As we told you before, nude liner makes you look more awake whereas stark white can often look too obvious. The same can be also said about a black liner, which can make your eyes look smaller. Instead, opt for a softer colour like bronze, gray or even pale gold.

Mistake #6: Attempting to freehand flicks (and failing)

Here’s the annoying thing about cat eyes: You can draw them perfectly on both eyes and then realize that they’re uneven. Instead of relying on a wing and a prayer (pun not intended), try our flawless flick technique: applying tape from the outer corner of your eye to the outer edge of your brow. This is your guide for which to slick on even liquid lines, ensuring they match on either side and remain perfectly straight.