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If eyes are the window to our soul then some well applied eyeliner surely must act like an excellent window frame; enhancing, defining and giving our eyes more structure. And eyeliner is perhaps one of the most important pieces of makeup we can own, for it is steeped in history and significance.

It was first documented as being used in Ancient Egyptian times. Not only did they use it for beautification, but also as protection from the gods and as a basic form of SPF against the harsh glare of the sun for the delicate skin around the eyes. Whilst we wouldn’t advocate eyeliner as your form of eye SPF now, it highlights just how important eyeliner has been and still. Back then they made their own eyeliner by grinding a combination of lead and minerals to create a powdery soot.

Thankfully formulations have moved on somewhat from Egyptian times. Now we are overwhelmed with creamy kohls, long-lasting gels, and silky, fluid liquid options. But what to choose and when? That’s why we have put together a comprehensive guide to everything you could ever want and need to know about eyeliner.

Read on to become a eye defining pro.

Perfect Pencils

Kohl eyeliner pencils are most people’s first experience of eyeliner, and with good reason. “Pencils are the least intimidating form of eyeliner,” says makeup artist Aimee Adams. “They’re easy to apply, can be smudged away if you make a mistake, can be made to look super subtle or more obvious depending on your look and last forever.” Plus there is the unending range of colours to talk about too. You can pretty much pluck any colour from the sky and be able to find a pencil eyeliner to match.

Gorgeous Gels

“I would never be without a stash of gel eyeliners in my kit,” says celebrity makeup artist Lisa Laudat. “They pack a really strong pigment punch so are ideal for creating bolder, graphic looks.” But you have to be fairly speedy when working with gels, because of their consistency and the fact they are so highly pigmented, they dry supersonically fast. This is a plus point if you want your eyeliner to stay-put for the duration as once in place they won’t smudge or budge a millimetre. However, it also means they can dry out quickly. “I always advise to scoop a little out with either a spatula or the end of your liner brush, put the product on the back of your hand and then put the lid back on your gel pot and work from the back of your hand,” says Lisa.

Liquid Lining Dreams

“Liquid liners are the middle-man of liners,” says Aimee. “They’re more impactful than a kohl and more fluid to work with than a gel so for that reason people find them a bit harder to get to grips with, but all it takes is practice.” Liquid liners come in a variety of delivery mechanisms. They can be felt-tip pens or shorter nibbed-style wands. They also can come in various thickness’ so you can truly find one to suit whatever look you want. The consistency of the liner is more liquid, so you need to have a steadier hand than when working with a gel or pencil, but once you’ve mastered the liquid liner there’s no turning back.

The S/S17 way to wear your eyeliner

If you fancy trying a new way to sport your eyeliner then do as they did on this season’s catwalks.

Brave and Bold

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As seen at: Oscar De La Renta

What is it: Clashing eye shadows and eyeliners were paired together to create a bright and beautiful look. And the best news is, it’s really easy to do yourself.

Graphic Shapes

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As seen at: Prabal Gurung

What is it: Makeup artist, Diane Kendal lined the models eyes with a strong, graphic line between the eyelid crease and the brow.

Bottom Heavy

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As seen at: Kenzo

What is it: Makeup guru, Isamaya French created an almost doll-like look by only lining the bottom lash line with a strong black liner and a crisp white in the waterline.

Modern 60s

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As seen at: Chanel

What is it: The way to place your eyeliner in the 60s was just above the eyelid crease and just below the brow bone. Makeup artist, Tom Pecheux has brought that back this season with a fine line of black liner paired against a metallic silver shadow.

Lined and Loaded

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As seen at: Chloé

What is it: If a feline flick is your signature look then this season all you have to do is vamp it up a bit as Aaron de Mey did at Chloe. The flick is shorter and the lines slightly thicker and the black is the blackest you can find.

The Eyeliner Rules

How to get a perfect application every time.

1. Make sure your eyeliner pencil or brush, if you’re applying a gel, are clean or freshly sharpened before you start.

2. The shape of your eye will pretty much dictate how you wear your eyeliner. Use the curve of your lower lash line to help you create the perfect flick on the upper lid.

3. Remember, the further in you bring your eyeliner line, the closer together your eyes will appear so if you want to create a bit more distance start your eyeliner a little further along your lash line.

4. Eyeliner is not just for the top lash line or under the bottom lashes, lining the inside of your upper and lower lash line creates just as much impact and is easier to master if you find the top of the lid tricky.

5. It’s not all about black eyeliner. Switch things up with a more muted brown or grey or jazzy metallics.

6. An eyeliner trick that all the pro’s use is applying a flesh coloured pencil along the bottom lid line. It creates the illusion of making your eyes look instantly more wide awake.

Lovely Liners

Our pick of the best eyeliners

Tom Ford High Definition Eye Liner Crayon, Dh240

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This creamy pencil glides on easily and has a wind-up nib so you never need to find a sharpener.

Dior Diorshow Art Pen, Dh175

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As easy to use as a felt tip pen, this inky black liquid glides on.

MAC Rollerwheel Liquid Liner, Dh109

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If you find creating a straight line hard to do then this could be for you. Its minute roller wheel absorbs the perfect amount of product and then delivers a continuous liquid line.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Dh140

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Perhaps the most iconic of gel liners. It comes in 13 shades including some with shimmer and literally do not move.

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner, Dh99

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If you fancy adding some disco to your eye look then this is for you. Heavily packed-in glitter suspended in a gel that dries within seconds.

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner, Dh100

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This has all the ease of use of a pencil with the staying-power and impact of a gel.

Guerlain Terracotta Khol, Dh180

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Inspired by traditional kohls, this is a loose powder with a dabber applicator. It delivers serious colour and is perfect for a full-on Cleopatra look.