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Should You Wear Eyeliner On Your Bottom Lid? An MUA Explains

Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
Image by ohlamour studio / Stocksy
January 10, 2021

 

On the days I wear eye makeup—increasingly rare—I like to gently smudge a bit of brown or black pencil in my top lash line. I find it gives my lashes a nice full base, frames my eyes, and overall makes me look a bit more put together. Occasionally I'll move the pencil just a bit lower, hovering over my bottom lid, and ask myself: Do I dare attempt a bottom liner? The answer is always no. 

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Perhaps it's residual hesitation from teenage makeup habits, but I've always thought the rule of thumb is you want to avoid bottom eyeliner—it narrows your eyes and makes them appear smaller! I remember glossy magazine block texts advising me about the so-called blunder. But since all sorts of makeup rules are being abandoned of late (a good thing, if I'm not clear), I wonder if this is a tip I should still be sticking to.  

Liner on the bottom lash: Yes, no, or maybe?

I sent my question over to a trusted source, and it turns out: I couldn't have been more wrong! Done correctly, liner on your bottom lashes can create the illusion of larger eyes. Oh, do tell. 

"A little liner under the eyes can instantly make them appear bigger. My preferred technique is to start with a taupe pencil line, lightly smudged under the eyes with a rounded eyeliner brush," says celebrity makeup artist Jenny Patinkin

Let's break this tip down. First up, the color is very important: "The reason I suggest taupe is that it's a combination of brown and gray, which mimics the look of a shadow. By creating a subtle, horizontal shadow under the eyes, it creates the illusion that the bottom lash line is lower, which in turn makes the eyes look bigger and taller," she says. 

Now onto using a brush versus just etching in with a pencil or liquid liner. Thin liner brushes that have a pointed, tapered shape, like Patinkin's Luxury Vegan Pin Point Liner Brush or Lily Lilo Socket Line Brush, will help get the right texture and aesthetic. The imaginary shadow you are crafting should feel almost soft-focus and blurred rather than defined. (Picture a shadow on a foggy day rather than one at high noon and a cloudless sun, as your inspiration.) Basically: You're using the product in a way that shouldn't, in the end, look like liner at all. 

The takeaway.

If you've feared lower eyelid liner, I get it. But it turns out that, when done correctly, it can actually enhance your eye shape

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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director at mindbodygreen. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.