Power of Makeup series Part 5b: Eyeliner and Accent Colors

Eyeliner and an accent shade of eyeshadow take a natural or two-shadow look from ordinary to amazing. The accent color is the most important part of your eyeshadow, and can be the hardest to apply correctly if you tend to be heavy-handed.


The purpose of eyeliner is to define the lash area. Always “push” the liner against your lash line so there isn’t a visible line of skin between your lashes and your liner. That just looks Lady Ga-ga.

pull gently

There are three main methods of applying eyeliner: pencil, liquid, and powder. I used a cream at one time and loved it, but they’re harder to find. I’ll put my favorite brands of eyeliner at the bottom of the post.

You’ll notice I’m holding the skin of my eye taut. This is a no-no from anyone who teaches skin-care and cosmetic application, but let me just say, if I don’t make my eyelid taut, the pencil seems to “tug” or  “bump” along the skin of my eyelid and the eyeliner looks like this: – – – – – – – instead of a smooth line.

  • A pencil gives you a lot of control. Key words when looking for an eyeliner: smoothsmudge-resistent and/or water-resistant/water-proof. If you’re an easy crier and tear up quickly, those words will save your makeup. You can apply a layer of eyeshadow in the same color on top to help “seal” it in.
  • Liquid liner is the most dramatic, in my opinion. It also takes practice, but if you’re going for a sexy cat-eye or a thick Cleopatra look, liquid liner is your best bet.
  • Using powder, aka your eyeshadow, as a liner is a great trick, especially if you want to play with color or forget your eyeliner. It happens. Use a short stiff angled brush (same one I use for my eyebrows) and dip it into your shadow of choice. Wet your brush first to get a more dramatic look.

Line the bottom of your lids if you like, but don’t line the inner part of your eye. First off, it makes your eyes look smaller. Second, you can get an eye infection.

Rule of thumb: If you line the top, you don’t have to line the bottom, but you shouldn’t line only the bottom. I’ll think of a cuter way to say that later.

Don’t pull hard. Be gentle around the eye area!!!

To create a cat-eye look, extend your liner from your bottom lashes, not the top! Extending the top line is a common mistake, because it looks like the eyeliner is coming from the top.


  1. Line your eyes like normal on the top and bottom.
  2. Place your liner on the outside edge of your bottom lash line.
  3. With short strokes if you use a pencil OR one long stroke with liquid, extend the liner from the bottom lash line at an angle towards your temple. This line can be as long and dramatic as you wish.
  4. Connect with the top line. Go over these lines as needed to darken.

Accent Color

The accent color is the pa-pow, the bam-boom, the ooh-la-la of eyeshadow. It finishes your look and makes your makeup look more expertly applied. I rarely forgo the accent shade, even if it’s just a slightly darker shade than my mid-tone. If I’m going to the beach (ha!) I will skip the accent shade.

For close-set eyes like mine (closer than one eye-length from your nose), the accent shade “pulls” my eyes apart, creating an illusion that they aren’t as close to my nose as they really are.

If your eyes are wide-set (longer than one eye-length from your nose), you will want to put the accent shade on the inner part of your eyelid to create the illusion that your eyes are closer than they are.

I’m using the “V”-shape technique, which I use 99% of the time. The placement for your eye shape may be a bit different, so check out yesterday’s post  for resources on finding your eye shape and the application of your eyeshadow.

accent v shape

The darker accent shade looks like a triangle, or a filled-in “V,” thus known as the V-shape. To apply the accent color:

  • lightly lightly lightly dip your brush into your accent color
  • starting at the outside corner of your eye, place the brush right on top of your eyeliner
  • in a “V” motion with tiny short strokes, sweep slightly up and out, and then back into the mid-tone.
  • Follow that stroke pattern lightly until you achieve the depth you’re looking for.

Extra Tip:

Use the pad of your ring finger when applying creams or powders to the eye area. Your ring finger pad is the softest of all of your fingers because you use it the least.  Your eye area does not contain moisture glands, which is why we get eye crinkles and smile lines here first. Regular face moisturizers are not meant for the eye area so using a cream specifically formulated for this delicate eye area is extremely important.

series part 5 eyes

Recommended Products:

*I receive no compensation for my recommendations.*

Pencil eyelinerUrban Decay 24/7 Glide-On
It goes on super smooth and dark, and doesn’t tug on my eyelids.

Liquid eyelinerEyeko Skinny Liquid Liner  *my favorite ever*
I got this liner in a Birchbox shipment and immediately fell in love. It has the precision, depth, and flawless look of liquid liner with the ease of a pencil. The fine tip puts you in total control of the thickness. 5 stars!!!

Eye creamMary Kay’s Timewise Firming eye cream
It contains a brightening agent (yay!!) and is super thick and luxurious. I use a small amount under my eyes and around the corners. It also helps minimize the appearance of fine lines. I also use this one the skin between my eyebrows (upper bridge of my nose) because that area is super dry for some reason.

I use Mary Kay products for my skin care routine almost exclusively, with the exception of Clinique moisturizer – gotta love Gift with Purchase time!)

Tomorrow’s post in the Power of Makeup series is the love of my makeup life: MASCARA!!!! If I could only have one makeup item, it would be mascara. I feel like a boy if I’m not wearing it. I sleep in it (SO BAD, I know).  And after years and years of loving and hating different brands, I finally found my ultimate perfect formula.

I’ll share my favorite mascaras in all price ranges and we’ll take a sneak peek into my beauty bag that I carry with me everywhere. Gotta have the essentials!

[callout]In case you missed them: Power of Makeup series, Part OnePart Two: FoundationPart Three: SculptingPart Four: EyebrowsPart Five: Eyeshadow, Part Six: Mascara, Part Seven: Lips[/callout]

[reminder preface=”Question:”]What is your favorite eyeliner?[/reminder]



**Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Bethany Jett

Bethany Jett loves sipping coffee and jamming in her planner while raising three boys with her college sweetheart Justin.

December 4, 2013

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