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18 Useful Tips For People Who Suck At Eyeliner

Forget wings: Sometimes you just need help drawing a straight line.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

1. First: Know that there are three basic types of liners.

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Pencil eyeliner is easy to apply, but sometimes doesn't spread as smoothly or thickly as gel or liquid liners.

Gel liners are matte and glide on easily. They sometimes come in a little pot with a brush.

Liquid liners are used for their precision, and usually come in a tube with a small brush, or "pen-style" with a brush tip. They can take some time to dry after applying, though.

Here's a bit more starter info on each of them, and here's an in-depth guide.

2. Different-color liners can have different effects.

3. The shaky-hand struggle is real — but there's a way to solve it in three easy steps.

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1) Sit down.

2) Plant your elbow on a flat surface.

3) Rest your pinky on your cheek. Stabilizing yourself as much as possible = fewer (probably) jerky mess-ups.

Here's the tutorial.

4. If you're just starting out with liquid liner, begin with dots. Then slowly connect them.

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Be patient with yourself!

5. You can also do the same thing with dashes.

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Decide what's easiest for you — and know that having the right type of liner and liner brush can make a big difference.

6. When applying liner, try not to pull the skin on the side of your face. If things get a little messy, clean up your line with a makeup remover–soaked cotton swab.

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Or if you're feeling ~fancy~, get a makeup-remover pen.

7. A dab of primer or concealer can work wonders for fixing smudges.

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Get a more detailed version of this tutorial here.

8. Start by drawing a messy line, then clean it up with a little petroleum jelly.

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To avoid globs of jelly on your eyelid, wipe the swab on the back of your hand after dipping it in. (And, uh, you will probably need a little help from makeup remover pre-jelly if you accidentally cover your entire lid with eyeliner.)

9. Or if you're really in a jam, use clear lip gloss.

Getty Images / iStockphoto LuminaStock

Get more great makeup tips here.

10. A smudge brush can transform a not-so-perfect eyeliner application.

The product featured in this tutorial comes with a brush, but you can also buy your own.

11. You can use a little bit of black eyeshadow to clean up a splotchy eyeliner line.

12. If you think eyeliner looks a little too intense on your face, try tightlining — which is putting the liner *beneath* your lash line.

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Waterproof liner is ideal because you don't want all that effort to rub off as soon as your eyes water. Read more about it here.

13. A quick way to set or intensify color on your waterline? Dark eyeshadow.

14. Once you have your eyeliner where you want it, prevent the dreaded crease stamp with the help of a little translucent powder.

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You don't have to draw the perfect two-tone wing for this trick to work, promise.

15. Not ready to fully commit to liner yet? Use your favorite shadow as a faux-liner so you can get used to a similar look.

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Use a liner brush to press a darker color right next to your lashes. See step 3 in this tutorial, specifically.

16. You can also tailor your eyeliner shape to your eye shape, once you feel confident in your application skills.

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But no pressure to do something super specific before you're ready! This chart comes with this palette, but it's helpful advice no matter what kind of makeup you're using.

17. Put the liner on your eyelash curler to save time and help you get a straight line.

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This technique uses a soft eye pencil, and will at least get you started; you may need to trace over the resulting line on your lid with the pencil.

18. And when you're feeling like you might want a little cat eye, use this two-step trick to make it easy.

Get the step-by-step here.

And HEY: Don't feel bad if you don't get it the first time!

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