When it comes down to it, most eyeliners only come in black, brown, and dark blue. And while you can find liners in fun colors, it seems the color wheel is practically endless for eye shadows — not to mention, the different finishes they come in, from matte to satin to super-sparkly. So when you find the most perfect eye shadow, it’s only natural to want to get even more mileage out of it as a liner, too.
That’s where turning your eye shadow into eyeliner comes in. A trick professional makeup artists have been using for years, the shadow to liner transformation is much easier than you think. Whether you are looking to create a dramatic cat-eye or a subtle pop of color along the lashline, here are five easy ways to make eye shadow into eyeliner.
It’s no surprise that plain old H20 is the easiest option. Simply run an angled eyeshadow brush under a little bit of tap water, then dip it into your eye shadow. It’ll turn into a chalky consistency that you can swipe across your lashline like a regular cream liner.
With Setting Spray
Maybelline Brand Ambassador Jenna Kristina breaks down an easy DIY: Spray a fine angled brush with setting spray. The goal is to get it damp but not dripping wet, so one spritz should do the trick. Then, coat each side of the brush with your eye shadow of choice and paint away wherever you want the line. She recommends Maybelline New York Lasting Fix Setting Spray ($10; ulta.com)
“By using setting spray, you’re ensuing longevity for your eyeliner. It really helps to seal the product,” she explains. “If you want, you can also use a tiny round brush that has longer hairs. This is great for a free-flowing line or more of a round line.”
With Eye Drops
When you think about it, this hack makes a lot of sense, since you know eye drops are safe for your eyes. Just squeeze a few drops onto your brush, dip it into your favorite eye shadow and apply as usual.
With a Mixing Medium
A go-to for professional makeup artists, mixing mediums are a tacky gel that binds eye shadows and other loose pigments, so they’re great for ensuring the shadows stay on your lids — not all over your face. The NYX Professional Makeup Multitasker Mixing Medium ($7; ulta.com) belies its affordable price, while the Makeup by Mario Master Metal Manipulator ($14; sephora.com) was developed by the celeb makeup artist himself specifically to transform loose or metallic pigments into a liquid, giving it a foil, liquid liner-esque effect.
With a Blending Brush
Finally, you don’t actually need anything at all to turn your favorite eye shadow into eyeliner, especially if you are creating smokey or smudged looks. Using a densely-packed blending brush, like the e.l.f. Cosmetics Beautifully Precise Smudge Brush ($6; ulta.com), simply apply your powder shadow to the outer corner of your eyes, then defuse it to your desired effect.
Whatever method you choose, one of the best things about using eye shadow as eyeliner is that it’s often more forgiving. If you mess up, a quick swipe with a cotton swab soaked in makeup remover or micellar water will give you a fresh start — no scrubbing required.
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