The Graphic Eyeliner Trend Is So Easy With This Expert Trick

Makeup artist Allan Avendaño shares his industry secrets.

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Allan Avendaño on IG
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From minimalist nude lip colors to groomed eyebrows, a handful of current beauty trends are nodding to the ‘60s. That said, arguably the most popular blast from the past is the Twiggy-inspired graphic eyeliner, which has become a go-to technique for beauty lovers and celebrities alike. In fact, if you’ve scrolled past a bold liner look on one of your favorite A-lister’s Instagram feeds, odds are it was achieved by makeup artist Allan Avendaño. Lucky for you, the expert behind the exciting trend spilled his top tips on how to do the graphic liner trend.

According to the celebrity makeup artist, whose clients include Nina Dobrev and Kerry Washington, your graphic liner doesn’t actually have to be so precise. “A lot of times people go for perfection, but if you look back at those looks [in the ‘60s], they weren’t perfect,” Avendaño tells TZR over Zoom. “Twiggy had drawn on eyelashes, but they weren’t necessarily even on both sides. So, sometimes perfection isn’t the key.” This is especially true if you’re going for something major, he adds. “Of course, if you’re going for straight lines, symmetry and all that [precise liner] is great, but, I always encourage people with a graphic liner to play around and see where you can make the most impact [on your eyes],” he explains.

Experiment with quirky graphic liner throughout the rest of summer with your makeup, and transition the trend into fall with Avendaño’s best industry secrets below. You’ll never find yourself falling into a beauty rut again with these tricks up your sleeve.

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Popular Summer Shades

As for the most popular, of-the-moment liner shades, Avendaño says it’s the usual summer suspects. “It’s going to be apricots, peaches, corals, cherry reds, soft pinks,” he explains. “Usually the way I describe summer makeup looks are the colors that happen when you get tan or a little sunburnt.” Of course, the makeup artist says you can’t forget about cool hues like greens and pastels.

Subtle Everyday Makeup

When you think of graphic eye makeup, your mind probably goes to thick neon lines taking over the majority of your lid. But there are plenty of ideas that are on the more subtle end, too. To start, Avendaño recommends trying out a cat-eye with a subtle flick when you’re doing an everyday makeup routine.

Once you’re ready to take it up a notch, he says to draw an extra line above your original cat eye wing across the upper lid, closer to your brows. He says that it’s a slightly updated version of a classic look used on Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe. “If you notice in a lot of Monroe’s photos back in the day, she always had a second liner and it just elongated her eyes,” he notes. “So she would have a flick, and then she would have a second line coming from the bottom.” For a double liner look like this (if you want to wear if for daytime) Avendaño says classic black is the way to go. “Anything else draws a lot of attention,” he adds.

Of-The-Moment Looks

“What I’m seeing is really unique shapes,” Avendaño explains. For instance, he loves shapes that are a little wavier than a normal line. “Social media is really great for inspiration because people get really really creative, and especially with during quarantine people were like ‘let me just draw on my face!’” There’s also liner art, which the makeup artist says could translate to some as simple as drawing round circles on the lids. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you decide to decorate your eyes with liner. “It’s such a playful way to play with makeup,” he adds.

The Key To Precision

For those who lean towards a precise liner, Avendaño says the two ingredients to pull it off are Q-tips and prayers. “I correct a lot, especially if we are going for it [a bold look],” he explains. According to the makeup artist, tiny, pointy Q-tips are your best friend when it comes to cleaning up your liner. In fact, he’ll dip the Q-tip in a makeup remover in order to really get the line extra crisp and clean. “It’s just makeup, you can erase it and do it again and again until you get it right,” Avendaño notes.

Non-Smudging Formulas

If you often find your eyeliner smudging when you look in the mirror mid-day, Avendaño suggests switching to a long-wear eyeliner, like KVD Beauty’s iconic Tattoo Liner. “Long-wear liquid and gel liners are key, except that you do have a limited time to play with them,” he says. “So you have to get it on and be confident in that shape.” But if you’re not okay with the outcome, just remove it and start over again.

As for his favorite products, Avendaño reaches for gel liners, specifically MAC’s tried-and-true Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack. “There’s also a gel liner from Sigma the that I’ve been really liking lately,” he explains. “And when it comes to the more affordable brands, L'Oreal Paris has a gel liner [the Infallible Lacquer Eyeliner].”

Gel Vs. Liquid Eyeliner

“Gel for me is just easier as an artist because I’m able to control the amount,” Avendaño notes. “And, [a gel] is a little bit thicker in the way it goes [on] versus a liquid which is like a marker.”

According to the artist, it comes down to comfort. “I have a friend who has been using a marker [liner] their whole life and they wore a cat-eye every day, then one time I grabbed an angle brush and did it with a gel and they were like ‘I’ve never done it with a brush before,’” the expert explains. But once they did it, they realized how much easier it was for them to apply on their own. To that point, when he’s using a gel, he’ll always apply the product with a thin liner brush or an angled brush to get the liner in a perfectly shaped line.

There you go — you’re now an expert on fun graphic liner tricks. Now, go grab your favorite products and tap into your inner artist.

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