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I’m so excited that pencil liner is back for fall.

I love liquid liner and all, but there’s just something about pencil liner that reminds me of my fifth grade days of heavily lining my lower lash line and putting nothing on the top. Ah, those were the days. Today we’ll be talking about how to properly line the lower lash line (a post going out to fifth grade me) so you don’t end up looking like a raccoon. Follow these tips and you’ll be a line master in no time!

1. The Dot Method

This is probably the easiest way to get away with lining the lower lash line with black eyeliner. It doesn’t create a dramatic look because all you do is create a dotted line along the lash line and then blend it out with a brush or your finger. If you’re going for dramatic, go all out and do a thick line of liner, but if your goal is to be subtle, try out the dot method. Remember that only lining the outer two thirds of your eyes makes them look farther apart. If you have naturally wide-set eyes, try lining the inner two thirds to pull them closer together. Play around with it to see what looks best on you.

2. The Not-So-Black Method

The easiest way to get a subtle look without black eyeliner is to use the not-so-black method. This method uses colors other than black to line the lower lash line. Here, you can use grays, browns, purples, greens, blues… the sky’s the limit here. Try combining the dot method with this one to create a very subtle line along the lower lashes. You can also amp up this look by creating a thicker line of any color—this will create a more dramatic line, if that’s to your liking. Again, play around with different colors to see what looks best on you. I typically go with brown for a brown smoky eye, gray for something cool and neutral, and colors depending on what color my eyes are that day. You can also feel free to contrast colors. Try a blue lower lash line with a gold smoky eye for a cool, edgy look.

3. The Waterline Method

This is one of the more advanced methods to smoke out the lower lash line. Basically, the idea is to line your lower waterline (the strip of skin between your lashes and your eyeball) with whatever color you’re using and then use a pencil brush or blending brush to blend this color out along your lower lash line. It’s a little uncomfortable, which is why I classify it as a more advanced method, but it’s great if you want to pull the color into your lower waterline also. For beginners, try blending slowly at first. It’ also best to use a soft, fluffy brush to blend this liner out rather than something dense and stiff. For best results, keep your eyes closed and look up. This will bring down the discomfort a bit, which is beneficial to those trying it out for the first time.

4. The Shadow Method

This method doesn’t use liner at all! Rather, try using eyeshadow to line the lower lash line. Use a flat or angled eyeliner brush with a medium-toned color (like the color that you would use in your crease) to draw a line along your lower lashes, then blend it out using a fluffier brush. Again, we’re going for soft and fluffy instead of dense and stiff. This will help smoke out the lower lash line with ease. Again, this blending will feel slightly uncomfortable, but that’s okay. Practice makes perfect!

So there are four methods on how to properly line the lower lash line! If all else fails, just load up your lower lashes with mascara to create a pulled-together look. Remember not to be like fifth-grade me—balance the lower lash line with the top! What are your favorite eyeliners to use?