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Pick the perfect eye pencil


Archaeological evidence shows Egyptian ladies were doing their faces as early as 4000B.C. This was mainly to please the gods, because good looks were linked to spiritual worth.

We don’t take make-up that seriously any more, but we’re grateful to the Egyptians for inventing ‘ye olde kohl liner’. These days a black eyeliner is a staple for every woman on the planet, but does the traditional favourite really suit everyone? Maybe not. Experts we chatted to recently say you should consider your eye colour, age and the look you’re going for. Only then buy your pencil. Who knows, there may be other colour options that suits you as well as black looked on Cleopatra – if you’re happy to experiment a bit.

Eye colour

You pick clothes based on colours that suit you. Why should it be different for a liner? Choose a shade that will intensify the natural beauty of your eye colour, rather than clash with it. ‘A black eyeliner is not for everyone and a lot depends on eye shape,’ says CATRICE make-up artist La’eeqa Yunus. ‘If you have droopy or hooded eyes, black eyeliner tends to close them up even more. Copper, gold and navy works for blue eyes. Choose rust, mahogany or bronze for green eyes. Opt for purple, cobalt blue and shades of earthy brown with brown eyes. Navy and charcoal eyeliners work for pretty much everyone.’



CATRICE Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Karate with Bronze Lee, R39,95
CATRICE Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Rendez-blue, R39,95
Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Amethyst, R179
Clarins Crayon Khôl Eye Pencil in 04 Platinum, R295


Too much heavy black liner brings out crow’s feet and dark circles, making you look older. If you can’t part with your trusty staple, says David White of L’Oréal, apply it with a subtle feline flick to create a lifted look. The line should also be thinner, which creates the illusion of thicker lashes. A liner with too much of a matte look can also be ageing. Opt for softer tones like brown, navy and grey for a softer, more youthful finish, David says. ‘Brown eyeliner, applied softly and naturally, will take years off your face,’ La’eeqa adds.


Avon True Glimmersticks Waterproof Eye Liner in Saturn Grey, R44,90
essence extreme lasting eye pencil in 02 but first, espresso, R44,95
Almay Intense I-Color Gel Liner For Hazel Eyes, R179

Look You Want to Achieve

What look you want, is important. Pencil liners can help with a softer, smokier look. Liquid liners give a sharp slick look. ‘This is why I prefer to use pencil on the bottom lids, smudged into the lash line,’ says Lancôme’s national make-up artist Andrew James. It’s applied on the inner eye for olive, medium and tanned skin tones and to complete a smoky look on fair skin. ‘I like to use liquid on the top lash line. It can be anything from an invisible line, which makes lashes look thicker, to full-on Amy Winehouse eyes.’ Glitter eyeliners are good for nights out and parties while black and brown are ideal for daytime.



Palladio Eyeliner in Sky Blue, R49,95
YSL Couture Kajal Eye Pencil in Noir, R 380
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Junkie, R215

Next time you take a trip down the make-up aisle to purchase a pencil, remember all of these tips. Or throw it all out in favour of David’s top advice: ‘Buy a quality pencil. With the current trends any colour goes.’

Got any tips or a must-have eyeliner we’ve not included. Tell us below, we’re all about the sharing beauties.


9 Responses

  1. Lately I have been experimenting on different colours, like green, blues, although in the past i used black only.

  2. I have been using blacks, browns, nudes and golds for years but I still have to master the coloured liners.

    1. Hi Maryam

      Try using liquid or gel eyeliners. An easier hack to prevent smudging is to apply a thin coat of eye-shadow primer on clean eyelinds. This will give your liner something to adhere to and will prevent the liner from transferring color to the creases. You’ll then dust a translucent loose powder or skin-colored eye shadow over the primer to set it, before applying your eyeliner.

    2. Maryam, the best would be to try an eyeliner pen. These pens contain liquid eyeliner but don’t require such a steady hand during application.

    1. The best way to line your eyes is to start by placing a finger on the outer corner of your eye and gently lift the skin up and out slightly, creating a taut surface. If you don’t have a steady hand, rest your elbow on a table. Using a soft liner, place it as close to your lashline as possible and draw soft strokes till the line looks straight. Don’t worry we struggle seven out of 10 times too. xoxo

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