Eyeliner: Sharp or Smudgy?

Published in: Just For Fun

Chanel Ecriture De Chanel Eyeliner Pen in Noir

Sometimes I like it sharp…

I want your no-holds-barred, initial gut reaction, homie.

(In other words, don’t overthink it!)


I prefer sharp liner, for sure. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about tiny tabby kitten flicks or winged liner of pegasus-ian proportions; sharp, crisp liner lines call to my soul.

Perhaps there’s a Goddess of Eyeliner, and she has my number on speed dial, and she keeps calling and leaving me mind control messages like, “You love precise lines, Karen… You cannot help yourself…”

Or, maybe I just respond viscerally to that kind of makeup.

Probably the latter, although I wouldn’t mind taking a call from the Goddess of Eyeliner every once in a while… That could be fun. 🙂

Ironically, I don’t actually do sharp liner lines all that often because they typically tack on another 10-15 minutes that I don’t often feel I have.

Yes, sometimes sharp liner really takes that long! — sometimes even longer if something goes awry, and I end up having to do damage control. Sharp liner takes no prisoners, yo! And it’s so unforgiving that even if it’s off by a couple millimeters, you can tell.

So, yeah, even though I’m like DAT WINGED LINER DOE, I still usually wear smudgy liner on a day-to-day basis because it’s easier to hide my application mistakes.

It’s sooo much easier to quickly draw a less-than-perfect line along my lash lines, then go to town smudging it out with a pencil brush (usually one loaded with a transition color to create smoother gradients), then be done with the whole business in less time than it takes to toast a Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart…

But enough about the sweet breakfast treats I miss oh, so very much, wah! What are your thoughts on sharp vs. smudgy eyeliner? Do you have a preference, and which do you wear more? Inquiring eyeliner-loving minds want to know. 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 43 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Elena says:

    I prefer sharp eyeliner..but sometimes it has to turn into a smudgy look by default when I inevitably mess up haha.

  2. Lulle says:

    Sharp! I like smudged liner too for a smoky look, but sharp liner just has more impact.
    Lulle recently posted … Spring Makeup Collections Roundup – Part II

  3. Agata says:

    It depends on the day. Sharp liner does take time and it’s so easy to mess up so I usually wear it for more special occasions and for every day just a smudged pencil line. Quick and much easier.
    Agata recently posted … Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.22: New Year’s Beauty Resolutions

  4. Rachel R. says:

    I usually go for smudgy. It’s easier, quicker, and suits my look. It depends on the look I’m going for, though. Sometimes, only a sharp liner will do.

  5. Jane says:

    Like most comments, I start out with a sharp line which develops into a smudged line as I mess up. Lately I have just gone without liner. I sometimes find it travels too much on my lower lash line and makes my dark circles look darker.

  6. Jess Magnuson says:

    Sharp for when I want to look glamorous, pretty or professional. Smokey is for date nights and when I want to look sexy.

  7. Erin says:

    I love it sharp and crisp but being blessed with deep set eyes and slightly hooded lids it won’t stay that way. I usually go for smudgy because the sharp will look like a hot mess in a few hours.
    Erin recently posted … Marius 2014 Rouge

  8. Lauren says:

    Uhh, hellloooo, J Lo!!! Gorgeous pic and that makeup…wow a girl, you’re stunning!

    Sharp is actually so much easier for me and my eyelid shape.

  9. Indya says:

    Your makeup looks wonderful!! I prefer a sharp line as I find they are easier to apply for me. If I mess up, I just make it thicker and am more careful the second time around (step-by-step; remember that show? 🙂 ) Smudging actually takes me forever to do!
    Indya recently posted … Sleek Makeup Pink Peony Creme to Powder Blush | Review

  10. ChynnaBlue says:

    I can’t think about eyeliner because what is making your skin glow like that? Wow, you look fantastic!

  11. pj says:

    It depends on the day, the look I’m doing and how much time I have.

    But the real question is, what color is the lipstick you’re wearing??? :O It is SO gorgeous!

  12. Katie says:

    I love sharp on other people, but I just don’t find it flattering on my face? I just like everything super blended and blown out on me, and any kind of strong line is very unflattering, be it eyeliner or contour or highlighter, so smoky is the way to go!

    • Katie says:

      I can also never seem to get the angles of sharp liner to match, even using de-sticked tape and the angle of my lower lashes!

  13. Tatiana says:

    I have never mastered a sharp line, so I just do smudged because it’s easier. Now if I could ever manage to do a sharp, smooth, unjagged line, I would probably like it a lot.

  14. India says:

    I like sharp eyeliner more but smudged is easier to put on for me!
    India recently posted … Mini Sephora haul?

  15. I really like both looks, but sharp, black liquid liner is my favorite favorite. It’s what I’ll go for whenever I want to look my best. Most days I just smudge a pencil along the lashline, though.
    Carol in a Page recently posted … Banish Chapped Lips with BITE Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick in Palomino

  16. Alison M says:

    I would love to do sharp liner on a regular basis, but am pressed for time most days (okay, all the dang time) so I smudge smudge smudge. Plus, I never get my sharp liner even!

    I recently had to give up gluten for health reasons so I empathize with your loss of sweets and new diet restrictions. Hang tough, Karen!

  17. Marissa says:

    Sharp eyeliner for sure… However I’m not big into blending my eye shadows either I like to be able to see the different colors and where they start and stop..

  18. Vanessa says:

    Smudgy! ! I just love the diffused look, completely independent of the convenience haha

    I guess I perceive sharp as a more architectural design addition, but I feel smudgy is more “thrown on” embellishment of the eye.

  19. Kristin says:

    I love sharp! Sometimes I even go for an added POP by first lining my lids with a smudge of white or teal, then going in with a sharp black liner. It may sound out there, but with a pencil skirt and heels in the office…it gives the necessary glisten of drama to my day-to-day look 🙂

  20. Kwmechelle says:

    First things first, that photo, doe! Gawgous (in my best southern accent). Now back to the question at hand- sharp liner ALL DAY E’VRY DAY, yo! At least along my top lash line. Lately, I’ve been smudging out liner on the outter third of my lower lash lines using UD Demolition. It’s so awesome! Black can be a little harsh on my lower lash line (I think) and brown doesn’t give me enough oomph, so Demolition is like the best of both worlds. It definitely gives me the drama & definition to my almond shaped eyes that I’m going for. I even wear it on my no makeup/makeup days because I think it’s that good. But, yeah, give me sharp liner with a cat wing anytime. 🙂

  21. Jennifae says:

    I like my eyeliner so sharp it could cut somebody. 😉

    What lipstick are you wearing? I want to say… Flocking Fabulous?
    Jennifae recently posted … Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Blush Palette Review & Swatches

  22. Gloria says:

    Usually love it sharp but when I’m in a hurry, I smudge it all the way. Actually, when it’s black, I want it crisp and sharp. But when it’s blue or brown with a little sparkle, it’s REALLY pretty smudge!

  23. Sharp, but I have been wearing it smudged a lot lately. Just a phase though, and sharp will always be my favorite.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Rituals Samurai Collection – The husband tests

  24. Ann B. says:

    The look is gorgeous. Could you list the makeup used?

  25. Laarni says:

    On point makeup!!! Well, team sharp here! Hehe!
    Laarni recently posted … My Two Must-Haves: MAC Cosmetics Fluidline in Blacktrack and 208 Angled Brow Brush

  26. Michelle says:

    I prefer a sharp line, but when I use a pencil liner, because of my greaser lids even with primer, the liner smudged so the line isn’t as harsh. Pretty cool, like the natural smudge but prefer the sharp line.

  27. Cel says:

    Sharp fiveever! Really, I feel like oddly I take longer on smudgey liner. I have to apply, smudge, over-smudge, re-apply, it’s a long process lol.

  28. Eesha says:

    I love sharp kitten flicks whenever I apply eye liner but on an everyday basis I am no liner person.. I may just smudge a darker eye shadow but no liner for sure. I also like smudging pencils sometimes when I have couple of minutes extra.. 🙂
    Eesha recently posted … Soft & Romantic Make-up Look | ft Tom Ford Orchid Haze Palette |

  29. holy glowy batman, you’re practically lighting up my darkened bedroom here!! is this like, pregnancy glow or product glow?? and what is that lippie you’re wearing??

    eye limer, sharpies when have time, but mostly something just there to outline the eyes.
    TravelingBlush recently posted … Two Cleansing Oils: The Body Shop Camomile and The Face Shop Rice Water Bright

  30. For me, smudgy! Because I think it suits me better but also because of what you said: doing a perfectly sleek liner takes so much time, dude, ain’t nobody got time for that! 😉
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Bobbi Brown Radiance Boost Face Mask

  31. Ame says:

    Smudgy. It takes me just as much time, but for me, I feel like the smudgy/smokey eye just looks more “done.” Like I actually put more effort into my look.

  32. AmyB says:

    I am 100% smudgy. Sharp looks ridic on me. I’m not sure why. That’s one reason I shy away from liquid liners and even some gels. I like powder and pencil.

  33. Fran says:

    With my very hooded eyes, I’m actually a tightliner-&line-below-the-lower-lashes-only kind of gal. (For me, ‘tightlining’ means pushing liner into the lashline — not the waterline — from underneath. Gives my eyes definition without taking up any valuable lid real estate.)

  34. Aury says:

    TEAM SMUDGY! I feel like we are leaving in a team sharp world. It’s been very difficult to find smudgy tutorials! Almost every tutorial and makeup look has featured winged liner the past few years. I think I’m just sick of the overload, but I’m also a fan of the “yes I rolled out of bed and woke up like this and still look good” look. BUT! I recently learned a new way to do the wing that makes it soooo much easier for me, so I’ve been rocking that lately. It’s a very easy way to look polished without much else.

  35. Heather L says:

    Smudgy! It’s way more forgiving! I confess, I’m not good at drawing a very precise, perfect line!

  36. Michaela says:

    That looks fierce. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Linda says:

    Smudged, totally.

  38. Aj says:

    I love both, but I usually go for smudgy as I don’t need it to be perfect and it’s the easier one to do. Also, it’s the least time consuming.

  39. Kim says:

    These days, soft and smudgy. Sharp lines don’t do any favors for my aging eyes. 🙂

  40. Astrild says:

    I always use pencil liner and I find too difficult to do a sharp line with it, so I always go for a smudge liner. And I find it suits the best for my hooded eyes.

  41. Johnie says:

    I go through phases between sharp and smudged. Can you list the make up you are wearing? Love the shadow.

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