How to Apply Eyeliner: Soft Lines with Kohl Pencils

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

There are so many ways to apply eyeliner, and depending on the look I’m going for I tend to switch things up.


One of my favorite eyeliner techniques is to use a kohl liner for a soft, diffused lower lash line. Softly lining the bottom lash line without the top (or vice versa) still draws attention to the eye but doesn’t look too harsh or unnatural.

It’s also really easy to do (yay!) and kinda fun because it involves connecting the dots. 🙂


I like this technique with Lancome’s soft and smudgy Le Stylo Waterproof in Noir. It has a great texture and doesn’t migrate or disappear once applied. That, and the attached sponge smudger eliminates the need for a separate brush. Hello, lazy. 🙂

To use it I place the tip of the pencil on the outer most corner of my lower lash line and draw a small dot about the same size as the tip (shown above).

Working inward (toward the nose), I draw more dots, evenly spaced, shooting to get each one as close to the roots of my lashes as possible. Really digging the pencil tip between the lashes really helps to get the color “up in there.”

I’ll draw dots until I’m about a fingertip’s length away from the innermost corner of my lash line. If I go to far with my dots, I think the look ends up a little too harsh.

The dot approach doesn’t take but a minute. It helps to keep in mind that all of the dots are going to get smudged, so each one doesn’t have to be perfect. I usually do about five messy dots that look kinda Clockwork Orange before they’re smudged.

With my dots in place, I take the sponge tip of the Lancome Le Stylo pencil and start blending them together, gently running the tip back and forth between each dot. I like to think it’s connecting the dots for grownups.

I continue along the lash line, smudging dot by dot…

After smudging, I end up with a very soft, diffused black line.

If your liner doesn’t have a built-in smudger, I’ve also gotten good results from pencil brushes like the MAC 219 paired with just about any kohl liner. And sponge eyeshadow applicators, the kind that come with the most shadows, also do a pretty good job.

Daily photo


Mother Nature sure can paint, can’t she? She creates some amazing colors. I went for a walk this morning and found this random patch of leaves in a neighbor’s yard.

I love this shade of green. One day I want a dress or a coat in this color…

Anyhoo, I hope you had a lovely Friday. I’m totes looking forward to vegging and sleeping this weekend. How about you?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 32 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Tiera says:

    I love this technique, totally fool-proof! Are those Lancome liners pricey?

    Tiera´s last blog post..Laura Mercier First Blush Collection Now Available

  2. Bethany says:

    I would never think of doing eyeliner this way. But I am going to try it – it looks awesome!

  3. Justine says:

    I really like this! I tried to find these on the Lancome Canada website but they weren’t there … maybe I’ll try in-store! It seems much easier than trying to draw one straight line.

    Justine´s last blog post..Snapshot Thoughts

  4. Nikki says:

    thanks for this, this is a lovely tutorial! 🙂

    Nikki´s last blog post..Askmewhats Version: "Truffle" Look

  5. Okami says:

    I think a nice calf-length trench in that shade of green would be amazing. 🙂

  6. YL says:

    this has to be my favorite tutorial from you! im always looking for tips to improve my liner application. will try it out tmr 🙂

  7. Beth says:

    I have a little green bag and a pair of squede tennis shoes in that colour – its gorgeous! Its also on my list of eyeliner colours to get as I’m wearing eyeliner every day now, in whatever colour matches something I’m wearing!

    Beth´s last blog post..Birthday Week Rant

  8. yadiq says:

    I have always been afraid to try this cause of my hideous dark circles I will try this technique to see if I lose my fear LOL also I checked out the Dior spring quints I am not loving them at all they look really different in the pics than in real life on skin. I swatches and compared to Chanel who do you think won??? Ding ding ding yes you are correct!! Chanel mystic eyes won and came home with me alng with one of their liquid eyeshadows in riviera
    Can u say I am in love ??!!???

  9. Amanda says:

    mmm-nice! I’ve been really into that shade of green lately too. So I agree-you need a coat that color! let me know when you find it. 🙂 I just got a cute 3/4 sleeve tissue T with ruffles on the front in that color from the Jcrew outlet.

    It’s my bday today so the hubby is making me breakfast right now. I’m just gonna chill for most of the day, do my nails, then take a nice long, pampering time getting all done up for dinner. We are going to the Melting Pot (fondue)-yay!!! it’s one of my very, very favorite places, but we only go there once a year since it’s sooo pricey. But it’s so fun and delicious.

  10. Briana says:

    ooh, this is good! I’ve always had trouble with lower lining. I’m just never happy with how it looks, I’ll have to try this out!
    I love emerald green! I wanted to get an emerald green dress for my high school grad, but I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I ended up wearing black! Sure enough, the next spring, it was everywhere and you could get a million different styles in EXACTLY the color I wanted! I was sooooo mad lol

  11. Karen says:

    Hi Tiera,

    They’re kinda pricey at $23.50. I do think that they are very long wearing in comparison to other pencils, which is why I like ’em.

  12. Karen says:

    Hi Bethany,

    Yah! It’s super easy, too. 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!

  13. Karen says:

    Hi Justine,

    I always have trubs drawing one straight line, too! I hope you find Le Stylo at your Lancome counter… they work great, even on the waterline!

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Nikki,

    Thanks! 🙂 Do you have a favorite liner?

  15. Karen says:

    Hi Okami,

    Oh, pretty! It would be perfect for spring. I love green — it always makes me so happy when I wear it. 🙂

  16. Karen says:

    Hi YL,

    Let me know how it goes! Do you have a liner with a smudger attached?

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Beth,

    How cute! I bet your shoes give your outfits a really fun pop of color!

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Yadiq,

    YAY! Have you worn your new Chanel yet? Oh, and did you get to peep Vendetta nail polish while you were at the counter?

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Debbie,


  20. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, birthday girl! It sounds like you’re going to have a fun day ahead of you! Aren’t those long, leisurely days such a treat?

    I love the Melting Pot, too. I’ve only been once and it was a lot of fun. Do you have your outfit and makeup planned for tonight?

  21. Karen says:

    Hi Briana,

    I think I remember that season a few years back — I remember walking into Banana Republic and seeing that shade all over the place. I was in heaven. 🙂

    Oh, and I hope this liner trick helps! It’s the only way I can get myself to line my lower lash line without looking a hot mess, LOL.

  22. yadiq says:

    Girl I haven’t worn my quad yet but I keep playing with it on me hands LOL
    I played with vendetta but I passed since I have the essie purple which is really similar I am loving the shimmer in the liquid eye shadow. I am in lazy mode today loafing around in bed but I am a sad sight because I am just surrounded by all my makeup in my bed. LOL I am so pathetic LOL

  23. Lillybeth says:

    Karen, you are AWESOME! Enjoying your blog from New Zealand and you are oh so talented, I wish I could meet you, but this is great. Thank you. 🙂

  24. pepper says:

    Are those Nastirtium leaves? You can eat both the leaves and the flowers (I used to buy the edible flowers at marin civic center farmers market).

    The leaves are peppery and the flowers don’t have a lot of taste, but are pretty and fun to eat. They make a nice salad.

    Thanks for the videos, Karen – I really enjoy them and I hope you continue to make more!

  25. Loretta says:

    Love your beauty site ..look forward to it every morning…

    Love the connect the dots! and the green rimmel… too

  26. Tara says:

    Oh thank you for the eye smudge tutorial. I hadn’t tried that technique, since I wasn’t sure exactly how it was done I just skipped trying any sort of smudge look like that. This opens up a lot more experimentation for me with colours.

  27. Sleepy says:

    Thank you! I have yet to master that soft eyeliner look for my lower eye line. Now I can try!

  28. Snarkattack says:

    Your blog is full of fab application techniques. Now you’ve given me a reason to lust after those new UD 24/7 liners…damn!

    Snarkattack´s last blog post..baka gaijin

  29. Cherlee says:

    Love your website, Karen. Great tip on the free products today – went to 2 stores – had my son with me – we did quite well!!!

    Great tips on the lower liner – any ideas on how to get a great line on upper lid with liquid. I use Artliner but am still lacking in technique for a slight cat’s eye.
    Thanks, Cheryl

  30. Lillybeth says:

    Oooh Cheryl, yes I’ve struggled with the winged or cat’s eye look too! And to think, the Motown girl groups in the 60’s did it (or at least their makeup artists did) back then! The only way I’ve been successful with the cat’s eye look on myself is to take the flick out and up from the lower lashline instead of the upper. I think it has something to do with the way my eyes are deep-set or their shape. Karen, what do you think? Would love to hear. xx

  31. Karen says:

    Hi Lillybeth,

    Yup, I learned that trick from a MAC artist backstage at fashion week! It’s a good one. 🙂

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