Paint It Black ~ A Guide To The Perfect Eyeliner Wardrobe – Beauty Tip Of The Week #37

With party season here, there’s no better time to think about restocking the foundation of your makeup arsenal: your collection of black eye pencils. Check out these major eyeliner picks from makeup artist Mark Carrasquillo, found in an interview with him on

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A Pro’s Guide To Painting It Black

Still fixated on the wave of darkly modern eyes spotted on the runways this past September in the form of pixie dots at Vuitton and graphic arches at Fendi, we turned to editorial makeup artist Mark Carrasquillo, who shared his advice on assembling the ultimate dark eyeliner wardrobe and the absolute best pigments to invest in. That is, with one noteworthy exception. “I am saying no to gel liner!” Carrasquillo admits with a laugh. “You never get a straight, smooth line. It just complicates the matter.” All the better to make room in your makeup bag for those eight new black pencils you just ordered.

The Goal: A Smudgy Waterline

A sooty, lived-in waterline etched in kohl—or “an updated version of how you imagine Kate [Moss] used to look back in the ’90s”—is Carrasquillo’s current obsession. “I was working on set with this girl who can close her eye on the pencil and run it back and forth, so she gets the top and bottom at the same time—it’s a very sexy way to do liner without looking retro at all.” Carrasquillo recommends formulas with a drier consistency, like NARS Black Moon pencil or Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eye Pencil for waterline coverage, since they have the right equation of slip versus hold. “If it’s too wet, it just moves all over your face and then it’s a big mess—you look more Alice Cooper than sexy.” Chubby kajal sticks are also a great tool for any eyeliner novice aiming for this look, according to Carrasquillo. “A fat pencil gives you a little bit more leeway in handling it.”

The Goal: A Graphic Liquid Flick

Forever a fan of liquid formulas and graphic looks, Carrasquillo leans toward Make Up For Ever’s inky liners across the board and loves 

Tom Ford’s dual-ended Eye Defining Pen. “If you’re really good and you have a steady hand, you use liquid eyeliner—that’s a staple. Every girl wants to be that girl.” His 19-year-old daughter, Nico-Lou (@NicoLouMonheimCarrasquillo), a black eyeliner enthusiast, gives Sephora’s Long Lasting 12HR Wear Eye Liner five stars for staying power. No matter which brands he gives her to test, says Carrasquillo, “she always calls me later and says, ‘You know what? The Sephora one just doesn’t move, it’s perfect.’ ”

The Goal: A Soft, Smoky Haze

For a Bardot-inspired French girl line, a powder eyeshadow—applied with an angled brush—keeps the borders hazy and romantic. “I actually like pressing powder along the lash line if you want something a little fuzzier and a little softer—not a hard edge.” Kevyn Aucoin’s Essential Eyeshadow in Blackest Black works wet or dry when applied with an angled brush. Carrasquillo warns that whatever you do, make sure that the pigment absolutely hugs your lash line. “The thing I hate is when you don’t get the black really close to the lashes and you see a separation of a little bit of skin.”

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