You’ve likely heard conflicting advice in this department, so we’re here to offer the ultimate consult and settle this debate once and for all.
As with many beauty debates like this, the answer here comes down to preference. We spoke with celebrity makeup artist Joanna Simkin to get her take: “You can lay down shadow or liner first,” she says, “depending on your desired effect.” If you’re going for a smoky look, try lining your lash lines with a pencil or a gel. Then dip a brush into eye shadow and use it to smudge the lines. “You can smoke it out all the way to the creases,” Simkin says, as the liner “makes a great base for the shadow.”
Now if you’re after a classic cat-eye look, you want to take the opposite approach. Apply your eye shadow first, as desired. Then create the shape of the wings with a pencil liner. After that, trace over the shape with a liquid liner, or a gel, Simkin says. “Doing the liner last will ensure it looks sharp and defined.”
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If you love the piercing, hyper-defined look that comes with tracing eyeliner along your inner eye rims (known as the “water lines”), you’ll always want to make that your final step, says Simkin. “Use dark colors to add depth,” she says. “Or line with a white pencil for a bright, eye-opening effect.”