How to Turn Your Favorite Eyeshadow Into Eyeliner

Sometimes, your favorite black eyeliner just won’t cut it. Whether you didn’t realize you were out of eyeliner, you want to take a chance on a unique color, or you’re trying to get a different look than the typical liquid or gel liner, it’s possible to turn a great eyeshadow into eyeliner. There are many different ways to do it, and the more you practice, the better it’ll turn out at the end. Here’s a few tips to help you get started.

1. Find the Right Brush

First of all, you need a great brush. The traditional small fluffy brushes that you use to apply eyeshadow to the eyelid typically won’t be a good fit for applying eyeshadow as liner. Instead, you usually want to use a fine-angled eyeshadow brush, which will be a good tool for packing on color and ensuring that you put the eyeshadow exactly where it belongs. A paddle brush with a rounded tip or a pencil brush with a dense feel are also great options.

2. Choose a Color and Finish

Next, it’s time to choose the actual color and finish that you want to use for your eyeliner. Typically, a matte finish will look best, and eyeshadows that are heavily pigmented will show up better than eyeshadows that don’t have much pigment to speak of. If you want to do specific eyeliner looks, it may be a good idea to buy a palette that fits your ideas, but you can also use whatever eyeshadow palettes you already have at home.

3. Apply to Achieve a Specific Style

Next, there are a few styles that you might want to try out for turning your favorite eyeshadow into eyeliner. Here are a few different styles, along with tips for achieving them.

  • Traditional Precise Liner

If you’re trying to perfectly mimic the look of a traditional gel or water liner, press the shadow into your lash line with an angled brush, using a stamping motion instead of a spreading one. Press it out further beyond your waterline than you usually would, then take a makeup remover and a cotton swab to create a sharp wing. This gives you nearly endless possibilities when it comes to colored liner.

  • Smoky Liner

What if you’re looking for a more smoky, smudged look? Opt for the paddle or pencil brush, then drag it along the lash line instead of pressing it in. This is a great way to add eyeshadow along the lower lash line, as this will create a sexy smolder that’s unparalleled. One way to avoid fallout with this technique is to press the shadow into place, then clean your brush before blending it in.

  • Wet Liner Application

If you want even more precise liner application, you can mix your eyeshadow with either a hydrating or setting spray or a specialist eyeliner mixing medium. If you purchase a mixing medium, you’ll get the most long-lasting wear on your liner. Dampen your brush, then dip the brush into the eyeshadow before applying it to the eye.


There are many ways to apply eyeshadow as eyeliner. If you’re looking for the best options, this is a great starting point for any eyeliner lovers. Grab an Ulta coupon, pick up some new favorite eyeshadows and brushes, and get to work on trying out new eyeliner options.