We’ve always been a fan of smoky, dramatic eyes. Ever since ancient times, kajal and kohl (note: you can use these terms interchangeably) have been helping enhance eyes—and as it turns out, the Cleopatra look is still as popular as ever. What we love about these liners is that they are very smooth and easy to smudge—so if you’re someone who finds it hurts to apply liner, or it skips when you draw it on, you’ll love this type. Below, we break down three different kinds of looks you can get using kajal and kohl and the best pencils for the job.
THE LINER LOOK
If you’d like to create a liner look, a good option is to go for a kohl pencil—like MAC EYE KOHL Liner or BURRBERRY KOHL liner. These will give you more structure and control than a chubby, cone-shaped kajal liner. Apply the liner close to your lashes using short strokes. Once you have built your shape, if you’re having trouble creating a smooth line, you can go back over it with a pointed smudge brush just over the edges to refine. If you tend to be oily, we recommend beginning with an eye primer and patting over your liner with an eye shadow in the same color using a smudge brush—just to help prevent any messiness. These pencils are great for lining your waterline as well, because they’re oh-so-soft.
THE SMOKEY LOOK
A more intense take on the liner look is to smoke it out. Begin by wrapping your eye with your liner—then smudge with your finger (or a smudge brush, if you prefer). This look is all about embracing chic messiness—it’s a lived-in cool, quick take on eyeliner. Here we wouldn’t really suggest using a primer, because you want to welcome the imperfection. Try using the Yves Saint Laurent Couture Kajal Eyeliner or theDIORSHOW KAJAL Liner. However, if you have smaller eyes, we’d suggest using a kohl pencil because the tips of the kajal liners are a lot larger. Additionally, we suggest just focusing on the middle and outer corners—rather than on the inner corners—to help open your eyes.
THE SHADOW LOOK
The girl who does the smoky look could do it on the bus to work—but for a shadow look, it’s a bit more editorial and not for beginners. To start, we suggest using a matte neutral eye shadow that’s slightly deeper than your skintone throughout the crease of your eye. Then, line the lower lash line with Yves Saint Laurent Couture Kajal Eyeliner and work your way up—just a apply a sketch of the product into the outer corner and use a pointed smudge brush to blend it in small circles in the crease. When it comes to applying this look, think less is more: apply, blend a little, take a step back, etc. Next, set your look with an eye shadow in the same shade as your kajal. The reason why you’d use kajal instead of just eye shadow is that this will give you an opaque, intense look. Remember, this isn’t a liquid liner look—there will be some sootiness that you won’t have full control over, but starting with an eye primer can help.