Blur the line

I’ve been wearing liquid liner the same way since I was about 14. Now, at 26, the brands I use might have expanded but my technique is pretty much the same on most days.

When I want a more dramatic, pin-up, jet black line on my upper lash line I stick with traditional liquid liner. Lately, though, I’ve been mixing it up to create a more subtle, soft look using eye shadow and a small angled brush.

You can choose to use gel, liquid, or pencil eyeliner as your first step. I usually go for black, but this works with any color. You can also use brown, grey, or something different like eggplant or emerald green (Pantone’s color of 2013) for something fun.

  1. Line your eye as you would normally with the color and texture of your choice
  2. When you get the shape you like, go over the very top of that line with your eye shadow using your angled brush. Wing it out if you’d like a lifted, cat eye look. (This will blur the harsh edge of your liner, making it look soft and faded, and it also makes your eyelashes pop a bit more)
  3. Go over the line until you have your desired color depth, then apply mascara and you’re done with the eyes

You can also choose to skip the liquid, gel or pencil altogether and just line your eyes with a darker shadow if you want a very soft and natural look. It all depends on what you’re going for.

I like this particular technique because it’s the best of both worlds– between a defined eye and a smoky look. You have the bottom portion of your liner still pigmented, maintaining the shape of your eye, but as it goes up the color becomes gradient and it’s very feminine and flirty.

Products I use:

  • Maybelline Line Stilleto liquid liner in “Blackest Black”
  • MAC eyeshadow in “Espresso”
  • Sonia Kashuk angled eyeshadow brush

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Urban Decay at a Discount

Be careful not to assume that Nordstrom Rack’s inventory is confined solely to last season’s undesirables. Quite the contrary, not only does Rack carry trendy clothing and accessories but it also offers great beauty finds from time to time. I experienced one of these times yesterday. While I was browsing the accessories section, a favorite pastime of mine, I stumbled across loud and colorful packaging that screamed Urban Decay. I struck cosmetic gold.

Sitting on a display were Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Volume IV (the brand’s most recent Book of Shadows release) and a 24/7 eyeshadow pencil set. The best part? The discounted price tags. If you’re a beauty junkie like me (my condolences) you know that cosmetics rarely, if ever, go on sale. I snapped these up pretty quickly and I suggest you do the same. The Book of Shadows Volume IV originally sold for $64 and I paid $28. The eyeshadow pencil set was originally $36 and I paid $11.

I neglected to purchase the Book of Shadows when it came out originally because the packaging was bulky and quite frankly, unnecessary. Its design is elaborate, and comes with a speaker system that you can hook an iPod to if you choose. I won’t be using it for this purpose. The more important component here appears when you open the drawer to reveal 16 gorgeous eyeshadows. There is a nice variety of wearable brights and neutral shades. My only complaint is, and this seems to be true of most of Urban Decay’s palettes, there are almost no matte shadows. This proves difficult if trying to create a look using just this palette, as using ALL shimmer and/or glitter on your eyelids is almost always a no-no. The colors are beautifully unique and they look just as vibrant at the end of the day as when you first applied them in the morning.

Besides the shadows, the palette also comes with a travel-size eyeshadow Primer Potion, a travel-size SuperCurl mascara and a full-size black liquid liner. These three items are just bonuses as I mainly wanted the shadows, but not bad extras to have. I do like the mascara; its light-weight formula allows your eyelashes to hold a curl for hours.

The eyeshadow pencil set certainly isn’t a must-have, but it’s mighty convenient for on-the-go application. If you’re a no muss no fuss kind of gal, these might be for you. There are three neutral shades and two vibrant ones that offer a fun pop of color. I tend to make use of the brighter colors by smudging them under my lower lash line for a subtle brightness to my look. They are amazingly pigmented and don’t crease throughout the day. In terms of blendability they’re not the best, but using your fingers rather than a brush helps a lot. At a little over $2 a pencil, the set is well worth it!