Waterline Eyeliner: What It Is // How to Keep It On

You know the first time you hear a word or phrase and you realize it’s something that you love but didn’t know the name for?  That was “waterline eyeliner” for me.

I knew I loved how a thin line of eyeliner on the inner rim of my lower eyes made them pop, but I didn’t know the proper name for it.  And one day I heard some say it and WOAH lightbulb.

And so I went happily on my way, repeating “waterline eyeliner” in my brain for days.  Anyone else do that when they learn something new?  I swear, I’m like a 5 -year-old that way.  I just keep repeating it to myself.  But, I digress.

I loved waterline liner, but couldn’t get it to stay in place.  It would pool up at the inner corners of my eye in smeared globs (hi, boys!) or disappear completely.  I’d faithfully bring eyeliner with me to touch up mid way through the night but to be honest, if I do actually leave the comfort of sweatpants and Go Out, I want to just be out.  I don’t want to be fixing my makeup a zillion times when I could be laughing with my friends.

So I tried every liner I could get my hands on.  High end, drugstore, and everything in between.  Then I realized it came down more to technique than the actual product…

How to Make Waterline Liner Stay:

Start by lining the inside of your eye on the bottom, your waterline.  Make sure the line reaches all the way to the inner and outer corners.

Then, I take a liner brush and dip it in an eyeshadow color a shade lighter than my liner.  You can do black shadow with black liner for a more intense look.  Then I brush shadow on in short horizontal strokes as close to the liner as possible without it going in my eye.  (I tried putting it right on the waterline liner and that did not go great.  It stung and made my eyes water and got into my eyes, but I’ll try anything for beauty!)

I do a even lighter shade underneath that darker liner eyeshadow to soften it and blend it out.

Then, when all my eye makeup is done, mascara/lashes/etc I spray everything in place with a setting spray.  For extra hold, you can spray a bit of setting spray right into your liner brush and dab it over your shadow liner.

This keeps my liner in place 5 times longer.  No gross pools of liner on the insides of my eye.  No immediately disappearing liner.  Just liner that makes your eyes pop.

Party time!  Leave the house in clothes that aren’t sweatpants time!

Products used:

I did find that kohl liners work best for me on my waterline.  I like these from Lancome and Charlotte Tilbury.  My drugstore picks are the L’Oreal Silkissime eyeliner and the (of course) discontinued Revlon Grow Luscious eyeliner.  Revlon, please bring it back!  This Nars sharpener is the best for pencils and wastes the least amount of product.

In this video I used the Stila In The Light palette, for a drugstore dupe you could use Physcian’s Formula Matte Quad in Classic Nudes and for the shimmer shades the Baked Shadow in Baked Oatmeal.  That Stila palette is on sale {here} for $20 total though and comes with an eyeliner that is normally $20 on it’s own, so it’s a crazy good deal.

For brushes, I used the e.l.f liner brush, Sonia Kashuk crease brush and a Makeup Geek small crease brush.

The Finished Look:


Thank you for reading and watching!  I hope this post and video were helpful.  Please leave a comment if you have any questions that the video didn’t cover.  Also, please feel free to share this post and video on your Facebook and Twitter.  You can find me on Instagram @girlgetglamorous.  I appreciate you being a part of the blog!

Go Get Glam!


  • Laura Atiyeh
    March 27, 2015

    Thanks very much, I will try this tomorrow morning!
    However, for drugstore liner, I LOVE l”oreal Voluminous
    Smoldering liner….it’s a fat pencil and I use it on top, below
    and both upper & lower ‘waterline’…..then I brush on a same
    shade or lighter (as you suggested) shadow, brown liner/brown
    shadow, violet liner, violet shadow, etc. Thanks for listening!

    • Girl Get Glamorous
      March 27, 2015

      Oooh, good suggestion! I keep looking at that pencil but haven’t tried it yet, I will for sure now. L’oreal def makes great eyeliners!!

  • Julie
    March 27, 2015

    Love it! what shadow/liner and how did you do it on your upper lid?

  • Lizz Pugh Lmt
    May 1, 2015

    THANK YOU! I’ve been having the hardest time getting my waterline to stay! I just bought a few other liners to try that just came in the mail today. The one I bought last week from Sephora is the Smashbox always sharp waterproof and not only does it take 5-6 passes to get a good line down (even after warming it on my hands… ouch!), but it doesn’t stay! I’ll definitely try this technique.

    • Girl Get Glamorous
      May 6, 2015

      Awesome, I hope it works for you!

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