Should Eyeliner Be Thick Or Thin? [A Complete Guide]

Deciding how to apply your eyeliner can be one of the biggest struggles of using makeup. Should it be thick? Would a thinner line look better? Sometimes it can be hard to choose which look will work best. For your convenience, we created a guide to provide you with a bit of guidance.

Whether to apply eyeliner thick or thin depends on the shape of your eye and the look that you are going for. If you have open, wide eyes, you may want to apply a heavy layer of liner to create a more seductive look for a night out on the town. If you have heavier eyelids that droop down more, you may want to apply a thin layer of liner to create a more casual look. Consider whether or not you want your eyes to appear larger, smaller, or more defined.

Makeup artists typically apply eyeliner according to the shape of your eye and the occasion. However, if you're new to applying your own eyeliner, you may be uncertain which look will work best for your specific eye shape. Keep reading to learn more about the different eye types and how to applying eyeliner based on your type.

A studio portrait of beautiful woman with professional cat-eye make up, Should Eyeliner Be Thick Or Thin? [A Complete Guide]

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Applying Eyeliner Based on Eye Shape

Various types of woman eyes

Almond Eyes

Almond-shaped eyes have an oval shape similar to that of an almond. This eye shape goes well with thick and winged eyeliner, which can help complement the eye's curve. You can also use thin eyeliner to open up the eyes a bit if you're going for every day or a more casual look.

Wide Eyes

If you have prominent or large eyes, they'll typically stand out more than your other facial features. For this type of eye, it's best to go with a thick line on your top or bottom line, especially if you're looking to make your eyes look smaller. You can also try winged liner on the lower bottom line for a more cat-like look, which is perfect for formal events or evenings out.

Read more about this liner on Amazon.

Round Eyes

Round eyes are typically characterized as eyes that have more of a circular than an oval shape. They're usually wider and are more prominent than other facial features. If you have round eyes, you can apply a thick line, depending on the look that you're going for.

If you want a long winged-eye look, apply a thick line to your bottom lid and wing it out on the tip. Or, if you want a more subtle look, you can go for a thin line on your top lid and the outer portion of your bottom lid.

Hooded Eyes

Hooded eyes are defined by eyes and have a drooping eyelid that typically creases when you open your eyes. If the hoods only have a minimal crease, they're often be referred to as monolid eyes. The brow bone is less defined in this eye type, making thick liner the best option to make your eyes appear bigger.

To make folded top lids look bigger, apply the liner between the root of your lashes and the lid. It's also helpful to apply a thin line at the inner corner of your eye and thicken it as you get to the outer corner.

Learn more about this pencil liner on Amazon.

Small Eyes

This eye type is typically defined by the size of your eyes compared to your mouth and nose. From a proportion standpoint, if they're less prominent than your nose and mouth, you're usually regarded as having small eyes.

The best liner application that works with small eyes is a thin line on your top lash and a solid thick line on the outer corner of your bottom lash. This will work well to help frame your eyes, enlarge their appearance, and give them more definition.

Close eyes

Closely-set eyes are defined as eyes that have a narrow space in between them. The best way to apply eyeliner on these types of eyes is to apply a thin liner at the corner on the bottom lid and gradually picking it up as you reach the outer portion of the corner.

You'll want to avoid taking the liner to the tear duct, as this can make the closeness of your eyes appear more prominent. Thicker lines on the outer portions of the top and bottom and top lid can work better to make them appear farther apart.

Does Thick Eyeliner Look Good?

Absolutely, but the best look will depend on the size and shape of your eyes. A thick line can work great on big or round eyes to emphasize the eyes, making them pop. It can also work well on hooded eyes to give them more character and make them stand out. Or, if you're looking for a more seductive look during a night out, a thick bottom and top line can work well.

Check out this jumbo eye pencil on Amazon.

How Do You Properly Apply Eyeliner?

The proper way to apply eyeliner is to first clean your face and make sure that you have a solid primer before applying any eyeliner. Next, ensure that your eyeliner is sharp or dull enough for your makeup application if it's a pencil. Then, while lightly holding your top lid taut, bring the eyeliner from the inner corner of your eye to the outer edge of your eyelid.

If there are gaps in the line, go back over it and fill them in. Once you're satisfied with the look, gently hold your bottom lid, and starting at the inner corner of your eyelid, bring the liner across to the edge of your eyelid. If you're going for a winged-eye look, you'll want to extend the line about an eighth of an inch past the end of your eyelid. Go back and fill in any gaps in the liner.

What Type Of Eyeliner Is Best For Beginners?

The best eyeliners for beginners are generally the ones that are the easiest to use. There are three eyeliners that fall into this category: pencils, gels, and creams. Let's cover each in detail.


Pencil liners are usually considered the easiest eyeliner to use. They can work wonderfully for subtle looks or more prominent liner applications. What makes them so easy to use is their easy glide-on application. They aren't messy in the way that liquid eyeliners can be.

Also, the retractable pencil on these lighters means that you don't have to worry about them breaking during use. These liners are typically waterproof, which can be especially important for eyeliner newbies, and they come in various colors.

Learn more about this pencil eyeliner on Amazon.


Gel liners contain a significant amount of wax in their formulation. This makes them perfect for all-day use, and they're usually waterproof. These eyeliners are typically applied with an eyeliner brush, making it easy to draw thicker lines without going over them multiple times. They also work great for waterlining, which can be particularly tricky for anyone applying eyeliner for the first time.

Check out this gel eyeliner on Amazon.


Similar to gels and pencils, cream eyeliners are also easy to apply. They work well for creating smokey eye looks, and they're ideal for smudging and other heavier liner applications. If you're looking for a liner that's easy for waterlining, look no further.

Read more details about this cream liner on Amazon.

What Eyeliner Should I Do For My Eye Shape?

If you have close-set, small, or rounder eyes, a thicker line on your bottom or top lid can work well to make your eyes appear more prominent or larger. And if you have almonds shaved, heavy-hooded, or wider eyes, thin lines can work well for subtle looks. And heavier liner on your top or bottom lid can create a more prominent look to make your eyes pop.

How Do You Put On Eyeliner That's Too Thin?

The easiest way to apply eyeliner that's too thin is to start at the center of your upper lash line so that you have more control over your hand. Next, extend the line and stop after about 1/4 of an inch. Start again from where you stopped and continue to do this until you reach the end of your lid. Go over the lid with the same process to create a thicker line. Then do the same thing on the bottom lid.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has helped illustrate factors to consider when applying a thin or thick eyeliner. Remember, the shape of your eyes is the biggest determinant in deciding what type of line will work best for you individually.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

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