What is the Best Way To Line Your Waterlines Without Looking Harsh?

"I love the look of dark eyeliner, but I can't seem to get it right."
Sabrina Rinaldi
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"I love the look of dark eyeliner, but I can't seem to get it right."
Scarlett Johansson - A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's Benefit, 2009

Scarlett Johansson's black waterlines and rosy eyeshadow.

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Q: I love the look of dark eyeliner on celebrities walking the red carpet, but I can't seem to get it right. I have very pale skin, natural light blonde hair, and light eyelashes and eyebrows. Before going out one night, I lined the lid and water line with a dark brown pencil and added black mascara. When I came downstairs, my boyfriend said it looked really "intense" on me (that's his way of saying "terrifying"). I normally wear black eyeliner on my lid with black mascara, but is adding the eyeliner to the waterline not complimenting my colouring? — Kate

A: Kate, I love adding liner to the waterline (inner rim of the eyes). It really gives a smoky eye its oomph, and can make light-coloured eyes pop. 

But it definitely makes a makeup look much more dramatic! Because you are fair, the combination of lining your lid and your waterline can be a bit bold for your colouring (and hence, a bit too dramatic of a look for your boyfriend!).

Let me first start off by saying that I don't think what you did was a beauty blunder, but sometimes those who know you and are used to seeing you with less makeup may find it to be a bit much.

It sounds like your daily routine that consists of eyeliner and mascara is working for you. 

If you want to amp it up for a night out, you could try applying a lighter colour eyeshadow in a shimmery texture (pale gold or yellow, bone/off-white or a muted pink) to the eyelid and then only applying the dark liner to the waterline.

Some suggestions for eyeshadow colours are Stila Eye Shadow in Kitten:

And MAC Eyeshadow in Shroom:

In doing this, you get the impact of the liner without it overwhelming your fair colouring. Also, when you keep the lids neutral and concentrate the darkness on the waterline, you make your light-coloured eyes really pop and stand out!

Instead of dark brown, you could try a softer brown pencil in your waterlines, such as Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner in Aqua XL D-62.

Regardless of whether it's a day or night look, I am a big fan of always curling your lashes (think Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler) and applying a black mascara. My current fave is CoverGirl Lash Perfection Mascara:

Hope this helps!

Sabrina Rinaldi is a Toronto- and Montreal-based hair and makeup artist.