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how to wear the black pencil in 2023 without being corny?

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An essential and timeless beauty product, the black pencil can also tire the eyes if it is not correctly applied. An expert tells us how to apply black pencil without looking old-fashioned.

Like mascara or lipstick, black pencil is one of the must-have make-up products that we wear both in adolescence and in adulthood. And because this product crosses generations, it can be hard to know how to adapt it according to the shape of his eyes, his skin or his age. And when a black pencil is badly applied, it can make you look more tired, mark fine lines or even make you look “has been”.

Black eyeliner style pencil, inside the eye, under the eye or flush with the eyelashes, there are a thousand and one ways to wear it, but how do you know which one suits you best? We asked to Magali Marx, Clarins make-up expert, to give us his best tips for using a black pencil. How to choose a black pencil, how to apply it well, mistakes not to make, discover the beauty lesson of our makeup expert.

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Choosing the right black pencil

There are different formulas of black eye pencils. It is essential to choose yours carefully, depending on the desired effect and your make-up habits.

  • For a long-lasting effect and a precise line : opt for a waterproof black pencil, often in the form of a retractable mine. Its more resistant formula resists tears and humidity and its very fine tip allows for finer and more precise lines.
  • For a smoky effect or to highlight the inside of the eye : Go for a black pencil with a fatter formula, kohl type. It allows to obtain a “smoky” effect and a beautiful intensity.

How to wear a black pencil according to the shape of your eyes?

Before applying your black pencil, it is important to prepare the eyelids well so that the material does not run into fine lines or run throughout the day. Magali advises applying her pencil “on perfectly cleansed and dried skin” on which there is no longer this small film of sebum which prevents make-up from adhering to the skin. “I recommend using micellar water for the face and eyes without rinsing, then moisturizing with a treatment with a texture and formula adapted to the eye contour. You can then apply an eyeshadow primer or simply a little concealer” specifies the expert.

Wear a waterproof black pencil

  • As an eyeliner to create a doe-eye effect : you can draw a very thin line flush with the upper eyelashes. The line should thicken slightly outward and thin again as you draw the tip. To make the line easier, I recommend working along the lashes first, making a very fine line and applying material between the lashes to create the illusion of fuller fringe. You can then stretch the material with a small brush towards the outside of the eye. For the tip to be perfect, it is absolutely necessary to keep the eye being made up open and to direct the movement towards the tail of the eyebrow.
  • Foxy eye style to lengthen the look : we start here the line in the upper internal mucosa, from the inner corner towards the center of the eye, then we go up the line at the level of the upper eyelashes with stretching it with a small brush. This creates a very graphic effect and gives the illusion of a more elongated and lifted look. A perfect make-up for round eyes.
  • In under liner flush with the lower eyelashes : the pencil must be applied at the base of the eyelashes (or even in the eyelashes) to prevent the material from smudging and running on dark circles during the day. You can also stretch and raise the line a little at the outer corner of the eye with a brush to create a more modern effect and stretch the look. The line should be slightly thicker at the outer corner and thinner or inner corner, to avoid weighing down the eyes. This makeup is perfect for those who have a small upper eyelid or eyes.
  • Inside the eye in the mucous membrane : this technique gives intensity to the gaze and brings out the clear irises, but it also “narrows” the eyes. To be avoided if you have very small eyes.

Wear a black kohl pencil well

  • To create a smoky effect : apply the pencil to the lower and upper mucosa then flush with the lower and upper eyelashes. Then blend the material with a small brush or a finger to create a subtle smoky effect. You can then powder the material with a black eyeshadow or a transparent loose powder. Then restore a little intensity to the make-up by applying a touch of pencil along the eyelashes. You get intense and sophisticated makeup, perfect for a night out.

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Alternatives to black pencil

The black pencil is not necessarily the best option to highlight the look. There are other almost equally intense shades that can compliment your eyes more:

  • The brown, brown or terracotta pencil : perfect for intensifying the look without hardening or tiring the features. It is suitable for all iris colors.
  • plum pencil : beautiful on blue or green eyes. Be careful, however, it can bring out small vasculitis of the eyelids or redness of the eyes.
  • midnight blue pencil : very pretty on brown eyes, it is a perfect alternative to black pencil.

The mistakes not to make with a black pencil

  • Forget to prune it : a lead that is too thick does not allow you to draw a precise line, remember to sharpen your pencil before each use.
  • Draw too thick a line : a line that is too thick can weigh down the eyes and tire the lines. It should be as thin as possible, especially at the inner corner of the eyes.
  • Leave a space between the pencil line and the eyelashes : if the skin is apparent between the pencil line and the fringe of eyelashes, this will not highlight the look at all.
  • Make a “falling” pencil line : nothing worse than a tip of a pencil line falling on the outer corner of the eye… To do this, remember to open your eye well when you put on make-up and correct the line if necessary with a little concealer using a cotton swab or a


Thanks to Magali Marx, Clarins make-up expert.

Head of beauty section

Passionate about the world of beauty, Inès likes to decipher the latest make-up, care and hair trends and unearth the best products on the market. It offers selections adapted to all …

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