Did you know that the right color eyeliner can make your eyes your stand-out facial feature? If you are a woman over 60, you can probably remember that not so long ago there were only two shades of eyeliner: black or brown. Now there is a wide range of colors. But how do you use them without looking overdone? And how do you use them to make your eyes really pop? Match your eyeliner to your limbal ring.
What is a limbal ring?
The limbal ring is the line around the iris (the colored part of the eye). The ring is most noticeable in light colored eyes, such as blue, green or hazel. This ring is darkest when you’re healthy and appears to fade as you age. So a defined one can suggest youthfulness and good health.
How can I accentuate my limbal ring?
When you are over 60, your limbal ring is less noticeable and less defined than it was when you were 20, 30, or 40. Obviously, you can’t do anything to the eye itself to change the definition of your limbal ring (although you can give the illusion of it with contact lenses, some of which are tinted and designed to add definition to the limbal ring). But there is an easy way to bring out your eyes using makeup—you simply match your eyeliner to your limbal ring.
Makeup artists and stylists have known for years that eyeliner matched to the color of the limbal ring makes your eyes pop. Our beauty editor has worn teal eyeliner for years. Early on, she experimented with different colored eyeliners but was never quite happy with the way they made her eyes look. Then some advice from a knowledgeable sales associate at a department store about matching liner to the limbal ring changed the color of her eyeliner forever.
What is the best color eye liner for you?
Sit in sunlight with a magnifying mirror of at least 7x magnification. Have a close look at the circle around your iris. When you look in a mirror in normal light, you may think the ring is black or dark brown; examining it closely in sunlight, you may notice amber or golden hues. If your eyes are lighter, your limbal ring may be navy, gray, or teal. If you truly have a black limbal ring, then black liner is for you.
Unlike in the old days, eyeliner comes in a wide variety of colors and types. There are colors for fantasy looks for, say, a night out clubbing. Leave those for the kids. The other colors—the teals, the grays, the ambers, the navys—are for everyday looks, and for women our age. It should be relatively easy to match these to your limbal ring, particularly if you shop during the day. If you try the eyeliner on your hand and then hold your hand up to your eye in daylight, you should be able to tell if they are a close match. (Colors look different in florescent lighting so don’t buy your eyeliner until you have tested it against your eye in day light or sun shine.)
Tips for finding the right eyeliner for you
With such a wide variety of eyeliners to choose from, here are some tips to help you find the right one:
Go for the simplest version of your chosen color
If your limbal ring is gray, don’t go for a sparkly or a shimmery gray eyeliner for every day. A simple gray is best—your limbal ring does not sparkle or shimmer. Remember, we want people to notice our eyes, not our eyeliner.
Shop for a pencil eyeliner that glides
There are liquid eyeliners, felt tip eyeliners, cake eyeliners that come with a brush that you moisten and sweep across the cake, there is even a roller ball eyeliner. But a pencil that glides without pulling is the easiest tool to handle without too much of a learning curve. Try testers at the makeup counter on your hands until you find the one that glides easily and stays on well.
If your eyelids droop, choose an eyeliner that won’t transfer to your brow bone
If you test an eyeliner on your hand and you can wipe it off immediately, it’s not going to wear well and it is likely to transfer to your brow bone if you have hooded eyes. There are eyeliners out there that you literally cannot budge once you have tested them on your hand. (They will fade over time.) This is an ideal eyeliner for hooded eyes. Don’t worry that you will have to scrub your eyes at night to get it off. The majority of it will remove with an oil-based remover and if you don’t get it all off, it’s not the end of the world—a hint of color around your eyes will look natural. There are no oil glands on your eyelids, so you are not going to clog your pores if a bit remains. It’s not like sleeping in your foundation.
Some of the eyeliners best known for staying put are Aqua XL Waterproof Eyeliner by Makeup Forever; L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil; Milani Stay Put Waterproof Eyeliner; and IT Cosmetics NO-TUG Eyeliner Anti-Aging Waterproof Gel Eyeliner.
Tips for applying eyeliner
Once you have an eyeliner that matches your limbal ring how do you use it so your eyes are the focal point of your face?
- Use that mirror with the 7x magnification. This is your eye we’re talking about. There is no point guessing or poking your eye with your eyeliner pencil.
- Don’t try to wing up the outer corner of the line. This might look good on 30-year-olds but it’s not for our age group. We need to go for a more natural look. Stop the eyeliner at the outer corner of your eye.
- Put eyeliner on your upper waterline. Most people just put eyeliner along the base of their lashes on the top lid. However, there is another area of lid below the lashes called the waterline. Putting eyeliner here accentuates the limbal ring and adds depth to the eye. Once you have put liner above the lashes, put your finger on your eyelid and press gently so that you expose the waterline. Then use your pencil to line there as well, being careful not to let your pencil touch your eye.
- Don’t circle your entire eye with eyeliner. Your eyes will appear much smaller than they are, and your makeup will look overdone. Put liner on the outer lower corner of your eye only.
- Don’t use liner on your lower waterline. Filling in your lower waterline (the part of your lower lid that rests against your eye) closes in your eye making it appear smaller.
- Leave the smoky eye to the experts. Smoky eyes, like full face contouring, are best left to makeup artists who know what they are doing. Smoky eyes for the Blue Hare set fall into the category of “Don’t try this at home”.
There’s a reason that eyes are considered the windows of the soul. When you identify the color of your limbal ring, you will be amazed at how matching your eyeliner to it will make your eyes stand out—and your whole face will light up.
Header photo: L’Oreal Colour Riche Le Kohl Eyeliner Pencil
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