What’s in a line? Makeup artist Jenna Treat tells us how to apply liner like a pro, whether you're a felt tip or brush-and-pot kind of girl

Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

Thick or thin, retro or graphic, a slick, flick or flash of eyeliner is the power suit of makeup. Whether calligraphic or cautiously drawn, I believe that there’s no woman in the world whose eyes can’t benefit from a bit of lashline definition, and whatever shape or form it takes, it's always on trend. If shaky hands and leaky liner have gotton the better of you in the past, fear not; modern eyeliner is as user-friendly and is it flattering, and it really is flattering, as  Jenna Treat  underlines:

“What the perfect frame does for a picture, the right liner can do for the eye. It can make a small eye appear bigger, a narrow eye wider and can add smoke where a little smoulder is required.”

These days there are a myriad of application methods and eyeliner models on the market. Jenna’s guidelines below will demystify definition for good.

The classic kohl pencil

Ideal for lining the upper and lower inner waterline. It’s easy to blend and can add just the right amount of ‘smudge’ to finish off a smoky eye.

We love:  Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Pencil , £2.99

The cream liner and angled brush duo

Can create smooth lines from the inside to outside corners of the eye and it’s also very handy when it comes to creating the perfect feline flick.

If you can’t get your hands on a high quality cream liner, this look can also be achieved by using a damp eyeshadow in the preferred colour, again applied using an angled brush. This method works especially well on a mature eye as it can be layered and stippled on gradually in areas where eyes can appear crepey or tired, plus it sets quickly!

We love:  Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner , £19.50, and  Eye Definer Brush , £25.50

Additional brush tips…

Using a fine, moderately rigid brush, either angled or pointed, start the ‘feline’ flick from the point at which you’d like it to finish. Work backwards from the end point (just outside and above the eye) with small, precise downward strokes that come back towards the outside corner of the eye. This ensures that you can balance the two sides. Once you’re happy with the flick placement, take that line, in evenly stippled stokes, from the inside corner to meet the outside flick you’ve just created.

The felt tip liner

This is a brilliant invention for those who struggle with a brush, a kohl or those dastardly liquid liner applicators! With preloaded product on its tip, the liner can be applied in small, even strokes and dries quickly which helps to prevent annoying lid liner track marks. I prefer starting from the outside corners and working inwards to the centre of the lash line, then bringing the line from the inside corner to meet that line.

It’s pretty tricky, even for the best of us, to achieve perfectly straight, even lines all in one go. Segment it and watch how quickly you get the hang of it. Blend any boo boos with a cotton wool bud before the liner dries and sets, and try not to pull skin too taut when applying. This will prevent the rippled, wonky effect that can appear when skin snaps back into place. This is often more of a concern with mature eyelids, but constantly tugging at eyes can accelerate the ageing process too, as skin around the eyes is so delicate. Softly softly is both a short and long-term strategy here!

We love:  Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner , £16

The end of the line

Lastly, liner is for everyone. I have created the flickiest of flicks and the smokiest of smokes on some of my most veteran clients. Don’t be afraid to vary colours either; any shade or tone can be used on any eye. Personalise boldness or subtlety where required, based on eye shape, personality and maturity of the face.