not a professional. just crazy.

The Best Shadows and Liners for Above-the-Mask Eye Looks

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

These days, applying makeup can sometimes feel … utterly pointless. After staining three non-disposable masks, I pretty much stopped wearing foundation all together. And if you’ve seen a photograph of me with red lipstick on, it’s safe to say I didn’t step foot outside once that day.

The thing is, I love playing with makeup! From the ritual of applying it in the mornings, to experimenting with different formulas and textures. So, lately, eager to dip back into my dusty makeup bag, I’ve decided to capitalize on the one area that isn’t totally concealed by masks … my eyes! Whether it’s a colorful liner to match my outfit or a slight glowy twinkle, eye makeup has allowed me to feel like I can just have fun with makeup once again. And it turns out, I’m not alone: I posted a question on Instagram asking what tutorials people wanted to see me do, and nearly everyone replied asking for easy, playful eye-makeup looks.

Ask and you shall receive: I’ve created a roundup of fun, easy-to-apply eye-makeup products — including a subtle shimmer approved by Beyoncé.


These high-pigment, ultrasharp liquid liners from NYX are an excellent way to add a petite, vibrant wing or a bright stripe of color along your lids. Liquid liners are always slightly tricky (for me, anyway), but the ultrafine brush makes it easy to paint a wing in one quick swoop. What I love most about them is that they don’t budge — you won’t need to touch them up over the course of the day. Not to mention, they’re well-priced.

If the above liquid liner sounds too tricky, I’ve personally noticed that kohl pencils are much easier to apply, especially if you have shaky, wobbly hands like myself. These pencils from Fenty are rich in pigment, and super-creamy — they easily glide across your lids, imparting a beautiful high pigment. My favorites are the matte shades “Lady Lagoon” (an electric blue), “Cute Ting” (a bubblegum pink), and “Cherry Punk” (a bright red). These liners are the easiest and best way to achieve that slightly-dramatic-but-still-wearable colorful cat-eye.

If the Fenty Flyliner is too steep for your budget, try these Shockwave liners from L.A. Girl. They’re creamy, water-resistant, and seriously pack a punch color-wise. They’re equally as easy to apply as the Fenty.


If you’re looking for a pretty, twinkly, pearlescent wash of color, these Lid Stars shadows from Glossier are some of the best in the game. There’s a reason why so many celebrities, including Greta Gerwig, Tracee Ellis Ross, Maya Rudolph, Salma Hayek, and Beyoncé have all been spotted wearing these on the red carpet. They give off the most beautiful, subtle, sparkly sheen that makes your eyes just pop. All the shades are excellent — but “Lily,” a sheer lilac, and “Cub,” a rose-gold, are probably my two all-time favorites.

I’m also completely obsessed with these $6 single-shade eye shadows from ColourPop, which have, in my opinion, one of the best formulas in the game. The cream-to-powder consistency makes for a super-blendable, effortless application. And the shimmer is wonderfully buildable — a touch will give a lovely subtle shimmer, but if you keep applying, you’ll get a bright, glittery shine that you can see from space. My two favorites are “Birthday Wish,” a bronzy gold, and “Frog,” an icy rose.

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The Best Shadows and Liners for Above-the-Mask Eye Looks