9 Mar 2021

My Pick Of The Eye Pencils

Pick Of The Eye Pencils on vickiarcher.com

 EYE PENCILS Are tricky.

Eyeliner is a love/hate thing with me.

I like the dark upswept or heavily outlined look on others but I struggle to get it quite right on myself. I have lost count of the pencils I have bought, tried and dismissed; a six-layer box of Derwent coloured pencils must be near the mark.

The ageing process, as much as I like it intellectually, does have some downsides when it comes to eye make-up and in particular the application of pencils. I could blame age and a tendency for the eyes to be less wide open than they once were but I was never much good at the application of eyeliner in any case.

I want to share a little trick that has changed my eyeliner life. 

How to apply.

Start with a pencil, never a liquid. Liquid eyeliners are a whole other can of worms best left unopened in my case.

I have always held down my eyelid to apply eyeliner. Wrong.

Apply the pencil with eyes wide open, looking straight ahead into the mirror.

The line is drawn as the eye is seen.

Start from the centre and draw upwards as you reach the outer lid, remembering not to close the eye.

When you close your eyes, you will see that it is a  different shading/lining to the one that would be there if you lined your eyes closed.

Open. The eyes look wider and the eyeliner flies up at the edge rather than down.

I was amazed at the result.

What to use?

A soft eye pencil, never with shine, so much less flattering.

Dark Grey is my shade of choice. A colour that opens up the eyes and is much kinder than black.

Favourites; Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury and Mac, for ease, colour and sensitivity. My eyes are those that water with the least provocation; I can wear these pencils happily all day, every day.

It’s time to colour in the lines, xv.

My Pick of The Eye Pencils

mac in phone number  ||  chanel in 64 graphite  || charlotte tilbury in smokey grey

this feature contains affiliate links

images, vogue cover, helen mirren by annie leibovitz

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In This Post:



Alexandra Pierce-Smith

International Women’s Day 2021

What is one of the things that you personally have done to help the future of women?

One of my earliest memories, was walking with my Mother who was a Nursing Sister in the early fights to get equal pay. It set the seal. I am most proud of being a Representative on the US Federal Women’s Program fighting to sponsor and encourage younger women to smash the glass ceiling which kept women from becoming senior officers.


yes, I have been using Chanel’s graphite
for years and years. The make up artists in
the department stores actually have quite a bit
of knowledge and experience.

Angela Muller

I agree with your comments regarding the latest attack on the Royal Family. However, personally, I feel it would have been wise of Harry’s new wife to resolve her own personal insecurities before unleashing them on the world, and using the latest political climate to give strength to issues that can only be resolved on a psychiatrists couch.
As for eye liner, I have used, with great success, Bobbi Brown’s eyeliner. You barely need touch the upper rim of lashes for the softest, natural line that appears one with your own upper lashline.


I can’t say I understand this “tell-all’ approach. I was taught to air grievances with only those involved but social media has changed all that… whether it is for the better, who knows? Obviously, in some cases it is but I’m not sure what gains will come out of this for either side.


Please Please do an eyeliner tutorial. I can’t quite understand your instructions. I would love to see how you apply your eyeliner!


I’m not very good at talk, film and action.. lol…
The only thing really to remember is not to close the eye and follow the line with the eye open.

Jenifer Prince

Thanks for the eyeliner tips.
I’ve wanted to wear liner, didn’t know where to start, but wanted smoky grey for my brows too. Thanks for the pencil brand list❣


Hi Vicki! I am so enjoying all the different things you share. You are only lining your top lid, correct? No smudging? Just a smooth line from inner corner to outer edge with a little wing upwards? I’m so excited to learn something new and I’ve always worn black but I bought the gray and it is so flattering my silver hair. Thank you!


less is more espec. when it comes to our eye make up. Every line up or under the lid
makes the eye smaller , tired and old. So why? Soft shadow and mascara is doing well for me. Didn’t use this useless pencil or liquid liner even in my young years


I use the pencil like a shadow Rena… I do find it easy .. and as long as it is well blended … its a good effect… :)


First of all, Helen Mirren is exquisite at any age. And eyeliner is FUN. You can add just enough for a dramatic look, a subtle look. I’m sold.


Subtle in everything… that’s what I find these days works for me best, Anita :)


I agree totally with what you say Vicki. I find it all incredibly sad on top of all sorts of other sadness. I wondered the other day if they had thought how they would feel, in many years time, if their own children did this to them. A world where those children could feel the love of 4 grandparents and 2 great grandparents rather than one, would have to be a greater joy for them.
I’m going to try your tips on eyeliner today. Keeping my eye open after all these years will feel really strange but makes sense. Thank you 😊


It does feel totally strange and takes a bit of practice.. but it really does work :)

Sandra Sallin

I’ve been loving Beauty Pie eye liner pencils. They’re nice and soft. Plus do remember to sharpen your pencils so that you get a great line and it’s easier to apply.


Hi Vicki
To be honest Harry’s mental health is more of a concern than his wife’s. Harry is basically one of the good guys and l think he would never have contemplated bringing The Queen, his family and his country into disrepute if his mind was clear and strong. The UK like the rest of the world is at war with Covid. Across the worldpeople have lost their lives, their jobs and many now rely on food banks to feed their families. The NHS, Police, dustman and many other front liners are risking their lives and by default the lives of their families during this Pandemic. To reiterate Harry was one of the good guys – something is just not right!
The taxpayer, any taxpayer, should not meet the cost of their security if they do not want to be part/give service to that country. We all have to earn our keep – like other countries we pay for our security through our taxes Police, Army, health. Sorry Harry if you don’t want to work for your pay (security) you must find others means to fund it and not complain – which you have been forced to do. Megham lives in the luxury she could only once have dreamt about – be thankful whilst other struggle across the world
Ps loved the eyeliner tip – works for me😘


I do hear you, Georgina. It seems all wrong to me too.. all of it. Life has been horrific for so many this last year, it defies understanding. “Spilling the beans” and “sour grapes” usually backfires badly. I hope it all quietens down very quickly.. it’s relentless in the UK right now!


Think Yanks think the Brits,particularly the Royals are a bit above airing dirty laundry in public. Obviously,some one missed this message! Perhaps it was the person in charge of imparted protocol who forgot that lesson! A lesson in eyeliners or a tutorial would be a really good idea!

Michelle à Détroit

I have no sentimental feelings whatsoever regarding the Queen or the British monarchy. More than anything else, it’s a business, run much like any other conglomerate. I am happy that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have escaped, and wish them the best. I found the interview to be in no way disrespectful to the Crown. I was a bit surprised that Markle didn’t do her due diligence. The idea of being in your mid 30’s, living in Canada for seven years and knowing so little of the Royal was a bit of a stretch. In addition, as an African American woman, older, but not dissimilar in looks from Markle, I have perhaps been more attuned to the hate that has been spewed at her. I once asked the moderator of a popular Instagram page devoted to Carolyn Bessette Kennedy to remove a thread in which she had simply shown a photo of MM next to one of CBK wear similar white shirts. Fortunately, she agreed. Some of the posts were ugly beyond belief. That’s just one of many gratuitously hateful treads I’ve come across.

Michelle à Détroit

I actually think it’s good to discuss it, Vicki, as long as it’s polite and thoughtful discussion. Meghan and Harry are making history in so many ways…


I agree Michelle.. it is a conversation that resonates and is important on many levels.

The monarchy is a big part of life and yes, a business but it is so much more than that – for British and European people – and I am only sad it has turned so sour as there was such hope in the beginning. There were incorrect facts in the interview, the baby’s title and the security questions, which sadly weakened their arguments but it doesn’t really matter as the Sussexes are obviously very distressed. I hope their new lives are what they wish for and they can heal the estrangement somehow.


I suspect that things began to go sour for Harry years before the current stand off. We all know what happened to his mother. I haven’t seen any reports in the US refuting the facts of their interview, but I think that the monarchy has much more to lose by admitting to any of them. I too hope that the Sussexes will be able to heal any rifts with the royal family, all while holding on to their refreshing independence.

BTW, I tried the eyeliner trick. BRILLIANT!


I have had great respect for Queen Elizabeth since I was quite young. I remember my Mom talking about the Queen and her family during WWII and how they refused to leave London during the Blitz. I just finished reading a book about Churchill and London during the Blitz entitled “ The Splendid and the Vile” by Erik Larson. I gained even more respect for the Queen when reading the details of that horrifying experience. Even Buckingham Palace was bombed. I won’t venture any opinions on the state of the mental health of anyone connected to that interview but I think it’s a fair bet the Duchess would not have survived 1940-41 in London with the steely resolve that Elizabeth did.

On a much different note – eyeliner! I have been using Bobbi Brown’s Gel Eyeliner for years. As I age, though, I have a problem with the upper lid line transferring to a dark crescent under my eye. It happens on one eye only – maddening! Any tips, Vicki?

I love your blog and have gotten a lot of great tips from it over the years. I wore my much- loved and extremely practical cargo jacket yesterday and thought of you!


Thank you, Janet :) Not sure without seeing your eye… If you haven’t already… try a different pencil and apply with your eye open and see if it makes any difference.


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