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How to Sharpen Your Eyeliners - Tips & Tricks

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Sharpen Your Eyeliners

Share your best tips and tricks for sharpening your eyeliners!  Feel free to share your experiences, how you mastered techniques, or what you struggle with.

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. For really soft/creamy pencils, put them in the refrigerator or freezer to help them harden to minimize waste.
  2. Clean out your sharpener between uses so that colors don’t get mixed.
  3. Sharpen with sure, moderately fast turns of the eyeliner–don’t go too slow but don’t go too fast.

Thanks to Gweng for today’s question!


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Cat G Avatar

I love my Pixi Eye Pens, they are amazing, but I am soo scared to sharpen then because they are so soft! I might have to try this freezing trick.

xamyx Avatar

Start with a good sharpener. It may take some effort, and you may have to go through a few that don’t work out, but in the long-run, it’s worth it. A good sharpener doesn’t have to be too expensive, either; my HG is a double sharpener by L’Oreal, and was around $5-6 USD, and I’ve had it over 5 years. It shaves of the most minimal amount of pencil, and no tips have *ever* broken off in it. While a shapener can be found for under $1, I would stay away from those, as I’ve found those to just grind pencils down alot quicker, and get jammed with eyeliner, wasting alot more product.

Julie S Avatar

Yes!! My favorite sharpeners are Estee Lauder for my skinny pencils, and a solid metal sanitizable dual jumbo/skinny sharpener from Prestige.

Kgll Avatar

The worst part of sharpening eye pencils is cleaning the actual sharpener. It messes with my mind when I try to remove all of that smearing gunk from it. I would prefer to not use a screwdriver each time that I try to clean them. I wish that I could boil them clean.

Leila Avatar

Maybe try a toothpick? The Urban Decay one has a plastic pick with it to scrape off the gunk but your could just use a regular toothpick.

For my art pencils, I always use an all-metal sharpener, it’s what’s advised and I’ve always loved them the best. You can go to an art shop to find them. Decently priced. Oh and German pencils and sharpeners are the best.

Leila Avatar

You’re welcome 🙂

Also, like KaseyCannuck below me added, after scraping off the gunk, use a makeup remover or rubbing alcohol to sanitize. Scraping everything off first though, means you have an easier time sanitizing.

Of course if you buy an all-metal sharpener, you can dump it in boiling water for sanitizing (again after scraping everything off).

Roo Avatar

Every good sharpener I’ve tried was made in Germany or Japan. Those countries also make the best pencils.

I rarely need to clean mine because it’s so well-designed that it doesn’t hold gunk. When I do want to clean it, I dip a cotton swab in makeup remover.

Elizabeth Avatar

My favorite sharpener is the Urban Decay Grind House Sharpener – works perfectly every time for all the pencils I own (not just for the UD liners). It’s also great because it accomodates two different size pencils.

Hollie H Avatar

Don’t buy cheap sharpeners. I ruined more pencils on them. My new favorite is the UD one. Two cranks and you have a perfectly sharpened pencil.

Moonchime Avatar

Always use a great sharpener for your eyeliner and lipliner pencils. Many posters have mentioned the Grind House sharpener sold by Urban Decay. There is an even better one that is less expensive on the market though. They are sold at Sally Beauty Supply throughout the USA. You can even order them online. They are made in Germany and the brand name is “Beautique.” They are made of silver metal. I have two. One cost me $3 and the other cost me $4, at different times. I don’t know if the price went up, or if the first time I bought one it was at a sale price. You can find them near the checkout at any Sally Beauty Supply store–or just ask one of the Sales people when you go inside. They know what you are asking for and will point you in the right direction. The Beautique sharpener has two hole sizes to sharpen both regular sized liner pencils, and a larger size to sharpen chubby pencils.

Christina Avatar

I recently got the Too Faced Return of the Sexy Eye palette (super long name!) and the eyeliner pencil it came with was so soft that it smushed into my sharpner and just wouldn’t sharpen at all. I took some advice from this post and stuck it in the freezer, so hopefully that works out:)

Sabrina Avatar

LOL. this happens with me everytime- ‘i don’t understand, why are your eyeliners in the fridge? i’m pretty sure they don’t taste good….’ (sigh)

sara B Avatar

Will sharpening help with an eyeliner pencil that seems to have dried out? I had this gorgeous blue eyeliner from BareEscentuals that used to be so creamy and now the color payoff is basically nothing. I don’t know what happened!

Catherine @ bcrueltyfree Avatar

ESSENCE Sharpener! It’s the same as the UD Grindhouse (I think UD might be changing the Grindhouse sharpener because I saw it on clearance recently, so it may be different in the near future). But yes it’s a few dollars and… well, I never thought a sharpeners could differ, but they do… I get SO much more from my soft pencil products using their sharpener than I used to with others

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