How to Sharpen Eyeliner? – With & Without a Sharpener

An eyeliner pencil has the potential to make or break your makeup. In just a few minutes, your face can go from looking fab to drab, and that is something that every makeup enthusiast hates. If you are looking for a crisp-cut look, a blunt eyeliner pencil will not help you achieve the look you are aiming for.

How many times has it happened that you were sharpening your eyeliner pencil, and the tip kept breaking off? Trying to get a sultry look with a rounded and cut tip will not give you a smooth tip. As a result, the smudged look will distract from your eye shadow.


Quick Answer

One of our favorite tips, pun intended, is using a knife. However, there are plenty of other ways to sharpen your eyeliner pencil. Of course, there’s the conventional way of using a sharpener, and then there are the unconventional ones, which are plenty. These include rubbing it against a rough or smooth surface, using scissors, and even freezing it. Sounds, exciting doesn’t it? The good news is that all of these methods will give you a perfectly sharp eyeliner pencil ASAP.

So, are you ready to find out how to use these tips? Now that you know what other sharpening options you have besides a sharpener, let’s talk about them in detail:

How to Sharpen a Pencil Without a Sharpener

We already know the basics of using a pencil sharpener so let’s take a look at the unconventional methods first:

Using a Knife: You can use any knife to sharpen a pencil. Hold the pencil in your left hand and the knife in your right. Hold the knife horizontally 1 inch below from the tip. Cut small strips of the pencil while rotating it. Slowly taper the wood until you see the color rod emerge. Now, shorten your strokes and focus on the lead instead to give it a sharp edge. You can try this with a cutter as well.

Use a Rough Surface: Rough surfaces are notorious for causing abrasions, and that’s what you need to sharpen your pencil. Some rough surfaces that will do the trick include sandpaper, a nail file, and a foundational structure (such as a brick). Rub the pencil against the surface until you achieve the desired sharpness.

Use Scissors: While a scissor is not as sharp as a knife or blade, it will sharpen your pencil, albeit slowly. Open the scissors wide and hold the blade. Position your pencil at a 45° angle and pull it downwards on the blade as you scrape wood against a sharp edge. Keep doing this until you see the lead taking shape.

Use a Nail Clipper: If you are out and about and need a quick touch-up, you can hunt in our purse for a nail clipper to sharpen your eyeliner pencil. Most people do not carry a blade or knife in their purse, and if you forget the sharpener at home, a nail clipper will save the day. Make small clips along the tip to trim the wood, and then use the filer to sharpen it.

Use a Smooth Surface: You are probably wondering how a smooth surface can help you get a sharp tip, right. If the paper can give you a nasty cut, it can help you sharpen your eyeliner pencil. Hold your pencil at a 30° angle and rub it back and forth on a folded piece of paper. Keep the pencil flat as this will help you get a sharper and longer tip.

How to Sharpen a Pencil With a Sharpener

One thing that most people forget is that it is extremely important to keep your pencil sharpener clean. The tip of this pencil will be touching your eyelid, and any bacteria can cause an infection. So, we suggest that you clean your pencil sharpener first. Here’s how to do it:

Use a Cotton Swab: Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and clean the sharpener.

Sharpen Gently: The lead of an eyeliner pencil is slightly softer than a regular pencil. So, try not to push the pencil too hard into the sharpener. Insert the pencil in the sharpener and give it one full rotation. Do not sharpen the pencil too much, or its tip will poke your eyes.

Since eyeliner pencils come in different sizes, you cannot use a standard sharpener for all of them. This is where an eyeliner sharpener comes in, which is specifically for makeup pencils. They have two holes: One for thin pencils and the other for thick ones. After sharpening the pencil, gently tape the tip on a tissue to make it slightly blunt so that it glides smoothly over your eyelid.

Can I Sharpen a 3-Sided Pencil With a Regular Sharpener?

Yes and no! This might sound a bit confusing, but it has to do with the size of the pencil. If the pencil is thin, it will easily fit into a regular sharpener. However, if it is thick, you will have to purchase a makeup sharpener. Another thing you can do is use a knife for the thick pencil because it has clear edges, and you can trim the tip easily.

How to Prolong Your Eyeliner Pencil’s Tip Life?

If you are tired of sharpening your eyeliner pencil because the color rod won’t just hold, freeze it. This is an easy solution that will prevent the tip from breaking and give you a refreshing finish. Just keep the pencil in the freezer an hour before you are about to do your makeup, and it will be hard enough for a sharp and clean glide.

How to Prevent Your Eyeliner Tip from Breaking?

The same freezing method explained above can help you minimize breakage. The cold air will freeze the pencil’s pigment, which has a creamy texture. This way, when you sharpen the pencil, the color is less likely to break. Moreover, this will also prevent the pigment from crumbling.

Cosmetic Sharpener vs. Regular Sharpener – Which Is Better?

In comparison, a cosmetic sharpener is better because it sharpens the tip precisely. With a regular sharpener, you will not only end up wasting your eyeliner more but also sharpen the pencil twice to get a perfect tip. The same falls for a scissor because it will take a lot of time, and you might not get the results you are looking for.

How to Sharpen Gel Eyeliner?

A gel eyeliner pencil has a soft tip due to its creamy texture. You can use any of the methods explained above to sharpen the pencil. Just freeze the pencil and then use a cosmetic or regular sharpener to get the results.


As you read, sharpening your eyeliner pencil is not that difficult. You can use just about anything to get a sharp tip. If you want a slightly smudged look, tap it on tissue paper once, and you will have a blunt tip.

We recommend doing this as a sharp tip will cause discomfort when you glide it across your eyelid. You can always hold the pencil at a flat angle to get a thin line. In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to get your desired results. You need to have the right tool with you.

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