[Skills] Liquid & Powder Smile Lines: The Neverending Frontier

Liquid & Powder smile lines is one of those things that you could quite possibly spend YOUR ENTIRE CAREER practicing & perfecting & you’ll likely never be satisfied. Okay, hyperbole. Maybe 1 out of 286 smile lines you’ll be completely happy with. The good news is the feeling of really nailing a new aspect of sculpting L&P–especially smile lines–never gets old!

Before we get started, I’ve created a Smile Lines Checklist which breaks down L&P smile lines into easy(er)-to-master steps rather than one intimidating, scary mission. Click the link below to get it:


Here’s a little background of my L&P smiles lines journey:

Smile Line Breakthrough #1
My first breakthrough with smile lines came during my first CND training before I became an Education Ambassador seven years ago. After placing the white bead in Zone 1, immediately push up towards the ears of the smile line in the shape of a “V”.

First things first, right?? #ahamoment

Previously, I’d always tried to create a “U” shape with my smile line, which always always ALWAYS ended up looking like a cat’s head with little angles in the smile line. Pushing my product into a “V” shape made my smile lines smoother & more crisp & counterintuitively created that sleek “U” shape I was always going for.

Smile Line Breakthrough #2
A few years ago, I had another #ahamoment at a CND World Summit training. Instead of swiping with my brush to refine my smile line, I learned to “tuck” the smile line into place in order to create a sharp ledge against which my pink powder could cleanly butt up against. This eliminates a shadowy, pink smile line, which is about as pretty as a supermodel’s face without eyebrows.

I also learned that this ledge should be the sculpted higher than the highest point of the nail in order to create a strong, THIN enhancement. This was a very simple & effective piece of advice that has saved me so much work in rebalances over the years.

Smile Line Breakthrough #3
Even after all these years & these big breakthroughs that have exponentially improved my sculpting, I’d still often end up filing off the corners of my ears in an effort to make my sidewalls more sleek. See the photo below:

My most recent smile line breakthrough came when I had the very special opportunity to spend a few hours with Team CND Education Ambassador & Stage Artist, Kristina Saindon, to work in my smile lines.

Kristina stood behind me & guided my brush angle with her own hand. I already knew that keeping my brush angle pointed down towards my chest at a 45 degree angle is key in zone sculpting. But there was one *teensy* little difference I felt with Kristina’s hand guiding my brush.

She immediately started creating the ears of my smile line by guiding the product straight up towards the corners in that “V” shape, but when she got to the tiny corners, she rotated my wrist 90 degrees out & simultaneously rotated the brush to a 45 degree angle in relation to the corner of the smile line. This maintained that 45 degree brush angle, which I had been flattening into a parallel brush angle while working on the corners without even realizing it. It was a very small adjustment, but I could definitely feel it.

The result was a very thin, sleek smile line with ears so sharp I could probably use them as a toothpick. #nolie (Okay, it’s a metaphor.)

As is often the case with zone sculpting, it’s much easier for me on one side of the nail than the other. But even on my difficult side, I could see the vast difference in how easy it’d be to debulk the excess product during file finishing–& I could see that I wouldn’t be removing the ears of my smile line in doing so. Can you see the difference between the left & right sides?

I’ve created a smile lines checklist to help you break down your smile lines into 4 simple tasks you can master individually before tackling the everloving smile line as a whole, intimidating task. (Spoiler alert: the checklist also includes a link to a video by my friend, Holly Schippers, demonstrating a lot of these same pointers!) Get your copy by clicking the link below:


Interested in some hands-on practice? The Master Architect is where it’s at! You can find all CND’s live education events, searchable by postcode, at cnd.com or click here to see my class calendar.

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Get a step-by-step guide to creating beautiful smile lines:

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