Winged eyeliner was actually something I could do back in my reckless youth. However, after a long period of not doing it, I literally lost most of my ability to apply it. I guess it is like riding a bike, as I can’t do that either. What I’m saying is, I have a finite amount of skill.
If you saw my current attempts at winged eyeliner, you would definitely not be following my advice on how to do it anyway. I’m not a fan of it to wear personally as it doesn’t suit my eye shape, steals the thunder from my lashes, and hides my eyeshadow. It’s all about personal preference. You could definitely use anything here for winged eyeliner, I just wish so many eyeliner guides didn’t revolve around it.
I know eyeliner can be tricky to apply full stop, especially when you don’t know what type to go for, or where specifically to put it. One thing I will say straight off the bat is that you don’t have to go for black eyeliner. It’s the easiest colour to find by far but you might find it too severe or would rather practice with other colours first. I mostly wear brown because again, I prefer emphasis on my lashes.
Here’s something that applies across the board: when applying eyeliner, look down into a mirror while doing so. This makes it easier to get the eyeliner as close to the lashline as possible. Tightlining is great for filling in any gaps you’ve missed.
What is tightlining and is it gross? Tightlining involves applying eyeliner to your upper waterline, right under your eyelashes. It’s a bit gross, but it provides a subtle eyeliner look and requires basically no skill. I’ll often just tightline my eyes and not use eyeliner anywhere else.
Using a creamy pencil eyeliner is preferable to me. A dryer pencil will just drag across the lashline or waterline, which is not a pleasant feeling. You probably won’t be able to see much either.
I won’t just draw a line right across the lid. That doesn’t work for me. I draw dots along the lashline, then go back and join them up. You’re not meant to, but I do stretch my eyelid a bit to do this. I can’t see what I’m doing otherwise.
As some pencil eyeliners can be dry, don’t buy unless you can swatch them or go by someone’s recommendation. Speaking of the latter, my favourite creamy pencils have to be from Zoeva. They’re quite affordable too. Nyx also have some gorgeous, creamy eyeliners in a wide range of colours. Don’t go in too heavy-handed with a creamy pencil eyeliner though, or else you risk creating a thicker line than you’d like. If you prefer a thicker line, go to town.
Another very user-friendly eyeliner I’d recommend comes from Physician’s Formula. They don’t last that long on the waterline, but they are simple for creating an even line along the lashline.
I rarely wear dark colours on my waterline as I like most of the focus to go to my lashes (are you sick of reading that yet?). White eyeliner on the waterline is very popular for creating the illusion of larger eyes, but I find a lot of these to be a bit too stark for me. Nyx have a Wonder Pencil (I swear they’re not paying me, but they’re welcome to) that is a much more neutral colour which produces the same effect.
Let’s compare on my hand:
The white eyeliner is much brighter than the nude one, but you can still see both (if you can’t see the nude one, it’s just above the white line).
You can also smudge your eyeliner to give a smokey or softer look.
Eyeshadow as eyeliner
You’ve probably heard of this before but if you haven’t, then I totally invented it. This might be the longest method to complete out of them all, but it’s also the easiest when it comes to drawing an even, fine line across your lashline. You’ll need 3 things: eyeshadow, an angled eyeliner brush and water.
Penneys have a double-ended brush with an angled eyeliner brush on one end and a fluffy, blending brush on the other for €1.50. I bought a Catrice eyeshadow for the sake of this post which was under the €5 mark.
You might find you already have an eyeshadow you’d like to use as an eyeliner. It’s a great way to make use out of eyeshadow you might not use but like the colour of, or even just get extra use out of one you do.
Back to the the Catrice eyeshadow. I can use the angled eyeliner brush dry to give a softer look.
When I dampen the brush (with water – no MAC Fix Plus here), the pigment of the eyeshadow is enhanced. So you can see there is a slight difference, but that’s not universal for all eyeshadows, so play around with what you’ve got.
You can smoke out the eyes by using the brush along the lower lashline, too.
Felt Tip Eyeliner Pen
These are the eyeliners that literally look like markers. They have a liquid formula but aren’t as finnicky as other liquid eyeliners, like the ones with the flexible brush tips (*shudder*).
A lot of people can use those little brushes frequently with no issue, but I definitely can’t. They aren’t kind to those of us who are error-prone, either. To recap: liquid eyeliner comes in a pot with a brush applicator, or in the form of a felt tip pen.
Eyeliner pens however are easier to use (in my experience), and great for when you want a bolder look. The colour range might not be as wide as the pencils or pots, but there’s still several to choose from. Too Faced have a very good selection of colours available. Stila also has several wearable colours. The one shown in the picture above is from Nyx.
You can apply it using the dot method mentioned above, or literally press the side of the felt tip against the lashline, pressing downwards to ensure the lashline is covered and excess isn’t going onto your lid.
As these pens have a liquid formula, errors are tougher to clean up. Depending on the colours you’re using, you might be able to just go over the error with your eyeshadow. If this isn’t an option, dip a cotton bud into eye makeup remover and clean it up once the eyeliner has dried down. You could also approach it with a bit of concealer on a small brush, like the angled one I use for applying eyeshadow as eyeliner. Liquid eyeliner is the most difficult to remove full stop, so you might find you need an oil-based makeup remover to take it off completely.
There’s also the option of using a gel eyeliner, but I’m not familiar enough with those to talk about them. I hope this is of some use as a basic guide to eyeliner in general. Remember, if you like it you will rock it, whether you choose to use these methods to wear winged eyeliner or not.