Saving You One Eyeliner At A Time

By Hannah Wisterman
Blog Content Contributor

There’s nothing quite like winged eyeliner—with the perfect sharp wing, you can communicate fearlessness, conviction, dominance, a steady hand and dedication. If someone’s eyeliner is razor sharp and refuses to budge, that person already has my admiration and respect. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to pull off the look myself. It’s a combination of things: I’m impatient, I can never get the wings symmetrical, the anatomy of my eyelid seems wing-proof, and frankly, I’m kind of over it as a signature makeup look. I just don’t like to do winged eyeliner. Like so many things, admitting that is the first step to success. As soon as I could admit that I don’t like it, a whole world of eyeliner alternatives opened up for me. Today, I share them with you, for when you just don’t have the patience to do “eyeliner sharp enough to kill a man”.

subtle shadow
Gently smudging on a little bit of dark eyeshadow can give your eyes a little definition without a lot of work. Photo by Hannah Wisterman

Option One: Subtle Shadow

· You will need: eyeshadow of your preference (I recommend colors darker than your skin), eyeshadow primer, angle brush or flat brush

There are a lot of ways you can use eyeshadow as eyeliner, but many of them involve scraping the shadow and mixing them with something. I’ve not had much luck with those. This way is very simple and adds understated definition to the eye.

Prime your lash line wherever you want to put eyeshadow—I only do the outer corner, but the choice is yours. Then dab the thin edge of an angled brush into eyeshadow and apply it where you’ve primed. I personally like to smudge the color out with a small, fluffy brush, to make it more diffuse and subtle, but again your choice. Note: you can probably skip priming, but I find it prevents fallout and mess.

dotting
Dotting is a more subtle take on a Twiggy-inspired look. Photo by Hannah Wisterman

Option Two: Dotting

· You will need: liquid eyeliner

I first saw this method in a Glossier sponsored video, and now it’s one of my go-to eyeliner tricks. Simply use the very tip of your eyeliner applicator (brush, felt tip, whichever) to place dots along your lash line. I prefer to place my dots on my lower lashes, but you really have a lot of other options. It’s not a very defined distance read, but it adds some definition to your lower lashes for some Twiggy-esque flair. You may want to practice dotting on your hand if you have difficulty with it.

topsy turvy
Downward wings create the illusion of a larger eye. Photo by Hannah Wisterman

Option Three: Topsy Turvy

· You will need: liquid eyeliner

Apparently, a Kardashian at some point did “upside down” winged eyeliner, meaning that she wore heavy eyeliner on the lower lashes with the wing pointing up. That’s not what I mean—if you remember, we are anti-winging it here. What I mean by “topsy turvy” is a downward-pointing wing. This method is as striking and defined as normal winged eyeliner, but I’ve found it to be much easier. I don’t have to worry about running my wing into the crease of my eye, and my brush seems to magically work better. As a bonus, it gives your eyes a doe-like quality: your eyes will look huge.

Draw a line along your upper lashes. Then follow the natural direction of that line down, bringing it past your eye however far you want. Then draw a line from the tip of your last line in to meet your lower lashes. (Your lashes might get in the way a little bit; just keep a light hand.) Then fill in the space. It’s essentially the same method as winged eyeliner, just in a different direction.

Traditional winged eyeliner is not the end-all, be-all of eye makeup. For some people, it’s a nuisance and not worth the payoff. Even if you’re in love with your wings, you have a lot to gain by learning something new. There are as many ways to do makeup as there are people who wear it. You can stand to try something a little less daunting—and a little more unique.

Featured illustration by Lily Connor.

Jashel Negron

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