Whether you call it winged eyeliner, cat eye, or something else, classic, elongated eyeliner is easily the most popular eye makeup look of all time. A truly iconic effect that can be worked for day or night, the beauty of winged eyeliner is that it can be as little or as much as you like. With a few specific application skills—including a steady hand, everyone can master their own version of the winged eyeliner look.
From classic black ink liquid lined eyes with dramatic flicks to modern, colorful eyeliner or shadow liner effects (made iconic by Euphoria), discover how to do winged eyeliner looks with tips and tricks from Janeena Rumsey, our Global Artistry Lead.
“First up, to define your look, you’ll need to think about the type of eyeliner you want to use. With so many options to choose from, texture, finish, and applicator will be key in your eyeliner preference,” says Janeena. “Some people prefer the precision and crispness of liquid liner, while others prefer a smudgier, more blendable liner like kohl pencil.”
This will be your go-to for creating precise, sharp lines with rich, bold color. Our Liquid Ink Eyeliner is incredibly longwearing, which is great when you have the perfect line but can make cleanup difficult
For softer lines, this creamy Precision Eye Pencil formula is much more forgiving, meaning easier cleanup, plus you can blend and smudge it out to create different effects.
For a smokey, blended line, try a powder shadow using a Dual Brow/ Liner Brush for that precision.
For an on-the-go application, trust Cream Stay Shadow Sticks to get the job done; for a more precise line, use with Dual Brow/ Liner Brush.
Cat Eye or Winged Eye: Your traditional look with a noticeable wing on the end.
Kitten Eye: A variation of the classic but with a shorter wing.
Tight-line: An ultra thin line that’s just barely visible on the lid.
Dramatic: Uses a much thicker wing, perfect for dressing up an eye statement.
Double: A more creative approach that features two wings.
Smudged: A cross between a cat eye and a smokey eye.
Colored: Try out any of these looks with a shade other than black.
“Start with the connect the dots method—this is the most used eyeliner technique for beginners,” she explains.
“Another incredibly easy method that will give you a straight line, every time, is to use tape.”
“If you’re confident, try it free hand. This is the most advanced option out there. Even as a pro, this option is likely only used once you’ve mastered the other techniques and are comfortable with cleanup,” shares Janeena.
“No matter which method you choose, start with a pencil to create a guideline to follow. You’ll be able to fill in gaps and create shape with a forgiving, easy to clean formula, while also ensuring your look lasts all day or night.”
Q Tips: Always have pointed Q-tips on hand to quickly and easily fix any mistakes. Simply saturate with water or makeup remover and trace over the areas you want to remove.
Concealer: Another trick is to use concealer and a small concealer brush to swipe over and clean up any mistakes.
“While keeping things iconic in black liquid eyeliner is always a way to go for any occasion, there are a few more modern techniques and tricks to perfecting your eyeliner game with a difference. Here are five modern eyeliner looks,” shares Janeena.
Products Used: Precise Micro Eyeliner + Liquid Ink
Products Used: Bonbon + Echo Cream Stay Shadow Stick, Crease + Detail Shader Brushes
Products Used: Peach Precision Eye Pencil
Products Used: Canyon Cream Stay Shadow Stick, Pronto Precision Lip Pencil, Passion Blush
Products Used: Dolce Eye Shadow, Dual Fiber Eye Brush, Black Precision Eye Pencil, Detail Shader Brush
There are no end of eyeliner looks and effects you can achieve with a little practice and play. Look to shows like Euphoria for more daring takes, or make yourself a moodboard of runway or influencer looks for all the inspo. And, if you're looking to truly make your peepers pop, check out our guide to eyeshadows to boost your eye color.