I Tried Candy Cane Eyeliner To See How The Festive Trend Works IRL

I am definitely no Grinch during the holiday season. In fact, I’d probably compare myself more to Cindy Lou Who due to my wholehearted belief and optimism for holiday magic. To truly embrace this joyful period, I tried candy cane eyeliner to see how festive this look is IRL. Plus, I could totally see a grown up Cindy Lou wearing this makeup as her go-to look. Although I’m sure her real life counterpart Taylor Momsen — Gossip Girl actress and front woman of The Pretty Reckless — wouldn’t be seen dead in cutesy, candy cane eyeliner.

As is the norm nowadays when it comes to quirky makeup trends, candy cane eyeliner was popularized by social media. To take a peek at this sweet trend, all one need do is search #candycaneeyeliner on your fave platform to be enveloped into a wonderland of holiday themed eye makeup looks, with each individual giving their own unique twist on the trend. As the name suggests, candy cane eyeliner is an eyeliner look that literally resembles a red and white striped candy cane. Some folks take it to the next level by crafting their eyeliner flick into a candy cane shape, adding a touch of Christmas tree green, or including a slick of glitter.

However, I wanted to know how this whimsical makeup would fare in everyday life and ultimately, discover if it enhanced my holiday spirit or turned me into a modern day Scrooge.


Candy cane eyeliner is of course, an eye makeup look, so I prepped my face how I normally would and left my eyes bare.

After completing an article where I tested out different hacks to achieve perfect winged eyeliner, I used the tape hack to help me achieve my dramatic flicks. For those unenlightened, the eyeliner tape hack requires folks to stick scotch tape to their face to act as a self-made, sticky stencil, which makes it difficult for you to go wrong.

I went in with a white, pencil eyeliner and followed the line of the tape.

There was minimal cleaning up to do and I was rather pleased with the results.

Next, I didn't have a red eyeliner, so I used a cotton swab that had a fancy, pointed end, to craft the red candy cane style stripes. I dipped it in sparkly, scarlet lipgloss to really get into the holiday spirit.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to achieve. Sure, I had to be patient and careful, but all in all, it was a relatively speedy process.

I finished off my festive look with an application of the same red lipgloss to tie everything together.

However, I soon noticed that when I looked up, the sticky gloss on my lash line would catch and smudge onto my eyelid.

I tried to leave it to dry for as long as possible, then I removed the smudges and went over the affected area with eyeshadow.

I was super pleased with the finished result and quite frankly, impressed that I, a lowly makeup novice, could pull off this seemingly complicated makeup.

Candy Cane Eyeliner IRL

Before I left the house, I donned my best red jumper because I'm not one to do things by halves. I felt quite comfortable strolling down the streets of my small town in the North of England, because although this was a quirky look, it wasn't too OTT because it was all about the eyeliner.

I met some friends at our favorite local coffee shop and they told me how much they loved my candy cane eyeliner. I felt like I fit right in with the holiday decor including a gingerbread house and a wreath window decal.

My friends' parents popped in and their dad literally said, "Wow!" He informed me that he thought it was a very striking look. I also asked the barista at the counter if he could tell what my makeup was supposed to symbolize and he correctly guessed that it was inspired by candy canes. I felt like this was the most successful makeup trend I'd tried, as it was something seasonal and a look that everyone could recognize, no matter their age or beliefs about the holidays.

The only thing was, during my outing with candy cane eyeliner, I felt very self-conscious that the red stripes had smudged. I kept popping to the nearest bathroom to check that it was still intact and I often found that it wasn't. However, when I moaned about this to my friend, she said that she thought it was meant to have a pinkish hue on my eyelid and that it wasn't very noticeable.

My Verdict

So long as you're not a reincarnation of The Grinch, I'd recommend everyone try candy cane eyeliner! It's a really fun makeup look that's surprisingly simpler than it appears, plus it seems to bring out the festive cheer in others around you.

Although I probably wouldn't opt to wear this look on a daily basis, I think it would be perfect worn to parties on the lead up to Dec. 25 and even on the big day itself! However, I would highly recommend folks not to wear it after Dec. 26, as it would give real life Scrooges plenty of ammunition to go off on a cranky rant.

The only thing I'd tell people to bear in mind is not to use lipgloss in place of eyeliner — even though the subtle sparkle was a nice addition, it definitely wasn't worth the annoyance caused by the incessant smudging.

Candy cane eyeliner made my holiday cheer filled heart grow three sizes, so if you're a fan of novelty makeup, candy, and the festive season, don this stripy eyeliner to slay hard this holiday season!

Images: Phoebe Waller