3 Ways To Nail Winged Eyeliner

by Miki Hayes

Winged eyeliner is like the red lipstick of the eye-makeup world. It's classy, simple, and can give the impression that a lot of effort was put into your makeup, even when worn alone. But where it differs from red lipstick? Sometimes the effort is not just an impression. Eyeliner can already be tricky enough since it needs to be as symmetrical as possible, but adding that little flick at the end somehow just sends the whole process into utter chaos. And who really wants to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how to apply winged eyeliner?

But I know not everyone prefers the same technique, especially because not everyone wants to put the same amount of effort into her eyeliner. I usually frequent three different ones depending on the mood I'm in or how much time I have. If I'm feeling particularly lazy or don't have much time to get my makeup done, I'll use the Tape method. If I'm feeling like a perfectionist or want to try out a different shape, I'll use the Trace method. And if I'm feeling confident or just going for a basic, everyday wing, I'll free-hand it. So regardless of the mood you're in, these techniques will help you wing out that eyeliner with minimal collateral damage. Here are three ways to nail the eyeliner look that will go with absolutely anything. (PS: Click the photos to make them bigger!)

1. Tape

Tape can be super helpful when attempting winged eyeliner. All you have to do is apply the tape next to your eye so the edge forms a straight line from the corner of your eye to the outside tip of your eyebrow. (This is the angle you will want the outer edge of your wing to follow, regardless of the technique you use.) The beauty of this technique is you don't have to worry about the edge of your wing. Just draw the top line as far up as you want your wing to go, and fill in. Then just remove the tape, and you're good to go.

2. Trace

If you want to work on your free hand, but are a little uncomfortable with just going for it, plan out the edges of your wing with some eyeshadow. If the wing doesn't look how you want it, eyeshadow is so much easier to erase than eyeliner. Once your wing looks how you want it to, just trace over the lines you made with your eyeliner and fill it in. Presto.

3. Free Hand

Free hand definitely takes practice, but really the hardest part is just making sure the outer edge of the wing is straight and at the desired angle. Draw this outer edge first with a light hand. You can hold the skin taut while you draw to get the sharpest edge possible. To form the wing, position your liner at your preferred height along the line you have already drawn, and either swoop or draw a straight line toward the center or inner corner of your lid. Then just color in the lines. If your wing didn't turn out as crisp as you wanted, carve out the lines you want with either some makeup remover on a cotton bud or concealer on a brush.

Images: Miki Hayes (3)