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Just Winging It

Updated: May 11, 2023

Adele. Audrey Hepburn. Amy Winehouse. Cleopatra. What do all of these names have in common? Each is known for rocking a killer winged eyeliner look.

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Ever since the ancient Egyptians used kohl around the eyes, celebrities, makeup artists, and everyday people from across the globe have turned to this classic eyelinger look. “Winged eyeliner has stood the test of time as it simply enhances our eyes,” explains pro makeup artist Alexandria Gilleo. “It can have the appearance of widening, elongating, and lifting our eye shape, creating definition and a ‘snatched’ look.”

Sure, winged eyeliner may be straightforward in concept—it’s simply eyeliner on the upper lashline ending in an upwards flick. If you really want to go crazy, you can line the bottom line to connect to the winged top for a cat-eye look. But in practice, winged eyeliner is one tough feat to master. For years now, I myself have been using my favorite brown eyeliners to create my daily subtle flick, but I still find plenty of imperfections in my liner look. And that’s OK! When it comes to eyeliner, practice (and lots of it!) truly makes perfect, but we promise that nailing winged eyeliner can be done.

If you’re ready to venture into the world of winged liner, you’ve come to the right place. First and foremost, find a great eyeliner. Ask around, read reviews and most importantly, understand the shape of your eye and if they are hooded or not. Trust us - this makes a difference.

When you have a great eyeliner on hand, it’s time to put your pencil to paper, or liner to eye, if you will. Follow these simple steps from Gilleo and Oaknine to achieve the perfect winged eyeliner, every time.

  1. After applying any primers or eyeshadows, begin by lining the upper lash line starting at the center of the eye using small, short strokes. Make sure to keep your eyes open and look straight ahead to avoid any weird angles.

  2. Glide the liner from the center of the eye toward the outer tip in an upward and outward motion following the natural angle of your lower lash line.

  3. After drawing your line out to your desired wing length, connect the line back to your upper lash line in your desired thickness.

  4. From there, connect the center to the inner corner.

  5. Afterwards, grab a cotton swab and dab it in makeup remover to sharpen up any edges and clean up wherever needed.

  6. Finally, finish off your winged liner look with your favorite mascara or false lashes, if you desire.

Now go on, just wing it!

By Brooke Knappenberger Published January 24, 2023

Marie Claire


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