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.
What Type Of Eyeliner Should You Choose?
“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.”
Liquid Ink Eyeliner
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.
Powder Shadow Eyeliner
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.
Eyeliner Looks + Effects
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.
Different Eyeliner Techniques
“Start with the connect the dots method—this is the most used eyeliner technique for beginners,” she explains.
- Take your eyeliner of choice and place a small dot as close to your lash line as possible, where the iris starts near the inner part of your eye.
- Continue adding dots along your lash line at the center of your pupil, at the end of your iris and at the end of the white of your eye.
- Then work upwards and place dots where you want the wing to start and stop.
- Finally, connect each of the dots and fill in any gaps.
“Another incredibly easy method that will give you a straight line, every time, is to use tape.”
- Place a piece of cosmetic tape or even a band aid, along the corner of your eye and trace.
- Remove tape and voilà.
“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.
Pro Eyeliner Tip
“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.”
Eyeliner Clean Up
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.
How To Do Eyeliner 5 Ways
“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.
The Kitten Eye
Products Used: Precise Micro Eyeliner + Liquid Ink
- Start in the center of the eyelid, right above your iris.
- Use short strokes to draw along, keeping very close to your lash line.
- Stop lining just before the end of your eye is reached and create a small upward flick for a subtle winged effect.
- Add personality with two small lines above wing if desired.
Shadow Winged Liner
Products Used: Bonbon + Echo Cream Stay Shadow Stick, Crease + Detail Shader Brushes
- Shade outer third of upper lashline with a longwear cream shadow that has medium depth to it.
- Be sure to extend this line past the end of eyes and slightly sweep upwards towards the tail-end of brows to create a wing shape.
- Blend to soften, then clean up wing shape with a cotton bud for the perfect tailored flick.
- Now right on top of that shape, add smokiness and depth with a darker shade.
- Then blend with light but long sweeping motions to fuze both shades together.
- Connect the upper and lower lashes by adding this same shade to outer lower lash line then blend.
Naked Graphic Liner
Products Used: Peach Precision Eye Pencil
- Use a neutral pencil liner to lightly etch out a V shape starting from the tail end of your eye. First in an outward motion, then bring it back in and stop once the outer crease area is reached.
- Then line along the outer third of the lash line connecting the V shape so it looks like one continuous line.
- Line your inner corner while extending towards your nose for more drama.
Products Used: Canyon Cream Stay Shadow Stick, Pronto Precision Lip Pencil, Passion Blush
- With a cream shadow start by shading along upper lash line creating a wide wing shape.
- Next, choose a brighter or darker liner shade, and line tightly along upper lashes using the wing as your guide.
- Then lightly pat a powder shadow or blush on top of second line to blend and secure everything into place.
Reverse Cat Eye
Products Used: Dolce Eye Shadow, Dual Fiber Eye Brush, Black Precision Eye Pencil, Detail Shader Brush
- On upper lids apply a neutral base and crease shade then blend to soften.
- Line in between lower lashes and waterline with a smudgeable, black eyeliner pencil.
- Use a small detailing eye brush to blur the harsh line while blending pigment in an outward motion making sure to extend past your lower, outer eyeline.
- Now top your lower winged liner with shadow
- Be sure to keep cotton buds for any needed clean up and to keep lower wing crisp and sharp
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.