Applying liner can be frustrating to say the least. One wrong swipe, and it’s off with your eye makeup and back to the drawing board. Since applying eyeliner is an acquired skill (one that can take years to master), we reached out to a couple of makeup artists for their tried-and-true tips on how to do the winged liner look.
From tricks on how to find the perfect angle for your wing to the product that will stop your liner from smudging, these expert-recommended tips will have you mastering the winged liner look in days if not minutes. How do we know? Because we followed celebrity makeup artists Matin Maulawizada’s and Afton Williams’s instructions, and we were delighted with the outcome: the perfect everyday cat eye. For step-by-step instructions on how to apply winged liner from people who do it on the daily, keep on reading.
1. Choose Your Liner Wisely
With so many options—pencil, gel, pot, powder—choosing an eyeliner can be just as difficult as applying it. Unsure which liner to use for a winged look? William’s tells us her liner of choice: a powder and brush combination. While Williams recommends the above powder from Laura Mercier, she notes that the brush in which you choose is dependent on skill level, with dense brushes being more forgiving and fine brushes more precise. Want to skip the brush altogether? A pointed pen with a gel-like formula, like Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner ($25), is a user-friendlier option.
2. Create the Wing
Before applying liner, Maulawizada says to smile big, and use the little line at the corner of your eye as a guide for your wing. Then, take your eyeliner of choice, and follow your smile line up and outward. Next, connect the top corner of the line down to the lash line forming a triangle says Williams. Once you have a solid triangle, work the liner inward all the way to the inner corner of your eye.
3. Add Liquid Liner
Want to take your look up a notch? Williams suggests going over your existing line with a gel liner for a more dramatic look worthy of an evening out.
4. Tidy Up Your Line
To tidy up your winged liner, Williams suggests sharpening the outer wing and cleaning up mistakes with a Q-tip dipped in micellar water.
5. Make it Smudgeproof
Whether you have oily lids or a tendency to touch your eyes, Williams recommends sealing your eyeliner with an anti-shine gel to avoid transfer and smudging. In order to do this, she suggests applying the gel atop your liner, and with eyes closed, letting it dry for a minute or so. Once dry, all oils will be absorbed and you can go about your day without having to worry about your liner smudging or budging.
Next up: The eight best eyeliners for oily lids.