Eyeliner is one of those small details that can make a huge impact. Whether you're going for a classic cat-eye or a more modern neon look, a little color on your lash line can enhance your eye color, shape, and entire look. But with that being said, it's one of those things that can be a bit tricky to master (unless you have a surgeon's steady hand), especially when you have a hooded eye shape. One flinch or blink at the wrong time can force you into a frustrating cycle of removing and re-doing or even lead you to swear off eyeliner altogether. But never fear, with a few simple adjustments to your application strategy, and the help of celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, you can be an eyeliner pro in no time.
Meet the Expert
Katie Jane Hughes is a celebrity and editorial makeup artist with clients among the likes of Ashley Graham, Kerry Washington, Anna Kendrick, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and more.
Ahead, watch Hughes share her easy eyeliner tutorial (using her iconic "bat wing" application method) that's perfect for hooded eye shapes.
Master Winged Liner with MUA Katie Jane Hughes
Keep Your Eyes Open
When applying eyeliner to the lash lines, it's usually our first instinct to close our eyes and start drawing. But in actuality, you can get a better shape when you keep your eye open. With your eye closed, it's hard to tell exactly how far out your wing is as you're drawing it. Keeping your eye open gives you a better idea of what kind of look you're creating (as you're creating it).
Sketch Out Your Shape
To get started, Hughes recommends starting slow by sketching out the eyeliner shape you're going for. "I'm going to take a pencil and I'm going to etch out my shape," she says. "The general trick is to hold the pencil in line with your nose and the corner of your eye, and then angle it toward the eyebrow. So [from] the tail of your brow, to the corner of your eye, to the corner of your nose, that is the direction in which your eyeliner should go."
When you're sketching out your shape, Hughes recommends keeping your eyes and brows as relaxed as possible. When you apply eyeliner with more widened eyes or raised brows, the shape you draw can be skewed once your face is relaxed. Try to keep your facial expression as neutral as possible, whatever you consider to be your baseline.
Hooded eye shapes can sometimes appear weighed-down or turned-down, making you look sleepy. By directing your eyeliner wing upward and outward, you can balance out your hooded shape and create the appearance of a more awake-looking eye shape.
Clean Up Your Shape With Concealer
Once you have a rough outline of the eyeliner shape you're going for, you can create more precise edges by going in with a little bit of concealer or by dipping a small brush in makeup remover. Repeat steps one and two on your other eye, using your first eye as a guide for where placement should be (to get a more even, symmetrical look). For easy clean-up, you can sharpen up your eyeliner shape with a pointed cotton swab. When dipped in a little micellar water, the precision tip makes it easy to sharpen those fine details (like the very tip of the wing).
Go Over Your Penciled Wing With a Liquid Formula
Now that you have a nice, clean, precise shape applied in pencil, go over that shape with something a big longer-lasting: Liquid eyeliner. In place of your standard formula, Hughes prefers to DIY her own liquid liner using black eyeshadow and setting spray. "Now, I'm going to take a black eyeshadow and a little bit of M.A.C. [setting spray], and spray directly onto the eyeshadow," she says. "Then with a skinny eyeliner brush, I'm going to mix to make a paste. I love this kind of formula to paint liner with because it glides, as you can see it's just inky, flowy, opaqueness." Layer this paste (or your favorite liquid eyeliner formula) directly over the shape you drew in pencil during step one, starting at the base of the wing. Be sure to fill in any areas where the pencil missed, or as drawn on more sheer.
If you have trouble creating sharp lines with your eyeliner, try the credit card trick. Simply line up a credit card or business card where you want your liner to be and paint directly against the straight edge.
Extend the Liquid Liner Across Your Lash Line
Once you feel good about your wing shape, connect the wing to your lash line, extending across your lash line until you've reached the inner corner of your eye. Opt for a feathering motion to create smaller dashes (that you can connect) rather than trying to sweep across the full lash line in one full motion. If you make any mistakes (as Hughes reminds us in this tutorial, even makeup artists get a shaky hand and make mistakes), just clean things up with a small detailing brush dipped in makeup remover or concealer.
What is the difference between winged eyeliner and cat-eye eyeliner?
There is a subtle, but important difference between the two types of eyeliner. Winged eyeliner is only on the top lid with a flicked-out end. A cat-eye has the top winged out, but the bottom lid is also lined with the eyeliner connecting to the winged top, making a triangle shape.
How should I apply eyeshadow on hooded eyes?
Apply eyeshadow just above your natural crease, otherwise, it won’t show up as well on your eye shape. Apply more of a shimmery eyeshadow on your lid and just above your crease and a more matte shade on your brow bone.
In addition to winged eyeliner, what other eyeliner techniques work for hooded eyes?
To open eyes up further, consider eyelash extensions and make sure they are longest in the middle for a wide-eyed look. For the illusion of lifted eyes, avoid eyeliner on the bottom lid or use a light hand when applying.
Can all eye shapes wear winged eyeliner?
Absolutely! However, the method you use to apply winged eyeliner will vary depending upon your eye shape. For hooded eyes specifically, you should start your wing tip at the start of your eye's hood. From there you should gradually widen the liner until you have the desired look.