TikTok’s Transparent Eyeliner Trend Is the Coolest New Take on No-Makeup Makeup

It's like graphic liner for scaredy cats.

Four women wearing transparent eyeliner


If there’s one thing we’ve learned from going down all these beauty rabbit holes on TikTok, it’s that there’s more than one way to use your makeup. These days even the most basic products can be magical multitaskers. One we didn’t see coming, though, is the transparent eyeliner trend. Turns out your most trusted concealer can do a lot more than camouflage dark circles and make zits disappear—it’s also a killer way to do eyeliner.

“The technique is all about creating a lifted eyeliner shape using concealer and the natural coloration of your eyelid to create a subtle shaping to the eyes,” says Charlie Riddle, head of artistry for Stila Cosmetics

So why is transparent eyeliner suddenly taking TikTok by storm? “It’s something everyone can do, most likely with products that they already have, and it’s simple yet effective,” Riddle explains. It’s also ridiculously flattering. “It gives a lifted look to the eyes which can, in turn, make the eyes look more awake and open.” He credits TikTok creator and makeup artist May Akhtar with creating the trend.

Ready to work the look yourself? Riddle spills everything you need to know about the transparent eyeliner technique.

Find the Right Shade

The first thing you need to know about nailing transparent eyeliner is it’s all about finding the right hue for you. Riddle says to pick a shade similar to your skin tone, but a few shades lighter. “It needs to be lighter than the coloration of your natural lid to really create that shape with negative spacing. If it’s too close of a match it will just blend right in.” 

Choose Your Brush Wisely

The tools of the trade can make or break a look. “This technique will work best with an eyeliner brush,” Riddle says. “The Dior Backstage Eyeliner Brush No. 24 ($26) is a good one because it’s flat and will make application easy. Stila’s Pixel Perfect Concealer ($24) could be a great option too.”

Get in Line

“Take your concealer (or nude waterline pencil, nude shadow, etc.) and create a winged shape on the bottom corner of the eyes and top of the lower lash and connect them both to a point,” Riddle says. “Leave the space in between free of product because your own natural coloration is your liner.”

Perfect your Handiwork

The finishing touches are easy peasy. “Once you have achieved the desired shape of the eyeliner, take that same brush and blend out the edges of the concealer to blend out the edges while still leaving the product sharp so you don’t lose the shape of the eyeliner,” Riddle says.

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