Contrary to what Instagram or YouTube might’ve told ya over the past five years, winged liner…otherwise known as “cat eye” liner or “kitten flicks”, otherwise known as “one of the rare eye makeup trends that stands the test of time,” doesn’t have to soar across your face like an ominous pair of extra large bat wings.
There are still makeup lovers out there (me!) who still love a dainty, classic flick. It’s timeless, always looks great, and, best of all, it’s pretty easy to do.
I’ve been winging it out a lot lately, albeit not on days when I only have five minutes or less to put on my face paint, because DAYUM! — I can work *fast* but not that fast. But if I have a time budget of, say, 10 minutes (which is what it took to do the look I’m wearing here), that really is enough to do my entire face, along with some classic, elegant everyday winged liner.
Here are three things that help me. I hope they give you some inspiration to try winged liner this week!
Tip one: A pencil liner with a super sharp point is key.
There are lots of ways to go about winged liner (liquid, gel, eyeshadow, I’m sure there’s more), but the easiest way, especially if you’re usually pressed for time, is using a super sharp pencil eyeliner, so definitely keep your pencil sharpener handy and use it to keep that tip sharp.
Why? Pencil is easier to control — and correct! — because all you’re doing is drawing lines on your face, as there’s no brush in the mix to wrestle with. And having a pencil with a super sharp tip allows you to draw the thinnest and most precise lines possible.
I became a true believer in this watching this life-changing how-to video by the goddess of glam herself, Charlotte Tilbury.
No, really, this video is life-changing! Charlotte applies liner on a model in real-time, thoroughly breaking down her method step-by-step, and along the way, she emphasizes over and over again the importance of working with a sharp pencil. Her method is easy, too. LOVE YOU TO MARS AND BACK, CHAR. You have forever changed my winged liner life.
Tip two: Use a mix of brown and black pencils.
If you find black liner looks too harsh, try layering a brown directly on top of your black. It reduces the contrast of the black liner against skin and softens the look. I do this allllll the time now in my 40s. Wearing black liner alone is too jarring, and I find that it makes me look older than I am, so I’m all about layering brown on top. You still get the impact of black, but with the brown on top it’s less harsh.
Tip three: Practice makes purrfect.
Like any makeup skill, you need to do it a bunch of times — and mess up a bunch of times — before it starts to look good. I’d start by giving yourself two solid weeks of wearing winged liner every day and accepting that it’s gonna look a little wonky during that period. (Remember, it’s makeup, and it washes off.) Keep at it. Every day, you’ll get a little faster, and pretty soon you’ll have it down. Keep the faith! You’ll get there.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,