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How to Do a Perfect Winged Eyeliner in 5 Simple Steps

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 3 min read

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Bobbi Brown Teaches Makeup and Beauty

Winged eyeliner is one of the most popular eye makeup looks, but it can be difficult to nail. With a little practice, you’ll be applying eyeliner like a pro.

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Bobbi Brown Teaches Makeup and BeautyBobbi Brown Teaches Makeup and Beauty

Bobbi Brown teaches you the tips, tricks, and techniques for applying simple, natural makeup that makes you feel beautiful in your own skin.

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How to Do Winged Eyeliner in 5 Easy Steps

Winged eyeliner on model

You can achieve the perfect winged eyeliner look with liquid liner, a felt-tip liner, a waterproof eyeliner pencil, or gel eyeliner and an eyeliner brush: the best eyeliner for doing a winged look is the kind you’re most comfortable with. You’ll also want makeup remover, Q-tips, and concealer (with concealer brush) on hand to correct eyeliner mistakes with precision.

  1. Prep the eye area. Use concealer or eyeshadow primer under your eyes and on the eyelids to create a smooth, even base for your makeup, and to help it adhere better. Curl eyelashes, if desired.
  2. Top with eyeshadow, if using. Try a more subtle shade if you want your winged liner to stand out, or use a darker shade if you’re going full glam and combining a smoky eye with your winged liner.
  3. Make the first line. Using liquid eyeliner, draw a short, thin line from the outer corner of the eye, extending the natural curve of your lower lash line to your desired length (don’t go past the end of your eyebrow). If you’re having trouble getting a smooth line freehand, try making a series of small dots and then connecting them; or, use a piece of tape or stencil as a guide.
  4. Line the upper eyelid. Using liquid eyeliner, draw a line across the upper eyelid, following the natural curve of your upper lash line from the inner corner of your eye to the outer corner of your eye and continuing to parallel the first line you made. Focus on creating a smooth line. It’s okay if there are gaps—you’ll fill them in later.
  5. Fill it in. Now that you have your outline, fill in the gaps with more eyeliner.
Bobbi Brown putting eyeliner on model

Bobbi Brown’s 8 Tips For Flawless Eyeliner

Makeup artist Bobbi Brown provides the following eyeliner hacks to take your eye look to the next level.

  • Don’t forget to set your under-eye concealer with a bit of powder if you’re wearing eyeliner or mascara to prevent the rest of your eye makeup from smudging.
  • For liquid eyeliner, it’s best to store pens tip-side down. Some of them require a good shake before using them or running the brush-tip on the back of your hand to get the ink flowing.
  • With gel eyeliner in a pot, choose a brush with a fine point (whether it’s angled or tapered), and don’t pick up too much of the product to avoid clumps or smearing.
  • To apply a line as close to your lashes as possible, try looking downwards at a mirror as you apply or gently tug your eyelid upwards (like makeup artists do when applying on other people).
  • Eyeliner placement can change the effect of your eye shape. For natural definition, don’t stray away from your eyelid. To emphasize your eyes more, extend your eyeliner beyond the corner of your eye into a wing shape or cat eye. The result is a wider-looking effect.
  • For a stronger liner effect, combine formulas (i.e., a gel on top of a shadow or pencil.)
  • Cotton swabs are great for softening harsh lines or cleaning up liner mistakes.
  • For mature skin, crisp lines tend to be more difficult to create and inevitably end up looking a bit wobbly since the skin around the eyes is thinner and looser. A smudgy pencil or gel liner topped with dark eyeshadow can create a nice effect that looks organic and not super harsh.

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Want to Learn More About Makeup and Beauty?

Whether you already know a blush brush from a bronzer brush or are simply looking for tips on bringing glamour into your daily routine, navigating the beauty industry takes knowledge, skill, and practical experience. No one knows their way around a makeup bag better than Bobbi Brown, the makeup artist who built a career and a multi-million dollar brand with one simple philosophy: Be who you are. In Bobbi Brown’s MasterClass on Makeup and Beauty, learn how to do the perfect smoky eye, find the best makeup routine for the workplace, and hear Bobbi’s advice for aspiring makeup artists.

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