The winged liner trend is everywhere. This particular fad has been going strong for about a decade now, which we all know is an oddity in the make-up world, especially now that technology has enabled makeup artists and gurus alike to explode onto the mainstream scene. The one thing that has remained the same is every woman’s quest to achieve that flawless winged liner so sharp it makes everyone around you just a little uneasy. But there’s a secret that makeup artists have been screaming at the top of their lungs since this trend took over that just refuses to be heard by black liquid liner lovers across the world: winged liner does not fit every eye shape. In fact, there are so many different ways to define eyes that it almost hurts to see the world captivated by just one option. To combat that, here are a few ways to work with lining different eye shapes to keep you ahead of the curve for when the world finally wakes up from sleeping on all of these options.
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One way to look at your eye shape is by examining the depth. Think of this more as a sliding scale than a “one or the other” kind of thing, but there are two basic categories of eye depth which will be referred to as deep set or protruding.
Deep set eyes are usually larger, and since they’re set so far back in the face that they make the brow bone look more prominent than it really is. Because of the tight space awarded for use as a canvas when applying make-up, it’s tempting to just slap on a thick pointy line of black liner call it a day but winged liner will actually close up the eyes and make those gorgeous big beauts look small and beady. Instead, use a highlighter in your inner corner and something nice and bright on the lid to open them up and more and bring them to the forefront of your look. Add definition with neutral mattes in medium tones blended into the crease and below the waterline. For a more refined or formal look, add a thin line of gray or dark brown liner to the top of the lid starting from just inside of the outer corner and running all the way to the inner corner. Still love that winged look? Try it in white! A white wing over a beautiful monochromatic smokey eye will still highlight the eyes while serving a fierce look.
On the other hand, protruding eyes make your eyelid looks as though it’s lifted from the face and eye socket. There’s a lot of space to work with, so women with this eye shape might be tempted to go dramatic all day every day with heavy shadow and liner, but that’s exactly the thing to avoid. A prominent lid runs the risk of overpowering an entire look. A great alternative is to use a smokey eye as a base look and style liner in a similar pattern. Using darker colors all around the eye will make them pop and give definition to the size, but it will also help to use up some of the space on the lid. Use a thin, dark liner all the way around the eye and a thicker swipe across the top. But be careful: adding a wing only makes this eye shape look a little too wide for the face when they’re already taking up some serious real estate! Instead, invest in a nice set of false lashes and let the extra volume do that work for you.
One of the first things young girls and women learn as they start experimenting with makeup is that every pair of eyelids is totally different. Again, these tips are operating on a scale so you might fall somewhere in the middle, or moderately to one side or the other. Experimentation is key, but these tips for monolids and hooded eyelids are unbeatable when it comes to the secrets of structuring the eye!
Monolids are flat and tend to have no or very little crease. Instinctively, women want to create definition by filling in a darker color where their crease would be or should be, but this only calls attention to the flat dimensions. Starting with darker shades (like a burnt orange or deep mauve; nothing too unforgiving) towards the lashline and creating a gradient with a more neutral color in the middle and a highlight at the brow bone will open up the eyes accentuate the definition that’s already there: that of your gorgeous orbs. Instead of lining at all, focus on curling your lashes. A dark eyeliner on the top lid will take away much-needed space for definition and will hide short or straight lashes from view. This is why it helps to use tans and brighter colors as the dark base for eyeshadow. Black lashes will stand out against the color and help to create a fuller look.
The other end of the spectrum starts with hooded eyelids, like Blake Lively’s, which have an extra layer of skin drooping over the lid and making it appear smaller than it actually is. It can be very difficult and sometimes even frustrating looking for a flattering eye look when you feel like it’ll just disappear the second you open your eyes. But hooded eyes are full of untapped potential that lies far away from the cold, clammy grasp of liquid liner. Keep the main event in the Northern regions of the eye by blending darker colors up and out past the crease. This adds definition and ensures that all of your hard work was not in vain. The lash line also has a tendency to disappear behind hooded lids, so try tight-lining your upper lashes and using a volumizing mascara to draw attention to the natural beauty of your eyes and away from the disappearing act that your eyelids like to do.
Although it might seem like this article is attempting to give directions, this is actually about the direction that your eyes turn–up or down. This distinction might feel like it has nothing to do with eyeliner, but it is one of the most important factors to consider! Spoiler alert: one of these is the eye shape that cat eyes work the best with. It’s not the one you’re thinking of.
Upturned eyes are usually what’s referred to as the classic “almond” shaped eyes. The outer corner is just slightly elevated. This eye shape is good for creating more timeless looks by starting with a darker color at the outer corner and mirroring your look on your bottom lashes. The dark outer corner will even out the length of your lid created by the upturn but will accentuate the natural shape. Mirroring on the bottom lashes will draw that darker color down from the outer corner and help neutralize the whole eye. Avoid dramatic liner as the wing will only appear to draw the eye even further up on the face and can even create that perpetually surprised look that has women shaking in their boots every time they see a new brow artist. Angelina Jolie’s makeup artists are fantastic at working with her upturned eyes. You’ll see her rocking a variation of the darker outer corner in almost every photo. Pay attention to pictures of actresses and other stars with the same eye shape as you; note what does and doesn’t work for them.
Here we are, at the grand finale: the one eye type where a cat eye is the suggested way to go. Downturned eyes droop a little bit at the outer corner which is why a winged liner look works so well on this shape. Specifically, a cat-eye liner which is a thin swipe of liquid liner pulled up at an angle. Use a brush or pencil to create an imaginary line from the corner of the eye to the end of the coordinating eyebrow; this is the most flattering angle to draw a wing in for your eye shape. Keeping the rest of the look simple and bright will ensure that the dramatic liner doesn’t completely overpower the look and keeps the downturned corner from closing up the eye.
At the end of the day, the look that makes you happy is the right look for you, but these tips are intended to help women create an everyday routine or a go-to look that will always be flattering for her eye shape. It will also help to steer some traffic away from the gorgeous–but overused–liquid eyeliner look that everyone has been rocking heavily for the past several years. Bonus! The sharp wing isn’t something that can be used for every occasion or for every style, and there are certainly a ton of other options out there in the world of eye makeup. Now go fiercely and serve your best look.