How to perfect the winged eyeliner beauty look
There’s something classically beautiful and alluring about wing-tipped eyeliner.
The traditionally 1950s style experienced a resurgence about a decade ago, with the modern rockabilly revival movement, and although some of the more costume-like trends have faded along with the popularity of trendsetters like Amy Winehouse and Kat Von D, ruby red lips and winged liner seem here to stay.
Mix and match your retro eyes with modern styles—even plaid button-downs and jeans—and you can easily and quickly look pulled together and uniquely fashion-forward, with just a few strokes of the brush.
Yes, the brush. That’s the key to winged liner.
Experts, like celebrity makeup artist Jessica Licata, recommend steering clear of the eyeliner pencil (it’s nearly impossible to paint the sweeping lines with a pencil) and even liquid liner (unless your hand is extremely gosh darn steady). Then there are gel liners, but those dry up too quickly to be practical, especially in the winter and in dry climates.
The secret for Licata, who specializes in retro makeup, is cake liners.
Eyeliner “cake” typically comes in a little round container and is applied with a small angled brush dipped in water. Try Mac’s 266 small angled brush for $20; it’s worth every penny.
Cake is somewhat comparable to a type of eyeshadow, except it won’t smudge and it tends to have higher pigment. It’s also easy to control and won’t dry out.
One good brand for cake eyeliner is Laura Mercier, $25, available at Sephora.com, although Licata admits she still goes over the liner with a darker pencil after it is shaped to really make it pop.
Other experts have found wingtip success with Mac’s Fluidline products, although they do dry out over time and can be harder to work with than cake. Mac’s cream liner can be used both wet and dry, too. (We say opt for wet.)
Clinique’s Brush-On cream liner is another option, although ditch the flat, square brush it comes with. When selecting winged liner, always choose the blackest black available.
So how to pull the perfect wing? It’s going to take practice.
The many Youtube videos out there make it look so simple. Here’s our favorite how-to video, with great advice on how to pull the right angle (it should roughly follow the same angle as your lower lid).
Top off your winged liner with a light beige dusting of shadow and full lashes only on the top lash line for an authentic pinup girl look. And, of course, don’t forget those cherry red kissers and nicely shaped, filled-in brows. Never. Forget. The. Brows. They are part of your eye makeup scene.
Or, for a new spin on wings, go with neutral lips and dark mascara. Experiment with modern lip shades, like pinks and corals, and see how you can reinvent this classic look.