After countless YouTube tutorials and over a dozen different tools, pens, and brushes, I was over it. That is until my favorite teaching brand Make Up For Ever held a special seminar for people just like me focusing solely on perfecting your winged liner technique. I was one of the first to arrive and attacked the lesson with a Hermione Granger-esque type of fervor – I took notes, asked a billion questions, and tried every type of eyeliner brush imaginable. Here’s what I learned:
1. Find the brush that’s right for you. This will depend on your eye shape, what feels comfortable in your hand and what type of liner you’re using. I’ve got big, round eyes so a lot of my issues stemmed from me needing to physically get out of my own way and achieve the right angle easily and quickly. For this reason, the Elaina Badro Bent Eyeliner Brush is a godsend. I have about 9 or 10 eyeliner brushes – some bent, some angled, some thin, some thicker but for me this is the best balance of hair length, brush thickness, and fiber (works best with cream products.) I knew it was a good match the first time I tried it. It just felt right so experiment around to find your eyeliner brush sole mate.
2. Start from the bottom and you’ll get there. This idea was said a billion times in online tutorials but no one really took the time to explain why. Yes, following your lower lash line and continuing that line is an easy way to sketch out your wing but the real reason is that this action corrects your particular eye shape. With winged eyeliner, the sole purpose is to lift the eye so that in extending your line from the bottom corner of your lashes in the direction of the end of your eyebrow, you will create more of an almond shape. Line #3 in the diagram below best illustrates my point.
Understanding this theory helped me better grasp what it was I was trying to achieve with my winged liner. Also, more proof that Drake’s lyrics can be manipulated to apply in any situation.
3. Gel vs. Liquid. My previous attitude towards this debate was if you can get the kind of precision you want from a gel why would you even fathom taking on liquid? There’s no running with gels and you can really manipulate the shape you want. Then the class instructor handed us all liquid liners and took away all the bent liner brushes and gels. I muttered curses under my breath for about 5 min until I realized that if I could use a liquid freehand then I would be able to do anything. In what seemed like hours later, I emerged from the battlefield victorious and even now I no longer fear liquids. I just happen to prefer gel, in particular Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink. Its been a staple in the industry for years and I find that is the best balance of longevity and maneuverability.
4. You’re going to make mistakes. Like death and paying taxes, this fact is inevitable so the trick is to be prepared. If your messed up, uneven wings are the latest D.C. scandal, then a straight edged brush and creamy makeup remover are your Gladiators from Olivia Pope & Associates. I became intimately acquainted with Make Up For Ever’s Sens’Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser and Definer Eyeliner Brush #256 as the stealthy combo didn’t disturb the rest of my otherwise perfect makeup. Gladiators indeed.
5. Practice + Experimentation = Perfection. I don’t care what anyone says – this is NOT a natural, easy thing to do. No one was born knowing how to do this so it might take you a second to find that 60s groove. The main thing I hope you get from this post are the main ideas, not necessarily the product recommendations. I am only mentioning what worked for me after a long struggle to achieve winged eyeliner greatness. Never give up. Never surrender.