Winged Liner for Beginners: Step by Step Application & Tips

Winged liner is a weird, mysterious thing.  It’s one thing that can go really bad, really quickly.  Is this shape the best for my eyes?  Do both eyes match?  Is the line too big or too small?  It’s almost enough to make you wipe it off and quit makeup altogether.  I’m hoping you’ll reconsider, though, after reading a few of my tips for smooth application.  Follow these steps and let me know how it goes!

PicMonkey Collage IMG_8829

Step 1:  Prepare your lids and products.  I like to apply my eyeshadow and liner before foundation.  This extends the life of my face makeup and also allows me to clean the outside lines if I need to.  If my eyeliner is a little old and crusty, and the line won’t be perfect so I go back along the line with a pointed q-tip from Ricky’s which has been dipped in makeup remover.  This makes the outer edge sharp.  I also sometimes apply mascara beforehand.  Because mascara changes the shape of my eyes so dramatically, I find I apply a more flattering line knowing how my eyes will ultimately look ahead of time.

If you can, though, you should spend the extra $10-20 on a product that will dilute your gel liner with Inglot’s Duraline or Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Seal.  This will make the gel a lot easier to work with and will also waterproof your liner, which is great for watery eyed gals.  Once when I was in Las Vegas, I realized I had forgotten my eyeliner brush.  So I rushed down to a boutique at the Aria and Laura Mercier’s Pointed Eyeliner Brush (available here, pictured above on the left) was all that they had.  It may be the single most expensive brush I own, but it’s also my favorite.  The tapered tip makes applying precise liner very easy.  I also like Makeup Geek’s Bent Liner Brush.  For $8, it’s awesome (available here, pictured above on the right).  After picking up the product, I pinch the tip of the brush to make the bristles tight which makes application more precise.

p.s. Hey foundation lips!  I accidentally ordered MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid in NW instead of NC.  I’ve been trying to make it work but I’m failing.  I’m pink, guys! 😦


The line is too low here.

Step 2:  Apply the outer line.  This is a very important step if you’re going for symmetry.  If you’re a noob, I think you’ll find applying the same line on each eye as you go, rather than completing one eye and moving on to the next.  This step-by-step method gives you more control over the shape of the line: it allows you to carefully check each line you make to keep everything symmetrical.  Have things ever just gotten out of control when you’re doing your liner?  Like, you know something’s off but you’re not sure what?  This should help.

As a general rule, I like to follow the line of my inner corner, as demonstrated by the line above.  This will make sure your liner isn’t too vertical or too horizontal.  You want your eyes to look lifted and elongated.  Applying it too straight will make them look elongated, but the line can actually drop depending on how your cheeks move when you smile.  Applying it too high will look funky and unnatural.  Following the line of your inner corner works every time. IMG_8970

Step 3:  Line the lid 3/4 of the way.  This is pretty easy, but it can be tricky if one is thicker than the other.  It’s best to start very thin, then slowly build.  Doing this step-by-step will help.  To do this, I look at my outer line and start lining about one quarter of the way in.  I want to keep the outside line very thin, so I don’t go over it again.  You can definitely leave your liner like this.  In fact, I really like to do this.  I feel like it adds interest to the eyes.  I just find that a fully lined eye usually photographs better.


Step 4:  Line the inside of your eye.  This is where you really want to be precise!  I like to make my line very thin on the inside.  It makes me look more awake and I feel like my eyes usually look bigger doing this.  You can drag the line below your inner corner for a little extra drama.  I did this very slightly today. IMG_8998

Here’s the finished line!

Share your eyeliner tricks in the comments, don’t be stingy!  If you’re looking for products, I’ve also written about liquid liners (here) and gel liners (here).  If you have a blog, let’s follow eachother on Blog Lovin (here)!  I’ve also been really into Pinterest lately, even though it seems to be having a crap attack at the moment.  Find me here!

All The Best,


18 thoughts on “Winged Liner for Beginners: Step by Step Application & Tips

  1. I will be matching the inner imaginary line from now on.. my most common mistake is having the wing too low : ) great post! you are beautiful btw!


  2. Super helpful girl. Luckily I am not too bad at winged liner. Usually I’m pretty good, but you know those days when your just not as good as yesterday? Haha I have those constantly. I also need to pick up that inglot duraline. I keep hearing so much good things about it. But I don’t wanna pay for shipping for one little product, ya know? May I also say, you look a bit like Shaylene Woodley. From Divergent. 😉


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