The black winged eyeliner/cat eye trend presents makeup junkies everywhere with a catch-22. It’s a sexy, deceptively simple and utterly desirable look, yet it’s difficult to achieve because of the wet, creamy and liquid products and steady hand required to effectively pull it off. You don’t simply line and go, although it looks like that’s all you have to do!
To help you navigate those murky (!) liquid liner waters, I present Beauty News NYC’s guide to wingin’ it! The makeup artists we chatted with suggested several different (and sometime contradictory) methods and modes, but that’s what makes it artistry! The look can be created with a myriad of products, from felt tip pens to inky pots of gels and creams! NYC based artist Julie Tomlinson (http://www.julietomlinson.com) said, “Shadows tend to get messy and will not give you the same result” so stick with a wet-to-dry product.
About this trend, which is so hot it could melt butter, N.Y.C. New York Color makeup artist Mathew Nigara enthused, “The liquid liner trend, in my opinion, has really been around for almost five years. It’s a trend that hasn’t, and isn’t, going anywhere. This is because cat eyes/liquid liners are a classic makeup look but have the ability to create a punky edge and simply a depth to an eye without the use of shadows. So whether the trend is a bold lip, intense eye or pronounced cheek, liner is a product that can link them all, yet at the same time give a woman the benefit of a more defined eye and the look of more lush lashes.”
Before you even select a product, you must decide exactly what shape you prefer. Most of us don’t want to end up going as dramatic as, say, vocalist/hot mess Amy Winehouse, but Los Angeles and Miami-based celebrity makeup artist Jen Farhood (http://www.jenfarhood.com) said, “Start with a thin line on the inner corner of your eye and make it slightly thicker as you draw the line to the outer corner. Make sure you end the line where your eye ends.” However, if you want a more dramatic cat eye look, Farhood said, “angle the line on the outer corner up and extend it slightly.” New Jersey-based artist Rikki Zazula mentioned this as well, calling it the “flick,” or the extension! She said, “It’s important to extend the liquid line slightly past the actual end of your eye in a swept upward fashion. This little flick at the end is what truly expands the shape. No need to go all ‘Halloween’ and create a sideways triangle like cat woman or a thick line to your temple like Cleopatra. The sexiest thing about liquid liner is its subtlety.”
You need to assume a specific body posture when applying liquid liner and doing a winged look, since it’s such a tricky process! Nigara told us, “The best way to apply liquid eyeliner is to actually look at yourself in the 3/4 profile, not straight on. I always begin with the line in the center of the eye and work my way out. I break up the eyeliner into three sections: the center, the outer wing and the inside. Begin in the center and stop at the outer edge of the eye socket, being sure to create the desired width of the line from this point. This is where the shape of the line is formed. Then starting again with the brush, turn your face into profile and lengthen the line, being sure to extend it out straight and not at an upward angle. This will ensure that there is an angular wing shape and not the dreaded duck tail wing which never is pretty. At the same angle in the mirror, using just the side of the brush, connect the middle portion to the inner , painting the last stroke of the three piece line, gradually getting thinner and disappearing toward the tear duct. By doing the line in three sections. it ensures a more precise and controlled application.”
Farhood suggested looking in the mirror and tilting your chin up, with your eyes looking down and to use your pinky finger to steady your hand on your cheek.
Zazula expressed the cruciality of cleaning your brush! “Just because it lives inside the product doesn’t mean you should ignore it! Especially if your liner contains mica; your brush will gather build up and get a bit crusty. This will impede on achieving the perfect fluid line. Take the time to really cleanse the wand,” Zazula stressed. Tomlinson concurred, “Start with a good brush! This is crucial. A brush with a very fine tip is what you want to purchase before attempting this look.” Also, keep Q-Tips handy. Q-Tips help to smooth out the lines. Try moistening the Q-Tip a bit and apply directly underneath the line. This will help to clean up any mistakes and make the line look very sharp!”
*GELS/CREAMS/POTS: These are the easiest to use, if you go for a waterproof formula, Farhood said. It won’t smudge or fade. We suggest MAC Fluid Line in Blacktrack (which does not budge) or Rock and Republic in Smut, Estee Lauder Gel, Smashbox Crème Liner in Caviar and Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Caviar Ink. Use a primer to help the liner adhere and it will have the same effect as tattooing a black line across your upper lash line. Each of these liners comes in pots that resemble inkwells and is best applied with a thin brush, while there is margin for error. You can retrace lines and add to their thickness or use the Tomlinson-recommended Q-Tip to correct imperfections.
Available at Sephora or fine department stores.
*LIQUIDS: These are the trickiest of the bunch, as they require a few moments to dry, so be sure to keep your eye closed after drawing your line or it’ll migrate upwards. Tomlinson also suggested “draw your cat eye with a kohl pencil first if you are unsure of your skill set. This will be your ‘mock up liner.’ You can fine tune this line with your brush and liquid liner afterwards.” Urban Decay’s XX in Oil Slick is our recommendation, as it isn’t a basic black; there are gold flecks that soften this edgy look. The brush is comprised of loose bristles, so it takes a steady hand. It also provides the thinnest, most delicate line across your lashes.
Available at Sephora or http://www.urbandecay.com.
*PENS: Pens provide you with the ability to make a precise line and give you the most control, but they can be unforgiving if you make a mistake and smear. Stila’s Stay All Day pen is the closest to a line-and-go product. If you aren’t ready to splurge, you can try a drugstore brand, like Maybelline Line Stiletto or Physician’s Formula, and practice and play with those till you get it 100 percent right. Once you are an expert at drawing black lines at your lashline, you can upgrade to a department store brand, since this is a look that requires practice!
Available at Sephora or http://www.sephora.com.
*If black is too harsh, Rock & Republic offers a myriad of colors, as does MAC. “I am all for the classic thin to thick perfectly placed liquid black line. However, let us not forget that there are a million other colors out there for our choosing,” Zazula said. “Light metallic tones brighten eyes when placed in the inner corner or on the bottom lash line. Plum brings out the dullest of green/hazel eyes, copper and metallic browns bring new life to bothered blues. Bright hues when used in moderation can give that extra pop needed to feel confident.”