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Whether you have TikTok or not, chances are you've come across at least one smart makeup hack dreamed up by the app's beauty enthusiasts. There's lipstick blush (questionable), brow mapping (surprisingly effective) and homemade BB cream (so good, it'll replace your foundation). But it's impossible to avoid the hundreds of eyeliner tricks that flood the feed daily.
It makes sense. Whether you're executing a sharp cat eye or a smoky wing, eyeliner knows when you're not feeling confident about your technique (cue lopsided flicks and smudges galore). You might have seen TikTokers using everything from bobby pins and eyeliner stencils to nail the look easily. This month the sticky tape hack is doing numbers, with makeup artists and novices hailing it as the most impressive.
What is TikTok's eyeliner hack and how do you do it?
If TikTok beauty trends are anything to go by, it seems the ultra-black, razor-edged wing has been usurped by a more understated, smoky version. Liquid liner is out and eyeshadow is back as autumn ushers in a hazier, sootier look and feel. Most of the app's makeup artists use angled eyeshadow brushes to blend out their wing but if you have a little tape to hand, all you need are your fingers.
On TikTok, @kat_longoria's smoky eyeliner video has amassed an enormous 36.2 million views and counting. It shows her sticking strips of tape to her eyes to create a wing-shaped stencil. She then uses her fingertips to swipe on a layer of black eyeshadow and peels away the tape to reveal a perfect, smoky flick. The hack has been so popular that a number of TikTokers have recreated the video, themselves garnering millions of pairs of eyes. @lenkalul's approach is a little easier and proves you don't have to tape your entire face — just your eyes — to achieve the look.
Does TikTok's eyeliner hack actually work?
As a self-proclaimed eyeliner addict, I had to give this a go. Of course I was sceptical. Some of the TikTok beauty trends I've tried haven't gone to plan (looking at you, DIY French tips) but others, like the summer smoky eye trick, have turned out to be game-changers so I grabbed my tape. I'd recommend using something gentle for this trend. You can buy cosmetic face tape online, which is much less likely to tear your skin, but I figured that using (dermatologists, look away now) regular sticky tape over my skincare and foundation wouldn't hurt...
Before applying mascara, I cut two 10cm pieces of tape and placed one strip underneath my eye at an upwards angle to shape the wing and another straight across my eyelids, coming down into the inner corner. The gap would provide a stencil for the eyeshadow (I used shade Goodnight in VIEVE's The Essential Eye Palette, $85). I dipped in my index finger and smudged the shadow into the clean space, layering up a couple of times to build the intensity. With a gentle, steady hand I unpeeled the tape from my eyes – and I can honestly say that the finished result was even better than I could have hoped for.
In mere moments, both smoky wings were sharp, precise and – most importantly – symmetrical. It was much easier than the usual method I use (sitting cross-legged on the floor and steadying my elbow on my knee). Other than making sure the shape was the same on both sides using the clear tape, I can't fault the process but worried about the eyeshadow smudging throughout the day so finished off the look with a veil of Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Setting Spray, $34, to lock it in place. The good thing about this trick is that you can decide exactly how big or small you'd like the wing to be by adjusting the tape, so you can forget about ending up with overly dramatic eyes (if that's not your thing), which always seems to happen when you add more liner in a bid for perfection.
If you want more of an intense wing, you could always go over the eyeshadow with a gel eyeliner pencil (I rate Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon) or even a liquid liner (try Huda Beauty Life Liner Quick N’Easy, $26.50). You could even enlist a fluffy eyeshadow brush to blend things out if you like the smoky vibe.
What are the best eyeliner pens and pencils?
I've got to say that this hack is pretty genius. It took seconds so I'll be sure to try it again ahead of a night out. But if you'd rather stick to your usual method of fashioning a wing, it pays to nail your products. Glossier's Pro Tip, $16, is a failsafe eyeliner pen that anyone can use. The nib is sturdy yet malleable, which makes things so easy. If you're on a budget, try Lottie London's Wing Woman Felt Liner. It's one of the best cheaper options and stays put for hours. Lastly, beauty editors and makeup artists love Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, which does exactly what it says on the tin.