Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
A makeup artist once told me that liquid eyeliner can sense fear. No matter how much of a dab hand you consider yourself, an accidental slip of the wrist is the difference between achieving a Sophia Loren-esque wing (symmetrical and seamless) and something that only Julia Fox can pull off. (Who can forget her all-encompassing eye makeup at last year's Paris Fashion Week?)
After years of practice, I like to think I've got my winged eyeliner technique down to a T but moving house means I've had to temporarily swap my large dressing table for a small bathroom with yellow lighting that leaves much to be desired. Now, fashioning my signature feline flick is more of a chore, involving a handful of cotton buds and patience I don't have.
I know I'm not the only one to struggle. 'How to do winged eyeliner for beginners/for beginners with liquid/step by step' are all commonly googled questions and while there are countless hacks out there (ones using tape, some using your fingers and others enlisting concealer), nothing seems as quick and easy as the trick that popped up on my TikTok feed this week.
Like most viral TikTok beauty trends, it's difficult to tell exactly where this one originated from, but it looks like TikToker @makupxinh23 has amassed the most views at a huge 40.5 million. In the video, they place their liquid eyeliner pen at the outer corner of their eye but instead of painstakingly drawing a flick, they rapidly move their head sideways — in the opposite direction of the wing — to create the shape. Sure enough, it's super sharp and actually looks pretty professional. It wasn't long before other TikTokers like Iiambalqis and makeup artist Quách Ánh jumped on board, all achieving equally perfect wings.
The cynic in me questioned it. Could a simple shake of the head really create a winged eyeliner look without any mess — or effort — whatsoever? I grabbed my trusty eyeliner pen (Trish McEvoy Lash Enhancing Liquid Liner Pen, £38) to find out. If you'd rather spend less, e.l.f. Intense H2O Proof Eyeliner Pen, £6, and NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Eye Liner, £9, are just as good.
The most difficult part is getting the placement right. As you're putting your trust in the super quick head movement, where you balance the eyeliner pen is key. I pressed mine into the outer corner of my eye, tipped upwards slightly so that the wing looked elevated and enhanced my eye shape rather than a straight, horizontal line. Then I whipped my head to the side, hoping that this would be all it took to produce a speedy cat eye.
TikTokers make everything look easy and I can confirm that this...isn't. Each time I tried (and there were many attempts), the hack left me with a line almost up to my temple. Perhaps this is testament to how well pigmented my eyeliner pen is but it was messy and annoying all the same. Convinced I was being much too aggressive with my head movements, I toned things down a bit and that's when I saw better — but still not great — results. This time, the line was smaller but dotted. I had to clean up my lacklustre wing with plenty of micellar water and then go back in with the eyeliner pen to thicken it up. I was relieved when I actually managed to do it but that's when it hit me: I had to attempt the other eye, too.
These are the before and after results but I think the wing pulls my eyes down slightly. It's not a shape I'd usually be happy with. So how do you do winged eyeliner like a pro? I gleaned the best advice from a makeup artist I met at a MAC Cosmetics counter years ago. Firstly, find a hard, flat surface to rest your elbow on. This gives your arm and hand some balance so that the eyeliner pen isn't wobbling around. To steady your hand further, rest your little finger on your cheek. From the outer corner of your eye, swipe upwards and then from the tip of the wing, swipe back towards the centre of your eyelid. You should have created a wing with negative space. Then simply fill in the gap.
Finally, another great tip I learned is that lashings of mascara hides a multitude of winged eyeliner sins. benefit Fan Fest Fanning & Volumising Mascara, £25.50, beefs up scant lashes in one swipe and masks any mistakes caused by shaky hands. If you're on a budget, I love Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, £11.99, and L'Oréal Paris Lash Paradise Castor Oil Enriched Mascara Intense Black, £12.99.
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