Winged Liner Troubleshooting: How to Make Wings Work For You. (Yes, even hooded eyes!) Tutorial

Kaleigh Baschal
Aug 20, 2015 · 9 min read

There are so many tutorials and pictorials that demonstrate the “triangle-connect-the-lines method. It’s a great way to achieve a wing, but for so many people, it just doesn’t work for them. Why?

There are so many variables that can foil your eyeliner plans, and this is my stab at troubleshooting those variables.

If you have ever said:

“My wings always turn out uneven or shaped funny”

“I have hooded eyes so I cant do winged liner.”

“I cant get my eyeliner to look smooth”

“I cant get my wings sharp enough”

“It just doesn’t look right.”

This guide is for you. YOU get a wing, and YOU get a wing! Everybody gets a wing! /oprah.

My wings are uneven/ weirdly shaped!

There are a couple of ways to get your eyeliner shape and symmetry where you want it to be. The first method is to use lines/ dots to map out where you want your liner to go. You can use any product for this step, but I recommend brown or gray eyeshadow on a liner or angled brush to do this. Eyeshadow is more forgiving if you mess up, and you can go over it later with liquid or gel liner. I am using gel eyeliner in the photos, so it will be easier to see.

Using a dotting motion, put a line or dot on your lash line just above the center of your iris. Working towards the outer corner, make two more dots, keeping them somewhat level with each other, but gently curving downwards. Place your last dot right where your crease begins.

Then take a straight edge, like a business card, and place it where you want the bottom of your wing to be. Some people say that you should angle it up to the tail of your brow, but if I did that, my wing would be nearly vertical. My eyes have a more rounded shape, so I use my lower lash line as a guide. Place a dot slightly inwards to where you want the end of your wing to be.

This is where you want to stop and look into the mirror with your eyes open and looking straight forwards. If your dots look even with each other on both eyes, you can move on to the next step.

Using eyeshadow or liner and a brush of your choice, line your inner corner, following the natural curve of your lashes. Then, connect the lines/ or dots, sort of like velvet rope. Freehand or using your business card as a guide, draw your bottom line, extending it a little further out than your outer dot. Notice how I have two lines in the photo on the bottom left. That’s because my first line was too high. From here you can fill it in with eyeshadow or liner, using long continuous strokes to even out any bumps or lines. Make sure to fill in any gaps in between your lashes!

My eyes are hooded and I can’t get winged liner to work for me

My eyes are only slightly hooded, but hopefully some of the things that work for me can work for you too. Here are a few techniques you can try- The first is to use the method outlined above, except we’re going to change a few things.

1. Forego lining the inner half of your eye, and just tight line instead. This will prevent making your eyes look smaller and it will also elongate your eye. Blend the outer liner into your lashes in the center or shortly before the center of your eye.

2. Start your lower line slightly below your lower lash line. This will give you more room for your wing. (pictured above). You can connect it to your upper lid by drawing a line from the corner of your eye, to the base of the little flick you just made. Play with it a little, and see what works for your eye shape.

3. Keep your liner thin and closer to your lash line. Below where the hooded part of your eye would cover it. To do this, look straight into the mirror and put a dot near where your hood and eyelid touch (pictured) You are going to have to keep checking the mirror with your eye open and looking straight on to see if the hooded part of your eye “interrupts” your liner. If it does, there is a way to still make it work, but it’s going to look different than you think when your eye is closed.

Assuming you’ve already done all of the steps listed above, you’re going to begin with your eye fully open, looking straight on into the mirror.

1 .Load your liner brush with a dark shadow, and dab it where there is a “gap” in your liner. You should have your eye open throughout this step. Basically, your winged liner is telling your hooded lid “fuck off I do what I want.” There is a close up picture of this step below.

2. Now, when you close your eye, the shadow that you placed with your eye open will have ended up on your eyelid. Blend this inwards to diffuse it a little (but not too much!), then go back and repeats step one with your eye open to make sure your shadow is dark enough. When your eye is open, it looks like normal winged liner, and when it’s closed, it’s blended into your crease a little.

I think it looks cool this way, but if you don’t like the way it looks, you can keep working with the tips I mentioned above.

Here is another look at the top left picture, except here I’ve drawn a line to indicate where you want to place the black eyeshadow.

My Liner is Bumpy/ Messy

Honestly, sometimes your eyeliner is just gonna be bumpy. No one is perfect all the time. Aside from lots of practice, there are several things you can do to avoid bumpy liner. Here are ten tips to help you along.

1. Wipe some product off on your hand before applying to your eye. The beauty of using liner with a brush, is that you have control of how much product you’re applying

2. [Pictured] Hold your brush or felt tip flat to your eye rather than just using the point, and use long smooth strokes vs short choppy ones. Top photo: NO Bottom photo: YES My eyelids are a little slick from removing and reapplying makeup throughout this tutorial. You can see in this photo how my liner is slightly transferring onto my lid. To prevent that from happening, use a primer and a base shadow before your start your liner.

3. Use your product to make your brush thinner. You can do this by loading your brush with product and shaping your brush with clean fingers. I usually just pinch the tip of the brush to make it thinner. (Pictured above.)

4. Relax your eye- if you’re squinting your eyelid isn’t taut, and can cause your eyeliner to skip. Tilt your head back and look down into the mirror. Take your time. Wings don’t like to be rushed.

5. Use a business card or tape to guide your bottom line (stick and unstick the tape to your arm a few times to lessen the tackiness before you stick it to your face

6. If you have fine lines in your outer corner like I do, try priming with a silicone based face primer and setting it with some translucent powder. It wont fix the fine lines, but I find it does make application a little smoother. I use Maybelline baby skin (that name is creepy as shit) and Make Up For Ever HD Micro Finish powder. Be careful not to get primer in your eye.

7. Rest your elbow on a table!

8. Use a magnified mirror, or a regular mirror and a travel sized brush with a shorter handle. I find that it’s easier for me if I am closer to the mirror. Just make sure you’re taking a step back to check things out every so often to make sure your shit isn’t going haywire.

9. Clean up your bottom line with an angled brush and concealer, Vaseline, or moisturizer. Elf has a makeup remover pen with a pointed tip that works great for this. Just be sure to wipe off your brush/pen if you have to go in more than once.

10. Sometimes it really helps to walk away for a few minutes and come back to it later. Look in the mirror at your wings, whisper “I’m coming for you.”, then walk away and do your hair or something. When you come back, it will be with a fresh set of eyes.

I can’t get a sharp point!

At this point my eyes were raw from taking off and reapplying liner, so for this part I used my hand to draw on. Here are some tips for getting a sharper wing.

1. [Pictured] Do your bottom line first. When you go to do the line that connects to bottom line to your lid, start slightly before the end of the line. I placed a red dot in the photo for reference.

2. Sharpen the line with an angled brush and concealer or a makeup remover pen like the one I mentioned above.

3. Use eye shadow at the tip of the wing to extend it out and make it a little more sharp

It just…looks weird.

If nothing else is working for you, you should check the angle of your wing. As I said above, a lot of people say your should aim the trajectory of your line towards the tail of your brow… well that just doesn’t work for me.

Take a business card and look into the mirror head on. Use it to create different angles and see which one looks best on you. You can also experiment with different wing lengths and widths! Experimentation is key.

For the final photo I set the liner with black matte shadow, and added some false lashes.

Winged liner takes a lot of practice and time. Quite honestly, there are definitely days that I just cant make it work no matter what. Especially if I just woke up and my eyes are sort of puffy and swollen. Practice your wings on your days off, and if it doesn’t work, just wipe it off and start over.

Try different tactics and figure out what works for you! I hope this troubleshooting guide helps you overcome your winged liner woes. Please let me know your tips and tricks in the comments, or if there is anything I missed.

Originally published at on August 20, 2015.

Kaleigh Baschal

Written by

Books. Makeup. Anything spooky.

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