Eyeliner has been used to accentuate eyes throughout history—from ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and Mesopotamia to the makeup looks of flappers in the Roaring 20s and today with trends like neon liner. We’re walking you through two traditional and two modern eyeliner methods to make your eyes pop.
According to Vice’s “The History of Eyeliner,” kohl was first used in Ancient India, Egypt and Mesopotamia during the Protodynastic period in 3100 B.C. Ancient Egyptians used kohl not only for cosmetic purposes, but also to reduce the glare from the sun and practice devotion to their deities. According to Fashion History Timeline, wealthy women in Egypt carried kohl in their toilette boxes. Queen Nefertiti, the queen of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, was a part of this trend and would often get herself painted or sculpted with bold black outline on her eyes. Today, in parts of India, Africa and the Middle East, a similar formula of kohl is still used to define the eyes and brows and even put on children to ward off the evil eye.
In the United States, Hollywood’s debut in the 1920s contributed to the trend of eyeliner. On camera eye makeup allowed the black and white cameras to pick up facial expressions. In 1919 Charlie Chaplin was famously known for his character “The Tramp,” who flaunted a cartoon-like eyeliner look.
In recent cosmetic trends, eyeliner has opened up a world of possibility—from using eyeshadow, to liquid, to gel in any color of the rainbow. However, the precision needed to create the perfect wing has proved to be a daunting task for many. Here are two traditional and two modern eyeliner options to expand your artistry and find the perfect look to accentuate your eye shape and color.
- Pick out your favorite eyeshadow shade, a dark brown shade is easy to blend and tends to look more natural than a black liner.
- Begin applying the eyeshadow to the upper lash line with a flat eyeliner brush. It’s okay if it’s not a perfect straight line, you can smudge it out for an even more natural look.
- Next, using a pointed eyeliner brush start at your outer corner and draw a line about halfway to the end of the eyebrow.
- Blend the tip of the line back down toward the center of the lash line. This will create a clean, long line of eyeliner.
- If desired, smudge the liner with a blending brush for a more natural look.
- Finish by cleaning up any excess eyeshadow underneath the eye.
- Choose a bright colored shadow or liner.
- Get an angled liner brush damp with water or setting spray before dipping it into the product of your choice.
- Line the upper lash line with the pop of color from the inner corner to the outer corner of the eye. Begin with a thin line and create more definition at the end.
- Repeat step two with a few coats of the liner for more color vibrancy.
- Use the angled eyeliner tip to create a wing from the outer corner of the eye to about halfway to the end of the eyebrow.
- Make sure to connect the end of the wing to the center of the lash line to create a smooth line. Repeat this step with a few coats of the liner for the most color vibrancy.
- Start by drawing a winged line on the upper lash line—preferably with a liquid liner if you have one. Drag the tip of the brush to the outer corner of the eye with a slight upwards angle toward the end of the eyebrow.
- Finish the line about halfway to the eyebrow’s end. To make this technique easier, use scotch tape to line up the outer corner of the lower lash line to the edge of the eyebrow.
- Once this line has been achieved, you can thicken the wing as desired by adding more layers of eyeliner. Remember its easier to add more product than to take it off.
- To achieve a double wing, remove the scotch tape and repeat steps 1-3 on the lash line, beginning at the center of the lower lash line and drawing parallel to the upper wing.
- If the wing’s tips are too thick, dip a cotton swab in makeup remover and wipe between the wings to define them.
- Try using a black upper wing and a dark green, copper, purple or blue shade on the lower wing—depending on your iris color—to make your eyes pop.
- Using a thin eyeliner tip, begin by taking a liquid eyeliner pen and lining as close as you can to your upper lash line. Line from your inner corner to the edge of your outer lash line. You can also define your inner corner with a clean ‘V’ shape to create a more pointed fox-like look.
- Tilt the angle of your eyeliner on your outer corner up toward the end of your eyebrow. Draw this line about halfway to the end of your eyebrow. Once you have a clean line, connect the upward end of your liner to the center of your eyelid and connect it to your lash line. Again, tape is your best friend—use it to help create a clean wing.
- Take the tip of your liquid eyeliner and go over the lash line one more time to create the straightest line possible.
- Now it’s time to create the graphic line. Take the eyeliner tip to the end of the wing and look straight ahead.
- Following the natural curve of your crease, draw the liner until you reach the middle of your pupil. Voila!
words_abby podolsky. photo_sydney burnett. design_giselle spicer.
This article was published in Distraction’s spring 2021 print issue.