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Beauty Basics: How to Do Winged Eyeliner

The classic cat eye, though a popular makeup style that’s been around for decades, can be a huge pain to master. It seems so effortless—just finish off your eyeliner with a neat little wing for instantly bigger, brighter eyes. Easy, right? Not for those of us whose failed attempts at a flawless feline flick end with makeup remover and a lot

Fortunately, there are products out there that make winged eyeliner much easier to get right. For the tutorial below, we ditched our tricky liquid liner in favor of cosmetics AMC Eyeliner Gel, a richly pigmented gel liner that dries to a long-lasting matte finish. The creamy texture makes it easy to paint on a perfect cat eye in just a few minutes. Plus, it’s smudge-proof, crease-proof, and waterproof. (Pro tip: To keep your Eyeliner Gel fresh, partially peel back the protective liner on top of the jar without fully removing it. If needed, you can also moisten the product with a few drops of Duraline.)

To get you started on your way to becoming a winged eyeliner pro, here’s a tutorial on how to use gel eyeliner to draw a classic cat eye.

Step 1
Start by using an angled eyeliner brush, such as Wayne Goss Brush 08, to line your upper lashes. Dip the brush into your Eyeliner Gel and draw a thin line that hugs the base of your lashline.

Step 2

Next, draw a slightly thicker line from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye. This line should start out very thin and get slightly thicker as you continue towards your outermost eyelash.

Step 3

Draw a thin wing that points up and out from the outer corner of your eye. The wing’s tip should angle up towards the end of your eyebrow. Use a pointed cotton swab dipped in Bioderma Sensibio H2O to clean up any mistakes and carve out a crisp, sharp flick.

If you’re a beginner, you can also map out your cat eye with small dots before tracing over them with eyeliner.
Most importantly, keep practicing! Experiment with the thickness of your line and the angle of your wing to discover what looks best with your eye shape. Winged eyeliner can seem difficult at first, but it gets easier with time—especially if you start with a gel eyeliner, which tends to be more forgiving than liquid or pencil.

Now that you’ve gotten the hang of basic winged liner, take it to the next level with these three creative cat eye looks.

Like many of you, I love eye liner. I love the precision and perfection of a well-drawn cat eye with liquid liner; I love the smudgy bedroom eyes that a pencil can create; I love the wet-looking, deep vinyl look of gel. Rummage through my makeup drawers, and you’ll find 19 eye liners in varying shades of black, brown, navy, white, grey. I have even less-frequently-used eye iners (hot pink! red! turquoise! silver glitter!) in a huge box in my closet.

But for anyone new to makeup, or just starting to experiment, getting the hang of eyeliner can be an exercise in frustration. Do you line just the upper lids? Or the bottom lids, too? What’s a waterline, and how can eyeliner possibly stay there? Do you use a spoon, tape, or just freehand it when you’re trying a cat-eye? Liquid or gel? Powder or pencil? What about a brush? And hey—do you look cool? Do you look crazy? HOW DO YOU KNOW?