Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cheap trick: Winged eyeliner for (fairly) hooded eyes

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I love a good cat-eye look, but hooded lids can make certain types of eye makeup trickier. By hooded, I mean that the part of the eyelid below the eyebrow comes down to cover up most of the part of the eyelid that is below the crease/immediately above the lashes. My lids are fairly hooded now, and I am sure they are only going to become more so as I age. There's nothing wrong with this shape - lots of gorgeous people have hooded eyes (not that I am including myself in that category, but I don't consider my eye type a flaw). But this shape can be frustrating if you are pining after elaborate eyeshadow looks, because you know that most of the color will just disappear into the your crease. On the upside, it means that I can wear pretty garish eyeshadow in professional settings and no one will really notice. It also means that winged eyeliner is tricky, because my crease extends below the outer corner of my eye, which can interfere with the wing. Here's a creepy closeup up my eye so that you can see what I'm talking about:

I've heard a lot of people with eyes similar to mine in one way or another say that they can't do a cat eye, but I use an easy technique that might work for you too. This may also be useful even if your eyes aren't hooded, but you have the low crease thing going on like I do.

[ETA: After reading Michelle's comment below (thanks!), it occurred to me that I'd chosen a photo here where I'm raising my eyebrows a little (believe it or not) to show my eyeshadow better. Usually I raise my eyebrows like this and tilt my head to apply eye makeup, so that I can see my eyelid better. I've added another, no makeup (ungroomed brows), straight on shot of my eye that might make help to illustrate the shape better. You can see that when I relax my eyebrows, the hooded part is lower. ]

Most winged eyeliner tutorials (like this one, for example) tell you to start by drawing a short line angled upward from the corner of your eye, and then to line above your lashes and connect the two at the outer corner. Usually you're not going to want to stretch your eyelid while doing this, because when you let go of it, you'll end up with a different shape from what you originally drew.

You can see from the way my eyelid is shaped that if I try to do it that way, the crease (or creases, to be more accurate) will get in the way. I can't just draw a line over the crease without making a huge mess.

So here is my modification.
I stretch the corner of my eye out to create a smooth surface for the eyeliner. (Some people are very opposed to ever pulling on the skin near their eyes, because they think it will cause it to wrinkle or sag, but I don't give a shit. I don't believe that doing this for 20 seconds a couple of times a week is going to make much difference. You can check in with me in 2035 to see if I've made a terrible mistake.) Then, instead of drawing the wing at an upward angle, where the crease would interfere, I draw it more or less horizontally out from the corner of my eye. It naturally turns upward a bit just because the curve of my eye socket makes that happen, but it's mostly horizontal. And then I line the rest of my eye along the lashes and connect the two segments. I just follow the natural shape of my eye until one line meets the other.

Here is an awkward photo of my stretched eyelid so that you can see the shape I create. EYEBALL!

When I let go, some of the wing does still disappear into the crease, so I have to draw the wing longer than I want it to look when it's finished. I made a pretty small one here, but you can go much more dramatic just by making the wing longer or the line thicker. The wing I'm left with is horizontal, but that's ok. I don't think it looks weird, and it's not distorted the way it would be if I had tried to angle it upward. It still widens my eye and emphasizes the outer corner, and I'm not enraged because my crease fucked everything up. It's also pretty easy to make both eyes symmetrical this way, because it's not hard to match the angles when they are both just horizontal.

That's it! I used a gel liner with a brush here: Cailyn in Charcoal. But you can use liquid or gel or whatever your preferred medium and implement. I think the easiest liquid liner to use is L'Oreal's Lineur Intense with the felt tip (not the brush!). If you use a wet liquid, you might have to hold it stretched a few extra seconds until it dries so it doesn't smear in the crease.

If your eye shape is similar to mine and you've struggled with winged eyeliner, this method might be worth a shot. Or maybe you've discovered another secret. Do you have any eyeliner tricks that work for you? Please share!


  1. I dont think your eye is really hooded! It looks like mine, which is just very little eyelid space. Not as invisible as some of the celebs who have hooded eyes!

    I wing my liner every single day, ever since i started using liner. I think its the proportion, longer extended liners just help my eyes look prettier. It's tricky to do though because my eyelid space is very small and any line slightly too thick makes me look like I'm headed to the club. I stretch out my eyelid too, and most of the time i just screw symmetry :p

    I find that very fine liner brushes give me a lot more control over say, a pencil or even a liquid liner.

    1. I ca see how maybe it doesn't look like it, especially since I shaded above the crease here. I definitely only have a little eyelid space visible, but there's also a lot there that just gets covered up (swallowed up?) by the crease/hooded part when I open my eyes, as opposed to people with little eyelid space that remains mostly visible when their eyes are open. But I added the (fairly) because I know they're not as heavily hooded as many people's eyes.

      I almost always wing my liner too. I like to try to make my eyes look larger, because my strong glasses make them look smaller!

    2. *can

      I added another photo to show my eye shape better. :)

  2. Interesting! I have hooded eyes and I always struggle with winged eyeliner. I agree that pulling your lid does work, but I tend to end up with a bit asymmetrical wings. It probably reflects on my skill level and not on the method itself. Need more practice

    1. Mine is never perfectly symmetrical either, but I find that doing it this way helps.

    2. I guess luck of symmetry is not a big deal. Human face are not really symmetrical anyway

  3. You are a genius and I love this. My eyes are more deep-set than hooded, but it's enough to make eyeliner a carnival of frustration. I'm trying this tomorrow; we'll see how it goes!


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