I recently took a little stroll down memory lane and flipped through some old high school yearbooks. It’s a strange thing to look at a photo of your younger self and come face to face – literally – with the changes that have occurred since then.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a pity party, as most of the changes are for the better. Namely, my makeup and fashion choices have drastically improved. Growing up in the early millennium, my idea of “It” girl makeup included glitter, hot pink blush and clear, strawberry-flavored lip gloss. That’s right, the epitome of sophistication before you (wink, wink) did not hit her makeup stride until her 20s were well underway. I settled into my role as a late-bloomer and took my sweet time adapting to “grown-up” makeup techniques … especially those involving elegant eyeliner.

If you find yourself in a similar position to my younger self – obsessed with all things beauty but unsure of where to turn for guidance and inspiration, this is for you. Think of me as your big sister, letting you in on how to finally conquer your fear of the magic marker felt tip liquid liner and embrace the wonder that is winged eyeliner.

Winged Eyeliner

The Trials

In flipping through said high school photos, the absence of eye makeup, save for some awkward mascara clumps, is painfully apparent. And, while I‘d like to say this bare-eyed look was fueled by my desire to pioneer the “no-makeup” makeup look, the truth is eyeliner was one of worthiest foes.

It seemed like my classmates were eyeliner-wielding masters, waving their gel, kohl and liquid wands to create perfect works of art with just a flick of the wrist. All the while, my less-than-steady hand had a rough time simply tracing my lash line. And, although my lovely mother excelled in passing on essential life skills like budgeting and baking out-of-this-world chocolate chip cookies, her makeup skill set was limited to concealer, blush and a single coat of mascara. I was left to my own devices, left to navigate the wide world of makeup on my own.

My initial attempts resembled the signature of a preschooler.  For the longest time, I couldn’t get the flicks to match, and I wished my (broken) wings would take me away. But never one to back down from a challenge, and inspired by my love of Old Hollywood starlets and cat-eye predecessors like Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor, I finally decided to bite the bullet and adopt the winged eyeliner look sometime around the age of 20.

The Triumphs

As with any issue, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I accepted that dexterity wasn’t  on my side and called for reinforcements (read: Scotch tape). I love a good hack, so I scoured the web – praise the internets – for eyeliner tutorials involving tape.

The tape trick served as training wheels for me, in that it got my hand accustomed to drawing a straight line. Fearing I would “lose it if I didn’t use it,” I put myself on a muscle memory. cat-eyeliner schedule in which I rocked the look at least once a week. And just like riding a bike, eventually my hands caught on and were able to create a beautiful, svelte wing all on their own! I am now proud to say I can create this classic makeup look in under a minute and have even upped my game to include all the colors of the rainbow. Hello, adulting.

So, if you haven’t quite figured out how to “wing it,” I encourage you to practice, practice, practice until you find the trick that works for you. Whether it be tape, a business card or a Q-tip (for damage control), there’s a solution out there. I believe you can fly, so go out there and earn your wings. Yes, I went there.


Let's Stay in Touch

Get our top stories straight to your inbox!