There’s a reason black winged liner has stood the test of time. Loved by beauty icons past (Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren) and present (Bella Hadid, Adele), it is always classy—but often a pain to get exactly right. Anyone who’s attempted a cat-eye knows the frustration of uneven wings, smudges, and trying to cover up so many mistakes that you end up with panda eyes. Thankfully, legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath and her team at Pat McGrath Labs are here to help you finally master the technique.
Apply a thin layer of concealer from the lid to the brow bone to create a base, then curl your lashes (you’ll risk smudging your liner if you do it later). Using your eyeliner pencil measure where you want to place your wing. One end should be at the edge of your nose and the other up to your temple for the most flattering angle.
Tight-line the eye, making sure to smudge the liner into the lashes. It’s okay if the application isn’t as precise—you’ll be blending next.
Use a small eyeshadow brush to blend the liner into a wing shape. Think of this line as a stencil that you’ll follow with liquid liner later. Keep some pointed cotton buds and makeup remover at the ready in case you make a mistake.
Trace over your existing pencil liner by carefully dragging the liquid liner tip along your lash line. To get that coveted lift in the eye, the line should “kick off” before the outer corner. “Do not follow the shape all the way down which could pull the eye down,” McGrath advises. “Think of the liner as a plane taking off just before it reaches the end of the runway.”
Complete your eye look with a healthy coat of mascara. Press a loaded wand to your roots, then “wiggle” back and forth as you pull the wand to the lashes’ tips. “The trick is to have more product at the base to reinforce your eyeliner and avoid applying too much product at the tips,” the makeup artist says.