Eyeliner looks can get a bit stale when constantly just applying a simple thin swipe to the lash line. To dress it up, there are always wings and lining the under eyes. Now, a new trend is taking over to take eye makeup up a notch. It seems anytime we sign into social media these days, we see one or two gorgeous floating eyeliner looks, so we wanted to try the trend.
What is the floating eyeliner trend?
The floating eyeliner trend “moves away from the traditional cat-eye close to your lash line,” explains celebrity makeup artist and founder of Neen, Jeanine Lobell. “Instead, the eyeliner is applied above the crease of your eyelid, making it look like the liner is ‘floating.’ It can be bold or subtle, glittery or matte. It’s a modern take that encourages creativity, like an abstract art piece on your eyelids.” Celebrity makeup artist and BUXOM executive director of global education & artistry David Birdwell says it’s a bit of a modern, more abstract take on the 1960s look that defined eyes using alternate placements than just the upper lash line.
Different ways to approach the floating eyeliner trend
Birdwell says some suggestions could be “defining the crease with linear and geometric shapes or defining the lower lash line with a negative space between the lower and upper lash line to create a double wing.” However, you can interpret floating eyeliner any way you want. “This trend is bold, fun, and allows you to express your uniqueness,” he says.
He also recommends extending your wing liner to align with your crease to create a shape like the number seven. “You can use your eyeliner pencil as a guide by looking straight ahead with your eyes open, then place the pencil horizontally to help map out how far out and inward you need to make your geometric shape that works for your specific eye shape. Then draw a line going in and connecting to the crease,” says Birdwell. You could also add a simple line to the inner orbital eye area for a bolder, more defined look, he says. “Another placement you can do is to create a simple straight line about one to two millimeters above the seven-shaped wing liner equal distance for a more abstract approach. You can blend it out with a brush if you want more of a diffused or gradient finish to your look.”
For a double wing, first draw a traditional wing on the upper lash line, then line the lower lash and extend the wing so there’s negative space between the two lines, says Birdwell. “This will create a bigger, more eye-opening and lifting effect.”
Pro tips for nailing the floating eyeliner look
“Pointy Q-tips and some non-oily eye makeup remover or micellar water are your friends here,” says Lobell. “For a soft line, you can use a thin liner brush and sketch on the liner with any eyeshadow color. Then, you can dampen the brush to make it bolder and more defined once you have the shape,” she adds. “Pencil is great too, but for a novice, shadow is easier to correct. Liquid liner is best left to the pros. It’s almost easier to put on too much and then use the Q-tip to erase it into the exact shape you want.”
Birdwell recommends beginners use a mid-tone brown matte shadow, like those in BUXOM Cosmetics Forever Babe Eyeshadow Palette ($42), and a detailing brush to map out your shape before going in with liner. “Use a tiny, fuzz-free cotton swab with makeup remover to perfect the shape before going over it with your eyeliner instead of free-handing it.”
A good eyeliner is essential to nail the look. Lobell says the Neen Side Eye Eyeliner ($19) in Jet and Minty are excellent options for this look. “They’re super pigmented, so they’re perfect for blending or creating graphic, structured lines,” she says. If you’re looking for long wear, Birdwell recommends BUXOM Power Line Lasting Eyeliner ($21). The creamy formula lasts 12 hours and features a “unique bladed tip and blending brush for a customizable liner that effortlessly lines and defines the eye.”