Floating Eyeliner Is *The* Holiday Look Of 2020: Here's A Step-By-Step Tutorial
In seasons past, many have leaned on bold beauty looks to make a statement at holiday events, like a sharp cat-eye, glitzy shadow, or a crimson red lip. The classics, if you will. But 2020 is unlike any year, which makes the holiday-inspired makeup a bit, well, offbeat. Maybe you're gathering over Zoom to toast to the New Year, or you're safely seeing loved ones while masked-up and socially distant. So why not ditch the classics altogether and don a makeup look that speaks to the unique circumstances of this year? The aforementioned red lip is pretty pointless, anyway (no one will see it under a mask!), not to mention messy and bothersome.
Floating eyeliner, on the other hand, is a fresh, modern way to make a statement nose-up. It's exactly how it sounds: You're floating the liner above the lash line, creating negative space around the lid for a beat that's graphic and surprisingly minimal.
It looks sophisticated and intricate, but Alexandra Compton, product development manager at clean beauty retailer Credo, says it's not so tricky to master. Below, her step-by-step guide.
A floating eyeliner tutorial.
Now, you can create any shape you desire (a simple Google search brings up endless designs to scroll through), but for the purpose of this tutorial, we'll stick to the most basic stencil—where the eyeliner traces the outline of your eye shape and connects at the outer corner. You can also choose any colored liner to brighten up the look (or stick to an inky outline, if you so choose).
- Apply primer to the entire eyelid to make sure all the pigment stays put.
- "If it's your first time trying this technique, use a brown or black eyeshadow to trace a stencil of the shape you're trying to achieve," says Compton. With a fine, angled liner brush, outline where your crease meets the bottom of your brow bone. Start from your inner corner and sweep the line until you reach the tail of your eyebrow.
- With that same shadow, draw a winged liner from the outer corner of your eye, flicking outward toward the previous line. Continue to fill in both lines until the ends meet, closing off the shape.
- "Once you have a rough outline of the shape you prefer, you can start to build intensity," Compton continues. Grab your liner of choice (with either a felt-tip pen if you have a steady hand or a gel liner with that same angled eye brush). Draw over your shadowed outline to make it look more graphic and sharp. "Don't worry if you accidentally draw outside the line," Compton adds.
- In this next step, clean up any jagged edges with a micellar-water-soaked cotton swab (this helps sharpen the shape further). Then, Compton suggests using a clean angled brush to dab some concealer around the edges "to really enhance the shape and bring out the striking definition of a graphic liner."
- Finally, you can fill in your lid with fun, metallic eyeshadow colors, or leave the negative space as is, sans shimmer.
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This look is fun, playful, and bold—it practically emulates holiday cheer. Plus, it enhances the shape of your eye and defines your crease. If you have hooded eyes (which can make it difficult to find your natural crease), just keep your eyes open and look straight at the mirror when drawing your lines—that way, you can "create" your own crease without worrying about the skin folds smudging up your progress. "This look was made for hooded eyes!" says Compton.
We should also note that it may take some practice to get the graphic liner just right, but remember that concealer is your friend, here. "Your concealer and foundation act as an eraser, so don't be shy when you experiment because mistakes are easy to correct," says Compton. "And, at the end of the day, it's just makeup and can easily be removed."
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Jamie Schneider is the Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.