Cruelty-free winged liner alternatives

So, I’ve always been a huge fan of the winged liner look.  A great way to lift the eye.  Plus, it’s sassy.

Sadly, a convergence of lack of skill and eye shape result in me being a less than ideal candidate for rocking the look myself.  Through diligent research, I’ve found a few alternative techniques that I also think do a lovely job of providing a bit of lift.

First up, the one I use pretty much on the daily, the “straight line technique” I first learned about from Wayne Goss.  In a nutshell, rather than following the natural curve of your eye when you’re contouring in your crease, you shade in a straight line parallel with the topmost part of the curve.  You can do this with a very subtle shading…

straight line technique ala wayne goss

… or, not so much with the subtle.

Makeup Geek Houdini straight line technique

I like this technique for several reasons.  1) It’s easy.  I’ve gotten to the point that I can manage this pretty well free-hand, without using tape or a tissue as a guide, but I do often  use a makeup wipe to clean up my edges.  Check out pretty much any eye look on this blog, including my one-shadow wonders extravaganza, for more examples. 2) It really does work.


Next up, the wedge (not the shoe, though I do like those, too).  I believe this is described in Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro, by Bobbi Brown, and I definitely learned it from a Bobbi Brown-trained makeup artist.

This is a technique wherein rather than winging (or flicking) the liner past the end of your eye, you give the illusion of a lift by creating a wedge shape on the lid itself, by gradually thickening the line as it moves from inner to outer corner.

You can do this with pretty much any medium, liquid liner, gel liner,  or even shadow.  Here are a couple of examples, the first two with shadow (a #flashbackfriday to last week’s post using Eye of Horus shadow), and the second with gel liner, Makeup Geek’s, Immortal.



wedge liner, straight line technique

And, of course, you can go crazy town with it, like I did in my Ode to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries 😉  Though, on closer inspection this might be a combo of the wedge + straight liner technique.



Last up, one of the many things I’ve learned from the incomparable Lisa Eldridge, the strategic outer corner placement of false lashes.  You could certainly do this with individual lashes, but I went with trimming a full lash band.

In terms of the size of the lashes, you need to play around with it until you find the length that best suits blending in with your natural lashes and eye shape.  I ended up using the middle section of a pair of Ardell Demi Wispies.  The inner corner section was too short and the outer corner third was a bit much.

bare, curled lashes
Self-adhesive Ardell Demi Wispies trimmed
bare, curled lashes with section of falsies on the outer corner

If I’d been planning to wear these out of the house, I would have followed up with some mascara and liner along the section of bare lashes to blend in with the lash band on the outer corner.

I really think this effect is lovely, and a lot easier than putting on a full lash band that has to be attached at multiple ends.  But, it is a bit fiddly for me.  For someone who is more practiced at false eyelash application, I’d imagine this would be a super quick alternative to winged liner!


I hope this has been helpful and/or interesting!

*These are only my opinions, formed through my personal experience as a consumer.  I am not a doctor, an aesthetician or a professional makeup artist.  I cannot guarantee what effect, positive or negative, these products may have on anyone else.

**All products were purchased by me from brands that, to the best of my knowledge, are cruelty-free.

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