Does The Graphic Eyeliner Trend Work In Real Life?

There are a lot of trends that I can get behind without any skepticism whatsoever. Neon lipstick? Sure! Colored mascara? Why not? Using a hairdryer to curl my lashes? I mean, it’s weird and sounds like it would just make my face really hot, but I accept it. I’m generally pretty down for whatever—I trust that the powers that be in the beauty trend world know what they’re doing for the most part. But there’s a new trend that I’m really not sure about: Graphic eyeliner.

What is graphic eyeliner?

For those of you who are a bit confused, yes, the graphic liner is, in fact, different than winged eyeliner, even though, for some, it might be just as difficult to achieve. It can be done with pretty much any type of eyeliner, and the feistiest among us have been taking it one step further with bright colors and glitter. As a perpetual beauty spectator and self-described makeup junkie, the look is totally awesome on the runway and in high fashion advertisements. Unfortunately, I fear that it might be less awesome and more clownish in real life.

So, since I’m all about ~*facing my fears*~ and ~*getting paid to write beauty articles*~, I thought I’d give the trend a try! After perusing various different looks and deciding that I’m the kind of person who prefers to keep the bright colors exclusively on my lips and nails, I chose two looks to try out: The Double Wing, as seen on Amber Heard in this InStyle shoot, and this blogger’s Cut Crease Liner, sans the powder blue eyebrows.

How do you wear graphic eyeliner?

First things first: I don’t feel myself when I’m not wearing winged eyeliner, so here’s what I look like on a daily basis:

Which eyeliner is better for beginners?

I’m not making that weird pseudo-duck face on a daily basis, but you get what I mean. I like a nice, sharp cat-eye, and years (nope, not exaggerating) of practice have made me pretty good at it.

With that said, let’s move on to my little social beauty experiment. First up, the double-winged look. After applying my normal undereye concealer and powder combo (L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Crayon Concealer and Revlon PhotoReady Translucent Finisher), I spent a few minutes observing InStyle‘s picture. They made it very clear in the description that the wings were supposed to be straight, not curved, and made to look almost like an equal sign. Easy enough, right? Using the liquid eyeliner that I’ve raved about on this site too many times to count (Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black), I went to work. Here is a very close-up photo of my face and also the results:

The Graphic Eyeliner: double wing close-up

It’s actually pretty wearable, if not a little Cleopatra costume-y, IMHO. I’m personally not a fan of wearing liquid eyeliner on my lower lash line (or any other type of liner on the bottom, for that matter, except for when I’m doing a really aggressive smokey eye), but you could always swap the liquid on the bottom out for gel, pencil, or even matte black eyeshadow if that’s more your speed. The only problem?

Graphic eyeliner tutorial

You can’t see anything from far away. You literally have to be up close and personal with my eyeballs to see that I’m even wearing a graphic eyeliner look. Which, I guess, isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re trying to be trendy and subtle, but if I’m going for a trend, I want the whole world to know I’m going for a trend without having to explain myself or invite strangers into my personal face bubble.

So, with one eyeliner look left, the jury’s still out on whether or not graphic eyeliner is actually doable in the real world.

This next one is way more graphic and obvious, so I was simultaneously really nervous and excited to try it out.

A quick education on the cut crease. Most often used by people with monolids or otherwise not-very-pronounced creases on their eyelids, a good cut crease can be achieved with liner or shadow and can be obvious or subtle. They’re frequently used in more elaborate beauty looks, like this look from one of my favorite beauty vloggers, Vintage or Tacky.

Okay, now that you feel, like, 1000 times smarter than you did three minutes ago, let’s move on. I liked how the blogger by whom I was inspired wore a pale eyeshadow within the cut crease liner, so I used a MAC Eye Shadow in Malt, which is a pinky-beige matte shadow. After royally screwing up no less than three times (I have naturally very-pronounced creases, so it took me a few tries to realize that I actually had to place the liner pretty far above my natural crease), I finally got it. Kind of:

cut crease open
Ways To Wear A Graphic Liner

I used my hand-held mirror to apply the liner while watching the Food Network last night, and once I was done, I proceeded to wander around my apartment, holding the mirror at every possible angle, going back and forth between really liking the eyeliner and really hating it. I ultimately decided that, yeah, I might wear it if I were going to a costume party. Why wouldn’t I wear it normally, you ask? Well, because it looks like this when you close your eyes:

cut crease closed

Look, I’m sure if I did it a few more times and really got the hang of it, it wouldn’t look so messy. But, sorry to be gross here, I’m kind of a naturally sweaty human, and I know that the liner would eventually slide all over my eyelids and it would look good in the outside world for approximately ten minutes. Plus, it felt like I was wearing pounds of liquid eyeliner, and after a few minutes, it was surprisingly uncomfortable.

So, does the graphic eyeliner trend work in real life? Yes, but only if your real life is one long never-ending costume party. I wouldn’t really suggest this look for working or a date, and honestly, it takes way too long to apply properly to justify doing it for a normal girls’ night out or anything like that. As cool as graphic eyeliner looks on the runway and in advertisements, this is one trend that shouldn’t make a transition into the mainstream beauty world.

But what do you all think? Would you try out a graphic eyeliner look? Tell us in the comments!

(Featured Photo: Instagram/Zainab Ashraf)

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