How To Modernize The Classic Pin-Up Eyeliner Trend

Winged eyeliner is probably one of the most classic makeup looks you can rock. It's also one of the oldest makeup looks, as it can be traced to ancient Egypt, where women (most notably Cleopatra) used kohl to create dramatic wings on their eyes (via Major Mag).


To achieve classic pin-up makeup, make sure you use a liner you are comfortable with. "I raise and point my chin in the Marilyn Monroe heavy-lid pose, which creates a natural shadow to follow," singer of Screamin' Rebel Angels, Laura Rebel Angel, told Allure. "Then I do a glamorous connect-the-dots of three lines: I mentally trace the natural curve of my lid from the inner eye to the outer and continue that upward curve — the further out I go, the higher the drama."

However, even though the classic look is gorgeous, sometimes it's okay to want to spice things up. If you're wondering just where to start, here are some fun ways to modernize the classic pin-up makeup with eyeshadow, gems, and bold colors!


Add a parallel line on the bottom

An easy way to update your classic wing is to add a parallel line underneath it. All you have to do is trace your lower lash line and extend it to follow your original wing. Make sure to leave enough clear space between the two wings to ensure the look is graphic enough.


While you can achieve this look with a pencil liner, we recommend using a liquid one, as it tends to give a sharper line, making the final outcome crisper.

Use a vibrant color instead of black

The easiest way to make the classic pin-up wings more modern is to use a fun color instead of black. While you can buy actual eyeliners in colors, you can also DIY your own.

All you need is eyeshadow in the shade you want and some micellar water. Dip an eyeliner brush into micellar water and then pick up some of the eyeshadow with it. You will notice that the shadow becomes much more vibrant in color, and it applies just like a liquid eyeliner!


Explore the cut-crease look

If you're looking for something more dramatic than just a classic wing, consider combining it with a cut-crease look. You can achieve this look with eyeshadow, but we recommend trying it out with eyeliner.


All you have to do is draw a line from the end of your wing toward your crease, after which you can thin it out so it slowly disappears in the crease. Make sure to keep the space on your eyeliner between your classic wing and the cut-crease part as light as possible to make the whole look more dramatic.

Use white instead of black eyeliner

White eyeliner will always look bold — so if you're feeling it, give it a try. You can go about it any way you want, but we recommend combining it with a fun eyeshadow color, as seen in the above picture.


You can use a white liquid liner, but if that sounds too scary, you can always start out with a white pencil liner, which you can even blend a bit if you end up messing up the sharp lines.

Do a soft brown wing

A classic pin-up wing can often look a bit too dramatic, and if drama isn't your cup of tea, do a softer version of it with a brown liner.

In general, brown eyeliner tends to look less harsh, and no matter your skin color, you can find a shade that suits you. In fact, some brown eyeliners are so dark that they might even seem black, but they look softer on the eyes.


Make the wing metallic

2023 is the year of metallic makeup, and an easy way to jump on the trend is to use metallic eyeliner. Gold and silver are always safe choices, but you can also go even more dramatic with colors like metallic teal or purple. In fact — that micellar water hack we mentioned earlier? It works for metallic eyeshadows, as well!


Draw two wings instead of one

Double or even triple wings are a great way to spice up a boring eye look. They add the illusion of thicker eyelashes, make the eye appear even more elongated, and are super easy to execute. All you have to do is add an additional wing above and/or beyond the one you already drew!


Add pearls

Adding pearls to your eye makeup is such an easy way to make the look seem more intricate without much more effort. All you need are some half-pearls and eyelash glue. You can do any placement you like and add however many you want!


Trust us. Everyone will compliment your makeup (which you did in, like, five minutes).

Combine it with dark lipstick

The traditional way to rock pin-up winged eyeliner is to combine it with a red lip. However, that can be a bit too predictable, but you know what isn't? Super dark lips.

The brave ones can go for black lipstick, but if that is a bit too much for you, opt for a deep, vampy red or purple.


Use a vibrant eyeshadow above the eyeliner

Black winged eyeliner can look too posh, so if you want to add a bit of funk to it, put a vibrant eyeshadow all over your eyelid. While you can play around with multiple colors, the easiest way to go is to use just one fun shade all over the lid.


Make it thick

Everyone has experienced this — you make one perfect wing, but then you do a horrible job on the other eye. While trying to even them out, you end up adding more and more, and the next thing you know, you're stuck with really thick and big wings.


Luckily, those are a totally cool look, and if you make them cover a big chunk of your eyelid, it can look 100% intentional (even if it wasn't).

Add glitter to your inner corner

Winged eyeliner looks great on its own, but there's always room for more drama. A simple way to add more to the look is to add eyeshadow to your inner corner. While you can add eyeshadow in a vibrant shade, we recommend going for glitter eyeshadow — especially for a night out! The lights will reflect on it, making your eyes the spotlight of any room you enter.


Add vibrant eyeliner above the black one

One eyeliner line is great, but two eyeliner lines are even better! To spice things up, add a second line right above your classic winged eyeliner — but make sure it's in a contrasting shade. You can use bold colors like blue or green, but lighter shades like yellow, baby pink, or even white pop more!


Go for green instead of black (and add it to your lower lash line)

Another color that tends to look great on different skin tones (and with different eye colors) is green. Pick an eyeliner pencil in a green shade that suits you, and create a wing with it.

To make things more interesting, focus more on your lower lash line instead of your upper one! Combine the look with some mascara and lipgloss, and voilà — you're done!


Extend the eyeliner in the inner corner

Fox eyes have been a trend for eyes now, and eyeliner is crucial for them. Go ahead and create your classic eyeliner look (making sure you keep the end more straight than winged upward), and then add the eyeliner in your inner corner to elongate it as well.


To do this, follow the direction your upper lash line is curving toward, and add a tiny extension to the end. Ensure you use waterproof eyeliner, since the inner corner tends to get watery throughout the day.

Add face gems

Similar to our half-pearl suggestion, adding face jewels is also an easy way to spice up your eye makeup. With winged eyeliner, there are so many options for the placement of gems. You can add them in a parallel line above your eyeliner, add them on top of it, or add them to extend the wing, as seen in the photo above.


Keep it thin

Doing a super thick eyeliner is a great way to save the look if you mess up your wings, but a super thin and delicate wing also looks great! You can combine it with some natural-looking eyeshadow — just apply a bit of it in a shade slightly darker than your skin to your outer corners.


Of course, thin wings can be difficult to execute, so we'd advise that you do the lines first with eyeshadow, and when you're satisfied, go on top with eyeliner.

Do a wing with eyeshadow instead of eyeliner

If you feel like wearing dramatic pin-up wings on a daily basis, nobody should stop you. After all, makeup should be about what you like and should never be taken too seriously. However, if you want to wear a slightly less dramatic version of winged eyeliner, consider using eyeshadow.


This makes the look a lot softer, and since the shadow is slightly blended, the lines look much less harsh and dramatic. Using eyeshadow to do your eyeliner also means there's plenty of space for mistakes, as eyeshadow is a lot more forgiving!