We Finally Know Taylor Swift's Favorite Eyeliner & Have The Tips To Recreate Her Iconic Look

Over the years, Taylor Swift has undergone a stunning style transformation. We've seen her progress from the curly-haired Nashville debut with cowgirl boots, to the hotpants-wearing "Red" trendsetter, to the sparkle-clad megastar headlining the record-breaking "Eras Tour." But one element of her signature look has remained the same since the beginning. Any Swiftie knows that the "Anti-Hero" singer loves a winged eye, and while this might vary from a delicate flick to a dramatic siren aesthetic, she's rarely seen without any wing at all. Swift has been known to rock a few colors on her lips (though red seems to be her favorite), and her eyeshadow palettes tend to change with each new album, so if you want to channel her look in general, knowing how to do winged eyeliner like a pro is the only non-negotiable.


In a 2023 Instagram video, makeup guru Kristina Rodulfo revealed that Swift's go-to product is the Tom Ford Beauty Eye Defining Pen. She's been linked to a few different eyeliners over the years, but it was the Tom Ford that Swift was seen applying onto herself in her "Miss Americana" documentary. Retailing at $62 at the time of writing, the premium eyeliner requires more loosening of the purse strings than your average drugstore equivalent, but as we can see from Swift's now-iconic look, the investment is worth it.

Make magic with the Tom Ford Beauty Eye Defining Pen

The Tom Ford Beauty Eye Defining Pen isn't just a recommended product because it comes from a high-end brand. As Kristina Rodulfo explains in her video, the eyeliner has both a thin brush and a super-thin marker. While the thin brush end is great for creating a cat eye sharp enough to kill a man, the finer marker allows you to go in and fill in details that are even more precise. Depending on which Taylor Swift era you're trying to emulate, you can simply create a fine, fierce wing and leave it at that, or you can start with a thin wing and build it up into something a little more statement-making using both tips of the liner. If you want to give "Bad Blood" music video or 2015 VMAs, for example, you'll need to go in a little heavier.


In the "Miss Americana" clip where Swift applies the eyeliner while on a plane, she uses the brush tip of the liner to draw on her wing, but Rodulfo also recommends using the marker side to bolden the inner part of the upper lash line, between the lashes. This will result in a "super-even dark line." As Rodulfo demonstrates, use your non-dominant hand to lift the skin just below your eyebrow. This will help you to get the marker side of the eyeliner right on the lash line and avoid a messy end result.

The basic winged eyeliner rules apply

The Tom Ford Beauty Eye Defining Pen can work magic, but it won't help you to look like Taylor Swift if you totally ignore the standard protocol when it comes to winged liner. The absolute golden rule for this type of eye look is to use a good eye primer first (and sadly no, face primer can't do double duty for eyeshadow primer). L'Oréal's Makeup.com explains that primer is so important because it helps your liner (and your eyeshadow) to glide on smoothly, but it also helps it to last. We all know that creating the perfect wing takes lots of effort and, often, several attempts. The last thing you want is it smudging and sliding off an hour into your night.


Another universal rule of winged eyeliner is that the wing will always stand out more against a neutral eyeshadow than a smokey or bolder color option. And though Swift has been known to wear different eyeshadow shades over the years, she more often than not goes for a neutral color that isn't too different from her skin tone and complements her blue eyes. In a video posted to YouTube detailing how to get Swift's signature makeup look, Refinery29 demonstrates how a light-brown shadow is often the first step of the process before you add the wing.

Draw the wing from the lower lash line

There's a lot of debate surrounding the best way to get a fierce wing, and ultimately, different techniques work for different people. But if your goal is to recreate Taylor Swift's process specifically, then you'll want to draw your wing from the lower lash line rather than the upper lash line. In an interview that the "Wild Dreams" singer did with Redbook back in 2012, she revealed that she always begins with the actual wing itself, which she extends from her lower line. "I do the outer corner flick first: I follow the curve of my lower lash line and draw it on as if it's an extension of that," she explained. Following this, she takes the liner to her top lid and connects it to the wing, filling in any gaps.


Not all makeup enthusiasts are a fan of this strategy, however. In her YouTube tutorial titled "How To Look Like Taylor Swift," makeup vlogger Stephanie Bailey shows that she prefers to draw the wing from the top lid and then line it up with her bottom lash line. She does look a lot like Swift by the end of the video, so you can follow this process instead if it speaks to you, even if it's not Swift-approved.

Use little dashes rather than one single stroke

Regardless of what Taylor Swift eyeliner look you're trying to channel, and whether you're opting for the Tom Ford Beauty Eye Defining Pen or a different formula of eyeliner, there's one technique that reigns supreme in the world of cat eyes. Always apply your eyeliner in smaller, shorter dashes, rather than long sweeping strokes. Even if your goal is to look like Swift at the 2022 VMAs and create a long wing that extends all the way to the end of your eyebrow, the best way to perfect the shape is to work with small strokes. Little dashes give you more control over the final look and help you to mold your ideal shape slowly.


In her tutorial showcasing how to get Taylor Swift's Grammys look, content creator @sophdoeslife uses this technique as she creates a multi-colored sparkly dual wing with several products, including eye pencils and eyeshadows (via YouTube). We also see Kristina Rodulfo and Stephanie Bailey using smaller strokes rather than longer strokes in their Taylor Swift tutorials.

If all else fails, cheat

To create a sharp wing like Taylor Swift's without any help, you need a steady hand (and perhaps some makeup remover to clean up any mishaps!). But judging from the fact that Swift herself applied her eyeliner in her "Miss Americana" documentary while she was on a moving plane, you clearly develop that skill with practice. The good news is there are a few crutches you can use to create a wing as fierce as Swift's until you learn how to steady your hand, one of the most popular being adhesive tape. Maybelline advises lining the tape up between the corner of your outer eye and your temples. Make sure it's stuck down tightly, then simply extend your wing from your lash line out, using the tape as a stencil to follow. Allow to dry and then slowly remove the tape to reveal a steady, even wing. If you don't have adhesive tape handy, you could follow the process using a bank card.


As far as we know, Taylor Swift herself doesn't use a stencil to create her cat eyes, but Swift also has had many more opportunities than the average person to practice and perfect her wing. If you just can't get that line straight, there's no shame in cheating. All's fair in recreating Taylor Swift's iconic look.