It’s a tale as old as time: You overestimate your cat-eye liner skills with very little time to spare before you have to head out the door. The result is nothing short of chaos, and you leave the house with imperfect eye makeup, regretting your decision to pull out the liquid eyeliner in the first place. The perfect solution to your liner woes is the “1/4 eye lift flick,” a technique coined and created by Australian-based makeup artist Nicole Thompson (AKA, Pinky on Instagram). It’s easy to master in a time crunch, and it makes you look wide-awake, even when you’re running on just a few hours of sleep.
The method also might be more flattering for your eye shape than painting a line across your full upper lash line. “By concentrating the liner application on the outer 1/4 of the eye only and flicking upwards, your eyes will appear more awake and also give you that mini-lift,” Thompson tells GRAZIA. The trick is especially worth a try if you have deep-set eyes or mature skin—both of which don’t necessarily benefit from top-heavy cat-eye liner. A peek at the subtle flick technique, courtesy of Thompson, below.
To get the look at home, start by drawing a thin line on the outer 1/4 of your lower lash line with your eyeliner of choice (scroll to the bottom for GRAZIA’s picks). “The longer you make that line, the thicker and bolder the liner look will be at the end,” Thompson says, adding that you should start small: you can always make your liner bigger and longer once you have a strong foundation.
Then, it’s time to wing out the liner. Once you have that little line, create the outline of, as Pinky puts it, “a little open triangle at the outer corner of your eye.” After that, finish by “colouring in” the little triangle with the same eye product you used to outline it. When you’re doing this step, she says to “keep your eyes wide open and look straight ahead into the mirror. Repeat after us à la Thompson: “No lifting your skin or tilting your head.”
If you’re nervous about making a mess, the makeup artist recommends having Q-tips and/or your favourite makeup remover on standby. “Don’t worry if the edges aren’t that sharp on application,” she says. “You can easily clean up the edges with a cotton tip and remover, or even facial mist!”
The best part about mastering the eye lift look is that you can achieve it using various eye makeup formulas—each of which will alter the look ever-so-slightly, depending on the aesthetic you’re going for. Ahead, find GRAZIA’s product recommendations, plus Thompson’s expert insight into using each one effectively.
If you want a subtle eye lift…
Opt for a brown eyeliner pencil if you’re a liner novice looking to hone your skills or, as Thompson puts it, “when you want a more natural look—and you lack time to perfect it.”
If you want a sultry eye lift…
Black eyeliner is an excellent choice for a more “dressed-up look, when you want “stronger definition,” Thompson says. Pencils are a great alternative to liquid eyeliner because “you can blur the edges for a slightly softer look.”
if you want a bold eye lift…
“Put down your coffee for this application,” Thompson suggests. “This one’s for those who want eyeliner that cuts like a knife.” Keep in mind that liquid liner will give you a statement-making line, but you need to keep in mind that it dries fast.
If you want to patiently craft your eye lift…
Reach for gel liner and a small fine angled brush if you want the definition of liquid liner but don’t necessarily have a steady hand. It’s great for those who like to take the time to blend and perfect the shape, as a gel liner gives you a little bit more playtime.