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How to Own the Negative Space Eyeliner Trend


Sometimes less is more–especially when it comes to avant-garde beauty looks. Case in point: negative space eyeliner. This budding eyeliner trend evokes a graphic, 60’s-inspired feel with minimal product. The bold look has already crossed over from an experimental runway trend to a makeup artist favorite for red carpet looks: celebs like Emma Watson, Zoe Kravitz, and Lily Collins have all recently been spotted rocking negative space eyeliner.

It's not hard to see why the eyeliner trend is taking off. It's fun, it's different, and best of all, it's an eye makeup look you can create in a matter of minutes. Below, you'll find a quick makeup tutorial with instructions on how to get the look, plus some advice and inspiration for creating a negative space eyeliner look that will positively wow.

An image of a model rocking a negative space eyeliner look looking down

How to Get the Look

Step 1: Prime your eyelids.

While we're not going to be applying eyeshadow for this look, starting with eyeshadow primer is still a good idea when creating any sort of graphic eye makeup. After all, when the look is exclusively eyeliner, we want to take all precautions possible to keep things smudge-free. Try using a primer like the MORPHE Eyelid Primer, which dries down sheer and will help keep your eyeliner locked in place for up to 12 hours.

Step 2: Choose your formula.

Gel liner, pencil liner, or liquid eyeliner will all work well to create this graphic eyeliner look. For ultra-pigmented, super precise lines, opt for a waterproof liquid liner like the TARTE Sex Kitten Liquid Liner. Look for this liquid eyeliner in your February 2020 Glam Bag!

Step 3: Wing it out.

For the first part of this look, start by creating a classic cat-eye along your lash line. Need some help with this part? Check out our full tutorial on how to do winged eyeliner based on your eye shape if you’re not sure how you should start your wing.

A quarter profile image of a model rocking a negative space eyeliner look

Step 4: Create the negative space line.

Now for the fun part: Once you've created the initial clean, winged line, you have a couple of options. For a more subdued version of negative space eyeliner, simply pick the line back up at the outer corner of your winged line and go back towards the inner corner of the lid, leaving a space between the two lines. For a more dramatic version of the look, go from the end of that initial wing tip and create a line that goes up and then in, tracing the crease of your eyelid–just like we did here. If you go for this version and you use liquid liner, be sure to keep your lid closed until you're sure the eyeliner is completely dry. This will help prevent smudges and keep your eyeliner from creasing.  

Step 5: Finish with mascara.

Polish off your eye makeup masterpiece by curling your lashes and applying a quick swipe of lengthening and volumizing mascara like the DOUCCE COSMETICS Boombastic Lash Volumizer Mascara. This will give you the long, separated lashes you often see in classic 60's looks (looking at you, Twiggy).

An image of a model rocking a negative space eyeliner look

More Ways to Play with Negative Space Liner

1. Cut your crease with eyeshadow first.

We love that negative space liner allows you to create a dramatic, graphic eyeliner look in minutes without any eyeshadow. However, that's not to say that adding eyeshadow won't complement this trend. To really go all out in creating a 60’s-inspired, mod look, apply an eyeshadow shade of your choice, creating a sharp cut along your crease. Then, outline that crease cut with the top line of the negative space eyeliner. Check out our guide to learn more about how to get the perfect cut crease with eyeshadow

2. Experiment with different sizes and styles.

This beauty look offers so much room to play and experiment. Create something minimal and super subtle by simply not filling in your wing, or emphasize the negative space by taking the line even higher up your crease. Try stopping halfway across your crease or winging your liner out past your eyebrow. You can even try filling in the negative space with glitter. The possibilities are endless!

3. Try different eyeliner colors & textures.

A crisp black line is a surefire way to create a classic mod feel, but why stop there? A white negative space liner look can also do wonders to help make your eyes appear larger. You can also try using colors like pink, gold, silver, and more. Try taking things a step further by creating a two-tone look, lining your lash line in a different color than the line along your crease or on top of your wing.

Want to receive eyeliners you can use to rock the negative space eyeliner trend? Take our fun beauty quiz (check it out below!) to get started receiving personalized beauty products, shipped for free every month straight to your door.  


About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated March 4, 2020 12:00 AM