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The $6 Tool That Helped Me Finally Get Winged Eyeliner Right

You’ve been using the wrong brush all along.

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Photo: Mayara Klingner/EyeEm/Getty Images

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Winged eyeliner is hard. What I want is something that makeup artist and Lancôme global creative director Lisa Eldridge terms a kitten flick: a casual cat-eye that offers just a touch of glamour, but remains daytime-appropriate.

What I usually get, after drawing the lines on wonkily and then compensating by going over them repeatedly, is something in between Amy Winehouse and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. Not terrible, exactly, but kind of a lot for Wednesday at 9 a.m.

No amount of online tutorials or tiny pieces of Scotch tape affixed to the outer corner of my eyelids seemed to help. But a few months ago, while going through the brush section at the Harmon Face Values near my office, I made an impulse purchase that unexpectedly upped my winged eyeliner game dramatically: the Real Techniques Silicone Eyeliner Brush ($6).

It’s an odd little tool — more of a tiny, flexible silicone tendril than a traditional brush — but it allows the kind of precision that most liquid eyeliner pens (even the holy grails like Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner and Stila Stay All Day) don’t.

Real Techniques claims that you can use it with liquid or cream eyeliner, but I’ve had the most luck with pot gel eyeliner. (My favorite is L'Oréal’s Infallible Gel Lacquer, which lasts forever, is available at most drugstores, and costs just $10.) The silicone tip also makes the “brush” a breeze to clean. I usually just wipe it with eye makeup remover and a cotton pad after every use or two. Finally, I can dispense with the Scotch tape.