It takes a rare type of trend to overtake a classic. While the cat-eye will never not be all over Instagram and red carpets, there's a new technique that's been popping up more frequently these days: the fox-eye makeup trend. Though it's ultimately similar to the classic winged liner everyone knows and loves, it's a bit more versatile and shape-shifts in a few different ways.
To get the general gist of what the fox-eye look is, it entails lining your inner corners, winging out the ends, and ever-so-slightly blurring and smudging the eyeliner and eyeshadow you use. The fox-eye also gives the illusion of drawing the face and eyes up and back. It's this upward motion and all the variations that make this look unique compared to its sister trends.
An example of a variation is wing length; some stars keep their wings short, like Jung Hoyeon and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, while others stretch them out long like Olivia Rodrigo, Yara Shahidi, or Ariana Grande. The blurred eyeshadow and eyeliner effect is also important for achieving this look, and the infamous mega fox-eye done by Julia Fox is an extreme example of this.
Since the trend first popped up on social media over a year ago, it has been linked to discussions of cultural appropriation of the AAPI community, especially as white celebrities and influencers used it alongside the “migraine pose,” wherein they tug upwards at their temples to create a look many view as reminiscent of yellowface. Addressing her perspective on the matter, TikTok beauty creator Eelyse Ship tells TZR, “Personally, I’m not really bothered by [the eyeliner], but at the same time, it’s that eye pulling. Is that necessary?” The eye pulling poses push the trend into insensitive, racist territory, especially as they are reminiscent of the kinds of bullying Asian people have been subject to in many Western countries.
While many of the insensitive poses have since stopped, the makeup trend itself has prevailed. To figure out how to get this trending look, TZR spoke with makeup artist Emily Cheng, who's done the faces of Yara Shahidi, Janelle Monae, and Kerry Washington, and Marc Reagan, the Hourglass Cosmetics Global Director of Education, Artistry, and Events.
According to both, the most important things to nail down are the inner and outer lines. "Some may find that perfect point at the inner and outer corners a little difficult to achieve, so just focus on creating tapered ends that elongate the eye shape," says Reagan. And pro tip: It's fine to start with a not-so-flawless line — you can fix it later. "Don't overly stress about getting everything perfect the first go, especially if you struggle with wing liner already," says Cheng. From there, you can follow Reagan and Cheng’s tips and tricks, which are rounded up ahead.
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Select The Right Eyeliner
If you like the look of a more exaggerated wing, it's important to use an eyeliner with staying power and a deep pigment. "If you're comfortable with liquid, which is what I prefer, a few of my favorites are Dior Diorshow On Stage Liquid Eyeliner, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, and KVD Vegan Beauty Tattoo Eyeliner. These are brush tips and personally offer more control for me," says Cheng.
If liquid is too intimidating, she recommends Charlotte Tilbury's Rock 'N' Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in Bedroom Black for a softer finish, or Pat McGrath's Permagel Eyeliner Pencil for a gel-like consistency. She also suggests Bobbi Brown's Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush for dipping into potted gel liners.
Angle Your Flicked Wings Upward
While all winged liners have some kind of flick at the end, the fox-eye places a little more emphasis on the direction. "Start by thinking of a regular winged eye but angling the wing slightly upward," says Cheng.
To successfully get the outer flick just to your liking, Reagan suggests focusing on the outer corner of the upper lash line first. "Then bring the eyeliner back down along the lower lash line, thinning it out as you work your way in. For the inner corners, exaggerate the points of the liner to give the illusion of the eye angling downwards towards the bridge of your nose and angled upwards at the outer corners for maximum effect," he says.
Soften & Blur Your Eyeshadow
Almost every fox-eye look you'll find has some kind of blurring or smudging happening, which really differentiates it from regular winged liner. You can blur your eyeshadow, eyeliner, or both, and the goal is to end up with a softened effect, which Julia Fox takes to a bold level. To do this, an eyeshadow brush is perfect for diffusing the makeup around your eye.
Don't Pull On Your Eyes When Applying Eyeliner
While the goal is for it to look lifted, tugging and pulling on your eye can distort your eyeliner's shape and ruin your eyeshadow. According to both Reagan and Cheng, you should leave your eye as-is while you apply, then do touch ups afterwards using cotton swabs with precision ends.
"These do a fantastic job at shaping and cleaning up for detailed lines. It's those clean upward sweeping lines that give you that illusion of an upturned eye, so make sure you clean up well," says Cheng.
Finish The Fox-Eye Look With Flared Mascara
Huntington-Whiteley's look is more minimal, but still has the smudged, upturned wings, which are accentuated by her mascara. Both Cheng and Reagan suggest swiping the mascara wand to the side and out to further elongate that flick. "Finish the eye with two to three coats of Hourglass' Caution Mascara, focusing on combing the lashes outwards rather than upwards to continue the elongated effect of the liner," says Reagan.
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