A Guide to Butterfly Eyeliner

Before I start, I know what you’re thinking. How many animal-themed eyeliner looks can there possibly be? From cat eyeliner to fox eyeliner to puppy eyeliner and beyond, eyeliner trends seem to come and go with the wind. Gen Z is responsible for what just might be the most creatively expansive era ever seen in the beauty industry. The latest of these new trends is butterfly eyeliner. This is a super unique, customizable way to add an artistic flair to your makeup. Keep reading for some awesome tips, tricks, and product recommendations to help you perfect your wings!

What is Butterfly Eyeliner?

There are two different ways to do butterfly eyeliner. The first is a more traditional look that uses bold, graphic lines and tons of bright colors to create a wing-like effect on the eye. If you’re a bit confused, think ‘90s! This particular way of wearing butterfly eyeliner made its revival on Tik Tok and went crazy viral when celebrities like Doja Cat and Hailey Bieber rocked the look.

Hailey Bieber in a butterfly eyeliner look

The second form of this trend takes a more literal approach. This version of butterfly eyeliner means that wearers are drawing literal butterfly wings on and around their eyes. These wings can vary from small pops of color placed at the outer corner of the eye all the way to huge, sweeping wings that cover half of the face.

Image depicting a small butterfly wing drawn on the eye

The versatility of this trend is what makes it so interesting! Choosing which direction you would like to take this trend might be a hard decision. In this article, we will talk about both styles: how to do them and what products to use. Maybe you’ll try both or maybe only one, but either way, there is a butterfly eyeliner look for you!

The More Traditional Butterfly Eyeliner

Step By Step

Step One: Apply Eyeliner to the Top Lash Line

To begin this look, start by determining what you would like your eyeliner’s finish to be. For a sleek, graphic look, select your favorite liquid liner. If you prefer a softer, more blended appearance, we recommend using a blendable pencil eyeliner. Begin by applying a line of eyeliner that starts at the inner corner and ends with a slightly upward wing coming off the end of the eye.

Once you have finished the traditional wing, personal preference comes in!. You can either leave it as that, or you can add in a bit of drama! You can double-line the lid, add a line over the wing for emphasis, or even extend the inner corner of your eye using the liner. It’s all up to the end result you’re trying to achieve.

If you chose a liquid eyeliner, now is the time to let it dry down completely before moving on to the next step. For pencil eyeliner, you can move right on to the next step.

Step Two: Apply Upper Lid Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow is going to be used here to add a smoky shadow to the upper lid that will compliment the winged eyeliner. For a more subtle butterfly effect, use a neutral brown tone eyeshadow darker than your own complexion. If there is a color you would like to use here, go for it! In a sweeping motion, take the eyeshadow on or just above your eye’s natural crease. Start at the inner corner and follow the crease line until it connects with your winged eyeliner. Be sure to blend this out to achieve the look!

Step Three: Highlight the Upper Eye

Using either a light neutral shade or a few shades lighter in the color that you used on your crease, fill in the eyelid with eyeshadow. This is going to give the eye dimension! Once the eyelid is covered, go in with a clean eyeshadow brush and blend the eyelid eyeshadow with the crease eyeshadow until they blend seamlessly.

You should now have something close to the top half of a smoky eye, so let’s add the butterfly effect! Take your favorite glitter or shimmer shade and apply it over the highlighted area of your eyelid. This is where the magic comes in. This glitter or shimmer will do wonders in reflecting light and making the eyes appear brighter and bolder.

Step Four: Apply Eyeshadow to the Lower Lash Line

To achieve the butterfly look, select a color — whichever color you would like — and apply it just below the lower eyelashes. Be sure to connect your color to the winged eyeliner! Blend the colored eyeshadow out until it is smooth. For most people trying to achieve the butterfly eyeliner look, this color is going to be one reminiscent of ‘90s glam; think purples, pinks, and even yellows or oranges! 

If you chose to use a pencil eyeliner, now is the time to blend it all together. Take a clean brush and smudge your eyeliner into the eyeshadow on your upper eyelid. Also, make sure you blend it into your lower eyeshadow until there is no space separating the two products. The result of this should be one, cohesive eye look that makes your heart flutter!

Those with a liquid eyeliner wing can focus on blending the lower lash eyeshadow into the wing.

Step Five: Lashes, Lashes, Lashes

The final step to this butterfly eyeliner look is light, fluffy, airy lashes that fan out like butterfly wings. To achieve this you can either use your own lashes or false ones! When selecting false eyelashes go for the ones that have smaller lashes on the inside corner of the band that gradually get bigger as the lash strip goes on. This will help you best achieve that fan look.

If you want to put your own lashes in the spotlight, apply mascara to the lashes. Start by applying only a light layer to the inner lashes and gradually become more dramatic with your strokes. Once finished, your eyelashes should complement the winged effect of your eyeliner and shadow!

Which Products Work Best?

Because this look is highly customizable, product choice is entirely up to you; however, we do have a few recommendations if you need help getting started!

Liquid Eyeliner Pick: KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner

KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner

Pencil Eyeliner Pick: Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense Eyeliner

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense Eyeliner

Mascara Pick: Benefit Cosmetic’s BADgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara

Benefit Cosmetic’s BADgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara

False Eyelash Pick: Velour Lashes Effortless No-Trim Natural Lash

Velour Lashes Effortless No-Trim Natural Lash

If you need eyeshadow, see our article of all our best recommendations for eyeshadows palettes in every color!

The Winged Edition of Butterfly Eyeliner

This rendition of butterfly eyeliner requires a bit more effort, but we think you can do it with the help of this guide!

Step By Step

Step One: Apply Eyeliner to Upper Lash Line

For this style of butterfly eyeliner, we recommend only using a liquid eyeliner with a pen-tipped applicator! This is because the look requires fine lines, and pencil eyeliner is best for blending and smudging. Before you begin drawing, map out where you want the wing to be. Do you want a butterfly wing in the same location as a traditional winged eyeliner? Or do you want large, sweeping butterfly wings that go across your eyelid or down your face? Here are some pictures to help you decide:

Image depicting a small butterfly wing drawn on the eye
Image depicting a medium-sized butterfly wing drawn around the eye
Image depicting a large butterfly wing covering the eye and top of the cheek

Once you decide, get to drawing! Carefully draw the wings on. Regardless of which look you choose, we recommend starting your eyeliner from the inner corner of your upper eyelid. From there, you can work your way across and down.

Step Two: Add Some Color

Add your pop of color using eyeshadow to bring the look to life! You can choose a butterfly species for inspiration or you can take creative control and make your own color palette. Fill in the butterfly wings to your specifications, and you are nearly finished!

Pro tip: if you really want to emphasize the color you use on your eyelids, consider matching your blush for an extra burst of color! For example, if you are replicating a monarch butterfly wing, try out an orange blush on your cheeks.

Step Three: Highlight the Upper Eyelid

Add a nice, light shimmer shade of eyeshadow to your upper eyelid to draw attention to the eyes themselves. The reflected light will create dimension, and your eye makeup will look more complete. If the butterfly eyeliner wing is in the way, you can add this dash of brightness to the inner corner of your eye!

Step Four: Lash is Out

Just as in the previous look, eyelashes are a super important final step. They bring the look together and bring the volume and drama of the butterfly eyeliner trend to the eye! As always, it is down to personal preference whether you would like to use your natural lashes or false eyelashes. Either way, the end result should be the same: a wing-like effect on your lashes. To create a wing effect, focus most of the mascara on the outer lashes and gradually decrease the amount applied as you go in. With false lashes, you should pick a lash that mimics this effect!

And now you’re done! 

Which Products Work Best?

Liquid Eyeliner Pick: KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner

KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner

Mascara Pick: Benefit Cosmetic’s BADgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara

Benefit Cosmetic’s BADgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara

False Eyelash Pick: Velour Lashes Effortless No-Trim Natural Lash

Velour Lashes Effortless No-Trim Natural Lash

If you need eyeshadow, see our article of all our best recommendations for eyeshadows palettes in every color! Also, if you want to try this look with more budget-friendly products, check out these best cheap makeup brands to see what might work.

Will You Give Butterfly Eyeliner a Try?

With multiple ways to do it, we think butterfly eyeliner is the perfect way to jazz up your makeup! The more traditional butterfly eyeliner is wearable anywhere and can be used to add a bit of color to your everyday makeup look or can be worn for special occasions. The winged version can work great as a festival look or if you’re bold enough, can be worn day-to-day.

Inspiration is everywhere! Look to Tik Tok, Pinterest, Instagram, and beyond for endless ways to make this trend your own. Anyone can do it, the winged version might just take a bit more practice and determination. For more insect-inspired eye looks, check out our guide for spiderweb eyeliner.

We hope this guide to the butterfly wing convinced you to give the look a try!