How to Do Alt Eyeliner

If you’re into goth or emo makeup, you’ll most likely embrace alt eyeliner which encourages an edgy and rocker look – more attitude, please! 

Similar to goth eyeliner with an emphasis on the eyes, alt eyeliner invites colors, adds shapes to your eyes, and brings out features rather than hiding them. If you’re not familiar with alt eyeliner, keep reading for information on what it is, eyeliner tips, and inspiration.

What is Alt Eyeliner?

Eyeliner is the most optimal and versatile way of self-expression in the makeup world. It’s evolved and certain trends push creative bounds as they come and go – specifically alt eyeliner. 

Alt eyeliner shares similar ideas to alternative music – shifting away from the mainstream and welcoming creativity and individuality. Alt eyeliner made its comeback in 2020 when video conferencing days and quarantine took the world by storm. 

You may have remembered the recent Tik Tok trend embracing undereye circles – this was part of the alt eyeliner look! This look can be applied to any eye shape, redefines the eye crease, and emphasizes the eyeliner in a meaningful way. 

How Do You Do Alt Eyeliner?

The great thing about alt eyeliner is you’re building off similar practices from goth or e-girl makeup. If you already are familiar with cat eyeliner or the smoky eye then you’re in luck because these designs paired with colored eyeshadow or glitter eyeliner can help you master the alt eyeliner look. 

You’ll typically start by blending a neutral shade on your eye crease until you can barely tell it’s there. Then for major contrast, apply with an eyeshadow brush a bright color like red, pink or orange! It’s all about fullness so don’t be skimpy on your products. You can finish off the look by adding embellishments like sparkles or glitter eyeliner. 

There are many ways you can experiment with alt eyeliner. We’ll walk you through some tutorials to help you get started!

Glitter Eyeliner

You can use glitter eyeliner above your black eyeliner to give a sequin lining for a wild, feminine touch. While this look works for mono and double lids, you can use glitter eyeliner on your bottom lashes for other eye types to enhance your eyes and give an anime look. Add some false lashes for additional glamor! 

We have some great recommendations for glitter eyeliners that you should check out!

glitter eyeliner

All-Over Blush

To master this look, choose one color shade for your eyes and cheeks. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can match the color to your lips too. Instead of using blush to accent your cheekbones, you’ll buff the color shade up to your temples and into your eye makeup for a continuous alt makeup look. You can line the color along your upper and lower lash lines using an eye brush. 

You don’t have to be super traditional with this look either! While you can use a classic pink or red blush shade, you can also try out some more unique colors like black blush or purple blush.

rihanna with full-face blush

Batgirl Eyeliner

If you’re familiar with the cat-eye look, this batgirl eyeliner tutorial will be smooth! You’ll prime your eyes, apply a liberal amount of burnt orange shade over your lids, and use your black liquid eyeliner to draw a line over your top lash line. Extend the line from your eye towards your ear to create a cat eye line. 

Additionally, from the top inner corner of your eye, extend the line out to create a reverse cat eye. Return back to the outer corner of your eye and draw a flick just under your main cat eye line. 

image of batgirl eyeliner

Heart Accents 

The heart accent straddles the e-girl and the alt makeup trends. The best part is it’s quick to do if you just want a minimal touch! Using a black liquid eyeliner, draw one or as many tiny hearts below each eye. You can use pencil eyeliner to line your lower lash line and use a pencil brush to create a smoky effect. 

makeup look with small heat accents drawn below the eye in eyeliner

What Are the Best Products for Alt Eyeliner?

While eyeliner is usually the frontrunner in achieving the alt makeup aesthetic, there are a host of other products you can explore to complement your eyeliner.  After figuring out which colors work for you, you’ll need a few staples to achieve this alt makeup look. 

Let’s go through some products together to help you create the tutorials above or to create whatever designs you’re feeling. 

#1: Makeup Revolution Awesome Eyeliner Double Flick 

Makeup Revolution Awesome Eyeliner Double Flick 

For all of your design and flicked eyeliner dreams, try the Makeup Revolution Double Flick eyeliner. This eyeliner comes with a thick and thin end. You can define your upper lash line or create full sculpted lines using the thick end of the Revolution Eyeliner product. 

You can create more precision or little hearts as mentioned above using the thin end of the eyeliner. It retails for less than $10 at Ulta and Target – a nice score for your wallet!

#2: NARS single eyeshadow – Paprika

NARS single eyeshadow - Paprika

For contrast to your black eyeliner, try a burnt orange or red eyeshadow all over your eyelids. We suggest the NARS eyeshadow in Paprika, which retails at Macy’s or Kohl’s. In a single swipe, this eyeshadow delivers a high definition stroke! 

#3: ColourPop’s BFF Liquid Liner

ColourPop’s BFF Liquid Liner

Available in many bright colors, ColourPop’s liquid liner provides a splash of color if you’re interested in contrasting it with your black eyeliner – perhaps try the colors in sky high or chili! It retails at Ulta and on ColourPop’s website. These eyeliners provide an ultra-fine felt tip with serious pigment in one stroke and transfer resistance for less mess.

#4: L’Oreal Infallible Grip Precision Felt Liquid Eyeliner

L’Oreal Infallible Grip Precision Felt Liquid Eyeliner

The outstanding feature this eyeliner gives compared to others is its grip for more control and precision. This product delivers with its effortless application, super pigmented color, and is waterproof. This wallet-friendly option can be found at Ulta!

#5: Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner

Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner

I know the thought of putting glitter on your eyes can sound intimidating at the risk of looking like a Barbie doll, but this look can be pulled together with the right glitter eyeliner product! Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal glitter eyeliner is a superfine, water-based formula that dries quickly and you can use its side brush for extra sparkle. 

Where Can You Find Inspiration For Alt Eyeliner Looks?

As alt eyeliner and emo eyeliner have recently started trending again, Tik Tok has been a reliable source for all your inspiration needs. The video interface allows you to quickly view top liked videos or close-ups of tutorials if you’re learning in real-time. Additionally, Tik Tok is notorious for its makeup hacks so you’re well on your way to being on top of the game with just about anything!

Final Thoughts on Alt Eyeliner

The good thing about expressing yourself with alt eyeliner is you can push the beauty standards and bring out the features you were taught to conceal. 

While there are many eyeliner styles out there, the alt eyeliner aesthetic stands the test of time and always makes a comeback. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, give it a go and let your creativity make a splash!