How to Do Puppy Eyeliner

You’ve heard of the ever-popular cat eyeliner. You might even know about the fox eyeliner trend, but you probably haven’t seen the puppy eyeliner trend taking the internet by storm! With all the different ways to do your eyeliner, it can be hard to keep up. Here’s a how-to guide for puppy eyeliner to keep you in the know and on-trend! 

What is Puppy Eyeliner?

If you have ever seen a puppy then you know there is a certain type of eyes that they have; somehow sad, happy, and cute all at once! Puppy dog eyes are characterized by big, bright eyes with a slight downturn on the outer corners. While this is the inspiration for the name behind this viral eyeliner trend, puppy eyeliner actually originated elsewhere. Puppy eyeliner comes from the world of Korean beauty, K-Beauty, and it was instantly snatched up by people with hooded eyes!

A hooded eye is a very common eye shape in which the brow line significantly covers the upper eyelid when the eye is open. For people with this eye shape, more traditional eyeliner shapes such as a wing or cat eye are more difficult. Puppy eyeliner is an adaptation of the wing that makes the outer tip point downwards instead of up! This makes the application process for those with hooded eyes much easier. We have a whole article full of awesome tips just for hooded eyes!

Though the trend was made for those with hooded eyes, anyone with any eye shape can do it. It’s super easy, and we have some awesome tips and product recommendations so you can try it yourself!

How to Do Puppy Eyeliner

Step One: Decide on Your Eyeliner

This is a super important first step! If you want a cleaner, sleeker look, use a liquid eyeliner with a fine-tip applicator. For a budget-friendly option, we love L.A. Girl Cosmetics’ Jetsetter Brush Tip Liquid Liner.

L.A. Girl Cosmetics’ Jetsetter Brush Tip Liquid Liner

If you want to splurge a bit, KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner is a cult-favorite! Even if you’re spending a bit more money on this product, you can get rewards points using either the Sephora Beauty Insider Program or Ulta’s Ultamate Rewards.

KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner

For a more worn-in look, try out a smudgeable pencil eyeliner! Essence Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil is a great low-priced option to help you achieve a grungier version of puppy eyeliner.

Essence Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil

Alternatively, you could opt for the Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense Eyeliner. Though it retails for a higher price, this applicator comes with a built-in smudger, so you won’t need to dirty a makeup brush to get the look!

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense Eyeliner

Step Two: Apply the Eyeliner to Your Upper Lash Line

Before you start, lift your eyebrow as far up as it can go. This will help stretch and stabilize your upper lid. Gently swipe your eyeliner of choice starting from the beginning of your eyelash at the inner corner of your eye. Using a thin line, drag the liner all the way to the end of your lashes being sure to keep the product as close to the lash line as possible. Once you reach the end of the lashes, continue applying the product at a downward angle a few millimeters past your eye. Here’s a visual to help you:

example image of downturned eyeliner

Once the eyeliner is applied, the next step depends on what product you used. For liquid liners, now is the time to let them dry down without moving or blinking your eye too much. If you opted for a pencil liner, you can now take your brush or smudger and gently disperse the product to your preference. 

Step Three: Apply Eyeliner to Your Lower Lash Line

Using a similar application technique, you should apply eyeliner on your lower lash line from slightly before the middle of your eye outwards towards where your upper eyeliner ends. Adding this lower eyeliner makes the look more striking and dramatic! Now you can either fill in the outer corner using your liquid eyeliner or smudge your pencil eyeliner until the two lines — upper and lower — seamlessly blend. If you need help determining where to put your lower eyeliner, identify the center of your pupil and go from there.

Labeled diagram of the eye

Step Four: Emphasize the Puppy Eyeliner Effect with Eyeshadow

Once your eyeliner has completely dried and set, it is now time for eyeshadow! You can use any color you want, but we find that a neutral tone darker than your skin color is the usual go-to. If you need suggestions on which eyeshadow works best, check out these great eyeshadow palettes for every color! Swipe the eyeshadow on or slightly above the crease of your upper eyelid, blending it out as you go. Once finished, you should have a shadow-like effect on your eyelid that emphasizes the puppy eyeliner. Almost done! 

Step Five: Use a Light Eyeliner to Add Some Brightness

Part of the appeal of puppy dog eyes is that they are big and bold and bright! Regardless of your eye size, you can create the illusion of a larger, brighter eye with some thoughtfully placed white or light neutral colored eyeliner. Using a water and oil-resistant pencil eyeliner, gently apply a line of product along your lower waterline. The light-colored eyeliner extends the look of the whites of your eyes.

Image depicting the application of eyeliner to the waterline

Unsure of what product to use? For a cheaper eyeliner, Maybelline’s Lasting Drama Light Eyeliner is a great option!

Maybelline Lasting Drama Light Eyeliner

If you have a higher beauty budget, check out Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in shade ‘Yeyo’. 

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

Step Six: Apply Mascara for Added Volume

The final step in this guide to puppy eyeliner is mascara! Lengthening the eyelashes is a great way to complete the look and make eyes appear as big and bold as possible. Swipe on your favorite black, mascara, and you are ready to go!

Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara is an industry classic. With a retail price usually around $9, this is an amazing and affordable option.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

For a slightly higher price, Benefit Cosmetic’s BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara works wonders for volume!

Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara

How Versatile is Puppy Eyeliner?

Based on the trend, puppy eyeliner is usually done using darker eyeliners and eyeshadows to mimic the shades of more traditional eyeliner looks like the cat eye. That being said, you can make this trend whatever you want. Adapt it to your clothes, your eye color, and even your hair color if you want! So long as the technique is the same, any eyeliner can be used to do puppy eyeliner. This is a very wearable look and can easily be used for formal and casual events alike.

Who Can Wear Puppy Eyeliner?

The fun thing about beauty is that it’s for everyone! Puppy eyeliner is a cool trend for any eye shape, color, or size. The ONLY requirement for the puppy eyeliner trend is that slight downturn of the eyeliner wing. If you like that, this eyeliner look is for you!

Final Thoughts on Puppy Eyeliner

Makeup trends come and go, but we have a feeling that puppy eyeliner is here to stay. While it seems very different, it has a lot of the shapes and colors of more long-standing beauty traditions. It is simply an invert of the most classic eyeliner look of all: the wing. Using the tips and product recommendations here, we are sure you can nail this look! So, give it a try and make it your own.