PINTEREST FAIL: Does That Scotch Tape Eyeliner Trick Actually Work?

Eyeliner is tricky enough without the tape, but these mysterious people on the Internet swear it will give you the perfect cat eye, so it has to be true, right?
Publish date:
February 2, 2015
makeup, beauty, Pinterest, eyeliner, tricks, hooded lids

Can I be honest with you guys? You have to promise not to tell anyone, though. I don’t get Pinterest. Everyone I know is obsessed and just loves it. I don’t get pin boards or whatever, or re-pinning; I basically don’t know where to start. As my Worst Best Friend Matt pointed out, I’m a terrible millennial.

Because of this, I'm very left out of all the DIY stuff happening on Pinterest. Which is fine. All of the nail art on there is stale and my hair isn’t long enough for a crown braid, so I’m really not missing anything. And if you know anything about me, DIY isn’t really my thing, seeing as there’s really nothing I’d prefer to do myself over having it done for me. Maybe Pinterest and I were never meant to be. I do love a good craft though. I text Marianne every time I open a jar of paint.

Anyway, a beauty hack that I’ve seen during my brief visits to Pinterest is that Scotch Tape eyeliner trick. The first time I saw it, I thought it was the silliest thing I’d ever seen. It seemed like an eyeliner trick thought up by someone who’d never actually worn eyeliner.

I’m the first person to admit that eyeliner isn’t easy. It takes practice and you’re going to mess it up the first hundred times you apply it. But little by little, you get better, and before you even realize it, you’re killing it.

Personally, I don’t like doing anything if I’m not immediately the best at it, but no one is naturally good at eyeliner, so you just have to practice. These are the hard truths.

BUT, putting tape on your eyes is just silly for many reasons, including but not limited to:

1. It could smear your liner when you’re pulling the tape off of your face. 2. It will take off any foundation or concealer that you’re already wearing.3. It’s not actually making you better at doing your eyeliner.4. Tape on your face.

As much as I tried to ignore the eyeliner tip, it wouldn’t go away! Just last week, a picture of an eye framed by Scotch Tape scrolled across my Twitter feed. I thought to myself, “Are we still talking about this?” So I decided to give it a try myself. I did one eye with the Scotch Tape method, and one eye freehand.

This is a lesson on taking something hard and making it harder. Eyeliner is tricky enough without the tape, but these mysterious people on the Internet swear it will give you the perfect cat eye, so it has to be true, right?

I thought trying out the Scotch Tape eyeliner method would be good to do on video, so you guys can really see how it goes. The video like, actually sucks, and I’m sorry, but it does accurately portray the process, so I’m still going to include it. This video is brought to you by xoJane, my snapback, and my neck beard. Enjoy.

Oh, I've also been trying to limit my use of profanities in my articles, but apparently NOT IN MY VIDEOS (sorry Jane!) because, as you'll see, I'm swearing like a sailor throughout. Sorry about that. This Scotch Tape shit had me really flustered. Oops, there I go again.

I took a piece of Scotch Tape about two inches long and stuck it right on my face. Writing this, I’m realizing I probably should have stuck the tape to my jeans first to get some of the stickiness off, but what can I say? I’m hardcore. Also, I was wearing black jeans and I have a feeling that would have left some residual black fuzzies on my face, next to my eyes, which seems like a recipe for disaster so maybe it’s best that I didn’t. There’s no good way to do this!

I tried to focus on positioning the tape to achieve the perfect angle, while not taping my eye shut. I had to reposition it a few times, but eventually I got it where I thought it needed to be.

Then I started. For the Scotch Tape eye, I used Sigma's Gel Eye Liner in Standout Peacock, $14, applied with Sigma's E06 Winged Liner Brush, $16.

I began lining my lashes as I normally would, starting with a thin line near the inner eye, and getting thicker moving outward. After my lid was lined, I took the brush and put it very lightly against the tape, starting at what would be the tip of the cat eye, and dragging downward back toward my lashes, creating the wing.

The thing about cat eyes is there are a hundred different ways to do them in innumerable shapes and sizes. I felt that the Scotch Tape method was limiting in terms of the versatility of what you could do.

Yes, it’s (presumably) going to give you a clean line, but your bottom line, the line formed with the help of the tape, is also going to be very rigid and straight. This leaves only the top line for any soft curve you’d like to add for the winged effect, so it’s not just a straight line of eyeliner jutting out from the side of your eye. A nice, curved top line with a straight bottom line bothers me, being asymmetrical and all, but I suppose that’s just a personal preference. Sometimes you just want a straight line.

It was also hard to see what the finished product was actually going to look like before I took the tape off. AND I couldn’t always feel the brush against my face, or all of it, at least, when I was going over the tape. This isn’t necessarily a horrible thing, but feeling applied pressure and speed is important when putting things on your face.

Here's how it looked after I removed the tape:

My eyelids are extremely hooded which almost kills the whole winged look, and another reason the tape is limiting. It was easier to work with my eyelids when I hit it freehand, but we'll get to that in a second.

As I said in my cinematic masterpiece above, the result was okay, but just okay. I don’t know that the ends justified the means. Putting tape on your face is a hassle, it’s uncomfortable, and my sinuses got all weird after yanking the tape off my eyelids. I much prefer doing it freehand.

When I freehanded the wing, I used Sigma's Gel Eye Liner in WICKED (black), $14, and applied it using the Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush, $6.

Freehanding the cat eye gave me more control over the size and shape, I could see exactly how it looked at each stage of the process (instead of eyeballing it and guessing until I took the tape off), and it just felt more precise. Also, the silicone-tipped eyeliner brush was a lifesaver.

Here’s the final product:


A post shared by Tynan Sinks (@tynanbuck) on

What do you think? I'm definitely Team Freehand (#TeamFreehand) because it makes me feel more in control, and I am a total control freak. I also feel like I know exactly how I'm doing throughout the process, instead of waiting to yank the tape off for a big reveal. Plus, if the wings are any indication, I should stick to freehanding it anyway because it looks way better. See how much more flattering the wing is when both lines have a slight curve? You can't get that with tape.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What kind of eyeliner do you prefer? Pencil? Gel? Liquid? Do you have any application tricks? I know there are a ton out there. Should I never, ever do a video again? Tell me everything in the comments.

Also, I told someone on Instagram that this would be a tutorial for hooded lids, which I am now realizing was a pretty big lie. Should I do an article about doing makeup on hooded lids? That could be fun.

Tynan is on Twitter for all your eyeliner needs @TynanBuck.