TikTok Taught Me a Monolid Makeup Hack for Faking Lash Extensions

My love of eyelash extensions is well documented. I have said, on many occasions, that it’s the one beauty treatment I would have the hardest time giving up, and so, it’s only fitting that 2020 was the year that I actually had to live without them. (Boo freaking hoo, I know.)

Since my last lash fell off back in March, I have been experimenting with false lashes and eyeliner stamps and all sorts of eye makeup looks to varying levels of success.

One night, a couple weeks ago, I was doing my nightly sweep of the Internet (despite knowing that it’s one of the worst things I can do before bed) and I came across this TikTok video of a girl drawing on “lashes” with liquid liner. I was a bit dubious about how it would turn out, but her end results exceeded my expectations, so the next morning I decided to give it a try.

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

First, I gathered my tools, set myself up in the bathroom, queued up an inspirational podcast episode to hype myself up (it was a talk Cheryl Strayed gave during one of Oprah’s SuperSoul sessions last year, in case you’re in need of some hyping as well) and got to lining.

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

I began with a few well-spaced lines along the outer corner of my eyes like the girl demonstrates in her video. Makes sense to start conservatively since it’s far easier (and less messy) to add more lines later than to try and remove any excess without smearing things.

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

OK, time to step back and evaluate my handiwork from a different vantage point. This, I’ve found, is key to applying eyeliner successfully. (There’s a life metaphor in there somewhere, too, that I can maybe draw on after I’ve had some more coffee.)

Anywayyyy, so far, I’m satisfied. The little flicks of eyeliner give me just a hint of definition and a slight lift at the outer corners.

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

As I started to add more eyeliner and inch closer to my inner corners, things went awry. Two factors contributed to this: 1) I wasn’t careful to use the tip of the eyeliner to draw in the remaining lines. Instead, I let the sides of the pen touch my eyelids, which led to those imprecise blobs of ink you see me pointing to here. 2) I didn’t let the liquid dry completely before blinking and it smudged the ink even more. This was careless on my part because the tutorial clearly shows the girl carefully drying her eyes before moving onto the next steps.

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

Let’s zoom in for a sec so I can show you exactly what not to do.

I ended up having to wipe off most of the liner and start over, which is where a remover-soaked Q-tip comes in. (These tightly-packed swabs are my go-to for erasing errant lines because they can get into those little nooks and crannies and don’t leave strands of cotton behind.)

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

As the popular Maya Angelou adage goes: “When you know better, you do better.”

For my left eye, I made sure to use only the pointed end of my eyeliner to draw in more precise flicks, and I gave them 30 seconds or so to fully dry before blinking. To do this, I basically had a staring contest with my sink, during which I contemplated my life briefly.

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

And here’s the final result: Still a work in progress, sure, but good enough to share with any fellow monolidded gals out there looking for another way bring out their lovely eyes.

Honestly though, I could see this trick working on all eye shapes. You would just adjust the placement and length of the lines to fit your shape. Just remember to take a step back in-between lining to evaluate where you need to add more—or ease off.

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Jenny Jin for PureWow

Does it replace the big gaping hole left in my life (and lashline) from no longer having eyelash extensions? No, it does not. But, in an unexpected twist, I think I’ve finally found an eyeliner technique that’s much subtler, flattering, and easier to do than the ubiquitous cat eye look that I never quite felt was right for me. And if all else fails, just sit in good lighting.

Shop the look: Tifanso 200 Count Black Cotton Swabs ($5); Naked Poppy Liquid Eyeliner ($18); Shiseido Eyelash Curler ($22)

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023
Jenny Jin

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...
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