Underliner Is All The Rage For 2023 - Here's How To Pull It Off

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From Nirvana to Pearl Jam, grunge music really took off in the nineties. On top of edgy lyrics, teen spirit, and plenty of electric guitars the genre also involved a specific fashion aesthetic: Namely, flannels, ripped jeans, and heavy eye makeup. With the popularity of Tumblr-era "Indie Sleaze" and the trend's modern resurgence on TikTok, the influence of West Coast rock never really went away.

Today, the "rockstar girlfriend" subculture (#rockstargirlfriend has well over 100 million views on TikTok, for instance) embraces several key tenets of grunge. As professional makeup artist Nick Lujan explained to Glamour, "Rockstar girlfriend glam is all about presenting a strong, 'no BS' fierceness through your makeup — think of it like putting on your war paint to go out into the world." 

Further, "The look makes a statement of fearlessness and tends to break out of the mundane and norm ideals of beauty." With celebrities like Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian jumping onboard and "Wednesday" star Jenna Ortega also popularizing edgy glam, one thing is clear: We're in the midst of an underliner renaissance. Before you take a black pencil to your waterline, here's what you need to know about this trend.

Bottom-heavy black liner

Black is the most universally-beloved eyeliner color and for good reason. It pops against pretty much any eye color, and, from Brigitte Bardot to Taylor Swift, classic black wings have had their place on the red carpet for decades. That being said, it's time to flip this classic look around for 2023 — literally. Using a pencil or gel liner, heavily line your lower lashline for an effortlessly editorial look. On top of that, apply heavy mascara to your bottom lashes, leaving your upper lids bare. If you go with this bold look, opt for minimal makeup on the rest of your face so as not to distract from your eyes.

Two-toned liner

Using a warm-toned eyeshadow palette or color sticks from NYX, line your upper and lower lashlines with two different shades. If you're going for a sunset look, pink and yellow will do the trick. As makeup artist Natasha Raquel informed Byrdie, "Pink and mauve tones are stunning with green and hazel eyes." Because yellow and blue are near opposites on the color wheel, a yellow liner can really make light eyes pop. By this reasoning, cooler-toned greens or blues work best with dark brown eyes. 

Blue is trendier than ever

Washed denim eye makeup is having a moment — just look at Taylor Swift's "Midnights" album cover. However, rather than focusing on your top lids, this time around, add a hint of blue to your lower waterline to really achieve that wide-eyed look. If you're using a pencil for precision, TikToker Vanesso Zino has some advice: "If you're doing your undereye, please don't make your pencil too sharp." Even the slightest tremor may lead to painful consequences. 

Glitter goes a long way

From Kesha to the cast of "Skins," haphazard eye glitter was a huge part of the 2000s and early 2010s. These days, the indie sleaze aesthetic is back and messier than ever. "Indie-sleaze makeup is a nice break away from the perfectly curated makeup looks that have taken over," makeup artist Jonet Williamson pointed out in a conversation with PopSugar. To achieve the look, underline with a shimmery shadow or use an Urban Decay glitter pencil. As you blend, no need to worry about precision. If glitter runs down your cheeks throughout the night, all the better.

Colorful reverse cat eye

Not to worry, Taylor Swift fans. It's possible to draw cat eyes "sharp enough to kill a man" on your lower lashlines too. In fact, they might even pack more of a punch, especially if you opt for an aquamarine bluish-green pencil. As celebrity makeup artist Jillian Dempsey outlined to PopSugar, it helps to "pull the eyeliner along the water line and then outward at the outer corner of the eye to create that upside-down cat-eye look." On your upper lids, meanwhile, all you need is a touch of mascara.

Opt for a subtle smoke

Makeup artist Erica Taylor goes through the dos and don'ts of underliner in the above video, showing followers how to achieve a subtle smoky look with a brown gel pencil. For starters, rather than pulling down your skin for a rounded look, "what you can do is go lightly into the lashline and then smudge." If you have hooded eyes, she recommends subtly extending the bottom line into a wing rather than focusing on your upper lid. 

Embellishments are everything

Hoping to turn heads with your next beauty look? Maximalist content creator Sara Camposarcone is known not only for her over-the-top fashion but also for her colorful makeup. To replicate Camposarcone's dramatic underliner aesthetic, use a black pencil to create spider-like eyelashes, accentuating the ends with adhesive pearls like these from Amazon. Along with the popularity of HBO's "Euphoria" has come an emphasis on bold, often 3-D makeup. It's 2023 so don't be afraid to go all out with things like eyeliner stickers and face gems.

White underliner is the way to go

White underliner is a must if you're going for the wide-eyed doe-eye trend that's all over TikTok. Apply a stroke of white along your waterline and — for a little extra glam — add a spot of highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes. As makeup artist Christabel Draffin warned Glamour, "The look doesn't provide as much definition as black drawn close to the eyes, so give the face dimension with defined lashes." Opt for a dark, lengthening mascara and keep the rest of your makeup simple. 

Barely there color

If you're looking to add a quick pop of color to your otherwise minimalist makeup routine, lightly line your lower lids and forgo mascara altogether. For starters, order a trio of perfectly-pastel pencils from Glossier. Orange liner looks great when paired with auburn hair or against darker skin tones, but other Glossier colors like their soft lavender or light gray-blue add an equal amount of intrigue. With this look, it's best to hold back on heavy foundation, contouring, and highlighter so as not to pull attention away from the pop of color in question. 

Classic grunge

Once you've tried everything from blue to white to orange, you can't go wrong with a classic grunge liner. "Just keep it cheap and cheerful," as renowned makeup artist Dick Page warned Makeup.com, adding, "I think of it as festival or gig makeup, you can do it on the bus or in your tent." For this look, it's okay to use your fingers instead of brushes. Since a heavy hand is key, it's best not to reach for your most expensive products. When in doubt, look to grunge icons like former "Gossip Girl" star Taylor Momsen for inspiration.