‘Floating liner’ is the cool-girl eyeliner trend taking over Instagram

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The classic cat-eye is quaking

September 14 2021

While a black wing will remain a classic forever (is there anything more elegant than a well-executed cat eye?), it's not the only option if you're partial to a little liner. Your other (and definitely cooler) choice? Floating liner.

Although the importance of liner-to-lashline proximity has long been stressed by makeup artists and beauty heavyweights, the floating liner trend seems to be taking its cues from the ‘negative space’ manicure, allowing a little extra breathing room between the eye and the art.

The best way to describe the unconventional trend is basically any line around the eyes that isn’t explicitly anchored to anything else. Rather, the line is placed more in the eyelid crease or diagonally to the sides in a direction of a cat-eye.

Placing these swipes of pigment above the lid gives a ‘floating’ illusion between the crease and the browbone – and trust us, some of the creations we’ve seen out there are utter works of art! 

One thing’s for certain: Floating liner is all about creativity, so don’t be afraid to embrace the trend whichever way suits you!

Supermodel Gigi Hadid (one of the trend's earliest adopters) went with simple straight white lines above each eye for her first floating liner look, but you can definitely elevate the aesthetic with some colour and more dramatic shapes, too. The ball is entirely in your court.

@rowisingh

@kdeenihan

@chichiii02

In fact, Hadid recently proved yet again that floating liner is a look that has some serious longevity up its extremely spiffy sleeve.

Taking to Instagram to share her latest take on the trend, she showcased another straight-lines-above-the-lids moment, this time in a chic emerald green.

@gigihadid

This look can easily be catered to suit your specific eye shape and personal preferences. Hadid has evidently figured out that she (and her almond eyes) are partial to straight lines, so she keeps the shape consistent and plays with her colour palette instead.

Something as simple as switching the shade has the power to give the look an entirely new lease on life. And boy, is it a chic one.

Hadid isn't the only celeb partial to this particular liner look, either. The latest member of floating liner's fan club? Camila Cabello.

@patrickta

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@patrickta

Cabello took her straight-lined shape cues from Hadid (which makes sense, considering both stars' looks were created by makeup artist extraordinaire Patrick Ta), but swapped out the moodier colour choice for a neon orange-red.

She also added a little something extra; a colour-coordinated dot placed right in the centre of her lashline. The result? A look that's completely stunning with eyes open, and yet even more striking when you get a good look at the lids.

But hey, if you prefer to play with a monochromatic, neutral palette in line with Hadid's OG look, black and white are always failsafe options.

In fact, they're the very colours that other stars (including Camila Mendes and Olviia Rodrigo) have chosen for their floating liner moments. Chic, no?!

@patrickta

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@jentioseco

All in all, here's the moral of the story. Alert everyone: floating liner is alive and well.

Main image credit: @patrickta 

If you're looking for more eyeliner inspiration, check out our easy how-to on nailing the blue eyeliner trend.