The key difference between millennial and Gen Z eyeliner

Oh, now we see it…

Editor / January 25 2023

If you’re still doing your eyeliner like Lauren Conrad, firstly, same, and secondly, you must be a millennial. 

Not just because you’ve seen The Hills and know not to wear combat boots to the beach but because, according to TikTok, there’s a difference between how we did our wings in 2016 versus 2023.

Of course, it’s not the first time the beauty differences between millennials and Gen Z have been pointed out (are you team side part or centre part?) but it is one that we’re keen to take Gen Zs lead on. Theirs just looks more crisp and cool, okay?!

Millennial vs Gen Z eyeliner: What’s the difference?

First brought to our attention by TikTok creator Megan Bowen, the main difference between millennial and Gen Z eyeliner is the angle of the wing and where you draw it from.

Bowen explained that back in 2016, she would start with the eyeliner on her eyelid and then draw a sharp angle 'up' once reaching the outer corner. Depending on your eye shape, this has the potential to create a kind of dipped effect or thick end— a telltale sign of a millennial-style wing.

But 2023 Bowen? She uses her bottom lid as the guide and starting point. And rather than drawing the wing in an ‘up’ motion, she aims for an ‘out and away’ diagonal line.

Once an outline has been established and the (let’s be honest, sleeker, sharper wing) is in place, only then does the top eyelid get some eyeliner action, kept nice and tight along the waterline.

The whole thing is well explained by Bowen in an excellent millennial vs Gen Z eyeliner tutorial, which you can watch below:

Of course, everyone is welcome to do their eyeliner however they bloody well wish and eye shape will forever dictate our eye makeup choices. But you gotta admit, she looks chic.

“It literally took 5 years off, so much younger, so fresh” — dammit Bowen, we agree.

Main image credit: @jentioseco

Ready to give it a go? These are the best liquid eyeliners in Australia.

Samantha McMeekin was BEAUTYcrew's Editor from January 2020 to June 2023. She has worked as a journalist in the beauty and lifestyle industry for over 10 years. In 2019, she was nominated for Best Digital Writer at the BSME Awards for her work on GLAMOUR UK. If you ever meet her in person, she'll probably try to guess which fragrance you're wearing (she's got a humble 60% strike rate).