Adele’s make-up artist spills the secret to her perfect winged eyeliner

Bizarrely, you can buy it at Muji

There are stars who like to mix up their style, and then there are those with a signature look. Adele fits firmly into the latter category, with ‘60s-style hair and perfect winged eyes that are as synonymous with the star as Hello.

marie claire met the man behind her iconic beauty look over the weekend: kiwi Michael Ashton, who first created Adele’s winged eye (in fact, it’s how he got the job) and has been the star’s hair and make-up artist for almost a decade.

Given that Adele has never, to our knowledge, been caught with a wonky winged eye, who better to quiz on the secrets to getting the notoriously tricky make-up technique right?

“The trick is to take your time,” says Michael, who is also a newly minted Marc Jacobs Beauty brand ambassador. “A lot of women rush it, but even when I do winged eyeliner, it’s a process of building the product.”

Michael swears by a technique he calls product cocktailing, which involves layering multiple products of different consistencies to achieve a longwearing, intense effect.

“I love to use the Fineliner, it’s got a lovely fine tip, to etch, starting from the middle of the eye and building it out to the outer corner, and then down [into the inner corner] again,” he instructs. “I like to take it right down to the corner and then actually extend it slightly in towards your nose, just a tiny bit, as it gives you that elongation at both ends of the eye.”

Once he’s drawn the initial shape, he goes over the top with the inky Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Liquid Liner.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Liquid Liner, $44, Sephora.

But if liquid liner makes you want to cry (we hear you), Michael has a hack for the less-adept among us: find a gel crayon with the precision finish of liquid, with none of the associated mess or stress.

“Create a pointed tip on the pencil by drawing on one angle on a tissue,” he instructs. “The great thing is it still gets a very fine line using little feathery strokes, and you can build thickness as you need it.” He used the new Marc Jacobs Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayon ($36; available from Sephora).

Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayon, $36, Sephora.

If you manage to mess it up anyway (guilty!), Michael has a genius tip: instead of standard cotton buds, get thee to thy nearest Muji for their ultra-fine cotton tips, which are about half the size.

“To clean up winged eyeliner you really want something super fine, and I use these dipped in micellar water to clean the wing,” he says. See you in line.

Watch our full interview with Michael below:

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