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Almost every beauty trend leaves and comes back at some point, if not multiple times. Long after a trend's deemed "out of style," people tend to forget all about how sick they were of it before circling back to it in the end. Case in point: mod eye makeup. Those pastel colors, dark creases, and exaggerated lash lines first made popular in the 1960s by figures such as Twiggy and Cher are now trending across TikTok, where every other video seems to feature the look in some capacity.
Everyone's got their own method of creating this fun, retro makeup trend — and well-practiced internet influencers can make it seem wildly easy — but trying it for the first time can be intimidating, especially for those who aren't working with a whole lot of eyelid space or extra-steady hands. To help out, we asked some of our favorite makeup artists to walk us through how to do a 1960s mod eye makeup look.
A black kohl or gel eyeliner (pencil or pot) is non-negotiable for mod eye makeup, as three experts tell Allure. The choice between gel or kohl is up to you, but just make sure it's one that is "very long-lasting and doesn't dry out right away so you have a little window of time to play with it before it dries," as Florida-based makeup artist Lennie Billy explains.
Her favorite is Pretty Vulgar's The Ink Gel Eyeliner in Black List, which she uses with "a very fine, feather-like brush." Pat McGrath Labss Permagel Eyeliner Pencil is bi-coastal makeup artist Lavonne's pick; meanwhile, New York City makeup artist Tommy recommends Clinique's Quickliner, especially for beginners.
Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Eyeliner Pencil
Don't forget your favorite black liquid eyeliner, too — you'll need this for the faux bottom lashes and defining the base shape. Some of Allure's all-time favorites include Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, Maybelline New York Hyper Easy Waterproof Liquid Liner, and Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner.
Obviously, lashes are pretty damn important when it comes to mod, so top-notch mascara and big, fluttery falsies are also a must. As far as mascara goes, you can reach for your tried-and-true, otherwise, look for formulas you know can perform in the volume department (might we recommend an Allure staff favorite, Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag?). Lavonne has her own line of lashes — she recommends her Mademoiselle style, which she cuts in halves and stacks for application on the outer edges.
On the other hand, Tommy says to "look for a fair fan of lashes that are evenly spaced and the same density all the way across and longest in the center to outer corner." A great example of that would be Ardell's 3D Faux Mink Lash #853.
Maybelline New York Hyper Easy Waterproof Liquid Liner
Also, we hate to tell you this… but you might make a mistake here or there. That's totally OK; it's exactly why Lavonne recommends having cotton swabs and Bioderma micellar water on hand just in case.
Your first instinct might be to tackle that dark, dramatic cut crease first — but that's the hardest part for most people, so Tommy recommends saving that for later. To ease yourself into this kind of makeup, it's great to start with what you know: a pretty run-of-the-mill cat-eye, which you apply with your liquid eyeliner.
"Make a thin line of black liner directly in the groove of the lash line keeping it as thin as possible," Lavonne advises. “Wing it out just a touch but draw it back inwards and stop at the inner corner of your eye.” Tommy recommends similar steps but notes that the outer tail of the wing "should be drawn down instead of up with the natural slope of the eye."
I put "crease" in quotations like that because you aren't literally going to be putting eyeliner in your natural crease — you'll apply it just above it, as all three makeup artists recommend, to create the illusion of bigger, deeper-set eyes.
The key to figuring out where you need to draw your line, Tommy explains, is to create a stencil while looking dead-on into a mirror. Grab your liquid liner and "put a dot near the end of the crease but just above it, then one in the center of the eye [above the crease], and another at the start [or inner part] of the crease," he recommends. You can connect those dots using your gel or kohl eyeliner.
Ardell 3D Faux Mink Lash #853
If you have monolids or hooded eyelids, you might want to take a page from Lavonne's book while creating your crease stencil or drawing the line. "Hold a mirror at your chin and look down into it," she explains. "By doing this you don’t blink and can see where your natural crease would be; you can draw the line above that so when you open your eyes you don't lose the liner in the fold."
Another thing you can do to fake the appearance of more lid space is to draw a thicker crease line so it's even more visible when you open your eyes, Billy explains.
Before you finish your look, there are a couple of details you can if you want to be a little extra. Tommy advises applying a white or mint-colored eye shadow underneath the crease line and/or applying a nude-colored eyeliner (like Nyx's Wonder Pencil) in the waterline to make the eyes appear even bigger. Otherwise, it's time to apply your falsies and draw on those cartoon-like bottom lashes.
When drawing those exaggerated lower lashes, use the kohl pencil as a guide first, Lavonne says. "Use your bottom lashes as a guide to space out each section that you draw on to your lower lid space with the kohl pencil," she explains. "Then go over it with the liquid." To get these details as symmetric as possible, Lavonne also advises alternating between eyes after creating each line.
Nyx Professional Makeup Wonder Pencil
Falsie application on the upper lid for a mod eye is the exact same as it is for any other eye look: trim them to the right lenght for your eyes, apply a thin layer of clear eyelash glue, wait 30 or so seconds for them the glue to go tacky, and place them along your lashlid while looking slightly downward into a mirror (you can see our full falsie guide from makeup artist Joanna Simkin right here, by the way).
If you can't or don't like to wear falsies, Billy has an alternative way to get those massive, chunky-looking lashes. "Apply tons of mascara first, and if you need, apply a little bit of gel liner with a small fan brush."
These laid-out steps make creating a mod eye look seem extremely is, but always keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Or, as Billy says, "Makeup is art and also is not permanent; if you mess up you can always erase, correct, or start all over."
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