Puppy Eyeliner: K-Beauty’s Top Trending Beauty Hack

Close-up portrait of beautiful girl touching black eyeliner to her eyelid. Her eyes are closed

If you have been on social media channels lately, you have probably heard of the puppy eyeliner trend. This makeup hack has both a really cute-sounding name and more than 9.6 million views on TikTok alone. 

Any makeup fanatic has probably already given this new style a test run. It is a wearable look that you’ve probably done even before it was given this moniker, or didn’t realize it was a “thing.” 

Puppy liner is an eye makeup application technique that takes the cat eye and turns it on its ear. The liner points in a downward direction and gives the eyes a full, alluring wide-eyed look. It is the anti-cat eye –hence “puppy” — the classic dramatic eyeliner application technique popularized in the mod era of the ’60’s.

For those who may have struggled with the cat eye, it is time to try something simple and easy to achieve. The puppy eyeliner look may someday take over the top spot in eyeliner looks. Puppy eyeliner freshens up your overall aesthetic with a youthful energy.

Read on for more on why the puppy eyeliner technique may be perfect to add into your late night makeup tutorial binge rotation. 

What is Puppy Eyeliner?

Puppy eyeliner is a Korean beauty, or K-Beauty, trend that has gained fans around the world thanks to loyal and devoted wearers and the millions of TikTok hits for #puppyliner. It is not exactly a new makeup technique, with articles about this eye-enhancing style dating as far back as 2013.

Despite the name, puppy liner is not for dogs and should not be confused as such. Anything with the word “puppy” attached seems sweet and innocent, but this look can be just as steamy and exotic as the wearer makes it. Just as the cat eye looks are known for their smoldering, seductive effect, puppy liner is designed for certain eye shapes to achieve the same intrigue. 

Just as cat is considered the opposite of dog, the puppy liner is the opposite of cat eye due to the direction the liner points. The direction of the top line (top eyelid) is pointed downward and is great for hooded or deep-set eyes.

The liner can be thick or thin in consistency, depending on the eye makeup used and the application method (brush vs. pencil, liquid vs. pencil, etc.). Technique is important in any eyeliner application. Thankfully, the puppy liner trend is relatively easy to recreate. If you follow the natural eye shape, the puppy look should be a natural effect and a quick go-to look for daily wear. 

Is Puppy Eyeliner Easy To Achieve? 

Puppy eyeliner is not as difficult to achieve as the cat eye trend. Puppy eyeliner does not need the precision of a defined and extreme flicked upturned line at the corners. It doesn’t need the artist’s exacting touch or countless hours of practice to execute.

The natural shape of one’s eye is taken into account when drawing the upper and lower lines of a puppy dog eyeliner. Therefore, following the contours is the road map to successful, on-trend puppy liner.

Essentially, the beauty of this eye makeup trend is that you don’t have to fight the shape of the eye and deal with the headache of potential smudging that can happen when the eyelid is hooded, almond-shaped, minus a defined crease, or downturned.

Hazel brown eye open with eye shadow

What Shapes Benefit Most from the Puppy Eyeliner Technique? 

Hooded, almond-shaped, deep set, and downturned eyes are the primary eye shapes favoring the puppy eyeliner trend. This trick is a fix to open up the eye area, making the eyes appear fuller. The eye shapes mentioned above usually have more trouble executing the cat eye look due to natural facial features at the lash line.

The technique for cat eye can be far less effective or easy if the eye area around the lash line contours in the opposite direction or has extra skin that lessens space on the eyelid itself. This can be frustrating. The puppy trend is ideal both as a remedy for failed messy cat eye looks and to learn an easier hack to get the best out of your natural eye shape.

Do I Have a Hooded Eye? 

Hooded eyes are defined as having extra skin that folds from the brow bone to the eyelid and may cover portions or all of the eyelid area. This “hood,” or covering, can obscure the eyelid and decrease the total area available to work in (for eye makeup application).

This hood may occur naturally or develop as a person ages and facial features lose their elasticity and volume. Hooded eyes are sometimes viewed as less desirable, but they shouldn’t be. Makeup application techniques to enhance hooded eyes are very popular and readily available on social media and beauty websites.

Getting a more open-eyed and less fatigued look is highly desired and achievable on hooded eyelids. The puppy eyeliner technique is a popular choice because it gives the eyes the impression of being wider and more youthful.

Eyeliner applied with brush to female eye lid

What is A Downturned Eye? 

A downturned eye is one that tilts slightly downward at the corners. It is sometimes called a “sleepy eye” or “sad eye.” If you aren’t quite sure about your eye shape, draw a horizontal line from side to side of your eyes. If the corner falls below this line, your eyes are downturned.

To open up the downturned eye shape and add a natural lift, using specific eye makeup techniques can create a beautiful impression. The puppy eyeliner look accentuates the downward turned eyelid, so it is a great way to fully embrace the beauty of this eye shape. 

What is an Almond-Shaped Eye? 

Almond-shaped eyes are longer in length than they are wide, with the iris partially covered at the top and bottom lash line. They narrow at either end of the lash line, similar to the shape of their namesake snack.

Almond eyes are one of the highly desired shapes with a beguiling feminine aesthetic. Rihanna, Mila Kunis, and Beyonce are a few well-known celebrities with almond-shaped eyes. 

If your eyes fall into the almond category, creating the illusion of width can be achieved with makeup techniques. The puppy eyeliner trend will emphasize the shape of almond eyes and create a more dramatic look.

eye liner applied to eyes by hands with red nail polish

What are Deep-Set Eyes? 

Deep-set eyes are sometimes referred to as sunken eyes. They are placed further back in the eye socket. The brow bone is more prominent and the eyelid is receded.

One way to determine if you have deep set eyes is to look at yourself in the mirror from the side. If the brow bone sticks out further than your eyelid, you have deep set eyes. 

Why Are Certain Eye Shapes Viewed As Puppy Eyeliner-Friendly? 

The puppy eyeliner trend may point out varieties of eye shapes that are “tired looking” or “smaller” or somehow needing modifications to fit an aesthetic. The shapes mentioned as perfect candidates for the puppy dog liner look are not any less attractive than other shapes, such as rounded eyes. The round eye aesthetic is more of a Western or European quality.

K-Beauty followers have a narrower shape of eye and may have found the puppy dog style a better way to achieve that open eye or cat eye without minimizing or obscuring their natural eye shape. It hugs the lines of the eyes, which is both enticing and natural. 

Some may find the reference to the shape of their eyes and the connection to needing to widen them like a begging puppy at supper a bit much to take. The downward turned shape of the puppy liner is meant to be a temporary enhancement to any eye shape, with many varieties of shapes, sizes, and cultures taking on this beauty trend and enjoying the end result.

As long as the wearer sees the value and natural attractiveness of their individual traits, puppy liner will showcase the best of their eyes and feature a playful and soulful eye aesthetic. This look is as special as it is glamorous, and anyone with any particular eye size, curve, or slant should feel comfortable experimenting with puppy eye liner.

A female eye with slightly winged eyeliner

How Many Puppy Eyeliner Looks Are There? 

The puppy eyeliner trend has several subsectors of looks that take the downward liner to a slightly different level. World-renowned makeup artist Bobbi Brown, owner of the luxury cosmetics brand Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, said other variations on this theme include “droopy puppy” and “baby puppy” eyes.

“While droopy puppy eyeliner extends the length of the downward flick, baby puppy eyeliner creates a short and subtle winged eyeliner ideal for daytime looks,” Brown said in her Masterclass on the subject.

Creative people will often find ways to make the puppy eyeliner technique fit their needs. Therefore, the variations on how to apply the puppy eye look will continue to grow as its popularity expands. Puppy liner styles will become as numerous as any other design as time goes on. 

How Do You Make A Puppy Eye Look? 

Puppy liner involves using eyeliner and anything that you’d normally use to do your eye makeup, such as eyeshadow, lashes, etc. Some people prefer to fill in their eyeshadow after putting on their liner. Some techniques show the model applying eyeshadow first.

Begin with a good quality eyeliner in the formula that is easiest for you to control. Some people prefer a pencil while others are skillful with liquid liner. Liquid liner is very versatile and creates both thick and thin lines, but is often quite messy — especially when you’re just beginning to learn the puppy eyeliner trend.

If you’re a newbie, stick to a pencil. If liquid is desired for the top lashline from the middle to inner corners for that precision effect, grab some just in case. You’re ready to begin making your own puppy dog eyeliner look!

light feminine photo with eyeliner applied to eye lids

Which Puppy Eye Tutorial Video Should I Watch? 

It is highly suggested to watch a video on the puppy eyeliner trend from an actual MUA (short for makeup artist) or a beauty influencer. These videos can be found on social media channels such as TikTok or Instagram under “Reels.”

It is not necessary to select the highest rated or ranked video. Choose the one that most resonates with you. Paced, step-by-step educational videos are the best for someone who has never tried the puppy eyeliner trend.

There may be an example of your specific eye shape that makes application more seamless and easy to follow.  The goal is to learn the basic puppy eyeliner application in the least time. This is a solid example of a good puppy eyeliner tutorial.

The best tutorial video is one with clear, precise instructions that are easy for you to follow. Beginners should choose videos with fewer steps and less elaborate modifications (liquid liner, contouring, heavy lashes, multiple shadows at a time). There is always time to learn additional steps to take your puppy eyeliner to the next level.

Elaborate lines and makeup items that you might not own nor need for a basic eye look are confusing for a newcomer. Stick to the basics for the time being and your experience will be more enjoyable.

After getting the steps down to a true science, your puppy dog liner might be just as gorgeous as the instructor’s. The finished makeup presentation is an achievement reached in learning this universally popular look. 

Is The Puppy Dog Eyeliner Trend Offensive?

Some beauty trends can be considered offensive. The puppy dog eyeliner trend is a K-Beauty trend popularized in Asia. This origin is a reason to believe that it is non-offensive and also innovative. Many beauty trends closely followed by Westerners are actually Eastern in origin and early adoption. K-Beauty is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to all things skincare and beauty products.

The goal of a puppy eye look is to widen and beautify the eyes and make them pop. The name is a cute reference to the wide-eyed and sincere look for which puppies are known. Humans are naturally drawn to a puppy dog’s sweet eyes, which have an almost hypnotic effect when they stare at us.

A puppy eyeliner look may not make your eyes exactly as soulful or sensitive as a dog’s, but the name is more suggestive of a desired effect than a literal comparison to an animal.

Eyeliner application to closed female eye

Why Is There Any Comparison to a Dog?

Typically, human beings don’t get compared to furry friends, which may be why this question is asked. Dogs are definitely not wearing eyeliner, nor will a human become more like its pet by wearing the puppy eyeliner trend.

Some humans may not be that keen on wearing any type of eye trend reminiscent of their pup and may wince at a direct comparison to any animal at all. It’s easy to forget that animals and their peepers have often been part of our makeup and beauty goals.

Making cat eyes or wearing cat eye liner has been a hot trend since its debut in the 1960s. This makeup application trend takes the likeness of a feline’s eye shape and elevates it to be a positive attribute that is highly desired, emulated, and often replicated on human faces.

Even our lashes have had a similar reference to a woodland creature — the doe. Doe eyes have been a well-loved and revered facial trait for the last 90+ years, hinting to the soft, innocent and sweet-looking windows to the soul. There has even been a trend on TikTok that pays homage to the doe eye. 

As long as the name is taken with a grain of salt, the puppy eyeliner trend is a harmless way to describe how the effect looks on the wearer. 

Final Thoughts

Puppy eyeliner is one new beauty hack that will not soon disappear. This liner trend is more accessible, easy to apply, and fits a variety of eye shapes and makeup looks. It fills the need of millions of wearers who wish to expand their horizons and try a new trend that is in some ways equally as versatile as the more familiar cat eye.

It not only sounds absolutely darling, but looks amazing when applied.

Trends may come and go on TikTok and social media, but this K-Beauty trend is a beauty fix that might make your puppy look up at you with envy.

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