Adele’s makeup artist spills the secrets behind her signature eyeliner

Adele’s practically as famous for her signature winged eyeliner as for her powerhouse voice.

And while you might not be able to belt out a ballad like the “Easy On Me” songstress, her go-to beauty look is fairly simple for fans to copy, according to the makeup artist who created it more than a decade ago.

“That very first time we worked together and I put eyeliner on her, I don’t think we ever would have thought it would become so iconic,” Michael Ashton, who worked with the Grammy winner for 13 years, told Page Six Style.

The pair were introduced by a mutual friend in 2007, ahead of the release of Adele’s debut album, “19.” But the beauty whiz, who began his career in hairdressing, was initially called in for his scissor skills.

“I popped over to her house to trim her fringe and she asked if I could do a quick bit of eyeliner for her before she went to meet friends,” Ashton recalled. “The eyeliner obviously got the seal of approval and the rest, as they say, is history.”

And while that feline flick might look impossible to master, Adele’s former makeup maestro — who’s also glammed up the likes of Hilary Swank, Keira Knightley and Penélope Cruz — has some quick tips for making it a cinch.

“When doing eyeliner on yourself, I always recommend starting from the outer corner and working inwards. It makes the hand create a straighter line towards the inner corner of the eye,” he said.

“So, you start at the outer end of your lash line working in towards the middle, then do a fine line from the inner corner of the eye to join the two lines together. Finish by doing the flick last at an upward angle towards the temple.”

Creating two perfectly symmetrical wings can be a challenge, but practice (and patience) makes perfect.

Adele at the 2012 Grammys
Adele (and her signature wings) on the red carpet at the 2012 Grammys.
FilmMagic

“If you find the flick is coming a bit too far down, drag it up at a 45-degree angle,” Ashton said. “As you drag it upwards, it will sharpen the line and give you a more elongated, lifted look to the eye.”

The New Zealand native also relies on “product cocktailing” to get that flawless opaque finish.

“Start by creating the desired shape using either a gel pot liner or gel pencil, then layer a long-lasting liquid liner over top to really sharpen the edge and seal the deal,” he said, pointing to Chanel’s Calligraphie de Chanel Cream Eyeliner ($35), Kate Tokyo Super Sharp Liner Pencil ($13), and MAC Liquidlast Liner ($22) as a few personal favorite formulas.

Michael Ashton
Celebrity makeup artist Michael Ashton is the man behind Adele’s signature beauty look.
Courtesy of Michael Ashton

And don’t worry: mistakes happen, even when you’re a seasoned pro. Ashton recommends using Muji cotton buds ($1.90) moistened with a bit of Bioderma micellar water ($14.99) to clean up your lines and make sure everything looks sharp.

While Marc Jacobs Beauty’s global artistry ambassador admits that Adele’s “big, beautiful almond-shaped eyes” make her a particularly good candidate for a cat eye, it’s a “timeless beauty look” that anyone can pull off — even during a pandemic.

“With mask-wearing still being a big part of our lives for the foreseeable future, eye makeup will continue to play a starring role for fall and through the holidays,” Ashton pointed out, adding that he expects “graphic eyeliner shapes, eyeshadows in luxe multidimensional textures and surprising pops of bold color” to be big news this season.

But, he added, “Regardless of what is trending, my rule of thumb is to do whatever makes you feel most beautiful — the best version of you.”

The ever-classic Adele would surely agree.

Filed under 10/15/21