How Do You Do Cat Eye Makeup?
Flirty, feline - and with that signature flick, cat eye makeup has to be one of those classic looks that has stood the test of time (around 5000 years, to be exact).
The cat eye re-emerged in the 1920s on the faces of such famous entertainers as Louise Brooks and Josephine Baker, teamed with lots of lashes and super-skinny brows. Back then, soot and petroleum jelly were combined to create the liner. By the 50s and 60s, the cat-eye had established itself as an iconic makeup look worn by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. By the 80s, the look evolved even further as stars like Grace Jones and Siouxie Sioux chose a more graphic, colourful punk edge, something singer Amy Winehouse re-introduced herself in the early-mid 2000s with her super-sized rockabilly flicks.
Cat Eye Makeup 101
Beginners might find the cat-eye a little intimidating. But with the right product, a steady hand and a little patience, it is possible. Here’s how:
- The first part is optional - but it may help if you struggle with getting your eyeliner to “glide” on smoothly. Eye primer exists for precisely this purpose.
- Makeup artist Cyndle Komarovski advises that you start with your “difficult” eye first - in other words, the one that appears less cooperative when you’re trying to apply makeup, as it’ll be easier to match the “good” eye on the other side.
- Next, lightly mark using a pencil eyeliner where you would like your cat eye to extend to - if you’re not sure, trace your bottom lash line and wing this out to the side.
- Using the mark as a guide, lightly draw a line connecting it to your lash line. You might need to gently pull the skin taut here but be very gentle as not only can it damage the skin - it can also leave you with a wonky line once your skin snaps back to it’s natural position.
- Next, draw another tiny line below this, so it looks as though you have a small triangle on the corner of your eye - this is your cat eye flick: go ahead and fill this in.
- Next, trace the eyeliner along your lash line to complete the look from the inner to outer corners, connecting the line to your cat-eye flick.
- Finally, use a cotton bud dipped in micellar water, a makeup remover pen, or another eye-friendly makeup remover to clean up any rough edges - you can also use a cleverly placed concealer to create that “clean cut” effect.
Cat Eyes for Every Eye Shape
Of course, some eye shapes are less “cooperative” than others when it comes to creating the cat-eye look. If this is the case for you, it’s worth keeping a few tips and tricks in mind that can help you accentuate your natural eye shape.
What Products Should I Use?
Depending on your skill level and experience, here’s the down low on the kinds of products you can use when creating your cat eye:
- Liquid eyeliner: classic liquid liner usually comes in a tiny pot with a tinier brush. It requires a steady hand, but the payoff is a highly pigmented product. You can also get liquid liner in waterproof formulas, too.
- Gel eyeliner: more of a solid than a gel, this comes in a little pot that you can use with your brush of choice to create different looks.
- Markers: not to be confused with actual markers (we don’t advise using those at all!) - these handy pens are great for beginners - although they do tend to run out slightly faster than liquid liners.
- Tape, templates and shields: these can help to prevent smudges and ensure a clean line, but be careful with anything adhesive on the delicate skin surrounding the eyes.
And there you have it: a guide to cat-eye makeup for “purrfect” results every time (or at least after a few tries!).