Dark rimmed eyes with a sultry flick at the outer corners have long been a part of women’s beauty repertoire, but it wasn’t until the 1950s, when liquid eyeliner gained popularity, that the look became a certifiable eyeliner trend. Even now, the cat-eye is one of the most coveted makeup styles for women looking to up their glam game, but many find liquid eyeliner intimidating, struggle to draw a straight line along their lashes or even find it difficult to match the flick on one eye to the other.
Creating your very best cat-eye starts with finding the right eyeliner (we have a favourite, naturally) and then following along with our eyeliner tips for achieving a pro-level cat-eye—even if you’re just taking meetings virtually on-screen.
The flattering effect of the cat-eye
One of the reasons that winged liner is beloved by women around the world is because it flatters a variety of eye shapes. By extending the lash line, it elongates the eye (which is especially helpful for small or round eyes), makes lashes appear fuller and creates a sultry, doe-eyed effect. If you have round eyes, or eyes that are close together, draw a slightly longer wing and angle it higher. If you have a monolid or hooded eyes, make your eyeliner thicker.
Why liquid eyeliner is optimal for flicks
When choosing an eyeliner for tracing the lash and drawing the wing, you want it to have a few specific traits. It should have a very fine tip—which means that pencils often won’t do the trick. Instead, look for a felt-tipped liquid liner; it’s easy to hold and control and the tip stays fine no matter how many times you use it. The eyeliner should also be a long-wearing, waterproof formula. For the classic cat-eye, you’ll want an intense black. However, if you find that black is too harsh for your light complexion or your preferred aesthetic, try using navy or bronze liner instead.
Try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Flash Cat Eye Liner. With this foolproof liquid eyeliner, anyone can achieve a perfect cat-eye in just a couple of minutes—no special skills necessary. The tip has a precision brush for fine, clean application, while the waterproof formula means long-lasting wear through rain, sweat and tears. And if you’re a newbie, have shaky hands or find it a challenge to match both eyes, the removable wing stencil is a great tool for tracing the flick portion of the look.
Drawing the perfect cat-eye: A step-by-step guide
- Prep and prime.
If you have oily lids or plan on wearing eyeshadow, smooth on eyeshadow primer from your lash line to your brow bone. It will prevent eyeliner and mascara from transferring onto your bare lids and curtail creasing if you do decide to wear eyeshadow.
- Apply eyeshadow (optional).
Dust a neutral-hued shadow over your lids to disguise imperfections and even out texture.
- Curl your lashes (optional).
If you have really straight eyelashes or like a lifted look, now is a good time to pull out your lash curler. Don’t wait until after your eyeliner is in place, because you could rub it off.
- Start with the wing.
Hold your removable wing stencil (or a straight edge, like a ruler or credit card) against your skin from the corner of your eye to the tail end of your eyebrow. Using your black liquid eyeliner, trace the edge to create your wing. Repeat on the other eye.
- Trace your upper lash line.
Go back to your first eye and, starting at the corner of your eye where your wing connects, trace your upper lash line from the outer corner to the inner corner, hugging the lash line as closely as possible. Short, quick strokes are often easier than tracing the lashes with one single line. Repeat on the other side. If you want your eyeliner (including the wing) to be thicker and more dramatic, slowly thicken each side, moving back and forth between each eye to ensure that they’re balanced.
- Erase errors.
If you wavered at any point, or made any other mistakes, use a pointed cotton swab soaked in makeup remover to make corrections.
- Apply mascara.
Give your lashes a few coats of L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara in Blackest Black.
These cat-eye tips—along with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Flash Cat Eye Liner removable wing stencil—will help you achieve the best cat-eye ever. You’ll feel polished and glamorous, no matter what pops up in your schedule.