New Year's Eve Makeup Idea: 24-Karat Gold Eyes

DIY this glitzy eye look ripped from the runway.

Want to take your gold game up a notch? Combining 24-karat gold leaf with an upside-down cat eye will make you look like Cleopatra at the Christmas party. No, it doesn't make sense. Just go with it. This look pairs well with toned-down makeup and simple hairstyles, so it’s perfect if you’re pressed for time and want to maximize impact.

The upside-down cat eye is ideal for someone with hooded lids. Mine are headed that way (especially when I’m sleep-deprived) so instead of having a line lost in a crease, the bold liner on the lower lash line really makes my eyes bulge out like a chameleon. Which is what everyone wants, right?

The most difficult part of this look is getting your hands on some gold leaf foil; when I was a teenager with no concern for my corneas, I used Rollo wrappers. The problem with using actual foil is that it’s a thicker gauge and can get dislodged and stuck in your eye. Lucky for us, zinc-based versions are cheap and can be found at most arts and crafts stores. It’s ultra-thin and easy to work with, and it sticks on with just the barest bit of fixative.

What You Will Need

  • Gold leaf, ripped into tiny bits
  • Tweezers for foil placement
  • Black liner (I use Wet N Wild Color Icon Liner Brow & Eye Pencil now and forever)
  • Angled liner brush
  • Cosmetic fixative (I just used NYX Eyebrow Gel)
  • Black and gold eye shadows (I used Sleek MakeUP Eye Shadow in Glitz and Golden Hour)


    To keep the contrast of this look alive, I went for a relatively bare face; just a bit of moisturizer, lightly filled brows, and some Rosebud Salve on my lips and cheeks.

    Start by tightlining your eyes, upper and lower. This will give you the suitable va-voom definition without being overpowering.

    Next, line just your lower lash line with the liner, stopping about a quarter of an inch short of the inner corner of your eye. Keep the line on the thin side, as we’ll add texture with the black shadow.

    With your angled brush, gently pat the black shadow over the liner, including along your waterline. Then blend it with light strokes from the inner corner of your eye to the outside, flicking out a slight cat-eye.

    Using a fluffy blending brush, dab a bit of your gold shadow into the corners of your eyes, blending out into your naked top lid, and creating a smooth transition on the bottom lash line.

    Now for the tricky part: pinch up a tiny bit of foil, dip in your fixative, and then apply it to the corner of your eye. Another tactic is swabbing some fixative to your inner corner first, and then sticking the foil to it. Either way, arrange the foil as organically as metal pieces stuck to your eyes can look--I used about five to six pieces on each side. Add a coat of mascara and huzzah! You’re finished.


    • Do you do it up for formal parties, or avoid them like the plague?
    • Is this look too costume-y for day wear? I think yes.
    • Do you pay more attention to the runway makeup than the clothes? I totally do--it’ll be a cold day in hell when I can afford the clothes, but the makeup looks are achievable.