Foolproof Cat-Eye Liner Tips For Those Who've Been Failed By Other So-Called Foolproof Cat-Eye Liner Tips

I've accidentally poked myself in the eye enough times that I finally figured out what works (and what doesn't).
Publish date:
September 16, 2014
shoppables, makeup, eye makeup, cat eyeliner, makeup how-to, winged eyeliner, Cat Eye

Everyone looks good in black; specifically black cat-eye liner. The universally flattering look works on every type of eye shape, from monolid to round.

But while I love how hot cat eyes look, I used to be pretty awful with the application. I’ve read the step-by-step articles. I’ve tried the tape trick. If there’s a “foolproof” way to wing out my liner, I’ve tried it, but most of the time, I end up looking like I sneezed while applying eyeliner on a bumpy subway ride.

Alright, maybe I'm exaggerating, but I'm not that far off. Perhaps I lack eyeliner skills because my mom never wore makeup and I didn't have anyone to teach me. Maybe it's because I'm just enormously clumsy. Or maybe my expectations are too high. But I know what I like and I don't want to settle for anything else.

I can't be alone. I'm sure there are those of you who simultaneously love and hate the cat-eye look because of the precision it involves. If you want to step up your liner game, though, try my easy suggestions.

1.Use an eye primer.

It's worth taking the time for this step to avoid smears and smudges later, and you don't need to spend a ton. I love Benefit Stay Don't Stray, but NYX Eye Shadow Base works well, too.

2.Prep your lid with eyeshadow.

Once you've tapped a decent amount of the primer onto your lids, you want to layer eyeshadow on top. I prefer a nude-ish gold tone, but you do you, and go for whatever color you want.

3.Gather your supplies.

Once you've brushed on your favorite shadow color, it's time to tackle the liner. This where things get tricky, so just keep some cotton swabs and makeup remover handy for quick clean up.

4. Carefully line your eyes.

I was just recently introduced to Sephora Collection Smart Liner, and let me tell you, they weren't kidding about that name. This liner is so intelligent, I feel like it could best me at the Sunday crossword. The curved shape feels natural in your hand, and it works regardless of if you're a righty or lefty.

My eyes twitch like I'm in REM sleep when I close an eye, so I actually put the liner on with both eyes open; not only can I see what I'm doing better, but for whatever reason (I'm not a doctor, OK?) my eyelids stay still as long as they're open. Another reason it's handy to keep them open (and not pulling the skin while you line) is you can see how it's actually going to look when you're finished.

4. Erase any mistakes.

Did you make a mess? Edges not as clean as you want them? Now's the time to use those handy-dandy Q-tips; if you happen to have the pointed ones, even better, but the regular ones will do just fine.

Dip the tip into makeup remover and squeeze out the excess so it doesn't end up dripping down your face. Use the damp Q-tip to delicately clean up any mistakes you might have made.

5.Make some final tweaks.

OK, you're almost done; most likely this is looking pretty decent right now, perhaps, even really good, and if so, congrats! Maybe you don't even need this last tip. But, if you want to make the line a little thicker, wing out the tip more, or darken it with a blacker-than-black eyeliner, now's the perfect time to carefully trace over (or build off of) that initial cat-eye look. Clean up with a damp Q-tip as needed.

Maybe they're not the most unusual or unique tips, but they should be helpful if you're makeup challenged like myself. And believe me, if I can somehow manage to pull this off, I'm sure you can too.