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Dos and Don'ts for the Perfect Cat-Eye

How do you do a perfect cat-eye with eye makeup? It's all about eyeliner. Learn what eyeliner to use and how to apply it, and start looking sultry.

Doing Cat-Eye Makeup: A How-To Eyeliner Guide

Giving yourself the perfect cat-eye look can either end in celebration or tears — it all depends on whether or not you know the secret to making those wings fly. While perfecting this look can often take countless hours of trial and error, there are some nifty "dos and don'ts" that can take your winged cat-eye look from blah to ME-OW!

Do give your lids some primer before applying cat-eye eyeliner

You wouldn't paint a wall in your home without a coat of primer first, right? So what makes you think that putting liner on your naked lids is a good idea? When attempting to draw on a cat-eye, prepping your lids helps ensure a smooth application as well as staying power (so you won't have to keep touching it up every hour).

To prep your lids, brush on a little powder. This could be translucent powder, powder foundation or even eyeshadow. This simple move can prevent your eyeliner from smudging onto your skin over the course of the day and will help it appear bolder for longer.

Don't do it all in one stroke to create the cat-eye eyeliner look

If putting on eyeliner were this easy, everyone would be walking around with a flawless cat-eye look. However, to achieve this style, you have to be patient and commit to a three-step application process. First, go ahead and trace your upper lid's lash line with the liner. Whether or not you want this to be thicker or thinner is up to you, but it's always good to start thin since you can always add to it later.

The second step is making the "wing" shape. Now, this can be very tricky, so be sure to read on and learn about how to properly make the shape! Lastly, in the third step, connect the line you made along your lashline with the end of the wing and fill it in as needed. While doing these three steps, it's incredibly important to take your time. If you rush through it, it can appear really sloppy.

Do draw your wing following your eye's natural waterline to create a cat-eye

Drawing the shape of the wing can make or break your cat-eye look. But by following your natural waterline, you can get the right shape every single time. To do this, simply follow your eye's waterline (which is the line of skin between your lower lashes and your eyeball) as if it were to continue traveling past your eye toward the end of your eyebrow. It may help to keep your lid half-open, half-closed so that you can see where this line will go.

The reason you do this is to ensure the line doesn't appear straight out at an even level with your eye or point downward, making your eyes look droopy. This upward-facing wing can really brighten your eyes and make them appear more open. Depending on how dramatic you want your cat-eye to be, you can decide to make this wing thicker or thinner.

Don't start all over if you make a mistake trying to apply cat-eye eyeliner

Even the best makeup artists can screw up a cat-eye from time to time — don't beat yourself up over it! If you do make a mistake, don't get frustrated and wipe the whole thing off. Instead, try and salvage any shaky lines or overly thick lines with a makeup-remover cloth. Fold the cloth (or cotton ball or Q-tip soaked in eye makeup remover) and gently run it across your eyelid, barely touching the lined part of your eye. This can smooth out lines and erase any mistakes you've made. Once the makeup remover dries, go ahead and draw over wherever needs to be filled in.

Do use an eyeliner that works well with your eye shape

Not all eyelids are the same and neither are eyeliners! While some girls fair better with thick, liquid liner, others prefer a lighter, penciled-in look. To figure out what eyeliner works best for your eyes, first look at your eye shape. If you have hooded lids, for example, eyeliner with a thick tip may be difficult since it will cover most of the lid, making your eyes appear smaller. Instead, opt for either a liquid or a pencil eyeliner with an ultra-thin tip that can really hug your upper lashline without covering your whole lid.

Also, it's important to note what kinds of eyeliners work best with the skin type you have. If you have oilier skin, make sure to buy eyeliners that are smudge-proof and waterproof so that it doesn't smear as you lids get wetter throughout the day. And conversely, if you tend to have dryer eyes, make sure to get an eyeliner that won't dry out your skin or be irritating. The best way to do this is to try on different types of eyeliners and see what works best!

How do you finish your perfect cat-eye makeup look?

Whenever you're done drawing in your cat eye, don't forget to add mascara to really make it pop! And remember, whether you're doing a barely-there wing or a bold, sultry cat-eye, doing your makeup takes patience! Don't rush through things and have faith in yourself! You've totally got this.

Resources— Birchbox, Glamour

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