How Makeup Artists Hack The Cat-Eye

Photographed by Sara Kerens.
Ever heard the saying, "Never ask a girl with a cat-eye why she's late?" We kind of live by those words. Between learning how to steady our hands and finding the most flattering angle at which to draw, that little flick can quickly become a serious time-suck. Many of us have been practicing for years and still can't get it right the first time. Don't judge. But, what about pro makeup artists? We've watched them whip up the perfect winged liner faster than we could say "Happy National Cat Day" too many times to count. So, we decided to stop wondering what their secrets are and find out, once and for all. Ahead, the experts spill their best cat-eye hacks and favorite feline-flick products, so that none of us ever have to leave the house with lopsided liner again.
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Photo: VIa Surratt.
Troy Surratt
Surratt suggests creating the line in three steps. "First, perfect the flick at the end: Make sure each flick is even, and the same width, as well as symmetrical. Then, do a really thin line over the tear duct." Finally, he says, connect the flick and the thin line with a small, arc-shaped line.
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Photo: Via Jane Cosmetics.
Charlie Riddle
"Take your favorite smoky eyeshadow, an angled eyeliner brush, and a bit of water," says Riddle. "Wet your brush and dip it into the shadow. Start by placing the brush in the middle of the lid, and smudge it outwards...Fill in to the corner of the inner eye." Riddle suggests adding mascara, concentrating it at the ends of the lashes for a sultrier look.
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Photo: Via L'ORÉAL.
Lauren O'Jea
"My favorite cat-eye hack is to use the angle of your lower lashline as a guide for the angle of the wing," says O'Jea. "Act like the wing is just the extension of that line, and you'll have symmetrical flicks every time."
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Photo: Via Make Up For Ever.
James Vincent
"Set yourself up for success by using a taupe eyeshadow as your guide," Vincent says. "Taupe is ideal for adding depth and dimension to the eye and appears as a natural shadow. Create the shape and angle of the line in taupe, and trace right over it in a deeper, darker color. It will elevate the look and give you an effortless line that is mistake-proof."
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Photo: Via Girlactik.
Julianne Kaye
"For a perfect wing, place a sticky note on the outer corner of the eye and choose your angle," Kaye says. "Trace along the edge, and you'll create a crisp, perfect line."
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Photo: Via Tarte.
Janessa Paré
"Apply your liner without the wing first," says Paré. "Then, curl your lashes and put your mascara on. This will give you some direction and symmetry on the outer edges of your eyes, [and act] as a guide when you draw your wings." If your eyes turn down, she suggests stopping the line before you reach the outer corners. If you have round eyes, "Your cat-eye will look better straight out from your lashline, versus very diagonally upwards."
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Photo: Via MAC.
Mari Shten
"I love to use a gel liner and a thin, pointy brush," says Shten. "Also, always look straight in the mirror when you do the cat-eye. That way, you can see how it will look with your eyes open." She adds: "Never pull the skin out. It creates a different liner shape."
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