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Ask Avery: Cat-eye how-to

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

Dear Avery,
Practice makes perfect? Even after six years of practice, I still have not mastered the winged eyeliner. Any tips?

The cat-eye is simultaneously both the easiest and most difficult trick in the book. It’s basically just a swipe of eyeliner, adding instant glamour, but good luck trying to make your right eye match your left, or vice versa.

The fact of the matter is, I doubt even a brain surgeon could perfectly match winged liner on both eyes. Make-up is hard. But you can get pretty damn close, and trust me — you’re the only one who cares that much. 

All you need to achieve this look are a few simple tools of the trade.

First, and most obviously, is black eyeliner. Now, I don’t know about you, but every single time I wear kohl eyeliner, it ends up smudged beneath my eyes, making me look like a sleepy panda bear. I know that sounds impossibly adorable, but it’s not the look you’re going for.

So if I were you, I’d stick to something slightly more permanent: liquid or marker eyeliner. Liquid eyeliner is an old standby, but can be tricky to apply without smearing.

Marker eyeliner takes a little more effort to apply as thickly and darkly as you’ll want it, but it’s as simple as drawing with a magic marker.

Choose your weapon and you’re ready to get started — but have some make-up remover or cold cream on-hand just in case things get a little messy.

Step One

Spend some quality time staring at your eyes in the mirror — tough, I know.

But more specifically, take a look at your lower lash line.

That’s going to be the guide for which direction to draw you little wings, which is clearly the hardest part of this whole operation.

Your wings should be a continuation of the upward slope of your lower lid, and should actually point toward the end of your eyebrow.

If you’re really struggling with winged liner, you can even use a straight-edge to connect the end of your brow to the corner of your eye and draw a light tracing line in regular eyeliner.

But I promise you, if anyone sees you using a ruler, they will absolutely make fun of you.

Step Two

Time to free yourself from your inhibitions and just draw the wings.

There are no rules for how far out from your eye they should extend, or how thick they should be.

Obviously, the thicker, darker and longer the wings are, the more dramatic and cat-like you’ll look.

If you’re the type who needs hard and fast rules, then fine: never make your wings longer than your pinky fingernail.

Any longer than that and you’ll just look, well, scary.

Step Three

Relax — the hardest part is over.

Now it’s time to apply liner to the rest of your eye.

Your liner will most likely be a little thicker at the corners, then thin out as you get closer to your inner eye if you’re going for a classic look.

Trust me, if you go hard with the liner near the corners of your eyes, it’s likely you’ll look more Cleopatra than Alexa Chung.

And be sure to get as close to your lash line as possible.

Well-drawn eyeliner equals thicker-looking lashes, which means sexier eyes all around.

Step Four

You’re almost done.

All you have to do now is make your lashes as glamorous as your cat-eyes.

If you’re the type of girl with pin-straight lashes, you’ll definitely need an eyelash curler for this — or maybe even some falsies.

When you apply mascara, be sure to concentrate on the outer lashes, using the wand to draw them upward and outward in the same direction as the wings.

And don’t be afraid to be extremely excessive in your application.

The bigger the lashes, the better.

(All photos are courtesy of Avery Hartmans—you can read past Ask Avery blogs here).

TAGGED: ask avery, eyeliner, fashion, how-to, makeup, makeup tips, makeup tutorial, winged eyeliner

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