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The Fancy Cat Eye Demystified

I see so many girls with great eye makeup, but if I wanted to try out something fancy myself, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Especially when it comes to cat eyes and liquid eyeliner. Seriously, how DO people know how to do that on their own? I know that I'd end up with two black, messy eyes.

Whenever something seems particularly impossible, I call in the experts. Suzy Gerstein knows her way around a cat eye and just as I'd hoped, it's not as challenging to achieve as I originally thought. —Ray Siegel

The Tools You'll Need:

Optional Extras:

  • Scotch tape.
  • Wedge sponge.

How To Actually Do This:

Helpful tip: Dip your eyeliner brush into the gel liner and draw a few squiggles onto the back of your hand or a piece of paper until you find the right amount of product that works for you. You want the brush to be coated lightly with the product, not clumped up. It'll prevent you from controlling the application.

Step 1.

First, draw the outline for that little up-tick at the outer corner. The key for this is to follow the angle of your bottom lash line. Look into the mirror and imagine you are continuing the line of your bottom lashes about a quarter-inch little up and out past where your eye ends. If your eyes naturally droop down, make the line subtler and don't take it on as steep of an angle or as far up. If your hand is shaky, you should rest your elbow on a table or close into your body. Another trick I use if I am in a wobbly motorvehicle (being a makeup artist isn't always as glamorous as it looks!) is to place a piece of scotch tape along the line of your bottom lashes to create a stencil. Trace along the edge and then remove the tape once you have the line. Also, before I place tape on anyone's skin I put it on my clothing or a towel first to make it less sticky—it won't remove any eyebrow hairs with it when you pull it off.

Step 2.

Once you have the line, you need to line the rest of your top lash lines. Do it in two steps. First, from the outside to the center and then—when there is hardly anything left on the brush—from the center to the innermost corner of the eye. The key to getting a professional looking line is that you do not want there to be any gaps between the lashes and the lid. To prevent this, tilt your chin up and gaze downwards into the mirror. Then place your middle or index finger right underneath your eyebrow and gently (but firmly) pull up your eyelid. This distorts the shape of the lid less than pulling from the side does and makes for a better, straighter line. If the gel liner is too challenging to control, I recommend getting the shape first with pencil eyeliner, then going over it with your gel. I often line with a pencil first anyway just to really get into the lash line and get as strong and dense of a line as possible—the more layers of black you have the better. Once you have the upwards line, connect it inwards towards your lashes. Think of drawing a little triangle.

Step 3.

Fill in the triangle.

Step 4.

Clean up any smudges or misshaps with a skinny q-tip dipped in water—not oil-based makeup remover. Use a damp cosmetics wedge. I like the ones from Alcone Cosmetics here in NYC that I order in bulk online at Alconeco.com. The sponges, when dipped into foundation, become a perfect eraser for wayward liner bits and also have a straight edge which make them perfect for tightening up the line. If I'm doing a client for red carpet or stage and really want the liner to be extra dense and dramatic, I'll trace over the shape I've just created with a liquid liner pen. Dior makes a fantastic one.

Step 5.

Finish the eye by curling lashes and applying 2-3 coats of a curling mascara to really emphasize the upward shape of your cat eye. I am loving Clinique's at the moment.

Once you get the basic cat eye down, try experimenting with different colors to shake it up. I love using rich jewel tones like purple, emerald and sapphire. You can also make the look more dramatic by lining inside your waterline with a waterproof black pencil.

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