1. Selecting the right liner. I find liquid liner the best choice for creating a cat eye, because it results in the most dramatic look. The thin, flexible brush (or pen tip) also gives you the most control. The shorter the pen tip or brush, the more control you’ll have. You might also use a cream or gel liner (usually sold in little pots) and a thin, angled brush. Experiment with both to find out which you prefer. However, I would not recommend a pencil liner for this particular look, as it doesn’t create a dramatic enough line. Note: Normally, I would recommend applying eyeliner last (after eye shadow), but until you master this look, you may want to save your shadow application for the end to avoid smudging and give yourself some room for error.
2. Finding a good mirror. Creating a cat eye isn’t that difficult, but it does require both hands, so be sure that you have access to a good, hands-free mirror. I find that a magnifying makeup mirror allows me to achieve the best application, but any mirror that you can get fairly close to your face will do.
3. Getting started. You may be tempted to apply the liner with your eyes closed, but it’s actually better to keep them open. After all, you want to know what the line is going to look like when your eyes are open, not closed. Start at the inner corner of your eye and drag the brush or pen tip toward the outer corner. I like to start with a thin line as close to the lash line as possible; you can always plump it up later if needed.
4. Creating the cat eye. When you reach the outer corner of your eye, flick your wrist to create the little tail, or wing, that is characteristic of the cat-eye look. Exactly where you place this tail and how long you make it is up to you, but do make sure that both eyes are symmetrical. If I make a mistake and extend one tail too far, I just use a dampened Q-tip to correct it.
Once you’ve finished both eyes, take a step back to assess your work and then fix any flaws or asymmetry. If you’ve waited to apply your shadow, now is the time to do so, being careful not to completely cover or smudge the cat eye. A cat eye can look great with any number of eye-shadow colors and techniques, but I like to pair it with subtle, neutral tones and lots of mascara so that the dramatic, winged cat eye really takes center stage.