How To Do Cat Eye Makeup

How To Do A Simple Cat Eye Look

Cat Eye Makeup – the oldest make-up in history, originated in ancient Egypt by Queen Nefertiti. Worn with pride as a sign of power by Cleopatra or even Pharaoh. Years later rediscovered by celebrities such as dancers, actresses, pop culture icons; remember the famous pin-up girl style that was all about the cat eye makeup? Who doesn’t! Marylin Monroe herself made this style her signature look paired with bold, red lips. Sultry, feminine, powerful, classic

There are many takes on how to do cat eye makeup. They range from very complicated to very simple. I prefer a fairly straight forward cat eye makeup look, because sometimes I don’t have a lot of available time.

Barbara A wearing a perfect Cat Eye Makeup Look

How to start your cat eye makeup look?

There are many versions of an actual cat eye and each will work for a different eye shape. Find your best match in this post. And if you’ve never had a cat eye makeup look in your makeup routine, now is the perfect time to start; cat eyes are gorgeous, and will a little practice it’s very easy to accomplish.

First, you need a quality eyeliner. This product can either make cat eyes super easy or… ruin the whole idea of the cat eyes. But don’t panic.

If you are just starting your cat eyes adventure, I don’t recommend liquid eyeliners – those are much more advanced and any small imperfection will become very visible; use an eyeliner pencil instead.

Start with the eyeliner pencil, like classic RAL eye liners or dark eyeshadow. Those products are easier to operate and less likely to make your line look bad, plus you can always fix it much easier than you would with the liquid eyeliner (especially waterproof, ugh! even with makeup remover, it can be a real problem to mess up there).

When you have eye pencil eye-liner or dark eyeshadow and preferably angled brush – yay, you are a step closer to your dreamy cat-eye look.

Step 1 – Prepare your eye lid for cat eye makeup.

Prepare your eyelid with the eyeshadow primer (prime time eye primer works great for light complexions) or any skin-toned eyeshadow. I prefer matte eye shadow for a classy look, but if you like shimmer – go for it. 

Step 2 – Start your cat eye makeup line

If you are a beginner, you can use this tip: fold a tissue and place it under your eye towards the outer corner as if it was the extension of your eye’s waterline. Grab eye pencil or dark eyeshadow on an angled brush and start drawing the line from half of your upper eyelid going to the outer corner, following the tissue line. When you are done, you can take off tissue et voila, line is well angled.

Step 3 – Perfect your cat eye line

You want to perfect your line, so now it is time for a well-sharpened eye pencil. Follow the line you just drew with eyeshadow, start right on the lash line and slowly go to the outer corner again.

Do not press the pencil too hard but try to move your pencil a bit faster with firm movement towards the end. That way your line will be nicely winged & sharp.

If you want a bolder line, apply more pencil and try to draw in both directions. If you like a more sultry, yet delicate effect, you can use a smudger brush – like in this picture.

If you do not like how you did the cat eye, use the tissue again for a good angle and fix the pencil eyeliner line with an angled eyeshadow brush. You can also use concealer under eye at that point to even out any imperfections. Repeat with the other eye.

image of Barbara A. wearing a cat eye makeup look from the front.

How To Do Cat Eye Makeup for Hooded Eyes

Another option, which works particularly well for hooded eyes is called the reverse cat eye technique. You need an eyeliner pencil and a bit of patience.

After prepping your lid with primer & eyeshadow, start drawing a line as close to your lower lash line as possible. Make a thin line at the lash line and then use a smudging brush. As you smudge, go slightly beyond your lower line, make a wing pointed upward at the outer corner.

Then, connect this small wing with the upper lash line and start drawing a thin line towards your inner corner. In fact, the upper line will look a bit thinner than the lower. It is up to you if you want the line more smudged or defined – you can use more pencil for defined look or leave it smudged finishing with bold mascara.

Image of Barbara A wearing a cat eye makeup look including her whole face makeup.

Tips For Different Eye Shapes

Tips for Close Set Eyes

For close eyes, look upwards and keep the wings a relatively vertical shape. The double wing can also be a great eye. A small shadow applied to the inside of the eyes of your browbone and your eyelid will help to soften the area. You can also begin your liner in the center of your eye rather than the waterline or lashline. This point should be in the centre of your liner. You should have eyeliner that is consistent and not 45 Degree angles.

Tips for deep-set eyes

Deeply set eyes have a thick brow bone that is able to conceal makeup under it if needed. Try to add some eyeline to the face to increase its thickness so it is obvious when you look up. Finish with a coat of mascara or false eyelashes with a thick coating of eyeliner or mascara. Keep eyeliners thin on the outer halves and t.

Tips for wide eyes

Extra long wingspans sometimes pull larger eyes farther apart. Use eyeliner for dramatic changes. Try to keep the wings short and facing upward so try to keep the lines in line at the outer corner of the eye and try expanding this line in balance. Try getting lines taller for your lines.

Tips for almond eyes

If you have round or almond-shaped eyes the major method works for that shape. Keep your liner soft until you reach the outer third of the eye and you’re able start the wing. Follow your normal eye shape advancing thicker toward the eye’s outside.

Tips for Upturned Eyes

Upturned eyes are ideal for cats since you can find a classic wings just by following the natural upward curve of your bottom Lashline. Try a more and thinner winged liner to discover what matches you better.

Tips for Downturned Eyes

Make a small wing and leave the bottom lash line exposed. The eye drop starts from the midway part of your eye. Make sure you tilt your wing 45 degrees from its corner to your eyebrows.

Tell me the difference between a winged and a cat eyeliner?

Some differences can be seen from wearing cat and winged eyeliners. If you place the eyelid together and your eyelid line joins together your eyelashes will appear like a cat-eye pattern. The striped cat eyes project from their side outwards and parallel your lids whereas the black eye is inclined towards your eyelashes. Winged eyes are appropriate to a casual ambiance as they are more low key. The cat eyeliner has a bold and dramatic feeling and should therefore complement a special day makeup style. The flying looks are low.


Regardless of your eye shape, a cat eye will look great if only you make your angle correctly – always remember that the wing should work as an extension of the waterline (lower lash line). That way you can make your eyes look bigger or more almond shaped, depending on the wing length and how thick you want your line to be.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • If your eyes are small, a very thick line might look overwhelming and make your eyes look even smaller. Try thinner line with tiny bit longer wing
  • If you feel like the cat eye look is too bold for you, try lighter pencil or eyeshadow color. For example blondes look great with brown or grey, blue & teal looks nice as well
  • If the cat eye still seems too bold even though you’ve tried different colors, smudge more. This always softens the look.
  • Lastly, I know it is much harder to create a cat look on mature eyes (usually droopy eyelids and some wrinkles) – I do recommend practicing with eyeshadow and angled brush or try reversed eyeliner technique here. You can also simply emphasize the outer corner only – from halfway of the upper lash line moving brush or pencil outwards.
An image of a closeup of Barbara A. cat eye makeup look.

I hope this post will help you to create a cat eye of your dreams. Learning how to do cat eye makeup takes just a little practise is the key, so I definitely recommend some easily removable, hypoallergenic pencils like RAL – we do not want your outer corners to get red from practising too much! (I know something about it, trust me;)).

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