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We're obsessed with mastering the perfect winged eyeliner - the enduring cat eye that looks both effortless and chic. But without being a professional makeup artist how can we mere mortals wing the perfect cat eye without 10 false starts and looking like Halloween has come early?
The first decision is your tool selection. From the brush and gel eyeliner combo, a pencil, or a liquid eyeliner, there are plenty of options. Each of these will create a precision finish that you can replicate on both eyes, and will layer until your optimal width and depth. Combining several or even all of these tools will help you get your most defined finish.
And the secret to success? Practice, practice, practice!
Before you start, here is what you’ll need in your kit!
A well-chosen, well-made brush can last a lifetime, or at the least, a very long time. In a throw-away world, this can be hugely appealing to those keen on contributing to the environment in the right way. You’ll need an angled tip eye definer brush, or one with a sharp flat edge to apply a perfect wing. With loads to choose from, here are a few to inspire your search: Clinique Eye Definer Brush, the Designer Brands Day Dreamer 10 Piece Brush Set, the dual purpose Estée Lauder Eyeliner/Brow Brush, the Nude By Nature Angled Eyeliner Brush, and the Shiseido Yane Hake Precision Eye Brush.
Every great brush needs its partner gel eyeliner. A cream gel is a superior product that produces a gorgeous satin finish to last all day and all night. A couple to look for are the Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-place Gel Eyeliner, and the Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in True Black.
Some people prefer liquid eyeliner that comes with a defined application tip. Among the hot picks are Benefit Roller Liner True Matte Liquid Eyeliner in Back, the L’Oréal Paris Superliner Tattoo Signature Eyeliner, or the Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen with Classic Tip.
There are two types of eyeliner pencil and choice comes down to preference and confidence in creating the look. The first is a traditional pencil that requires sharpening to keep its exacting definition. A couple of winners are the Clinique Kohl Shaper for Eyes and the Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Smoky Eyes Pencil. Every quality pencil deserves a pencil sharpener designed for use with this softer pencil tip. The Clinique Lip and Eye Pencil Sharpener is just the ticket. The second pencil requires a simple twist of the base to reveal more pencil over time. A couple of goodies are the L’Oréal Paris Superliner Gelmatic, and the Revlon Colorstay Crème Gel Eye Liner.
Finally, let’s dive into what you need to do to master your perfect winged eye. We’ve heard from the best in the biz and some of their tips even surprised us! But if going it freestyle has you buckling at the knees, then perhaps at least one of these tips will get you sorted!
1. Don’t attempt a one-stroke finish:
The most talented makeup artists don’t even attempt a one-stroke winged eyeliner. So don’t be afraid to apply eyeliner one tiny stroke at a time to complete your look using any of the application techniques below.
2. Use tape:
Use tape, either placed at an angle below your eye or placed both below and above to create a triangle and the stencil of where your wing will be. Using your felt tip pen, pencil or angled brush and gel combo, fill in above the tape, or within the tape stencil. When done, remove the tape to create sharp lines, and tidy up anywhere that needs it for a neat and precise wing. We recommend using a surgical tape, such as the Nexcare Micropore Gentle Paper Tape, or if you have it to hand, masking or washi tape, although scotch tape is also popular.
3. Use a card:
You thought your Visa was just for shopping in the sales; wrong! A credit card makes a perfect makeup tool, too. Hold yours under the eye at an angle and draw out the base of your cat eye to about a pinky finger width outside your eye. Apply eyeliner flat across the top of your eyelid, and once the card is removed, voila, you’ll have drawn the perfect winged cat eye!
4. You don’t have to start your wing from the inner edge of your eye:
Depending on your desired finished look and application ability, you may wish to start your eyeliner at about one pinky finger width from the inner corner of your eye. Or some prefer it from the start of the lash line, others at where the iris starts. It’s a preference thing, so experiment to find yours.
5. Use the line of a liquid eyeliner pen
Place the tip of the eyeliner pen, such as one from the L’Oréal Paris Superliner Tattoo Signature Eyeliner, flat against the lash line on the eyelid and press it against the lid moving slightly upwards to widen the wing at the end. Then of course, neaten with the tip of the pen.
6. Wipe up woopsies with makeup remover:
It’s so easy to mess up a winged eye but instead of reaching for the cotton bud, have a medium-fine tip brush to hand or another angled eyeliner brush. Dip it in eye makeup remover or micellar water and paint over the blotches using the brush like an eraser, and all the woopsies will vanish in front of your eyes leaving you with the perfect wing!
7. Use concealer to conceal the damage:
If you only have concealer on hand, similarly, use a medium-fine tip brush in paint-over technique where applying concealer to the messy areas both covers and erases the mistakes.
Now you’re ready to wing it. If you’re stuck on getting all the right tools, jump online here for everything you need!