Look up “cat eye makeup tutorial” on YouTube and you get…a lot of results. There’s a reason for that. The classic, lid-elongating beauty statement is one of those time-honored makeup techniques that looks good on everyone, yet remains frustratingly difficult to master. And yet, our November cover star still seems to have it down: no one can pull off a feline flick quite like Adele. But having spent almost two decades watching some of the best makeup artists in the world perform feats of face adornment backstage, from New York to Paris, I learned a very valuable lesson that’s worth sharing here for cat eye hopefuls: no one gets it right on the first try (probably not even Adele). Here, a simple, step-by-step guide to DIY cat eyes for the rest of us.
1. Find A Great Liquid Liner
Some people like pencils, others prefer gels, but I love a felt-tip liquid liner pen. They’re just easier to wield. I used to think liquid liners were worth paying more for until Balenciaga makeup artist Inge Grognard turned me onto Maybelline’s Eyestudio Master Precise All Day Liquid Eyeliner. It applies super easily, stays on all day, and at $6, it’s a steal!
2. Draw Your Line
Using your non-dominant hand, gently pull your upper lid taut to create a straight line. It feels most natural to work in the same direction as you write, from left to right, so starting with the outer corner of your left lid, create an upturned flick and line all the way to the inner corner staying as close to the lash line as possible. Continue in the same direction, starting with the inner corner of your right eye and finishing with a flick on the outer corner.
3. Adjust for Symmetry
This pro-tip (I picked it up from Mother herself, Pat McGrath) is the fun part: take a micellar water-soaked Q-tip (pointed Q-tips are best but round ones will work just fine), correct for any mistakes, sculpting the direction and precision of your flick as you go. I like Dr. Jart’s Dermaclear Micro Water, which gets the job done without leaving behind an oily residue.
4. Enhance With Concealer
Once you have your lines exactly how you want them, dab a little concealer underneath to really make the shape pop. When it comes to concealer, you can’t beat Cle de Peau. Its classic cream stick formula is the hands down best concealer on the market, and well worth the splurge.