Celeb makeup artist reveals super-simple hacks to create the perfect cat eye makeup look

Many women have a love-hate relationship with winged eyeliner. We love it for how fierce it looks, but we hate it for how hard it can be to create. 

To build a flawless cat eye look requires patience, a steady hand, and a certain level of precision. 

Despite what many tutorials will tell you, there is no one universal way to achieve the look that can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt. Celebrity makeup artist Jenna Kristina offers a few super-simple and surprisingly easy winged eyeliner hacks.

Celebrity makeup artist Jenna Kristina, responsible for Allison Williams’ fierce cat eye look at the Met Gala,  offers a few super-simple and surprisingly easy winged eyeliner hacks

The most classic beauty trend in history  

A cat eye is one of the oldest and most classic makeup looks, dating back to ancient Egypt where it was favored by women like Cleopatra and Nefertiti.

Fast forward to the ’50s and ’60s, silver-screen sirens like Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren oozed Hollywood glamour with their flawless winged eye makeup.

Music icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone also made the flirty look relevant with her timelessly elegant spin on it. 

Making the eyes appear wider and bigger, it’s no wonder the beauty trend has been embraced by today’s biggest names.

Modern-day stars like Adele and Taylor Swift have made the uptilt-flick their own, ranging from a thin line like Ariana Grande’s to a more dramatic style like that of Allison Williams at the Met Gala, created by Jenna.

Silver-screen sirens like Brigitte Bardot oozed Hollywood glamour with their flawless winged eye makeup

Silver-screen sirens like Brigitte Bardot oozed Hollywood glamour with their flawless winged eye makeup

Tips for the novice

A cat eye is one of the trendiest makeup looks, but it can be very difficult to nail even after years of practice.

To create a neat wing, the go-to medium is most often a liquid eyeliner, but this may not be the smartest tool for a beginner.

‘I like to suggest using a pencil that has the ability to smudge but also sets after about 30 seconds,’ says Jenna, who has worked with Megan Fox, Lucy Hale, Rebecca Rittenhouse, and many more A-listers.

‘This helps to prevent making a mess, and you’ll have more control.’

Another option for a beginner is to create a wing with shadow and a wet brush. 

The expert suggests using a very sturdy angle brush and working in small sections.

‘It’s easier to nail little sections of the eyeliner,’ she explains. 

Adding: ‘You can also use this as a template or guide for where to place the liquid eyeliner when you feel ready. Apply the shadow or gel eyeliner and then trace the liquid eyeliner on top.’

Product makes a difference

To get that super intensive vinyl black cat eye look on Allison at the Met Gala, Jenna used the Too Faced Better Than Sex Easy Glide Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in black. 

She likes it for it’s deep color and fine-hair applicator. She also favors Maybelline Hyper Easy Liquid liner.

For those preferring a pencil, Jenna suggests Too Faced cosmetics Killer Liner 36 Hour Waterproof Gel Eyeliner.

She’s also a fan of Maybelline’s Tattoo Studio gel pencil.

Music icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone made the flirty look relevant with her timelessly elegant spin on it

Music icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone made the flirty look relevant with her timelessly elegant spin on it

Perfect the flick 

‘I actually start at the outer edge of the eye,’ shares Jenna.

‘But if it feels too overwhelming, I suggest facing the liquid liner with the narrowest point towards the hairline and gently pressing down almost like a stamp.’

For a natural look, keep the wing tip short. The further you extend the feline-like flick, the bolder the look.

Avoid shaky hands

To experience total control you must master the grip.

‘Make sure your grip on the pen/pencil/brush is light, it helps the movement flow easier,’ Jenna says. ‘Think delicate and graceful.’

While some products are easier to grip than others, ‘the best way to hold your hand is whatever way is most comfortable to you.’

A steady hand is also crucial for creating a precise line across the lash line. 

Always use a handsfree mirror, and some suggest leaning the elbow of the drawing hand against a stable surface like a countertop for support.

A sharp cat eye is a part of Grammy Award-winner Ariana Grande's signature look

A sharp cat eye is a part of Grammy Award-winner Ariana Grande’s signature look

Create balance 

To make both eyes look symmetrical, ‘Always stare directly into the mirror with your eyes open,’ instructs Jenna.

‘That way you’ll know exactly what it looks like when its finished. 

‘I always tell people not to pull your skin out, the skin will indefinitely move back and thus change the shape of the line you just drew.’

Fixing mistakes without starting over

Anyone who has attempted a winged eye knows that mistakes are pretty inevitable.

But instead of starting over and making an even bigger mess, dip a pointed Q-tip into makeover remover and gently dot over the unwanted product.

If the wing is not as sharp as you would like it, use concealer and a flat brush to fine tune it. 

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