Sunday, April 10, 2011

Makeup is Easy!: Cat Eyes Two Ways

My friend Rose occasionally makes noise about having me come over every morning to do her makeup.  However, this weekend we narrowed her makeup needs down to one main skill: doing a good cat eye.  This is a great choice if you're going to master one makeup skill, because it can be dressed up or down for any occasion.  If you want something a little snazzier, you can throw sparkly shadow over the top of it to make it pop, but if you just have a quiet day at work and want minimal makeup, you can leave the cat eye on its own, and that's all before you get to lipstick - I don't think there's anything more simply pretty than a smooth cat eye and a bright red lip!

Rose also mentioned a fear of liquid liner, and I don't think she is alone in that fear.  I have two ways to do a basic cat eye, one with liquid liner and one with shadow, but I also want to take a moment to talk about liquid liner itself.  The main thing to remember is: not all liquid liners are created equal.  If you are just starting to experiment with liquid liner, you want to get one with the skinniest possible applicator.  Sephora makes a really good one that comes to a lovely sharp point.  The second liner tip is to remember that you can work in small dabs, and that pays off huge.  I think the tendency is to think you have to open that sucker up and just draw one continuous line, but that's just not necessary.  As you'll see in my tutorial, I don't even do one straight line, and I consider myself something of a liquid liner pro.  As always, slow and steady wins the race.  Liquid liner does make a hard line, so it's much better to take it slow and get it right. 

So without further ado, let's make our way to feline fabulousity!  The first approach is the liquid liner approach.  I am using SEPHORA COLLECTION Long Lasting Eye Liner in "Glittering Black", which I bought on a whim and am totally delighted with; I thought the glitter would inevitably either get stuck in the tube or gunk up the smoothness of my line, but no!  It applies in a really fun, smooth glittery black line.  I should have had more faith in Sephora. 

1. First, draw a little wing at the corner of your eye.  I use my bottom lid as a guide.  You don't want a huge angle, so you should think of it as extending the line of your bottom lid towards the top of your ear.  The longer the line from the corner of your eye, the more dramatic, so you can adjust accordingly.  If you're unsure, start small - you can always extend it later!  As you can see, I have kind of hooked the liner along my lower lid; we'll elaborate on this a little later.
2.  Next, draw a line from the middle-ish of your eyeball to the furthest point of your wing.  I like to do this in small dabs, extending the line from both the tip of the wing towards the eyeball and from the middle towards the wing, eventually joining them together.  How you do this depends on your dexterity - I am pretty good at working from any angle on my face, but there was definitely a point where one direction was more comfortable, so go with what works for you.  I will say that if you're going to draw from the center of your eyeball out, don't aim for the tippiest-tip of the wing, but instead aim for just below it, so you leave a little room for error. 
NB: there is some reflection over the center; draw a straight line.
3.  Once you have the outline sketched up, fill that sucker in!  Once again, little dabs will be helpful, and you want to get as close to the edges of your eye as possible.  I find that the toughest part is getting the liner worked right into the corner of your eye, because it takes a weird little dip.
4. You'll now want to tune everything up: double check everything and even it out, making sure you have a nice smooth line and continuing it towards your tear duct at the inner corner of your eye, narrowing it as you go along.  The narrowing bit can be hard and there are two methods I use, depending on the liner brush.  When I use narrow brushes with a fine tip, I can draw mostly with the tip, again using small dabs.  If I have a thicker brush, I like to lay the brush parallel to my lash line and just tap it on the very edge of the lid.  That tends to get a very fine and neat line.  (You can also use this technique with a narrow brush, and I think it's actually easier, no matter what kind of brush you have.)
5.  The next step is optional, but I think it gives a much more complete look.  This step involves lining your bottom lash line, and you can use a liner of your choice.  I think a smokier liner works better here, to take some of the edge off the look.  I used Guerlain Terracotta Khol Kajal Intense Indian Kohl, which is a really great smudgey crayon of liner.  [NB: As far as I can tell, Guerlain's eyeliners are 100% win at all times.  They are a little pricey but the quality is outstanding and they last forever.  I highly, highly recommend them.  Literally cannot do so enough.]  You want to line right along your waterline, as I am creepily demonstrating by pulling down my eyelid in this shot (sorry, people who get eyeball-related heebie-jeebies!).  I also lined along the waterline on my upper lid and around the outer corner of my eye again, just so everything was all connected.
6. If you do not add mascara, this will look creepy.  Fire that stuff up!  You can also add false lashes, but I think the cat eye look stands alone well.  I use Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes Waterproof Mascara but I also like MAKEUP FOREVER Smoky Lash.  I think the key to success with this look is making sure your lashes are as separated as possible, and getting a very light coat on your lower lashes.  Voila!
So there we have your more traditional cat eye look.  It takes some practice to get comfortable with liquid liner, but it's not an unattainable goal.  I actually like to draw a little bit on the back of my hand when I get a new liner, in order to get used to the way it applies.  I would also like to remind you of what I consider the most important rule of makeup: no one is looking that closely at your makeup.  That doesn't mean no one cares, but it does mean that they're not appraising your makeup for symmetry and perfection.  Don't worry too much about little bumps and unevenness!

Let's get started with the second method!  This one is all done with eyeshadow, though I think you could also use the technique with liquid liner or with a cream shadow.  I haven't tried it with either of those, but I see no reason it wouldn't work!

1.  Go to your desk and get your scotch tape out.

1a. Yes really.

1b.  Take a piece of tape and apply it to your face, following the curve of your lower lash line up and out just like we talked about with the initial wing in the liquid liner demo.  This will be your guide for a nice even line.
2. Take a makeup brush you are comfortable with and pick up a small amount of the eye shadow you're going to use.  I used the SEPHORA COLLECTION Double-Ended Smokey Eye Brush, without which I literally could not live, but you can use any brush you like.  This time, you're going to be applying shadow from the top lid out.  You are going to create the wing here, so feel free to go over the tape to get a nice narrow point.  It looks a little sloppy in the photo, but you'll be able to see better when the tape is removed.
I removed the tape at this point, but if you're worried about shadow fall-out, you can certainly leave it on.  As you can see, there's a nice sharp wing!
3. You're now going to continue the line across the top lid.  Keep using your brush to get the powder carried across the lid and over to your tear duct.  As always, a little bit goes a long way - you can always add more powder over the top, so start light!
5. I used a thicker line here to capitalize on the smokiness of the powder, but you can still keep it nice and thin if you prefer.  You can finish up with the same waterline liner application and mascara, and you'll be good to go!
I took a quick shot of all the products I used in this tutorial, and it's really amazing how few are needed - this is all you need for BOTH looks!
The pot on my palm is the shadow I used, and it's from the now defunct She Space, but any powder would work; I've also used pressed powder with the same technique.

Go forth, my glorious bewinged beauties, and fear the cat eye no more!

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