Do you have a favorite eyeliner? I struggled for a few years--experimenting with everything from pencils to gels--before I found the right one.
I usually stuck with drugstore eyeliner, and my biggest problem was that the liquid and gel formulas would dry up very quickly. The pencil eyeliners were OK, but they weren't great for achieving the clean lines necessary for something like a cat-eye.
Today, I've finally found my dream eyeliner for creating every kind of cat-eye look imaginable: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. After hearing so many people recommend it, I took the plunge (I had a coupon!) and it is now my go-to liquid eyeliner.
True to its name, this liner stays on all day, doesn't dry out, and is ridiculously easy to apply. To prove just how easy and useful it is, I did four different cat-eye looks with my trusty Stila liquid liner.
The Subtle Stamp-On Cat Eye
I wrote an article ages ago (when I was blonde!) about my fool-proof method of creating a quick, subtle cat-eye. The method is pretty simple and works with any liquid or gel liner, but I'm partial to my Stila.
Start by making your stamp: cut off half of a pencil eraser to create a half-circle shape. Then dab some of the eyeliner on the surface of the eraser and stamp it on the outside corner of each eye.
This creates a very small, subtle cat eye.
Of course, I also trace the eyeliner along the rest of my top lid, occasionally touching up the wings if I want them to be longer or sharper. Cat-eye first-timers will have to experiment with getting the angle right and not over-painting the stamp, which results in a messy application.
The Reverse Cat-Eye
I've done a smokey eye variation of this look before, but I was curious to see how it would look with liquid eyeliner. I drew a line right up against my bottom lashes (but not IN my waterline), going outward from the inner corners of my eyes. It's up to you how far the wings the flick out or if they're angled straight out or slightly up.
It's not necessary, but I also went back and cheated a little by adding a pencil eyeliner to my waterline. (No one wants liquid eyeliner in their waterline, right?) No eyeliner is needed on your top lid; I just happened to have some left over from the previous cat-eye look.
This look has its pros and cons. I like that it's overall much easier for me because I don't have to deal with my weirdly creased, hooded eyelids. On the other hand, I feel like it made my eyes look small. I bet that a lot of you would really kill with this look, though.
The Double Cat Eye
I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I've been wanting to try out a double-winged cat-eye (à la Dior's resort 2015 look) for a while now. I already had the bottom line, so I simply added a typical cat-eye on my top lid, doing my best to angle the top wing so that it mirrored the trajectory of the bottom wing. Then I added a nude lip because this is a whole lot of eye look.
I liked this one a lot but I have to tweak it in the future. My wonky eyelid crease was swallowing up the top wing in some of these pictures, as you can probably see. Does that happen to anyone else? It’s the worst.
The Feathered Cat Eye
This last look is the weirdest, but I can't take credit: it was inspired by the beauty look at Zac Posen's fall/winter 2014 show. I loved the fluttery eyeliner and the bold red lips and the naked eyelids.
Because the whole look is focused on the inner and outer corners of the eye, it's great for those with hooded lids that tend to swallow up eyeliner. And the lines don't have to be perfect, so don't worry if you're not exactly an artist.
To start, I drew two thick base lines on the hood of my eye at the inner and outer corners. Then I did about a dozen thin strokes, angling out and up in eyelash-like shapes. I connected both ends with a thin line along my crease that's only visible when my eyes are closed.
This look was a lot of fun, and I loved how it actually made me appear to have eyelids. It might be a bit much for everyday wear, but you can easily adjust the size of your strokes to make it as subtle or outlandish as you want. I was also really impressed by the precision of my Stila eyeliner during this application. It was easy to take each stroke from thick to very thin.
I hope you got some inspiration from at least one of these looks. Let me know which one was your favorite! And tell me about your HG liquid liner and all the amazing things it can do.
All photos by Joshua Kirby