How to Create Winged/Cat Eyeliner

Cat eyeliner is a simple way to make a bold statement with your makeup. If you haven’t tried it before it can be a little intimidating, but I’m here to show you a really easy way to do it! The nice thing about applying cat eyeliner is that the same technique can be used to create a cat eye that’s as subtle or as dramatic as you want. Since there are many different ways to create a cat eye, I’ll be focusing on the major characteristic of a cat eye — the wing (also called the flick). For the pictures in this tutorial, I created a thicker, more dramatic wing since the application may be harder to visualize than the smaller, more subtle wings.

Here’s what you need to execute this cat eyeliner technique:

  • A neutral eye shadow (or any eye shadows you want to apply beforehand) — When I wear a dramatic cat eye, I like to apply a wash of a single color on my entire lid. Here I’m using MAC E/S in “Brulé” shown on the top right.
  • Matte black eye shadow
  • Black gel or liquid liner (I prefer gel since they are easier to work with)
  • Small angled brush
  • If using gel liner, a gel liner brush — the bottom two brushes in the picture above (MAC 208 and Sephora Collection Pro Angled Eyeliner Brush #23) are my favorite brushes to use with gel liner!


Once you’ve applied your eye shadow, it’s time to draw your cat eyeliner! First study the placement of the pink line in the picture on the right. Imagine a similar line on your face that goes from the outer part of your nose to the tip of your eyebrow (you can use your brush handle to help visualize the line).

Alternatively, imagine a line that follows the natural curve of your lower lash line.

This line will be your guide to the wing of the eyeliner, regardless of how short or long you want it to be.


Pick up some of the matte black eye shadow with a small angled brush, making sure to tap off the excess to prevent fallout. Lightly draw in the line you visualized in Step 1 starting from the outer corner of your lash line. If you want a more subtle cat eye, keep the line short. For a more dramatic look, extend the line diagonally upwards in the direction of the tip of your eyebrow. Loosen the grip of your brush as you near the end of the line to fade the tip of the line.

Now create a 2nd line starting from your upper lash line that connects to the faded end of the first line. Since it’s much easier to wipe off the black eye shadow than fixing gel/liquid liner, this is the time to experiment with how thick you want your wing/flick to be. It’s much easier to initially draw the 2nd line closer to the 1st line and just continue drawing it further from the 1st line until you get your desired look. Each time you redraw the 2nd line, make sure to look at your eyes in the mirror to check the thickness.


Now that you’ve got the outline that looks like a triangle for your wing, fill it in with some black gel or liquid liner. Make sure to maintain the fade at the end of the wing. You can do this by either loosening up the grip of your brush as you go over the end of the wing, or stop filling in the black gel/liquid liner just before you get to the tip and let the black eye shadow applied in Step 2 fade the wing instead.

Here I used my favorite matte black gel liner (Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel in “77″) with a MAC 208 brush.


With the wing complete, continue lining the rest of your upper lash line starting from the inner lash line (where the brush is positioned in the picture). Keep the line thin and slightly build up the thickness as you work your way towards the outer lash line where it connects to the cat eye wing.


If you’ve experienced any budging from your gel or liquid liner from previous use, you can set it by going over it with the same small angle brush and black eye shadow you used in Step 2. I skipped this since my Inglot gel liner works wonders and doesn’t budge!

You can also line your lower water line with a black kohl pencil like MAC Eye Kohl in “Smolder” to make the look more dramatic.

Curl your lashes and apply false eyelashes/mascara. That’s it! :D

Just remember that practice makes perfect! Once you get used to the placement of the wing, you can skip drawing the outline in Step 2 and just wing it with your gel/liquid liner. :) You can wear your cat eyeliner with a neutral lip to really bring out your eyes or with red lipstick for a glamorous look!

August 17th, 2011 in Techniques | Share