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!


MonicaAugust 17th, 2011 at 10:46 pm

you know what this means to me, right??

WyceeAugust 18th, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Hi Monica! LOL You’re welcome ;)

AngelamhiereAugust 19th, 2011 at 4:21 am

This is a very good tutorial! I love it!!! ^__^

WyceeAugust 19th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thanks Angel! I’m glad you found it helpful! :)

ChristinaAugust 22nd, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for this wonderful and really detailed tutorial. While I’m good at doing eyeshadow, I’ve always struggled with eyeliner, particularly the cat eye look. This is the first post I’ve seen that has clear pics and explicit directions–with options, too–and your technique differs just a little from others I’ve read. Plus, your lining is flawless, I’d say. I’ve seen many tutorials where the line doesn’t come out as clean or sharp. I can’t wait to try this out at home and see if it solves my problem once and for all!

WyceeAugust 23rd, 2011 at 12:19 am

Thank you, Christina! I’m so happy to read this! I’m sure you’ll master your cat eye soon. :)

Mary G.August 23rd, 2011 at 6:15 am

Absolutely beautiful! I’m not one for heavy eye makeup/colors, and this can be as light or heavy as you like. Your pictures show elegant and sophisticated look without looking too heavy.

Now to find those MAC products…. where do you buy them? I haven’t been able to find them anywhere???

Neutral Eye with Dramatic Liner LookSeptember 5th, 2011 at 12:03 am

[…] I mentioned in my Technique post on how to create winged/cat eyeliner, I usually like wearing a single wash of a neutral color on my entire lid when I wear dramatic […]

lolaSeptember 18th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

thank you! i needed this

WyceeSeptember 19th, 2011 at 12:13 am

My pleasure, Lola! :)

sickittenSeptember 23rd, 2011 at 7:49 pm

The best tutorial on this subject EVA!

WyceeSeptember 26th, 2011 at 12:12 am

Thanks Sickitten! :)

AngelaOctober 6th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

This is the ONLY cat eye tutorial that I have ever done right. I can’t believe I finally got it. Thank you so much!

BSWbuzzOctober 8th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

You can also use a cat eyeliner stencil to achieve the same look. Think eyebrow stencil but for eyeliner.

WyceeOctober 11th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Hi Angela! I’m happy to hear that! :)

WyceeOctober 11th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Hi BSWbuzz! I haven’t used those before, but it sounds interesting :)

Blue and Gold Liner LookNovember 21st, 2011 at 4:21 pm

[…] Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in “Radium” (upper lash line; create a subtle wing — click here to read how to create a winged/cat eyeliner) – Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in “El Dorado” (entire lower lash line) – Make Up […]

TaraDecember 1st, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Very pretty! I’m excited to try this!

WyceeDecember 2nd, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Thanks Tara! :)

tiffanyDecember 3rd, 2011 at 3:48 am

hehe omg thank you for this post! going to be using gel eyeliner (i bought the bobbibrown gel eyeliner since i’v heard rave reviews abt it) for the first time next weekend :D and was so worried bc seriously have no idea how to attempt it haha but ur post is going to save me from the misery haha :P thanks so much!! (Y)

WyceeDecember 4th, 2011 at 3:56 am

Hi Tiffany! I’m also a fan of the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliners (but if you like intense black liner and can get your hands on an Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel in “77”, that one is really awesome too). Remember practice makes perfect, and no worries! :)

tiffanyDecember 12th, 2011 at 12:20 am

oh, oks awesome, will definitely get my paws onto that!! thanks for the reco :D haha ahuh i’ve applied my gel liner abt twice so far.. and yes, PRACTICE is definitely in my books haha thanks again for this great post! (Y)

Christmas Tree Makeup LookDecember 14th, 2011 at 9:51 am

[…] Waterproof Liquid Liner in “Perversion” (upper lash line; create a subtle wing — click here to read how to create a winged/cat eyeliner) – Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in “Perversion” (upper lash line) – Make Up […]

[…] done perfectly), but I have never really mastered the art. I stumbled across a great tutorial via Nerdy Girl Makeup that uses a matt eyeshadow and a gel liner if you want to know how to do it.  These pics below […]

JulieDecember 28th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Oh my god, you are amazing.

WyceeJanuary 1st, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Aww, thank you Julie! :)

BSWbuzzJanuary 8th, 2012 at 10:40 am

Hi Wycee:

Sorry for the very late response. The eyeliner stencils are really easy to use especially for anyone who isn’t as skilled as yourself. You can create the cat eye shape and then set with Bobbi’s gel liner or Too Faced waterproof eyeliner pencils. They go on just like a gel liner and stay on all day.

The links are below for you if you feel like taking a look.

Happy new year!

WyceeJanuary 9th, 2012 at 12:58 am

Hi BSWbuzz,

Thanks for the info and links! I’ll have to look into those, especially the Too Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eyeliners. :) Happy New Year to you too!

LivJanuary 22nd, 2012 at 9:47 am

Very beautiful :)

Now i can get similar lines on my eyes

Thanks for the tip,

Love from Liv, Denmark

WyceeJanuary 24th, 2012 at 10:47 am

Thanks Liv! :)

BeeFebruary 19th, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hey- wow thats a grt technique :) cant wait to apply :)
btw- the inglot gel liner transfers badly to my upper lid as I have hooded eyes. even with a good primer and black eyeshadow I can see rings on my upper lids.. can u advise how to curb that? thanks a lot

JenniferFebruary 25th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thank you for this this tutorial! It’s so detailed and precise, I’m so thankful for all the informations! Unfortunately, I still can’t make a pretty wing! :( I always fail one eyes…

WyceeFebruary 27th, 2012 at 12:32 am

Hi Jennifer! Don’t worry — the wings don’t always have to be twins, they just need to look like sisters. ;)

LisaApril 6th, 2012 at 6:24 am

Hey! You have really pretty eyes! OMG. So what do you use on your eyelids? Foundation? If so, what foundation do you use? And also what moisturizer do you use before applying foundation? Sorry im asking alot. Haha :)

WyceeApril 12th, 2012 at 1:12 am

Thanks Lisa! I first put Too Faced Shadow Insurance primer on my entire eye area, and then I applied a wash of a single color on top of it using MAC E/S in “Brulé”. I use a lot of different foundations (including airbrush), but my all-time favorite everyday foundation is Lancôme Photôgenic Lumessence. The moisturizer I’m using is Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15. I also use face primer (apply it after moisturizer but before foundation). :)

LalaMay 3rd, 2012 at 9:06 am

I’ve been doing winged/cat eyeliner for four years now and im ive gotten pretty good at it but it was difficult at time since i use liquid eyeliner and i just drew them trying to make them look the same, but your tips made it crazy easy to apply, less than a minute on each eye and they actually look the same! thankyou so much! best tutorial! by the way, does anyone know a good gel liner that goes on smooth and doesnt pull the eyelids when your using it? i tried one and it kept tugging and pulling at my eyelids.

TheBeautyPlace.comMay 9th, 2012 at 7:45 am

Wow! Great tutorial. I will come back with a pic with my results. Thanks.

GiuliaAugust 13th, 2012 at 7:48 am

Great tutorial, thank you so much!!

WyceeAugust 22nd, 2012 at 12:12 am

You’re welcome, Giulia! :)

ShanaynayOctober 23rd, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Hi! You’re face looks FLAWLESS in this. Wht did you use? Liquid foundation then pressed powder? What brand? Thanks!

Erica ReinhartNovember 1st, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Thanks~ and you’re right, its very intimidating when you haven’t done before but with your tutorial, it was very helpful

Liz MJanuary 5th, 2013 at 10:13 pm

I am loving your website, but it would be nice if you had video clips too.

Jaime W.January 30th, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I love your tutorials. I loved this tip, but I still have trouble getting both eyes to look the same. I assume that, like you say, practice makes perfect, but do you have any tips for getting eyes to come out even?

leanJune 16th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

i luv it wycee!! i’ll try to do it!! ur amazing :)

Leave a comment

Your comment