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Tutorial - Cat Eye Liner, Liquid Liner Tips, Neutral Eye

This tutorial is designed to show you step-by-step how to line your upper lash line and wing out the liner subtly, which is typically called a cat-eye. This is a perfect look to wear for the holidays and New Year’s Eve parties that are happening frequently. It is also a great match when you want to go for retro-matte red lips or even an ultra glossy lip. Bold lips are always amazing when paired with such a neutral, natural eye.

You will need: Liquid black liner of your choice (Prescriptives), wash of a neutral, low-shimmer color of your choice (Ricepaper), semi-matte darker brown for the crease (Soft Brown), and highlight color of your choice (Casablanca).

Brushes: 239, 219, 266/209

Learn how I do my liquid liner…

1. Start with a clean eye-space; if you fill-in your brows, you’re welcome to do them now [or later].

2. Apply your wash of neutral eyeshadow onto your lid using a fluffy eyeshadow brush (like the 239).

3. Pull it outwards to be able to cover your entire lid area.

4. This is what it should look like. The color is only slightly lighter than my natural lid color.

5. Apply your highlight color starting below the inner portion of the brow.

6. Pull the brow outwards along the underside of the brow, following its natural arch.

7. Using the 239, apply your semi-matte deeper brown into the outer crease.

8. Pull your brush outwards towards the outermost portion of the crease.

9. This is how it should look at this point.

10. Go back and gently brush out the crease color to blend it a bit.

11. Now, with your liquid liner, use the applicator it came with if that suits you (this is what I did), and apply a fairly thin line along your upper lashes. If you do not like the applicator that comes with your liquid liner, you may want to try a fine-pointed liner brush like the 209 or an angled brush like the 266. I find that if you tilt your head up and look down at the mirror, your lid will close enough to allow you to get close to your upper lash line while still being able to see. If there’s too much liquid liner on your brush, don’t fret, just wipe a bit of the excess on the back of your hand – remember, less is more. You can always build the liner’s intensity and thickness up, but it’s harder to correct it once it’s already there!

Here are some additional tips for working with liquid liner:

  • If you are completely new to liquid lining, don’t bother doing it when you’ve already created a hot eyeshadow look. Work on your liquid lining skills with just a bare eye – when you’ve gotten the hang of it, that’s when you incorporate it into your looks. It is really hard to correct big mistakes (small ones you can usually cover!), so why ruin a look you have already created?
  • Try to rest your elbow onto the countertop so it can help steady your hands.
  • Keep cotton swabs and eye makeup remover handy. Dip the cotton swab into the remover, and use it to erase any mistakes and make that line look even.
  • Sometimes you may feel better lining in sections (think of three sections – inner upper lash line, middle upper lash line, and outer upper lash line), because you can slowly go through the process.
  • Cheat your way through liquid liner by applying it first, and then putting eyeshadows on top. When you use black liquid liner, it is often quite apparent despite shadows falling on top of it. This way, you can just go back lightly to intensify the color afterwards, but you will have already gotten your perfect shape.

12. Taking your liquid liner brush and using the bottom lash line as a guide, act as if you are extending your lower lash line upwards towards the end of the brow (like you’re drawing a line towards it) by making a small flick.

13. Where you have made the flick, use your liquid liner applicator to “connect” the flick back to the upper lash line. You almost create a kind of triangle this way.

14. This is how it should look.

15. Using the 219, apply your highlighter color to your inner tearduct. Also, apply black liner to your lower lashes if you wish.

16. Pull the 219 outwards a bit so the highlighter color isn’t so stark.

17. This is how it should look right now.

18. Add your favorite mascara, and voila, you are finished.


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Camilla Avatar

wow another cool tutorial!!! i just bought a brand new eyeliner for christmas i cant resist from tryin it now!! and as i know myself ill do right eye perfect and mess up the left one

Sara Avatar

I love the cat eye look! i always seem to mess up on the ends though…they never match on each eye! you made a little mistake on step 18-you used the bare eye picture instead of the mascara one. just thought id let you know

Tonee Avatar

Wow – that looks great on you 🙂 And fabulous lipstick too!

My favorite eyeliner brushes are Smashbox #8 and Stila #4. Before I discovered the wonders of long handled brushes, I used the eyeliner applicators that were attached to the lid of the product and hated them because I would get liquid liner smeared on my lashes – UGH!

Lala Avatar

I love this look!

I have a question …since your forhead is a different shade then the inner part of your face…do you still put nc30 fondation all over your entire face?…or you use too different fondation??…or is that bronzer?lol sorry

This guy at the counter match me to nc45 (studio stick– dont ask me why I picked it…it look very easy to bring along)and its wrong…I should of went w/ out bronzer on for one…but I know it doen’t match, because it made me look like a oompa-loompa! I look too orange!!!

I know I have yellow & golden under tone and green veins…so I’m nc…but maybe I’m a 42/43/44 or could be in the “c” section?…I notice alot of people say there nc/45/c6 or something like that.

Christine Avatar

Hey Lala! My forehead is pretty much the same color as the rest of my face – it just might be the way the flash went off as it took the photo, lol.

You’re definitely a NC tone, and if it’s significant darker than you, I’d try NC40. Next time, ask for a sample of foundation so you can try it on at home first. 🙂

Tanya Avatar

Oh I love the cat eye look 🙂 so coveted but never able to perfect myself. I am nearly blind in one eye so its nearly impossible to do the liner on my “good” eye cause I just can’t see anything 🙁 so sad for me!! LOL

Alexa Avatar

I can never get my eyeliner perfect 🙁 so I almost always go without. I do a great look and then the eyeliner usually messes it up. So thank you so much for this article! I love all your articles and tutorials <3 they are extremely helpful! 🙂

Nicole Avatar

Looks great!! But–girl don’t your eyes swell when you put eyeliner on your top lid? Be careful, we don’t want anything bad to happen to those gorgeous eyes!

monica Avatar

cute look!
i wanted to know if you have ever done a review for the smashbox halo foundation
I’d love it if you would do one if you haven’t
it’s only available on QVC until the end of 2008

Cristina Avatar

Thanks for the tutorial Christine! This will make a lovely Christmas FOTD. I would love to try this look, but I cannot find a red lipstick that suits me 🙁 Most reds turn fuschia (even Viva Glam I).

Cristina Avatar

I tried using concealer/stick foundation on my lips before applying, and it still looked fuschia 🙁 But it looks red on my sister (we have different skin tones). I gave it to my grandmother, so it won’t be wasted.

But I was able to do a different look for Christmas instead 🙂 Maybe I’ll don the red lips for New Year’s Eve 😉

Cristina Avatar

My skintone is medium golden/very yellow, which probably why Viva Glam I looked fuschia. I did a smokey silver-green look with nude lips instead, then golden brown on another day 🙂

Lina Avatar

Fantastic tutorial! I’ve always used black eyeliner successfully, but was afraid to go beyond the lashline. But this…

act as if you are extending your lower lash line upwards by making a small flick.

… has helped a lot. Thanks! 🙂

Niqui Avatar

Beautiful! I am going to have to try that for New Years Eve! But since I don’t have liquid liner, will it work with my Fluidline and a fine tipped brush? Like a point conceler brush maybe? Thanks!:)

Cindy Avatar

I use liquid liner everyday and when I use pencil liner on my lower lid to make a more dramatic look, I always get black builduo in the corner of my eye. It also happens if I put the line too close to my tear duct and then the whole thing runs and I look like a raccoon. Is there anyway to prevent this?

Black Velveteen Avatar

Great job as usual! I always mess up at the wing tip too because I tend to be a bit heavy handed, but this step-by-step really helps me alot. Thanks Christine! You do a beautiful job as always 🙂

stacy in pasadena Avatar

thanks so much for this. The idea of using the bottom lash as a guide for the flick is a new one for me. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for all of your hard work putting this out there and being open to comments as well!

Kirsten Avatar

your entire site is sooo helpful. you seem like such a sweet person as well- always replying to comments and putting so much effort into helping everyone on here with makeup!

wklize Avatar

HiI’m a fan of yours.I just wanna thank u for all the tutorials you did, they’re very helpful. As for this I try to do it but I mess up a little bit,let’s see.These are my attempts,do you have any suggestions?My attempt

Thanks for your attention in reading this 🙂

wklize Avatar

Hi Christine,thanks for you answer,yep unfortunately the picture is hard to see,don’t know why,thanks for your suggestion,I’ll try to get used to it,but it’s difficult to do both eyes in the same way 🙂 ,anyway congratulations again for all you do,and keep it up 😉

Sarah Avatar

Also, if you don’t wish to put the eyeliner into the inter tear duct (Because that is how an infection is caused in the eye, from makeup getting into the eye. It’s not recommended to do by most doctors.) then you can just put it over your bottom eyelash, as she had said, using the eyelashes as a guide.
This tutorial is well done, I love it. I tried it out and have the perfect cat eye.
Thank you! This tutorial is great. ^_^

Paula Avatar

Hey! I’m so glad you posted this with a lot of pics and details. I’m so horrible at getting it to look right… and, as many others, my eyes never seem to match up. Hopefully this will help a little bit. Thanks =)

janet Avatar

i liked how you showed me step by step
but for me its harder
since im asian, my crease isnt so big
and sometimes when my eye is watery the eyeliner
and liquid eyeliner comes out right away
can you suggest any good liquid eyeliners and regular eyeliner
thats water proof

Christine Avatar

Hi Janet!

MAC’s Blacktrack fluidline isn’t 100% waterproof, but it’s very much budge-proof. MAC makes liquidlast liners that are waterproof, though, and really those do NOT budge whatsoever! Lancome makes a good waterproof eyeliner as well.

Jackie Avatar

Hello. 🙂 I’m one of those BellaSugar readers who was led to your site and I’m really enjoying it. You make each look yours, which is impressive! While almost all of your make-up seems flawless, it seems as though your mascara might be letting you down. I’ve spent a while searching for a good mascara and I thought I might suggest a few. I usually aim to define as many lashes as possible without clumping and these seem to do that pretty well:

Clinique – High Impact mascara (traditional liquid and brush)
Estee Lauder – More than Mascara (traditional liquid and brush)
Mirenesse (An Australian brand, but shipping costs aren’t terrible; unique lash-coating tubes from liquid formula)

I know everyone has different tastes in mascara, but I like that we can all share our wealth of experience on your site. Thanks!

Christine Avatar

Hi Jackie! Thanks for stopping by! I couldn’t tell you what mascara I used in this, as I’ve been testing different ones. I’ve actually tried both the Clinique and Estee Lauder ones you recommended and neither gave me great results, unfortunately!

Brandi Avatar

My eyelids are slightly different shapes so its hard to make the “flick” match. But I’m still working on it. I have a question though, I always where very dramatic eye makeup and I wear liquid eyeliner quite often. Is this bad for my eyes? and I also where liquid eyeliner on the bottom. Most people complain that liquid on the bottom bothers their eyes. It doesnt bother mine, but idk if its healthy or not to where it that way. I hope not, liquid eyeliner on the bottom looks SO much better than pencil in my opinion!!

Christine Avatar

Hey Brandi! It can be hard to make them match no matter what, so no worries, I’m glad you’re working on it. I don’t think liquid liner is bad for your eyes, as it is meant to be used around the eye area – if it wasn’t safe, it wouldn’t be marketed as for the eye area!

RuE Avatar

I loved this tutorial..
I’ve found a new favorite liquid liner and thought i would share.. It’s Covergirl’s Line Exact.. the applicator is really really easy to use.. and i love to add their new Lash Blast mascara.. great look!

ayat Avatar

Oh Temptalia that is so pretty and just what I needed cuz everytime I attempt at this look my eyeshadow is too stark and bright cuz I don’t apply a crease color but soft brown is perfect and now I gotta get it!!
Thnx alot!!

Reshu Avatar

can any1 temme how can we make a lower liner,datz make a tear cum out..i mean it burns out in da eye yaa !! plz help me out i m very crazy for lower eyeliner..

Shenay Avatar

hey dear, is that a liquid liner that u used on ur waterline ? wont it hurt ? =( i cant find any good liners that will stay on my waterline !

Jasmine Avatar

One word: BEAUTIFUL! =)
Just a quick question – what is the name of the red lipstick you are wearing in the last pic?

Medhia Avatar

i totally love this look.i just have a quick question though…do u think someone could wear this look for prom?and what else could u do with ur lips (other than red lipstick)?

karen Avatar

Someone could wear this for anything- work, grocery store, night out- anything! 😀 It just depends on your personality and comfort zone. If you’re not comfortable with the boldness of a pure red lip, try a sheer red gloss or even a more pink or fuschia gloss, too… anything you want! These eyes are so neutral and subtle that they can easily work with anything you can think to pair them with.

Shenay Avatar

thanks dear for the suggestion on Fluidline on my waterline! ive finally found a solution to eyeliners-smudging on my waterline! thanks x 10000 =)

Belle Avatar

this is such a nice look, i would love to do this however i was wondering if i might substitute the colours you used with, shroom, ploof and satin taupe? do you think that would look ok? and plus what kind of liquid liner did you use? what would you recommend? and i noticed you used a pencil to line ur waterline, i’ve honestly tried pencils, powder’s and gel liners and absolutely nothing stays, i’m not asking for a permanent line with no touch ups but something that doesn’t irritate so much with all that messy black goop in your eye, what do you think is the best for this. i’ve been trying different products on and off since highschool and finding something that doesn’t create black goop and doesn’t fade within the hour would be amazing.

pam walsh Avatar

Thank you so much for the great pictures and good description. I’ve spent half a day trying to find a good website to show makeup techniques. I’m very happy to find yours. Please keep up the good work. Hoping for more pics and tutorials.

Pretty N Pink Avatar

This has helped me a lot but looks like I still need practice. I just can’t seem to get that flick down! I have a fold in my eye that kind of gets in the way and I just don’t know how to deal with it! 😉 I’m going to keep trying though. Thanks again!

Sophia Avatar

You are amazing are doing eye-liner!
and the turorial was brilliant.
I was just wondering, Alexa Chung (British music & fashion presenter) always gets praise on her make-up
and she said she uses Mac paint pot in Constructivist & their liquid eye-liner too.
Would you maybe consider doing a tutorial on how to ”get her look”? it’s really natural here’s a picture:

Sophia Avatar

Oops, Sorry! i was going to put in another comment from my sister, hense the two names but my computer froze
Basically..Do you find Gel eye-liners work best for an everyday look or liquid liner?

Michelle Avatar

I tried using liquid eyeliner for my lids but when i took it my eye basically got all swolleen and bright pink, is there anything I could use to substitue liquid, because I love the way it looks.

Brenda Avatar

LOVE this look christine! I know i’m reading the post rather late, as I have only found temptalia about 6 months ago 🙁 I use the cat eye look with Blacktrack quite often, and I could never find a brush I liked to get enough of a thin line for detail..until I started using one of my paintbrushes! (i paint as a hobby). I use a Loew-Cornell 795 3/0 round liner brush for the gel liners and its superb! I can create some very dramatic detailed lines and carry the “wings” out really thin scroll like or just use a larger liner if I want thicker lines. And they are less expensive brushes too.

yulianna Avatar

christine thanks for your make up tips they are very helpful please keep adding more to your site y have seen them all and always learning something new…

yulianna Avatar

i just started putting make up on and its very hard to get the liner in place like you do. my lashes are short and also find it hard to place false eye lashes what do you recommend???

Tess Avatar

Wow! This is the best cat eye tutorial I’ve found! Thanks so much! (I can never seem to get it quite right lol).

And I gotta say, you have some gorgeous eyes, woman!


Jen Avatar

The eye lining part is good but those lashes..YIKES!! Mascara is not supposed to make your lashes look like tarantulas. You need to curl your lashes and use some fresh, high quality mascara, coloring each lash and separating them with an eyelash comb. The lashes are NOT supposed to be clumped together, that’s just nasty. They should all be separated as much as possible.

Leila Avatar

This is the look I always wear, just like the beautiful Marilyn Monroe! I’ve found it’s easier if you put your elbow on a surface and work from the middle of your eye lid, to the end of the outer part of your eye lid than starting from your inner eye lid. Afterward, I close my eyelid and pray that I can make the “wing” straight…:P

MelissaZC Avatar

Great tutorial and great site 🙂 I just took a shot at this look with my newly acquired fluidline and MAC 210 brush (I used a kohl for the lower waterline though). The SA talked me into the brush and I’m happy with it (tiny!). FL is Soooo much easier than liquid liner. Your instructions were great and my eyes came out pretty good (especially for a makeup novice!).

Now all I need is a better red lip! I’ve yet to get the red-red lip down… anyway 🙂

Ana Avatar

That was a good tutorial. You have pretty eyes and gave good instruction. I always have a hard time with the liquid liner on the lower lid, though I have been using it on the upper for years. I’m going to try again. I’m always nervous about getting it too close to my eye. Does it not irritate you to have it pretty much next to your eyeball like that?

MoniqueLauren Avatar

Okay, so I go on google looking up how to do cat eyeliner and i find this
i have to say
thank you so much! I am going to get so much use out of this, you dont even know.

Michele Avatar

Thanks for the great tutorial. Are you an artist? I’m blown away by all the marvelous combinations you come up with. I honestly like your looks much better than the ones they use on the models on the different sites. I find sometimes the looks they feature may be OK for the catwalk but not something most of us would wear but you always look gorgeous without being over the top.

Hannah Avatar

Heey Christine!

It looks great on you! It always looks terrible if i do it by myself 🙁 I hope you have much more tutorials, cause they’re briliant! Thanks!

Jianna Avatar

which liner have u applied for your waterline?!
i’ve tried all kinds of liners but they dont really look that neat
btw., i lovee the look! =]

Jess Avatar

I love the cat-eye look and will definitely try all the tips in your tutorial. I don’t feel like my eyes water a lot, but by the middle of the day my liner is globbed at the outer corners of my eyes. I wear a foundation primer and a shadow primer but neither seems to help. I’ve tried various types of eyeliners and they all seem to do the same thing. I want the cat-eye look, but I’m sure I will have a black glob in the corner of my eye pretty quickly. Any suggestions to help???

Tara Avatar

This is GREAT help… can’t wait to test it out I’m so happy to finally find someone who talks it bit by bit with a photographic evidence of each step!

Kels Avatar